Category Archives: Ephesians

By the will of God

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God,…..”  Ephesians 1:1

I saw this verse with new eyes yesterday.

I had been jumping past the middle phrase.

Suddenly, I saw that the middle phrase, “an apostle of Christ Jesus,” was being done by the will of God.

Paul was recognizing from the get-go that his being an apostle required that he function within God’s will as he did it.

I have a ton of family relationships.  I’m a father, grandfather, husband, father-in-law, uncle, brother, etc…

What if I started the verse with my name (Peter) and then inserted the family relationship into the middle space?  “Peter, the husband of Julie, by the will of God..”

That personalizes the verse.  It reminds me that the relationship I have to my wife must go forward in the Lord’s will.

God has put me in the position of being a husband and I must realize the responsibility and my need to seek His guidance.

When it comes to work, I can insert my job into the middle phrase.  “Peter, a driving instructor, by the will of God..”

It centers me on the thought that whatever I do, I am chasing His guidance and mindful that I represent Him at work.

Try personalizing your own situation using Ephesians 1:1.



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The corona virus has made us all equal

“The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.” Ephesians 3:6 (The Message)

It is interesting that the virus has made everyone in the world equal.

No language barriers. No financial advantages.

Everyone wakes up with the reality that there is a virus in our midst. That it is beyond our control no matter who we are, or where we live.

The consequences of the virus being in our midst are real. We see numbers. We hear stories. Many seem so far away that we gather a sense of immunity. Then the local numbers pop up and we are brought back to the nearness of the danger.

The worldwide equality that the virus has brought is like our status before God. We are all His creations. We are all the same before Him. There are no front-row seats or backseats before God.

Today’s verse mentions an “offer” for everyone worldwide from God.

What is the offer? All sinners are unacceptable to God BUT He did something about our unacceptability.

What did God do? I am quoting “Life Application New Testament Commentary” (page 816): ‘God could only accept sinful people through a sacrifice that would cover their sins. Jesus Christ gave that sacrifice – himself! – through his death on the cross.’

Everyone is given the same offer: God has taken care of our sin problem by having Jesus die in our place. Jesus took the punishment we deserved. We are now acceptable in God’s sight if we will accept/believe what He did for us.

There are no coupons or special days involved. The offer does, however, expire when we expire. We either accept the offer in this life or lose out eternally.








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Forget later. What should I do now!

“I ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do…” Ephesians 1: 17-18 (The Message)

Paul prays that the Ephesians will be as Godly as possible.

Paul does not suggest doing some things now and some things later, he leaves time-frames general. I think that I have been narrowing my prayer timeframes into long-range concerns.

Maybe it is time to change my focus.

I like to ask God for help with long-range things.

What say I start asking Him for help in the hour ahead instead of just long-range things?

Maybe my long-range concentration is messing up the immediate.

Instead of, “when should I move to our summer home,” I should be asking, “what chore(s) can I do where I now am in the next hour?”

I referred a few days ago to sensing I was at an airport, with all my gadgets, waiting to go on a trip to the Caribbean. I found that I could not get into the gadgets because of my concentration on my future location.

I have been locked in for weeks. By my estimation, I have waited restlessly for the interned time to end. My productivity has been minimal. I am even neglecting normal household chores. Why? Because my focus is on beyond the immediate. And I am, therefore, seriously neglecting the immediate.

I find myself caught up in online politics and Hallmark movies. The accumulation of those passive activities has turned me lethargic most of the time. Call it bored if you will.

Paul, the apostle, is not around to pray for me as he did beautifully for the Ephesians. I must pray for myself.

I pray that I will know Jesus so well that His thoughts can be my thoughts.

I pray that I will know Jesus so well that I get the next hour Godly right.


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Guard every word

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:29.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Ecclesiastes 7-9, and Ephesians 4.

Talk about an impossible task: All my words are to be need-meeting and beneficial!

How easy to use words to add needs to folks and to use words for my benefit.

How close to God I would have to be to do this just for an hour in someone’s company.  I have too many “say-its-and-regret-its.”

