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A Thought for the Week
Monday, August 7, 2006
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," (Ephesians 3:14 NKJ)
God sent Paul to start, to build, and to pray for the church in Ephesus. Here in Ephesians 3:14-21 we have recorded the words Paul was praying for his people. As we examine these words we see that Paul was not just praying them for the people of the church in Ephesus in that time, but he was praying them for the full church of God in his time and in all times. He is praying for the whole church of God, not just the local church in Ephesus (vs 15, 18). He is praying for the full church of God in his generation and in all succeeding generations (v 21). Jesus also prayed this way. In John 17, He prayed for the immediate needs of His disciples (vs 9, 11). He then prayed for all who would come to Him through the preaching of the word of the disciples (vs 20, 22, 24). We, and those after us, who believe in Christ through the word of the original disciples, are included in the prayer of Christ in John 17. We are included in the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3.
Paul begins this section by telling the people that he is praying for them. He had previously told themóin Ephesians 1:15-23--that he was praying for their spiritual growth. He said he was praying that they would grow in spiritual wisdom and insight and that they would know the calling and purposes of Christ, so they could know the power of God available to them. He told them he was praying that they would know their heavenly position in Christ.
Here Paul tells them that he bows his knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul has seen God work miracles through him. He has seen God use him to establish many churches. He has received supernatural revelations of God and of heaven. This great man of God tells his people that he is praying for them. He is never too busy or too successful to remember to pray for his people. He reminds them of his deep reverence for God our Father. He bows his knees before Him when he prays. He reminds them that his God is the Father of His Lord, Jesus Christ. He reminds them that His God is the Father of those he is praying for, for he knew of their faith in Christ. He identified with Jesus, Who came to fully reveal God as our Father and as His Father. Jesus Christ is the Son of God; this is the foundation of Paulís prayers. Through Christ, we too can become children of God and heirs with Christ of all God has for us. With and through Christ, we are to rule and shepherd all of Godís creation. This will come about as we know and are filled with the love of Christ. Paul is praying for this to be known and to come about through all of Godís people in all generations and ages.
Father, we rejoice in Your magnificent plan and purposes for Your Son. We rejoice that through Him we can know You and be one with You as You are one with Your Son. Help us to grow in Your love for Your Son. Amen.
A Thought for the Week
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named," (Ephesians 3:15 NKJ)
God sent Paul to start, to build, and to pray for the church in Ephesus. Here in Ephesians 3:14-21 are recorded the words Paul was praying for his people. As we examine these words, we see that Paul was not just praying them for the people of that church in that time, but he was praying them for the full church of God in his time and in all times. He is praying for the whole church of God, not just the local church in Ephesus (v 15, v 18). He is praying for the full church of God in his generation and in all succeeding generations (v 21). We are included.
In this portion of his prayer, Paul reminds us that God, our Father, has a name for all of His people in heaven and earth--the name "Christians." We are identified as Christ-followers--as those who believe in the Christ of God. The word "Christ" means "Anointed One." Jesus, the very Son of God who was born through Mary, was the Anointed One of God. Acts 10:38 says that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Jesus walked in the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling Him to do miraculous signs and wonders. After Jesusí resurrection, Peter informed the gathering of Jews at Jerusalem that the Jesus whom they had crucified was raised from the dead and made Lord and Christ. Jesus has been anointed with an even greater measure of the Holy Spirit than He had while on the earth. He had prayed for this, as recorded in John 17. He is now able to send the Holy Spirit into His people in all the world. He now is able to bring His resurrected life into the hearts and lives of His followers. He now is able to deliver His people, through His anointing, from the powers of sin and Satan and the world.
God has called us to identify with His Anointed One. God has anointed us with His Spirit so we can do and be all God wants us to do and be on this earth. The Bible says, "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God" (2 Corinthians 1:21 NKJ). We have been established in Christ by God. We have been anointed by God with the Holy Spirit. The anointing God has given Jesus for His heavenly work is sufficient for Him to give us an even greater measure of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that we would do even greater works than those He did when He walked on the earth (John 14:12). I believe we are coming into those days. We will need this increased anointing so that we can overcome all the works of Satan as he tries to unite the people of his kingdom to destroy the people of God. John said that the anointing we have received enables us to know the hearts of all men (1 John 2:20). We are Christians because we are in and identified with our heavenly Anointed One--the Heavenly Christ of God.
Father, we rejoice in Your eternal plan. We rejoice that You have anointed Your Son and that He is our Heavenly Lord and our Heavenly Anointed One. Help us to receive and live in this precious anointing. Amen.
