6/22/17 Closing Prayer

“I am sending my beloved brother and faithful helper in Jesus, Tychicus, to you with this letter, so that he might share with you what has been going on with me and with the brothers and sisters here in Rome.  I pray that you would receive him as a beloved brother and that you would be comforted by his presence and his words to you.  I pray that God would grant all of you, my brothers and sisters, His peace, His love, and increased faith in Him, through His Son, our Messiah, Jesus.  I pray His grace upon all of you, and upon all those who truly and sincerely love our Lord, Jesus.  Amen.”

 

Ephesians 6:23-24

6/21/17 Pray In The Holy Spirit

“Pray always in the Holy Spirit for all our brothers and sisters, and for me as well, watching and waiting in faith, knowing in your mind and believing with your whole heart that God will hear and answer your prayers.  Do not stop, do not give up, but pray earnestly and continually until God answers your prayer, though at times the answer will be ‘no’ or ‘wait.’  Pray for me, that God would give me the words He wants me to speak and the power to speak them.  Pray that I might not be afraid, but would speak boldly the words He gives me to speak, no matter who the audience might be, so that I might continue to spread the message of Jesus, opening people’s eyes to the mystery of the good news of Jesus.  He has entrusted me with this work, even now, while I am a prisoner, and I pray that He would continue to strengthen me and enable me to do it, helping me to speak His words without fear, the way a true ambassador of God should.”

 

Ephesians 6:18b-22

6/20/17 The Armor Of God

“A Roman soldier puts on his armor in a very specific order, and once it is on, he is ready to stand strong against any who would come against him.  We must put on the armor of God in the same way, and for the same reason.  First, we put on the belt of God’s Truth and the breastplate of His Righteousness, which come together to form at our core a good and Godly reputation based on His Word and His Truth.  Next, our shoes.  Instead of the gladiator sandals or hobnailed boots of a Roman soldier, we strap on the message of Jesus, the good news of His sacrifice on our behalf that brings peace to all who will hear it and come to Him to be saved from judgment for their sins.  Then we must carry the shield of faith, using it to absorb the shots that Satan fires at you.  Then we put on the helmet of our salvation, the knowledge that we are no longer marked for death because of our sins, but forgiven and redeemed children of God, heirs with Jesus of the Kingdom of Heaven.  With this knowledge comes the power to resist Satan because we know that there is nothing that can come between us and God, nothing that can hurt us so much that we will lose our eternal life in Heaven with Him.  And finally, we must carry the sword of the Holy Spirit, the living Word of God, praying and petitioning God through the Holy Spirit, united with Him.”

 

Ephesians 6:14-18a

6/19/17 The Strength Of God In You

“Brothers and sisters, I urge you to remember that the Holy Spirit living within you is able to strengthen you in your faith, so that you will be better equipped to live out your faith in everything you say and do.  God’s strength and power will enable you to fight against the temptations that Satan puts in your path, if you are willing to remain faithful, praying earnestly for God to give you what you need.  Put on His armor to stand strong against Satan.  Remember that our fight is not against people or kingdoms, but against Satan and his agents of evil, against darkness and evil here on earth and in the spiritual realm.  If you will put on the whole armor of God, He will give you the strength and power to stand firm against every attack Satan throws your way.  You will discover that God’s power and strength is all you need to get through, and this will create in you a sense of peace and security, so that you know deep in your heart that you are safe in His arms and nothing can touch you apart from His will.”

 

Ephesians 6:10-13

6/18/17 Christian Servants & Masters

“Are you a servant?  You are called to obey your earthly masters, your employers.  But do not just obey reluctantly, out of necessity or the desire to please people.  Obey and work hard, doing your best in everything you are asked to do with all your heart, out of the love and respect you have for God, as if all that you do is done for Him.  Because you are really servants of God, and your earthly masters or employers are His agents.  So do all that is asked of you as the will of God, from your heart, with joy, always doing your best so that your work will be a gift to God.  Then, even though you are working for God and not for people, your service will be a gift to both.  You know that whenever you do good, you will be repaid with good from God, no matter your station or status in your life on earth.  Masters, employers, treat your servants and employees with respect.  Honor them and the work that they do for you.  Do not threaten them, but treat them as you would like them to treat you.  Remember that you have a Master in Heaven, and strive to be toward your servants or employees what your Heavenly Master is to you – fair, honest, impartial, loving, respectful, and honorable .”