My walk with God must be consciously ongoing.  Too often I drift along handing out whatever comes into my head and fearing not the consequences of godless words.  This needs to stop.

There will come a day when I will be accountable for what I have done.  I cannot be an instrument of evil.  I’m not thinking here of harsh words but of unhelpful words.  People need to be encouraged, verbally patted on the back.  I must get into that word-wise.

“Lord, only in Your strength can I be the man You want me to be.  My words often betray my relationship with You.  Forgive me, Lord.  Prick my conscience when it happens so that I can apologize and be restored to a right relationship to You and to others.  I am desperate for Your help.  Guide me.  Lead me, I beg.”

Do not let ANY unwholesome talk………..good luck with that apart from God!





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God is great and worthy of praise

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”  Ephesians 2:4-5.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Ecclesiastes 1-3, Psalm 45, and Ephesians 2.

Every good thing I have, or ever had, was a gift from Him.  His goodness to me cannot be fathomed.

How easy it is, however, when we are given so much, that we begin to lessen our thankfulness.  When was the last time I really appreciated a specific gift God gave me?

I received a compliment for some work I had done yesterday.  It made me feel good.  It made me want to continue the work I was doing.

God doesn’t need our praise, but it is good for US to do it.  Why us?  Because it shows that we realize that we have been given something.  Taking gifts for granted stops happening.

I need to be quick to thank folks in my midst for their kindnesses to me.

“Lord, I want to get right being thankful.  Forgive me for sliding along oblivious to Your Kindnesses.  In every room I’m in I see Your blessings to me.  Outdoors?  How can I miss the sky, the trees, etc…?  Your praise should continually be on my lips!”

My praising God is for my benefit.  It makes me aware of His kindnesses.



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Is your light on?

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Ephesians 5-6, and Psalm 119:1-80.

Following both parts of this verse could get you into trouble.  Are you ready for that?

I’m not writing about the first part; of course, we should avoid darkness.

It’s the other part that could put you in harm’s way; exposing darkness.

I can play it very safe on that second part by insisting that it is all about me.  I must realize my need to recognize when I’m darkening my life and call myself out of it into the light.

I don’t believe that “safe” way is Paul’s intention.

Paul was confrontational.  He wrote in several places that he had the scars to show for it.  He did not play it safe.  He called things as he saw them.

In this world there is an abundance of evil.  Some of it is within me.  I know that, and I need to consistently deal with it.  But there also is evil elsewhere.  I can ignore it.  I can figure that within my midst I can mention it.  Or I can use the social media to call out evil.

I have done that “call out” thing in a few places.  Let me warn you from experience that “Amen, brother” won’t follow call-out’s most of the time.

Is it possible for a Godly person to disagree with an ungodly person without trouble following?  Not every time.

That is why I must speak God’s Words from the get-go.  I have latched onto Psalm 19:14: “May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”

I said that verse before I wrote today’s entry and I am determined to say it before I write other things.  I still won’t always get it right, but I believe that if I start with Him I’ll represent Him better.

“Lord, may my words be Your Words.  If they aren’t then erase them.  Have them unread.  But if they are of You, then use them to help me and to help others to know You better, I beg.  I love You, Father.”

I must recognize darkness in my own life and in the rest of the world AND do something about it in BOTH places.


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Why am I learning so slowly?

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:22-24.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Ephesians 1-4.

I was taught, alright.

My problem isn’t with the teaching.  It’s with carrying out what I’ve learned.

It is a sad state of affairs when you know something and yet you don’t act accordingly.  If I do that with the weather, I might get a little cold or wet.  With the things of God, it is a slippery slope to behaving godlessly.  It’s a place I don’t want to be!

I am wrestling lately with consistency in my walk with God.  The only good I’m finding in the experience is that I am quickly distressed by my waywardness.  I want to fix it and the sooner the better.

But I am still drawn to separation from God.  I still unintentionally drift apart from Him.  I go waking hours without awareness of Him.  That won’t get me where I want to be.

I know the relationship with God that I want.  I can envision it.  I have a sense for what it would be like, yet I regularly migrate away from what could be.