A Thought for the Week
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,Ö that He would grant you, according to the riches of His gloryÖ" (Ephesians 3:14 NKJ)
God sent Paul to start, to build, and to pray for the church in Ephesus. Here in Ephesians 3:14-21 we have recorded the words Paul was praying for his people. As we examine these words, we see that Paul was not just praying them for the people of that church in that time, but he was also praying them for the full church of God in his time and in all times. He is praying for the whole church of God, not just the local church in Ephesus (vs. 15, 18). He is praying for the full church of God in his generation and in all succeeding generations (v. 21).
In this prayer, Paul is about to make some specific requests of God for His people. Before he gets into the specifics of his prayer, he reminds the people that God dwells in glory and operates from and through His place of glory. The beings who are closest to the throne of God are continually singing worship songs to God and to each other about God. As they see some of the beauty of Godís majestic Being, they cry out, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!" As they observe some of the things God is doing, they again cry out to each other how great God is and how worthy He is of praise and honor. The very nature and Being of God bring about worshipful responses from those before His throne.
It takes God to love and know God. Jesus said, "No one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him" (Matthew 11:27 NKJ).
The Father loves the Son and wants us to know Him so we love and honor Him for who He is and for what He has done for us. The Son loves the Father and seeks to glorify Him by His own personal obedience and by showing us how good it is to live for the purposes of His Father. The Holy Spirit energizes the ways of the Father and the words of the Son, so that we can know and glorify both the Father and the Son. God glorifies God. Each member of the Godhead glorifies the others. It is good to glorify God!
This Great and Glorious Being, God, has chosen to operate on behalf of His people. He has chosen to reveal Himself to His people through His Son. He has chosen to bless us with the ability to partake of His very nature and to unite us with Him in His plan to govern, shepherd and rule the universe through Jesus and through all in whom Jesus is living. Paul is reminding his people of Godís great glory and of His plan to bring His ways into us so that we can partake of His glory. As we become filled with His life, our hearts become pure and we see and understand the greatness and glory of God. Then God becomes glorified in and through us.
Father, we rejoice that you dwell in a place where You are glorified. Help us to let You work in us through Jesus, so we can provide You with a place in us where You are glorified. Amen.
A Thought for the Week
Thursday, August 10, 2006
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,Öthat He would grant you,...to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man," (Ephesians 3:16 NKJ)
God sent Paul to start, to build, and to pray for the church in Ephesus. Ephesians 3:14-21 records the words Paul was praying for his people. As we examine these words, we see that Paul was not just praying them for the Ephesian church in that time, but also for the full church of God (vs.15, 18) in all succeeding generations (v. 21) as well.
God knows our need to receive spiritual power and strength. Jesus received power from the Spirit of God. He commanded evil spirits to leave people and they left, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28). Jesus came to reveal to us our need to receive spiritual power from God. He told us that we are blessed when we recognize our need for spiritual power (Matthew 5:3). God created us with this need. He formed us to be able to receive His Spirit into our being and become united in purpose and plan with Him. As we join ourselves with God, our spirit will become united with His Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17). The Bible says that Godís ultimate and eternal purpose for us will be fulfilled when we become fully united with Him and He with us (Revelation 21:3).
Paul understood our eternal destiny. Previously in this letter he had told the Ephesians that God was gathering all things to be united with Him in Christ (Ephesians 1:10). God envisioned these things for us before He formed us (Ephesians 1:4). Now Paul is praying that we would enter into and live in Godís full purpose for us. He created us to live with Him and to have Him live in us so that we could rule, shepherd and steward His creation with Him through Christ (Revelation 2:26-7). These things can only occur as we become spiritually united with the Spirit of God, and as our spirit becomes strengthened by His power. Our inner being--our inner attitudes, desires, and thoughts--can be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, working through our spirit. This is the emphasis of Paulís prayer in this section of his letter to the Ephesians.
The Words of God can bring this about. Jesus said that His Words are from His Spirit and bring life, because they are Words from God. The Words God is speaking today through Jesus can bring life. The Words God has spoken through Jesus in the past can bring life. The Words God has spoken through the prophets of old can bring life. We need Words of God that come to us through Christ, and we need the Spirit of God to bring life to His Word in us. We need our spirit to be strengthened so we can know and live in the Words of God. Paul is praying this for his people.
Father, we rejoice in Your plans and purposes for us and for Your creation. Strengthen our spirit by Your Spirit so we can know Your words and live in them and by them. Amen.
