Philippians chapter 4

download4 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.

Words of Encouragement

Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Paul’s Thanks for Their Gifts

10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

15 As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17 I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.

18 At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

20 Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.

Paul’s Final Greetings

21 Give my greetings to each of God’s holy people—all who belong to Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their greetings. 22 And all the rest of God’s people send you greetings, too, especially those in Caesar’s household.

23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


To me, there are 3 very key verses in this chapter, although it is all very encouraging.

First, Paul tells us to “always be full of joy in the Lord…” vs. 4     This is a big bold statement, that on the surface, is very easy to say. But how do you actually do that? Do you just turn on joy? From experience I can tell you, definitely not. What I love about scripture is when a question arises, the answer is there, we just need to look. Hence, the second key verse, which gives us part of the answer.

vs.6   “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”   (The NLT version gives this verse an interesting way of looking at it)   Paul says we need to focus on Jesus, “pray about everything”. Do we do that?   Then he goes on to say that we need to tell Him our needs but don’t neglect thanking Him for all He does for us. If we start praying for everything, that list of thankfulness will only keep growing. With this much focus on the good things of God, it is only natural that we will begin to be filled with joy!

Third key verse also gives us important instruction. vs. 8 Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”   If vs. 6 wasn’t clear enough, Paul again breaks it down further. Focus in on these things, don’t think about things that are lies and dishonorable, wrong and impure. This only leads to sorrow. Discard this way of thinking. I really do love it when big ideas are coupled with practicle steps. Praise God for His Word!


Well I think the application is pretty obvious. Are we thankful? Do we pray about everything? Do we let our thoughts linger on things that bring us sorrow or joy? Let’s start by thanking God today for specific blessings.


God, you are so good to me. Thank you today for ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Philippians chapter 3

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The Priceless Value of Knowing Christ

Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.

Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!

I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.[c] For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Pressing toward the Goal

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.


Paul makes an incredible statement in this chapter about how the outward appearance means nothing. Paul says he could brag on his spirituality, circumsized on the 8th day, born a pure blood Hebrew, a Pharisee, obeyed the law in every way, and persecuted the followers of Christ with zeal.  He was, by all standards of the law, as close to perfection as it gets.

But Paul says no, this all means nothing. All these things are not what makes us righteous, but rather faith in Jesus Christ. Not our actions, but knowing Christ. We have not reached, nor will we, perfection. Not on this side of heaven anyway. Each day we rely on Christ to guide us and walk us through this life. Our imperfections, our weaknesses, are what eventually make us strong, with faith in the Lord. Isn’t it great to not have an impossible visual standard we have to try and maintain each day? Christ loves us exactly how we are right now, and wants nothing more than to help us get better.


How does this apply to our lives today? Well, how do we rate our spiritual progress? Are we careful to do our reading, praying, devotions, going to church, volunteering, etc….  These are all wonderful spiritual disciplines we need to do, but do we base our spiritual health on whether we check all the boxes, or do we genuinely seek God’s presence and guidance each day. Are we willing to give Him our weak areas and allow Him to work on us? Stuff to ponder today.


Lord, you are awesome! We love you for what you have done for each of us. Teach us all how to have greater faith. Teach us to rely on grace and not the law. Thank you Jesus, amen.

Philippians chapter 2

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Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.


One word comes to mind as I read this chapter- Joy. Paul is so positive and encouraging in this chapter. Even when he is giving instruction, it is in such a way that you want to do it.

What also comes to mind is humility. Paul tells us to do things without complaining or grumbling. Be humble and cheerful. Humility and joy, just as modeled by Jesus. Jesus took on the role of servant during His time on this Earth. Serving others, loving them, helping them, teaching them, never “lording” over people. Can we do the same?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.. — Philippians 2:3-4

Have you ever met a well known celebrity? People are drawn to celebrities. I can remember times when I’ve been able to shake the hand of a celebrity—feeling my heart race and fumbling over my words. I remember feeling like a complete blubbering fool after trying to engage a couple of my favorite pro-wrestlers from the 90’s a few years ago. Yikes, what a disaster. lol   Fame tends to distort our perception of the qualities we should admire and ­aspire toward. It is always refreshing to see people who are able to remain humble even though they have reached great heights in their life.

If anyone deserved celebrity treatment, it was Jesus, although that definitely didn’t happen. Instead, Jesus came to show us what true greatness really looks like and what true greatness does. Jesus’ ministry on earth was a ministry of humble service. There was nothing pretentious about him. He didn’t expect special treatment. He did not chase after fame. In fact, on more than one occasion, he told others to remain quiet about what they had seen him do or hear him say.