I continue, by using the words of today’s verses, to put on the godless clothes even though I have Godly ones.  The “new” will be so much better.  Why would I ever, for any reason, even consider the old?

I must make some definite stopping places in my day in which I remind myself of my relationship to God.  Here’s a few for me that would be good stopping places; (1) when I get up, (2) when I am about to interact with someone in the house, (3) when I leave the house, (4) when I am about to interact with someone during the away-from-home part of the day, and (5) when I return home.

I must have a quick prayer or verse ready to fill my mind with at those stopping points so that I will be mindful of the Godly track that I must be on.

“Lord, I need You every second.  I say that.  I have learned that.  I now want to live that.  Too many missed steps.  Too many regrettable godless times.  I want a tight, ongoing relationship with You, Lord.  Fill me with You.  Overwhelm me, I beg.  I love You, Lord.”

How do you keep from losing your connection to God?  Disconnection from God is never a good thing.


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Do not!

“In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:26-27.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 7-9, and Ephesians 4.

Plenty of “Do not’s” in today’s verses.

It is very important to evaluate my behavior.  I drift into destruction very easily.  Sometimes things are building up and I don’t realize it until entrenched trouble takes over.

Praying without ceasing makes perfect sense when it comes to fighting off the devil’s attempts to derail me from God.  I can’t pray very well in the midst of unkind words and/or deeds.  I can’t drive recklessly and then ask for God’s blessing.

I need to be clean with Him.  I need to be seeking Him all along my day.

I have had days where, after being hours into them, I wonder where my connection to God was during them.  I had begun, during those disconnected times, to float on my own wind.   Pure folly.

I need to be perpetually conscience that the enemy is lurking.  He begs for an opening.  He will figure out the weak spots and pour in if I’m not alert.  He must never be taken lightly.

“Lord, I need You every second of the day ahead.  I cling to You now.  Prick my conscience so that I can shore up my many weak spots in Your strength.  I love being directed connected to You.”

Are our defenses ready for the attacks of the devil?


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Beyond your wildest dream

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” Ephesians 3:20.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 4-6, Psalm 18, and Ephesians 3.

My dreams are usually connected to something that has happened.

What Paul is talking about here are things beyond our imagination.

Part of our confusion about the after-life is that we imagine it in our own terms.  We look around us and imagine what God could make it like.  We have no idea!

I think that in our lives we have moments where we get a little peak at what the after-life might be like.  It happened to me one time when walking through a graveyard to a burial site.  Leading the way was a saxophone player with great musical skills.  What he was playing I don’t remember but it was a moment when I thought the heavens opened and a wonderful light shone on the gathering.

I have thought on recent days about a time ahead when there will be no decay, no pain, and no suffering.  In our midst now everything is terminal.  It will not last forever.  BUT in what God is preparing for us NOTHING will be terminal.

God is great.  I bask in the future I will have with Him.

“Lord, I love You.  Thank You for caring for me.  Thank You for the glowing future I will have.  I can’t imagine what You have prepared.   I am looking forward to the day I’m in Your midst.  Hallelujah!”

What an after-life He has planned for us!

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I don’t deserve this!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 103, Psalm 45, and Ephesians 2.

God paves the way for us to get to Him His Way.

We will never be good enough.

We will never be worthy.

He made us but our sins will keep us from Him in the after-life.

However, God provided a way for our sin problem to be eliminated: Jesus, God’s Son, took on the punishment our sins deserved.

So we are right with God, even though we actually are wrong with God!

It is a remarkable thing to think about: our life after death.

This world will eventually be our residence.  And what a place it will be!  There will be no decay.  There will be no aches and pains.  And the list goes on.

How much God loves us.

“Lord, thank You for taking care of me.  I believe that You have taken care of my sin problem.  I look forward to an eternity with You in a place that You have restored to the way it was supposed to be.  What a day that will be.  Thank You, Father.”

You’re right, you don’t deserve what God has done BUT He did it anyhow.  Respond accordingly.

St. Lucia

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