By: Danny Torres
A devotional on the book of Ephesians
He is the most controversial person in all of history. More books have been written about him than anyone else. There is no more prominent figure that has turned more heads and raised more eyebrows. Who is he? His name is Jesus.
This Sunday we discussed the supremacy of Jesus. While there are many claiming supremacy in our country and around the world, there is only One who is truly supreme over all. Here in chapter 1 of Ephesians, Paul claims that God has subjected everything under his feet.
What I especially love about this passage is that Jesus is appointed head over everything for the church. Who else would be more fitting for that position than the man who gave his life for the church?
As we strive towards planting a life giving and gospel centered church, let's remember to keep Jesus in his rightful place. Let's remember to keep razor focused on him. After all the church is founded upon him.
So when we sing, we sing to and about him. When we teach God's word, we teach about him. When we gather together, we celebrate how he is at work in each other's lives.
How about for you? Is Jesus first in your life? Is he supreme above all? Be encouraged today. Whether there's not a care in the world, or your world is falling apart, Jesus is ruling and reigning.
In your prayer time this week, be sure to include words of thanksgiving for Jesus' rule and authority over all. Take time to repent and refocus the areas in life where Jesus is not in first place.
By: Steven Berrios
A devotional series based on Ephesians
What a powerful weapon we have in prayer. When as believers we say we are praying for one another, it carries immense power. The Christian who prays, does so to the creator of the universe, to the one who holds all things in the palm of His hands. The Christian who prays has access to the throne of grace as a son or daughter. The Christian who prays can do so as a little child who needs to speak with their parent. There is power in our conversations with God. And that power is not in our words but in the person to whom we pray.
I was reminded this week that there is a such a wonder and awe that comes with each moment spent in prayer. The very fact that I, because of His grace, can now have access to His throne with confidence through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:16), is an incredible blessing. But honestly I don't always approach prayer with this sense of awe. Prayer can become a routine act for a Christian and can cause the Christian to forget the incredible power they have in prayer. This is dangerous church.
So the question I have to ask myself, and I ask you today, is when we pray do we do so with an awe and wonder in who it is that we are praying to? If we all did, imagine the power of our prayers within the Church. Imagine with me if we as a church prayed for one another with this understanding that we are lifting up prayers for one another to the One who from the foundation of the universe predestined us as sons and daughters. Would that change the way in which we pray for one another?
Before you spend some time in prayer, pause and sit silently for at least one minute. Reflect on the God to whom you are about to approach in prayer.
Father, what words can I use to express the wonder it is to approach you today. And how great it is that you are my Father and because you are my Father, I can speak with you with a confidence in your love for me. Father, help me to understand a little bit more today that your love for me is so great and so is your love for my brothers and sisters in Your church. Help me then to remember my brothers and sisters in my prayers today and to pray with a unceasing love as you would want your children to pray for one another. In Jesus' name, Amen.
By: Steven Berrios
A devotional series based on Ephesians
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the words of Paul in the opening of his letter to the church in Ephesus. In fact Paul would echo these words, grace and peace, in each of his letters recorded in the New Testament. I am reading these word's this evening after just watching a behind the scenes short film of the horrific and criminal events that took place in Charlottesville Virginia. And my heart truly aches. I feel anger and I feel deep sadness. And I cry out to God my Father for grace and peace. Grace and peace for myself and for you.
We didn't survive yesterday without it, we most definitely need it today and we will need it tomorrow.
Then I go on reading Ephesians chapter 1. For those of you reading this who do not know, as a church, we began a new series on the book of Ephesians this past Sunday. For the next 13 weeks or so we will be walking through verse by verse the entire letter written by Paul to the church in Ephesus. And I want to spend some time looking at the beautiful truth Paul writes in verses 5 and 6 that reveal to us the heart of God that was planned before the foundations of this universe.
The Doctrine of Adoption was at the heart of God's redemptive plan for His children from the very beginning of time. Through the completed work of Jesus Christ, we have legal standing before God the Father. This is the Doctrine of Justification. But it is through adoption in which we become children of God. In adoption, God brings us into His family.
Just think of what you just read. Now read it again. In adoption, God brings us into His family. Beautiful, isn't it? No where else will you find a greater love. God in love according to his own will, predestined us for adoption as sons and daughters. And so as we hear, read, watch and even first hand experience the hostility and division that is in our communities, in our nation and world, let it bring us great peace to know that the family of God consists of a bunch of adopted sons and daughters from all backgrounds and races.
Understand that as adopted sons and daughters, we all have equal rights and privileges in this family. None of us were born into this family but God planned and purposed for each of us through Jesus to become family. We were all once orphans. No one was and no one is superior. It was God's will to bring us into His family. What a display of his marvelous grace! Each of us, as it says in Romans 8:15, have received the Spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry “Abba, Father!” What great joy to be adopted into the family of God.
The family dinner table in the church of Christ should be the most beautiful table of all. Church, we need to get just a glimpse of this beauty that is the doctrine of adoption. Because of adoption, we have hope because of our inheritance in heaven with Jesus (Romans 8:17). Because of adoption we have a hope that comes from no longer being slaves but sons and daughters (Galatians 4:4-7). Because of adoption we have assurance that though we suffer with him now, we will also be glorified with him (Romans 8:14-17).
Praise be to God the Father, for not only saving us but for adopting us. What a beautiful God we worship. Praise be to his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved!
Father, what a joy it is to be in your family. I know I have done absolutely nothing to earn this. And so I thank you for willingly adopting me into your family. Father I pray now that I will live each day with this joy of understanding that I am your child. In Jesus name, Amen.
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