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Posts tagged with: Ephesians

A person near a circle shaped window with a cross in it, surrounded in light.

The Crucial Element of God’s Plan

God’s plan is centered in Christ, happens through Christ, and brings all things together in Christ. Christ is crucial to God’s plan in the sense that he is essential to it… If we are to experience the unity and wholeness of God, we do so “in Christ.” If we are to live meaningful and productive lives, we do so “in Christ.” If we are to be effective agents of restoration in our world, we will be so “in Christ.”

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Water rolling down together in a pool.

Why is God’s Plan to Bring Unity to All Things?

As we reflect on God’s plan, we might wonder why God has chosen this particular plan. Why does God want to bring all things to unity in Christ? Why is this necessary? What is God’s ultimate purpose in this plan? If we’re going to make sense of God’s plan, it would be good to be clear on God’s why. The why begins in a story that lies behind Ephesians 1. It’s the framing story of the whole Bible, found in the first three chapters of Genesis.

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A street sign that shows people uniting together.

God’s Surprising Plan

In yesterday’s devotion, we discovered that God has a plan for the universe. In the fullness of the times, that is, when the time is just right, God will execute his plan for all things. Now, given the vast size and long history of the universe, we might expect God’s plan to be mind-blowingly complex. And yes, in one sense, it is. Yet, from another perspective, God’s plan is also astoundingly simple.

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A plan drawn in a notebook for work life.

And What a Plan!

God has a plan for the future. In just the right time, God will re-order all things in the universe in fulfillment of the plan he formulated even before the creation of the world. If God has such a plan, surely we want to know it. Wouldn’t it be great to know what God is really up to in the world? In fact, [Ephesians 1:9] observes that God has, in fact, “made known to us the mystery of his will.”

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The silhouette of a person through an opaque wall, hand outstretched ready to reveal themselves.

God’s Mystery Story

Do you love a good mystery story? I sure do. This has been true ever since I was a boy, when I devoured every one of the Hardy Boys mysteries… Ephesians 1:9 makes it clear that we can know God’s mystery, not because of our clever deductions, but because God has made it known to us. In fact, this verse adds that God enjoys revealing his own mystery to us.

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A dandelion giving its seeds gracefully to the wind.

Rich Grace, Lavishly Given

God’s grace is rich and lavishly given. That’s what God has done through Christ. Do you think of God’s grace in this way? Do you think of God as a lavish giver? Perhaps you do. If so that’s wonderful. But many of us, including those of us who have been Christians for a long time, tend to minimize God’s grace and to project on him a stinginess that reflects our own limitations…

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A feet being washed in flowing water.

Washed in the Blood? Really?

I do believe that we cannot set aside the central role of blood in the Christian gospel. Moreover, as the classic gospel song reminds us, “There is Power in the Blood.” The shed blood of Jesus sets us free from sin and death. It guarantees our forgiveness and the assurance of new life. This is good news indeed.

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A child delighting in God's praise, glory, and grace.

In Praise of God’s Glorious Grace

As we meditate upon God’s grace, as we reflect on the glory of God’s grace, we are drawn to worship. We yearn to praise God for the glory of his grace. We lift up our words and songs of praise. Indeed, we offer our lives in worship as a thankful and humble response to the God who has made us his own because he freely loves us and delights to be in relationship with us.

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A young child snuggling up to a new sibling in the family.

God is Thrilled to Have You in His Family

We belong to God because he has adopted us through Jesus Christ. We are God’s sons and daughters, whom he cherishes as his very own children. This is surely wonderful news, especially for those of us who struggle to feel as if we belong. Yet there is more in [Ephesians 1:5] to cause our hearts to rejoice… God chose to adopt us as his children because this gave him pleasure. Think of that!

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A child experiencing belonging with his adopted role model.

You Belong in the Way That Matters Most of All

You and I need to belong. We need to know that we matter to others, that we are connected to them and they to us. We need to know that we are not alone in this world, that we fit in, that we are part of a group. According to Ephesians 1:5-6, we belong, not only to other people, but to God.

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A person set apart as a saint with sparkles of light surrounding their head.

You Are a Saint. Yes, Really!

If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, then you are a saint. You are a holy person. This does not necessarily say anything about your worthiness to receive this title or your exemplary lifestyle. Rather, you are a saint because God has chosen you to belong to him and his people. God has set you apart so that you might participate in his creative and redemptive work in the world.

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Writing in chalk on the pavement, You Got This, in response to being chosen by God.

You’ve Been Chosen!

It’s a great thing to be chosen for something wonderful… According to Ephesians 1:4, we have been chosen by God. That’s right. God has chosen us. Verse 5 adds that God has “predestined” us. This means God wants us. God wants you. This is very good news, don’t you think?

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A person blessing another by passing a flower to them.

How to Be a Conduit of God’s Blessing

According to Ephesians 1:3, God has blessed us aplenty… We have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” This raises a question: What are we to do with the blessings God showers upon us? Yes, to be sure, we are to enjoy the gifts of God. That’s one common and sensible response to blessing. But that’s not the end of it.

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A sign reading Good days ahead alluding to how God abundantly blesses.

God Has Blessed You Abundantly

Do you feel blessed by God? I expect some Life for Leaders readers will quickly say, “yes, more than I could ever deserve.” Others, especially those going through difficult times, might hesitate. Perhaps you know in your head that God has blessed you, but, right now, you don’t exactly feel blessed. Our text today offers reassurance and hope. God has blessed you, not just a bit, but abundantly.

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What is God’s Majesty?

When it comes to Psalm 93:1, God’s being robed in majesty represents his being enveloped in the esteem of his creatures. God’s great strength calls forth honor. God’s glory demands praise. Thus, this psalm reminds us why we worship God even as it calls us to worship. In a sense, we join ourselves to the robe of majesty that surrounds God when we worship him.

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