A Thought for the Week
Friday, August 11, 2006
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,Öthat Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith"; (Ephesians 3:17)
God sent Paul to start, to build, and to pray for the church in Ephesus. In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul records the words he was praying for his people. As we examine these words, we see that Paul was not just praying them for the Ephesian church in that time, but also for the full church of God (vs.15, 18) in all succeeding generations (v. 21) as well.
In this prayer, Paul has just prayed that our spirit would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. Now he is revealing why he wants this for usó"THAT CHRIST MIGHT DWELL IN OUR HEARTS THROUGH FAITH." This is the key element of Godís plan for us--Christ dwelling in us. This is the reason God created us, so that He might live in us through Christ. This is the secret of our receiving honor and glory of God--Christ living in us. God is working all things toward that end--that He might be one with us and we might be one with Him and be His servant-rulers over all His creation with Christ.
When Jesus was on the earth, He went to Godís temple and saw the money changers and the people selling doves. He went in and overturned the tables these men were using, crying out that Godís temple was to be a place of prayer, not a place of merchandising. The Bible says that the Lord whom we seek will again come to His temple and cleanse it and fill it with zeal for God (Malachi 3:1-5). We are the temple of God. Jesus is coming to us and cleansing our inner being, filling us with His Holy Zeal for the things of God. He has come to heal our inner being, the brokenness in our spirit. He has come to live in us and to unite us with Him so we desire what he desires and do what He is doing. He has come to live in all areas of our heart, and to transform us, so that He can transform all of our lives. He will transform our marriages, our families, our business activities, our governments. He has come to reign in us so that His kingdom can be established in all levels of our lives and in all places of our society.
God has a plan to fill the earth with His glory. He will establish His kingdom-principles in us, and in all areas of our society. The spiritual powers that have rebelled against God and have led people to rebel will be removed. The kingdom of God is being established now and will increase--ALL BECAUSE CHRIST HAS COME TO DWELL IN HIS PEOPLE AND TO EXPRESS HIS LIFE AND POWER THROUGH US. Paul is praying that we might let Christ do this in us.
Father, we rejoice that You want to establish Your kingdom and reign over all the earth through Christ in Your people. Help us to let Christ live and reign in our hearts so this might be done. Amen.
A Thought for the Week--Paulís Eternal Prayers for Us
Monday, August 14, 2006
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,Öthat you, being rooted and grounded in love," (Ephesians 3:17 NKJ)
God sent Paul to start, to build, and to pray for the church in Ephesus. Here in Ephesians 3:14-21 we have recorded Paulís prayer for his people. As we examine these words, we see that Paul was not praying them just for the people of this church in this time, but he was also praying them for the full church of God in his time and in all times. He is praying for the whole church of God, not just the local church in Ephesus (vs. 15, 18). He is praying for the full church of God in his generation and in all succeeding generations (v. 21).
We should be rooted and grounded in love. God is motivated by love. He acts so that we can know and live in His love. It takes God to love God. The Father loves the Son; He knows His heart, His desires, and His motives. The Father knows the love of the Son. He knows the purity of the love of His Son, for Himself and for the world. The Son loves the Father. He knows His love for Himself and for the world. Jesus does not just know about the love of God; He lives in the love of God. The Holy Spirit loves to bring Godís love into all parts of our being. He loves to empower us so we can know and live in the fullness of the love of God.
Satan can and will "show us love," but it will be for an ulterior motive. He will show us a false love so that he can ensnare us to follow him, and then he will bring us into bondage to him and use us for his purposes. An example is the current situation in South Lebanon. The Hezbullah terrorists have shown compassion to the Christians in South Lebanon. They have befriended them and even given aid to the poor among them. Some of the Christians have thought these terrorists were to be their trusted friends. The Christians then let these terrorists establish rocket launchers in their villages, some even letting them use their properties as launching sites. Now when these rocket sites are being used against Israel, Israel is attacking them. The Hezbullah are not moving them, but rather are using the Lebanese people as shields, forcing the Israelis to kill them in order to destroy these rocket launchers. The ulterior motives of the Hezbullah are being revealed, and it is obvious that true love for the Christians has not been motivating them.
Only God has a true and perfect love. Without the love of God in us, we will never be able to understand all Christ is and has done for us, and all that He can be for us. We need to be rooted and grounded in love. We need to be totally motivated by love, as God is. God desires that we become that way. God Himself is that way. God has provided the way for us to become that way by having Christ live in us. Paul is praying this for us.
Father, we rejoice that You are a God of infinite and perfect and pure love. We rejoice that You want us to know Your love and to be rooted and grounded in love. Help us to let You work this in us so we can love others with Your love. Amen.
