Posts tagged with: Ephesians

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God’s “Earnest Money”

The Christian Gospel offers a stirring hope: Someday, God will reign fully over every square inch of heaven and earth, uniting all things in Christ, making all things right, so that we might flourish in the peace God intends for us and so that creation might be all that God intended it to be. We will be fully united with God and with his people, and he will wipe away every tear, replacing our sorrow with joy… Through the Spirit, we begin to experience the life of the future today.

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Loving the God Who Loves Justice

Psalm 99 begins by proclaiming that “The LORD reigns” (99:1). God is sovereign, not only over Israel, but over all nations (99:2). Therefore all nations should tremble and praise God’s “great and awesome name” (99:3). Verse 4 adds to this picture of the sovereign God who is worthy of our praise: “The King is mighty, he loves justice.” Though God is strong and can do whatever he wishes, he is not a king who oppresses or takes advantage of his subjects. Rather, he “loves justice.”

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Living the Gospel

Jesus of Nazareth really did live, die, and rise again. Through his life, death, and resurrection, God’s grace is truly offered to us. We can be truly forgiven, truly renewed, truly restored to relationship with God, and truly called into God’s work in the world. As Christians, we are to share the truth of the Gospel with others. Yes, this means using our words. But words are not enough, especially in today’s world.

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The Word of Truth

The Gospel is not just a moving story. It is also a true story. Jesus really was God Incarnate. Jesus really did die for us. Jesus really was raised from the dead, demonstrating God’s victory over sin and death. For the Christian, these are not just beautiful themes or powerful symbols. They are accurate statements that form the core of the Gospel. They not only move us, but they also demonstrate to us the love and grace of God.

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Is Living for the Praise of God’s Glory Boring?

Years ago, when I was serving as the College Director of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, I got into a fascinating conversation with several of my students. They were sharing with me that living for God seemed to be, in reality, very boring. And boredom was just about the worst thing these collegians could imagine. I tried to make the case that living for God was actually exciting, but I was getting nowhere fast… Is existing for the praise of God’s glory boring? Is it really a big drag?

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Praising God’s Glory is More Than What We Do in Church

According to Ephesians 1:11, we exist for the praise of God’s glory. For much of my life, I assumed this referred primarily to the things we did in worship services at church. In our prayers and in our singing, we praised God. So, I read Ephesians 1:11 as saying, in effect, “You exist to go to church and sing hymns and songs. That’s the core purpose of your life. Everything else is secondary.” … But is this what Ephesians 1:11 envisions?

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Why Are You Here? Part 2

It makes sense that there should be a necessary connection between God’s glory and our praise, as in the phrase “for the praise of his glory…” The more we perceive God’s glory, the more we consider his self-revelation to us, the more we reflect on his marvelous deeds, the more we will be drawn to praise him with our words and our lives and, indeed, with our very being.

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Why Are You Here?

Why are you here on earth? Why do you exist? … This is a big question, of course, not the sort of question that can be fully answered in a few words. But it is worth noting that Ephesians 1:12 answers the “Why do you exist?” question clearly and succinctly: “for the praise of his glory.” There it is. You exist for the praise of God’s glory. That’s why you’re here on earth.

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God is Working It Out

Sometimes we can sense that God is working out everything in our lives… Yet, there are times when we simply cannot fathom God’s work in our lives and in our world. It can feel as if God is distant or even cruel. We look around and see all things in disarray. Our own hearts share in this disorder. Thus, our faith that God is working out all things according to his will can be sorely tested. When this happens, we need God’s help to hold fast to the truth of Scripture.

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God at Work

Ephesians 1:11 refers to God in an unusual way. The verse does not say, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of God,” though this is clearly the basic point. Rather, the verse refers to God as “him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” … In tomorrow’s devotion, I will consider the implications of God working out everything according to his will. Today, I want to highlight the simple fact that God is working.

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Does God Have a Wonderful Plan for Your Life?

If we were to compose a new set of “laws” or basic truths from Ephesians, we might begin with something more like this: God loves all things and has a wonderful plan for everything… including you! If we want to know God’s plan for us, we begin not with ourselves, nor with our passions, nor with our struggles, but with God, God’s amazing grace, God’s transforming love.

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Why Unity Matters: A Look Ahead in Ephesians

The central mystery of God, his plan to unite all things in Christ, isn’t just lofty theology that makes no earthly difference. In fact, this mystery revealed in Christ has everything to do with who we are as God’s people and how we are to live each day in the world. It speaks to how we live in our families, churches, workplaces, and neighborhoods.

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God’s Plan for All Things Transforms Your Work

Ephesians 1:8-10 is one of those passages that have transformed my understanding of work. This passage reveals that God’s big plan is “to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (1:10). There it is, plainly spoken. God’s plan is not just for souls and heaven. It has to do with all things, including things on earth. If God cares so much about the things of earth that his grand plan for the future includes them, then surely God cares about earthly things now.

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God’s Plan Includes “All Things”

Because of what I have seen throughout the Scriptures, I no longer believe that getting into heaven is the only thing that matters in life. If this were true, then, presumably, God’s plan for the fullness of time would be “to bring to heaven as many souls as possible through Christ.” But that’s not God’s plan. His plan, according to Ephesians 1:10, is “to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”

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God’s Plan in God’s Time

I know that God is faithful, gracious, and merciful beyond all measure. I know these things. But I still find myself unsettled by God’s timing. I wonder why the Lord tarries when my prayers need an urgent response. I wonder why God puts up with so much injustice in this world. I wonder when God will make all things right so that he might receive the glory he deserves. Ephesians 1:8-10 doesn’t provide direct answers for my wonderings. But it does remind me of a fundamental truth that I need to remember today.

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