West End Assembly of God
Friday, October 31, 2014
Daily Devotional Guide
October 27 – November 1, 2014
WEAG Devotions: MOVE: Moving Forward with Your Faith
MONDAY – October 27
Ephesians 1:1 – Paul, and apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus…
Ephesus was an important city in Paul’s day. Positioned between two continents where the East met the West, the Roman road linked Ephesus to all the worlds beyond. It was famous for its temple of Diana (Artemis), a sacred shrine that was reputed to have descended from the sky (read Acts 19 to refresh yourself on Paul’s initial visit and impact). Ephesus served as Paul’s headquarters during his third missionary journey. He stayed there for nearly three years and established a large, influential church. From there, he and his colleagues fanned out to evangelize and plant churches everywhere. Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos, Timothy, the Apostle John and others all served at this church. Paul wrote to them from prison in Rome with fond memories. He called them “God’s holy people.” He called them “faithful.” They held fast to their faith in spite of the spiritual pollution and perversion of their day. Don’t let the culture dictate your beliefs. Beware the cross currents that can toss you “… to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and conning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). Stand firm in holiness, faithful in Christ Jesus.
TUESDAY – October 28
Ephesians 1:2 – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul opens many of his letters to the churches with the words grace and peace.
If anyone knew the value of these words, Paul did. The fact of his murderous past most likely haunted him. He had been responsible for the deaths of many followers of Christ; but through his encounter with the risen Jesus, he had found the grace and peace of God and it forever changed the trajectory of his life. So he begins with these words, implying that every truth to follow would be nested in the reality of God’s goodness to us, not in anything that we have done to earn our place in God.
Some of the most meaningful and reassuring truths in all the Bible are found in the following verses that speak of God’s eternal interest in His people and His absolute commitment to bring His will to pass in their lives. When we stop wrestling with God and yield to his divine will and purposes, we will discover He is holding us safe in his arms and guiding us firmly toward goals that are much bigger than we ever imagined for ourselves. The old-fashioned term is “let go and let God.” Throughout your spiritual journey you will return to these words, touchstones of faith that remind us that it all starts and ends in Him. Stop trying to prove yourself to God. Accept His grace and peace.
WEDNESDAY – October 29
Ephesians 1:3 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
In verses 3-14 we find the longest single sentence of unbroken discourse in ancient literature. Basically, Paul is describing the Church in all its glory: chosen, holy and blameless, abounding in freely given grace which is “lavished on us” (vs. 8), full of wisdom and understanding, having the inside scoop on the purpose for all things (vs. 9). Repeatedly the term “in him” is used (vs. 4, 7, 11) indicating that when the Church is rightly living “in Christ” all these things are evident. Verses 3-6 describe the will of the Father; and verses 7-12 describe the work of the Son; and verses 13-14 describe the witness of the Spirit. And there we are, right in the middle of the Trinity, the focus of the Godhead’s attention, delight, and joy! What a remarkable glimpse into God’s heart. The Church is there. I am there. You are there. When we discover how much we are loved, we feel safe and secure and able to surrender to the One who loves us. God wants us to know this love, made evident through Christ. He wants us to enjoy “every spiritual blessing” that He has designed for us. Lift up your eyes.
THURSDAY – October 30
Ephesians 1:11 (The Message) – It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living.
From all eternity, God has had our wellbeing in mind. His eternal purpose was to bring into existence human beings upon whom He could bestow all the inexhaustible riches of His grace. What God has in store for us is beyond anything we can imagine. In Him we have redemption and forgiveness (vs. 7). In Him we were chosen (vs. 11) with a specific plan in mind, endowed with spiritual gifts to accomplish that plan, and given the Holy Spirit as a personal guide through life to bring to pass the fulfillment of that plan. God has had his eyes on you for a long time! He knows your potential. He has the answers to all your questions. The key to answering every question of the universe lies in the person of Jesus Christ. “In Christ” we find out who we are and what we are meant to do. “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed…He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God (Heb 12:2 The Message).
FRIDAY – October 31
Ephesians 1:17 – I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Here is one of the “Prayers of St. Paul.” It is one thing to know facts about God and the Bible and quite another thing to know Him personally. We can go to church all our life, engage in rituals, yet never connect with the God they represent. Paul’s foremost prayer was that people would gain the knowledge of God. “Get to know Him” was Paul’s basic answer to all of life’s problems and perplexities. Knowing Him affects how we cope in every area of life. Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15); so as we study his words and behavior, we will learn so much about God’s heart and His love for people. God can be very near to us, yet we can remain clueless to His presence (Luke 24:13-35). Our preconceived ideas hold us hostage. It takes humility to lay them down and allow the Spirit to open our eyes (Acts 9:18). Each day, ask the Lord to give you “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you can know Him better. “
SATURDAY – November 1
Ephesians 1:18-19a - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Paul prays for wisdom and knowledge for the church so that we may know the hope of our calling. “We have been caught up into something so big, so basic to the universe, and so far beyond anything we could ask or think, that our minds simply cannot take it all in. We have become the objects of the triune God’s attention and affection. They have turned aside from their occupation with the details of the hundred billion galaxies in order to concentrate on us!”* We are the Body of Christ in the world today, equipped with riches of our glorious inheritance, and conduits of the greatness of His power. This is mind-boggling truth that the Holy Spirit must crack open to us. It cannot be comprehended with the natural mind. We are meant to be world changers. We are called to carry God’s presence within us everywhere we go, to manifest Christ to the world as His image bearers, and to demonstrate His great power. What a calling. What an inheritance. What a responsibility.
*Exploring Ephesians, by John Phillips.