A Thought for the Week--Paulís Eternal Prayers for Us
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,Öthat you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;" (Ephesians 3: 17-18)
Paul was sent by God to start, to build, and to pray for the church in Ephesus. Here in Ephesians 3:14-21 we have recorded Paulís prayer for his people. As we examine these words we see that Paul was not just praying them for the people of that church in that time, but he was praying them for the full church of God in his time and in all times. He is praying for the whole church of God, not just the local church in Ephesus (vs. 15, 18).
God is love. He loves what is right and what is pure, because He is righteous and pure. He loves what is lovely and good because He is lovely and good. He loves what is beautiful and holy because He is beautiful and holy. God, in His love, hates what is evil because it occupies a place where His love could be manifested. He hates evil because of what it does to His people and to His creation. He will destroy evil by removing it from His presence. He will fill the place where He dwells with Himself and His will, so that His love can be completely manifested. He will send evil away from the earth and the heavens so that His love can fill heaven and earth. He has a plan to accomplish this, and to woo all who would come out of the ways of Satan to come into His kingdom and know His love. He is longsuffering, allowing evil to co-exist with His people for a season so that He can give all who would, the opportunity to know him and His eternal love.
God's love is revealed to us in His Son. Paul is praying for us to know the immensity of the love of God through Christ. The love of God has no bounds--it cannot be grasped with our intellect but must be received into our spirit through contemplation, meditation, and spending time communing with Him. Satan knows about the love of God, but he does not know God. Many people know about God, but they do not know Him. We know God by becoming aware of His character and actions. We know God by obeying Him and trusting that His ways are best. We know God by letting Him heal the wounds in our heart. We know God by becoming aware of His plan for transforming all of our world and by participating with Him in that plan.
We know through our spirit; that is why Paul has been praying for spiritual strength. We know God through the revelatory work of the Holy Spirit in us; that is why Paul has been praying for the Holy Spirit to strengthen us. It takes God to know God. We need to ask God to reveal Himself to us. The Holy Spirit loves to reveal Christ to us. Jesus loves to reveal the Father to us. The Father loves to send His Spirit to us through Christ. Paul is praying all this for us.
Father, we seek to know You and Your Son more and more. Send Your Spirit so we can know Jesus. Help us to meditate on Him, to behold Him, and to see ourselves with Him in Your heavenly place. Amen.
A Thought for the Week--Paulís Eternal Prayers for Us
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:19 NKJ)
God is One. This is the mystery of the Godhead. The Father is one with the Son. He and the Son are of the same character and nature. Jesus, while on the earth, said that He and the Father were one (John 10:30). Jesus prayed that we who follow after Him would be made one with God. He prayed, "Öthat they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us," (John 17:21 NKJ)
When Jesus walked on the earth as a man, the fullness of God was in Him. According to 2 Corinthians 5:19, God the Father was in Christ when Jesus was on the earth. John 3:34 tells us that the Spirit of God was in Him as well. The Bible says that "in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9 NKJ). The fullness of GodóFather, Son, and Spiritówas, and still is, in Christ. Paul here in Ephesians 3 is praying that we also would be filled with the fullness of God.
God is infinite; I am finite. God is like the ocean; I am like a drop in the ocean. However, God wants to dwell in me, and wants me to dwell in Him. He desires that I become filled with Him and that I dwell in Him. He wants His nature and fullness to completely fill this little droplet called "me." God has tasks for me to perform as I work with Him, rule with Him, and shepherd the part of His creation He has given me to rule and reign in. He is training us to become like Him, in nature and function, so that He can rule and shepherd His creation with people like us. He has a plan to remove all rebellious rulers, natural and spiritual, so He can rule through us.
Paul had been given this vision for the people of God. Paul knew Godís desire to unite all of His creation with Himself through His Son. He knew that God would work in our inner being in this age so that we would be one with God through having His kingdom ruling and being developed within us. Paul knew that we were to establish the principles and structures of Godís kingdom in the spheres God has given us to operate in. He knew that we would have struggles and heartaches, but He also knew that we could be victorious now, in our ever-expanding spheres of operation. He knew that God would shake the heavenly and earthly kingdoms so that God could remove their evil rulers and establish us as His rulers in them. Truly the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ. These things are coming forth because we are becoming united with God in His bringing forth of His kingdom. We are being made one with God because Jesus desired this and is praying for it. We are being made one because we are becoming filled with all the fullness of God.