What we learn from Jesus by his example is the importance of putting the needs of others ahead of our own. Our life is not about the pursuit of comfort or recognition but rather in pursuing God’s pur­poses first, and our own desires second. This is one characteristic about Jesus that we can and should imitate. We are never more like Jesus than when we are serving ­others.


Father, in our desire to be more humble and hospitable, create in us a heart that aims to serve others in Jesus’ name. May we discover that true greatness is not in fame or position but in humble service. Amen.

Philippians chapter 1


Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and deacons.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ[b]—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Paul’s Joy That Christ Is Preached

12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters,[c] that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard,[d] knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers[e] here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message[f] without fear.

15 It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16 They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. 17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. 19 For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.

Paul’s Life for Christ

20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.

25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26 And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.

Live as Citizens of Heaven

27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.


Perhaps Paul’s joy in these people at Philippi was that he was seeing them by faith. Not as they were, but as they would be when God’s work was done. He was looking at them with the eye of faith. He was sure that He who began a good work in them was going to finish it, so Paul could say that, even though you rub me the wrong way once in a while, I know what you are going to be. This is the key to getting along with other Christians. Sometimes it’s difficult, but when we realize what they will be we can do it. I heard of an artist who called a friend in and asked him to comment on a picture he was painting. He said, this is my masterpiece. It is beautiful. The man said I guess I don’t see what you see. It just looks like dabs of different colors to me, without form or anything. The artist said, Oh I forgot. I’m seeing it as it will be when finished. You are seeing it as it is now.

This means that life is not perfect yet. It has an adequate goal, and it is a goal which will be reached, and the final responsibility is not in my hands but in God’s. I love that! Paul’s confidence is placed in a Person, not on himself. We are all, if we know Christ, in the hands of the One who can change us. Sometimes we don’t want to be what God wants us to be, but it’s being done in us despite us. God knows how to bring us into the circumstances that will make us willing to be made willing, if He needs to. It’s a great consolation to recognize in whose hands we are. The impression is often given by we Christians today that our main task is to keep Christianity going. Christianity didn’t start that way. These early Christians gave the very clear impression that it was their faith in Christ that kept them going. There are those who tell us that we can lose our Christian life, but if this is something we can lose, then it must be based on some human factor — that it depends on us. But if it depends on us, then we can’t depend on it. I am so grateful that this rests upon a Person who is capable of doing the work, and who has promised to complete it. Thanks be to God who is able to keep us from falling.

My favorite part of this whole chapter is how Paul mentions that the whole palace guard knew the Good news. Will people know I’m a Christian when I’m having a bad week/month/year?



Let me share a quote i read today

Joy is ‘the serious business of heaven’. It is a consequence of being preoccupied with the living and indwelling Christ, confident that He will complete His redeeming work in us and through us. Are we there yet? No, but God isn’t finished either, so let’s pay attention.


Thank you Lord for the work you are doing in me and the work you will continue to do. God, teach me to be steadfast and help me to keep myself focused on You. In Jesus name, amen.

Ephesians chapter 6

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Children and Parents

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord,  for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Slaves and Masters

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.

Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.

The Whole Armor of God

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[e] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[f] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[g]

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.[h] 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

Final Greetings

21 To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you a full report about what I am doing and how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper in the Lord’s work. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you.

23 Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters,[i] and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. 24 May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.


There is so much big teaching in this chapter which we could spend days talking about each topic. Parenting, children, slaves and masters, spiritual battles, the armor of God and so on.  I want to focus on slaves and masters today.

Two main themes stand out in these few passages, the role of the slave ( or what we could parallel today with an employee) and the role of the master (boss, manager, supervisor etc..)

First we must remind ourselves that God created work back in the garden of Eden. It was a good thing, a gift from God. (had you ever looked at it that way?) Being productive and useful is a very mentally healthy thing, having little purpose or contributing little value to anything around you can be very depressing. When sin entered the world, not only did man have to work harder to earn his next meal, but we began to not look at work as a gift, but as a burden and sometimes dreary.

But God says no, we must not allow ourselves to fall to this level. We are to work hard and with enthusiasm. We are to do the best possible job we can for our employer. Even if you don’t love the job. It doesn’t make a difference. Attitude is a choice, and if we go in each day grumpy, it will be a long day indeed. Go in with enthusiasm and with the attitude of how you can bless your employer today, that makes the job a blessing.  In fact, Paul says we need to work as if we are working directly for Jesus Himself. How does that change our perspective?