 

Ephesians 6:5-9

6/17/17 Christian Parents & Children

“Christian parents are joined not only to each other, but also to Jesus in marriage, because the marriage relationship here on earth is designed to be a picture of the relationship between Jesus and His children who have given their lives over to Him.  Children of Christian parents are to obey their parents out of love and respect for Jesus and for their parents.  God gives parents the responsibility for raising and caring for their children in such a way that they will grow up to be good, honorable people who love Him.  God also gives parents the authority and the responsibility to discipline their children, so that their children will learn to obey.  Within the boundaries of discipline and love, children of Christian parents will have the freedom to grow and learn safely and securely.  Obedience to parents is the first commandment that brings a promise with it – ‘Honor your father and mother, that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’  Parents, don’t be harsh with your children, but always discipline them out of love, teaching and caring for them patiently through God’s grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit, so that they will not rebel against your authority.  Remember that children belong to the Lord.  It is a great honor to be blessed with a child, and we must not take this blessing for granted.”

 

Ephesians 6:1-4

6/16/17 The Christian Husband

“Husbands are to love their wives the way that Jesus loves His church.  He gave His life willingly, sacrificed everything in order to save His people from the death penalty attached to our sins.  In doing this, He set His people apart, redeeming them out of death and giving them real life, washing away the stain of death brought about by their sins by His word, so that He could present His people before God as perfect, the way that God created them to be, unstained and untainted by sin, worthy of the glory of Heaven.  Christian husbands are called to love their wives with this same kind of selfless, sacrificial love.  They are to love their wives in the way that they love themselves – nurturing and treasuring their wives just as they do their own bodies, and just as Jesus does the church.  We are all members of the body of Jesus.  His church is His body, His bones and His flesh.  God designed the marriage relationship in a mysterious way.  As the book of Genesis tells us, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  As we are joined to Jesus, becoming one with Him when we give ourselves to Him, a husband and wife are joined together as one when they are married.  So a Christian husband is called to love his wife as he loves his own body, and as Jesus loves His body, the church.  And a Christian wife is called to respect her husband as the head of her family, just as we respect Jesus as the head of the church.”

 

Ephesians 5:25-33, Genesis 2:24

6/15/17 The Christian Wife

“God created marriage to be a picture of the relationship between Jesus and His church.  Just as Jesus is the head and the redeemer of the church, the Christian husband is to be the head of his family.  Now, the church comes together as one body to make decisions, its members discussing matters, sharing their opinions, and praying together for God’s will to be revealed and done among them, as equals.  But ultimately, the church needs to defer to Jesus, because He is the head of the church.  In this same way, Christian husbands and wives are to come together as one to make decisions for their families, but the final decision belongs to the husband as the head of the family, and the wife needs to support and abide by her husband’s decisions.”

 

Ephesians 5:22-24

6/14/17 Be Filled With The Holy Spirit

“Because you are children of the light, live out your faith openly, for all to see, using the wisdom that God gives you to make good use of all your days, instead of foolishly wasting your time on things that will ultimately only serve to hinder and hurt you.  Don’t live foolishly, but instead, seek to understand and to do God’s will in every area of your life.  Instead of becoming drunk with too much wine, be drunk with the Holy Spirit – fill yourself up with Him and revel in Him.  Speak to each other out of the love of God, making use of the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to speak to each other and to God.  Let your heart sing joyfully to God, being thankful always for everything that He gives to you in Jesus’ Name.  Do and say everything out of love for each other, and defer to those in authority over you, while also respecting those under your authority, as you love and submit yourselves to God.

 

Ephesians 5:15-21

6/13/17 Live In The Light & Expose The Darkness

“Before you gave your hearts to God, you were darkness itself.  But now you belong to God, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, and you have become light itself in Him.  I know that you know this, but you must do more than just hold this knowledge in your hearts.  You must live it out, as children of the light.  The Holy Spirit is working within you, planting the seeds that will produce a harvest of goodness, righteousness, and truth in you, if you will follow His leading.  Ask God to show you His will, and He will lead you.  Don’t let any part of your heart or mind be sympathetic to or excuse anything that even has the appearance of sin.  It is easier for Satan to slip in unnoticed through a door that is cracked open than one that is closed or even opened all the way.  Nothing good can come from sin.  It is a waste of time and energy, producing only darkness and more sin.  Instead, expose any sin to the light of truth, showing it for what it truly is, so that the person engaged in that sin will have his or her eyes opened and perhaps turn away from sinful behavior.  For those who belong to the light, even to speak of secretive sinful behavior is sinful, because it opens our hearts to sin.  But when people who are secretly engaged in sinful behavior are exposed to the light of the Lord, the light shows the great evil of the sin and the person has the opportunity to come to the light and be saved.  These words from a popular hymn, ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light,’ illustrate this concept.  People living in sin without their Messiah are those who sleep.  They are considered dead already, for that is the consequence of living sinfully, unless they allow Jesus to intercede for them.  When they surrender their lives to Jesus, they arise from the dead and He opens their eyes to the light, illuminating for the first time the stark contrast between how they have been living and what real life was meant to be.”

 

Ephesians 5:8-14