Father, we once again bow humbly before You. You are awesome and holy. You are longsuffering and mighty. We surrender ourselves to You for Your life to fill us. What a privileged people we are to be filled with Your fullness, so You can fill all! Amen.
A Thought for the Week--Paulís Eternal Prayers for Us
Thursday, August 17, 2006
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us," (Ephesians 3: 20)
Paul has been writing about his prayers for the Christian community in Ephesus, sharing with them about how he prays for them. He has just told them that he is praying that they would be filled with all the fullness of God. He has a vision for his people that is much greater than most of us in the body of Christ have for each other. Paulís vision and prayer is that Christ would dwell in them, filling their whole being with the fullness of GodóFather, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God has such a vision for His people. He gave the children of Israel the celebration of the Jewish feasts as a picture of this reality of being one with God. The seventh feast portrayed God dwelling in His people and the people living in communion with God. This is the culmination of Godís plan and purposes for man. This will fully happen in all of Godís creation when heaven and earth become united, after the time of the millennial kingdom. But Paul is praying that his disciples would know this as a reality in this life. He has taught his people that Christ lives in him and that he no longer lives (Galatians 2:20). He has taught his disciples that he is praying for them in earnest until Christ is formed in them (Galatians 4:19). This seems like an impossible task for us, and it is--but it is possible for God to accomplish this. Paul knew the reality of Godís promise that He would put His Spirit in His people so that they would know all of His judgments and would do them (Ezekiel 11:20). He knew the reality that if we walk in the Spirit we would not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Now Paul is concluding this prayer by reminding the people that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. We are unable, but God is able. God is not only able but willing. He is not only willing but He will do it. Paul reminds the Ephesians that God will do it by the power of His Spirit, who will work the righteousness of God into them. Paul knew the reality that God will work into us the desire and the ability to obey Him in all things (Philippians 2:13). He knew of a salvation for the people of God that would increasingly be revealed in the latter time (1 Peter 1:4). He knew that Christ was coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5: 27). Jesus prayed that we would be one with God as He is one with His Father. He said that the world would know that He had come when His people were totally one with Him and with His Father. Let us rejoice in the faith of God, who knows that He is able to do this for us, in us, and through us. Let us pray that God will continue to raise up such visionaries in the church in these days so that they can disciple us.
Father, we rejoice in Your plan to reveal Yourself through Your Son. We rejoice that His nature and character are being formed in us. We rejoice that we can show the world Your love, Your wisdom, and Your power as Your life is in us and comes forth from us in Christ. Amen.
A Thought for the Week--Paulís Eternal Prayers for Us
Friday, August 18, 2006
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20,21 NKJ)
Paul is concluding his prayer for his people. He has prayed that they would know the vastness of the love of Christ and that they would be filled with all the fullness of God. These ideas and concepts are mind boggling. They are beyond what we can even imagine or contrive in our wildest expectations or our fondest dreams. Paul knew this. Therefore he prayed and acknowledged that God is able to do these things that are above all we ask or think. Now as he concludes, he says, "Öto Him [The Father] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever."
What God is about to do through Christ, in us, will result in ourselves and the generations after us giving glory to God forever and ever. God will be glorified. He will be glorified in the church. The nations will glorify God when they see His power, life, and love manifested in His people. The nations will fear God when they hear how God has been able to deliver His people from the things that have entrapped them. The nations are seeking freedom from the consequences of sin. God is freeing His people from the power of sin so that they do not sin in the presence of an evil generation; therefore they will avoid the consequences of sin. God is not just interested in healing us; He wants to bring us into divine health. God is not just interested in forgiving us; He is interested in giving us a new nature that does not sin. He is not just interested in saving us from hell, but in imparting His ways into us so that His kingdom principles are established in every aspect of our life--in our personal lives, in all our relationships, in our family activities, in our workplace, in our governments, and in the spiritual realm, earthly and heavenly.
God's sons shall yet be manifested in the great hour of the Church's sorrow and travail, and shall display before this wicked and perverse generation the unveiled glory of God in a manner not hitherto revealed or even imagined. What God is doing in us, we can impart into the lives of those we are relating with in all spheres of our lives. What we impart into them, they can impart into their families, children and generations. There is a generational vision and impartation being given, so that the eternal destinies of God can come forth into us and through us into all spheres of His world--into our spiritual and natural children, and into our generations and then into their generations. What God is doing in us will be continuing forever and ever. This will come about because God is having apostolic people pray for and convey this message.
Father, we thank You for continually revealing more of Your plan for Your people in these days. Thank You for your eternal plan, and for letting us be part of it with You in Christ. Amen.
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