“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:16-17a).
The Apostle Paul is telling the Ephesian Christians the content of his prayers on their behalf. He is asking God to strengthen them with power. When the pressures of life become intense, we all need strength from above to carry us. And the resources of God are ample; Paul calls them “His glorious riches“. The strength we really need is internal, not external. Although we think we need a breakthrough, what we really need is strength in our “inner being” to not fail in the test.
And the source of that “inner being” strength is “through His Spirit“. Your spirit is your God consciousness. And what we need is a strengthening of our God awareness. That is what will help us stay faithful in testing times.
And the purpose of his praying this way is to open a way that Christ may be strong in their daily lives. We need Him dwelling in our hearts through faith.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3:14-15).
Paul started this chapter with “For this reason...” (v. 1), then took some time to establish himself as one sent from God, and now resumes his reason for writing. It’s interesting that the normal prayer posture in Paul’s day was to stand when praying. But Paul refers to kneeling before the Father. Kneeling was the position of one approaching an authority figure, such as the king. Paul is describing his humility in approaching God on behalf of the Ephesian Christians.
And before Paul states his prayer request, he honors the Father by remembering that He is the source of where all God’s family, both in heaven and on earth, gets their name: Children of God. We can pray for our brothers and sisters because we know God the Father’s heart is in blessing His children.
Take a minute and pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in lands where there is great persecution against the saints. God will answer and bless you for your prayers.
“Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Paul is saying here that none of us deserve anything but the wrath of God. God is holy and He created us to represent Him on this earth. We were not good representatives of God’s holiness.
But, instead of the wrath of God, He provides the grace of God. This is because God is rich in mercy. To deliver us from the wrath of God, we have to be made alive with Christ. Jesus Christ is the key to transferring your wrath of God for the grace of God.
And, remember, God is still rich in mercy toward you.
“Jesus replied, ‘And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them’” (Luke 11:46).
Here are people who had dedicated their lives to studying God’s Law, yet there was a curse (woe) upon them. What would bring a curse upon experts of God’s Law?
First, because they loaded down people with burdens they could hardly carry. History is full of religious people putting behavioral burdens (Thou shalt; thou shalt not) on people that are oppressive and not life giving.
And secondly, because they themselves did nothing to help the weaker ones carry the burdens they have put upon them. Legalism leads to burdens people cannot bear, and judgment for the law givers who refuse to help.
Lord, make me a grace giver who helps others get free of their burdens.
As a child, I didn’t like reading. I hated reading assignments in school. With attention deficit disorder, I couldn’t focus long enough to get anything out of the book. But when I was a Senior in High School, I read a cheap paperback titled ’1-A’. It was the story of an American who was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War. The story told about his experiences in the jungles and the atrocities of the evil Viet Cong.
The book intrigued me and held my attention. I was persuaded that the war was a worthy cause to deliver people from Communism. Later that year, when my number was up for the draft, I decided to enlist rather than be drafted. That book played a major role in my decision. I entered the Army a flag waving patriot. Unfortunately, three years later I had changed my opinion of that war, and came home disillusioned. That led to a pursuit of alcohol and the hippie culture, championed by The Beatles.
The only other book to influence my life like that was the Bible. When I discovered Christ I tore into that book searching for the truth of God. I read it from cover to cover in 12 months, retaining much of the content. It was like ADD was gone. At least in that area, anyway.
What one book changed you the most?
This year I declared war again on the Poison Ivy growing in the fence row next to our property. Most of the thick growth died earlier after I sprayed it pretty well with Roundup Brush Killer. I surveyed the situation again Monday morning and spotted more growth in some hard to reach places. I took my loppers out and cut through several vines growing up trees. I’ll spray new growth before fall when the vines begin to heal. Now I’m hoping I didn’t make contact with any of the nasty stuff.
Poison Ivy reminds me of sin. All it takes is one contact and the poison spreads. Although its leaves are a lush deep green, don’t let it fool you; it is potent and can make you miserable. Once you get contaminated, it develops in you a healthy fear of getting caught again. You can enjoy it today without any fear, but about two days later, the symptoms begin to break out, and can continue for weeks. It is so severe in me I need a shot to dry it up and stop the spread.
Is it any wonder I’ve declared war on Poison Ivy? We should do the same with sin.
Some really great things happened at New Hope this weekend. Pastor Adam and the worship team led some powerful spiritual worship. 9 people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We heard a great healing testimony from Terry Purdy. Bob and Michelle Day brought peace to my heart at the Oasis. And about 45-50 came to the altar to “wake up” from spiritual sleepiness. Seeing God actually “do” something in people’s lives is absolutely exhilarating.
When we read the Bible we read about amazing spiritual breakthroughs in people’s lives. The more we ignore God the less we see those kinds of breakthroughs. But, I’ve seen that when people get serious with God, His presence begins to renew those breakthroughs. They aren’t automatic; they require us to press in. God has never changed and He loves us with great passion. Press in today and watch what ‘coincidences’ happen in your life.