Employers, you are not off the hook. you as well must remember you serve the same God as your employees, and you are called to treat them fairly and with respect. You are not higher than them in the heavenly realm. As a boss or supervisor, we need to see how we can serve those that work under our authority. How can you make their job better, so they can do better work for you? Remember, some of these people are your brothers and sisters in Christ, and the rest need to be, so our actions will speak volumes.


Today, if you are an employee, consider how you view each morning as you get ready for work. Even if you don’t have the greatest job, begin to treat as if it was. List ways you can bless your employer, fellow workers and customers. God has placed you there for a reason, let your light shine brightly.

For you in authority over others, are you treating each employee with respect? List ways you could help your workers achieve success in their daily work. Be the servant leader Jesus calls us to be.


Lord, help us to have the right attitude and perspective when it comes to our work. Thank you for placing us where we are, in the midst of our own mission field. Help us to see how to best serve our fellow workers and authority figures. Help me to be a light to those around me. In Jesus name, amen.

Ephesians chapter 5

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Living in the Light

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    rise up from the dead,
    and Christ will give you light.”

Living by the Spirit’s Power

15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.

31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.


Paul continues with very straightforward practical instruction again today.

vs 1-2   Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.  

Paul, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, wanted to encourage and lift up the people there (as he would at all the churches he helped to plant).  In this part of the letter, he wanted them to be “imitators of God”.  In the verses just prior, Paul said to “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

To imitate God is to show grace and mercy.  God has shown grace and mercy to us through His son Jesus.  Jesus loved us so much that He gave His life as a sacrifice for us even though we did not deserve it.  He loved us so that we wouldn’t have to remain in sin but that we could be forgiven of our sins and adopted as children into the family of God.


This week let us walk in love.  Let us be imitators of God.  Let us show grace and mercy to others.  Let our words be spoken with truth in love.  And let us share the good news of Christ to a world that needs to hear this good news.


Lord help us today to walk in love and mercy and grace to all that we encounter. Show us how to imitate You in our day to day lives. And give us boldness today to share the good news of Christ as you give us opportunity. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Ephesians chapter 4

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Unity in the Body

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.

However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say,

“When he ascended to the heights,
    he led a crowd of captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”

Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Living as Children of Light

17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.


This chapter is loaded with instruction on how to live for God. It’s mostly very straightforward advice. But Paul sets the tone right in the first verse, reminding them he is a prisoner, but that does not change his thinking for one minute regarding God or his mission. If anyone had reason to be angry or discouraged, it would be Paul. But he isn’t. And he challenges them to live the life worthy of their calling, a disciple of Christ.

Paul lists a number of things we can do to live a more holy life, let’s look at them;

  • be humble and gentle
  • be patient with each other
  • stay united with the Spirit
  • bind ourselves together with peace
  • let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitude
  • speak in truth to each other
  • don’t lie
  • don’t let anger control you
  • don’t steal, work hard rather
  • give generously
  • watch your language
  • speak life into others
  • rid yourself of evil behavior
  • be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving

This is quite a list of do’s and don’t’s, and how to practically do these things can be very hard or overwhelming. But take heart, God has given us the solution to this problem too.


Throughout scripture, it is clear we need to maintain our relationship with God. We all know that reading the Word and praying are essential parts of that. But when it comes to specific things, perhaps a better understanding of the Word, or how to overcome anger or other “evil behaviors”, God did not leave us alone to fend for ourselves. vs. 11-12 “11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.  God has given the responsibility to some to be teachers and preachers to help equip us and give us understanding and walk us through some of these sinful habits and addictions. My challenge today is this: if you are struggling in any area of your walk with the Lord, seek out one of these people for help. We are not to do this life alone. 

Proverbs 19:20 “get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.

Our eyes are meant to read God’s words and our ears are meant to hear it. There is no wise counsel apart from God and His Word for they are one. The wise man listens to godly advice, accepts instruction continually and proactively seeks out wise counsel.


God bless you today!

Ephesians chapter 3

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God’s Mysterious Plan Revealed

When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.

Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.


We live in a world of crazy deadlines, commitments, and opinions. Sometimes, it feels like we’re barely keeping our heads above water. Maybe God used this time of a worldwide pandemic to cause us to slow down a bit.

As we read Paul’s prayer in vs. 14-21, it is a reminder of how much more God wants for our lives than our short-sighted vision shows us.

