Each part of our physical body is uniquely designed to serve a purpose along with all the other parts that, when combined, create a functional powerhouse capable of just about anything. The body of Christ is no different, and when we understand our role within it, and our relationship to it, our attitude will likely change. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and it is imperative that we work together well!
We’re talking about covenants today. Specifically, God’s covenant promise to us, and how it fits into the Old Testament and all the promises to Israel we find there. We’ve been working through a study of the book of Ephesians in order to better understand how we have been identified as God’s holy people. (Click to catch up on what you’ve missed) We’re allowing our Creator (the One who so carefully knit us together in our mother’s womb) to give us our labels, since He’s the only one who really has that right. We’re ready to dive into the second section of Ephesians two where we’re going to be introduced to the idea of a covenant promise, and learn to understand our identity as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
This week we’re looking at the first half of Ephesians 2 and will be stepping back a bit to re-examine more deeply some of the truths we learned in week one – Who we were without Christ, and what it means to have been made alive in Christ. Today, we’re going to learn to understand what it means to be a new and beautiful creation in Jesus – His masterpiece!
The Bible tells a story of a woman – a widow who persistently sought justice from an evil judge. Jesus encouraged us to approach our Heavenly Father with that same kind of persistence in prayer, knowing He will surely grant us justice – and quickly! This is the story of my own persistent prayer.
A good place to start when we’re looking to re-write our identity is with an understanding of the nature of our existence. We need to know whether we’re just some cosmic accident, or the result of an intentional plan because the answer to that question will define our purpose.
All praise to God who tells us we are not, in fact, some fluke of nature. We are His own special creation: Chosen by Him before the beginning of time, purchased out of our state of slavery to sin by His very own blood, and adopted into His family forever. Let’s think about the ramifications of those three simple realities.
There are a million steps we have to work through in order to recover from intimate betrayal, but I believe the first (and most critical)
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own desire to be right, we miss out on being a part of God’s mercy. We choose judgement and misery over excitedly taking part in a miracle because we’ve forgotten how merciful He’s been to us! There is much we can learn from the Biblical account of the prophet Jonah.
It’s time to wrap up this Redeeming Thanksgiving series, and begin to prepare our hearts for Christmas. When we started the month out we asked God to set us ablaze with thanksgiving. We laid out the kindling and prepared the wood by committing to this study, and He cultivated that first spark with the promise of restoration. We learned how a thankful heart has the power to redeem for good what the enemy intended for evil. We fed that fire by learning how our gratitude leads to hope which fills us with the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. As the flames of His blessing spread, our praises grew and led us into the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.
Then, last week, that inferno reached a new height. No longer was it simply spreading God’s blessings throughout our own lives, but it began to consume what didn’t belong. The devouring fire of our God sent the enemy running. Our praises demolished strongholds while reminding us of the ultimate victory, which is as good as won. It is my hope that today, as we conclude this series, the flames of gratitude will blaze from us onto the lives of those still lost and ignite a magnificent explosion of blessing across the whole world!
There is an awesome story in the Bible about what happened when one king decided to praise God, even in the face of certain death. When King Jehoshaphat of Judah led his people with a spirit of thankfulness, the enemy turned and ran. We can learn to do the same thing today!
Several months ago I had the honor of being asked to make a guest appearance over at Faith Beyond Fear. Of course, I was eager to accept, and when we decided on a publication date of last week I realized it would fall right in the middle of our Redeeming Thanksgiving series. So, I decided to tie what I wrote into that topic.
Peace – it’s a “state of being” more coveted than any other. How we all long for peace! We’ve created prestigious prizes to honor those who have contributed to the world’s quest to secure it; but the sad truth is, peace is unattainable through human efforts. No striving, no program, no method will work if they do not include God. It is only His peace, the peace that exceeds anything we can understand that will provide lasting comfort. It is only God’s peace that promises to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!
It’s no secret that God wants his people to be joyful. In John 15:11, Jesus tells His disciples, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
In Galatians 5, joy is listed second, behind only love as a product of the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers.
But sometimes life just sucks, and it can be really hard to be joyful at those times. Especially when our specific situations start to feel hopeless. So let’s learn how a little bit of thankfulness can help us reclaim our joy!
Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for a long time, so when life made this time difficult, I had to learn to redeem what the enemy had broken. So, I’d love it if you’d join me through these weeks leading up to Thanksgiving here at His Dearly Loved Daughter as we focus in on cultivating a heart of thanksgiving. There really is great power in this one little discipline, so we’re going to reclaim what has been broken and hand it over to the Master Builder to be lovingly restored.
Let’s be honest, we don’t often find ourselves on the mountain tops of life questioning God’s goodness, or His plan for us. It is in the depths that these questions surface. It is beneath the crushing weight of life’s sorrows that God’s good plan begins to feel like a far off fairy-tale written for someone else. This is when we must force ourselves to answer the question: Do I TRUST God’s GOOD plan for me?
For the past four weeks we’ve been studying the Bible to learn some of what the Infinite God has revealed to us about Himself. We discussed His identity as the Triune God, and unpacked the unique characteristics of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today, we’ll wrap up this series with a look at His infinite qualities, and how we should respond.