The only way to experience the fullness of Jesus’ love is to let Him fully into our lives. God works through us not by pushing us around, but through His Holy Spirit’s guidance. The craziness of day to day life can drown out the whispers of the Holy Spirit showing us how loved and cherished we are by God. Paul prays we’re strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and we’re given the power to realize just how deep and wide God’s love is for us.

God’s love surpasses our knowledge and our circumstances (vs 19). Our vision and hopes and dreams are infinitely smaller than God’s picture and His plans for our lives. God will “accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (vs. 20). The best-case scenarios in our heads are nothing compared to what God promises to do.


We can pray the same prayer today — that every day we would invite Jesus further into our lives. When we do, we’ll start to see God do more than we ever could dream possible. Let’s not let the pace of our lives cause us to miss out on “immeasurably more.” Reflect today on these questions:

(P) Pause and Pray

  • Is the pace of your life allowing you to reflect on the truths Paul highlights in this prayer? Why or why not? Does something need to change?
  • What’s the best-case scenario in your current situation? Reflect on the truth that God wants infinitely more for you than even this.

Have an awesome day!

Ephesians chapter 2

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Made Alive with Christ

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Oneness and Peace in Christ

11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

A Temple for the Lord

19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.


Paul continues his reinforcing of the Gospel message, reminding the Ephesians of what was done for them. I love the analogy of being “made alive in Christ”. As Paul put it, we were once dead to our sins. Hopeless. But Christ changed all that and defeated sin. And it was a completely free gift for each one of us.

Let me share a devotional I read recently


A gift is something that becomes yours when you reach out and take it as your own when it is offered to you. A gift is something that is given because of the generosity and love of the giver. A gift is something to be treasured because of the love of the giver. It is something for which we ought to be thankful for.

The value of a gift is based on the love of the giver, not any monetary value we may place upon it. A gift is given unconditionally and sacrificially. It always costs the giver something. A gift is given for the benefit of the receiver of the gift, to bring joy and happiness to him or her.


Salvation is a gift, not a reward for our labors. If we could earn it, it would be what is owed us and not a gift. We are saved by the grace of God, period. It is God’s invitation for us to be embraced in His love. It is God reaching out to us inviting us to enjoy the blessings of living in fellowship with Him. He gave His very life so that we can have eternal life. All we have to do is to accept His gift and enjoy it to the fullest.

Consider the cost of God’s gift of salvation. He sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. For the only time in eternity, God and His Son weren’t together. On the cross, God even had to turn His back on Jesus and not look at Him because He had our sins on His heart. Jesus suffered not only the horrific agony of dying on the Roman cross, He tasted the horrific guilt and shame of our sins, even though He himself had never sinned. Salvation is the most precious gift man could ever receive.


Have you accepted God’s gift of salvation yet?  It is in His hands waiting for you to take hold of it and claim it for your own.  He does not withhold His gift from anyone who wants it.


 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.   Romans 10:9-10

Ephesians chapter 1

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Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Spiritual Blessings

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[f] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[g]

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.


There is quite a different tone to start this letter compared to the Galatians. In fact, Galatians is the only letter where Paul does greet or address anyone in his opening remarks. This letter he greets the church of Ephesus with his usual enthusiasm.

I’m going to jump straight to vs 4. Some versions will use the word “predestined”, which tends to ignite a lot of debate as to what that exactly means. I chose this version just because I like the way it’s worded and this is the way I see it as well. God loved us and chose us, even before he created the world, to be in Christ. God loved us and knew us long before we were ever close to being born. He wanted us all to have a relationship with him.

“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who wants all people to be saved and to come to know the truth fully.” 1 Tim. 2:3 NIV

What an incredibly encouraging chapter. Paul encourages the church by reminding them of the incredible promises and actions of God.

  • He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms
  • He chose us even before we even existed to have a relationship with Christ
  • He adopted us into His family
  • He has poured glorious grace upon us
  • Purchased our freedom with blood and forgave our sins
  • Showered us with kindness along with wisdom and understanding
  • We received an inheritance
  • He identified us as His own by giving us the Holy Spirit
  • Has put all things under the authority of Christ
  • Made Him head of all things to benefit the church

How can you not get excited after reading this list? The Ephesian church had to have been after receiving this reminder of what God had done for them, and what a great foundation for the rest of this letter.


That list of promises is a list we need to reflect on often. It is the fundamentals of our salvation and relationship with God. Let us today take time to reflect on each one and thank and praise Him


God we praise Your Holy name today! You knew and loved us right from the beginning and had a plan for each of us. You loved us so much you purchased us with the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus. And know you call us Your own, Your children. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit. We love you Lord, in Jesus name, amen.