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Walk worthy of your calling

Ephesians 4:1-2 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

When you are one of God’s children, called to be part of His own family, you have a special opportunity. If you walk in a manner worthy of the calling you’re received, it can be a great testimony to others. This means living as someone who belongs to God’s family, as someone who is no longer bound by the Law, as someone who is free from condemnation.

It ought to be obvious when someone is a child of God. It should be reflected in the way you pray, the way you trust the Lord without worry, the way you treat others, the way you obey not as one who is trying to earn position but as one who already has it. A person who lives free from the bondage of the flesh is a unique thing indeed. It should be noticeable to people who still remain lost.

Jesus himself even said that the world would know His disciples by the love that we show one another (John 13:35). It’s important that we live with humility, gentleness, and patience as we continue in love with one another. To fulfill the two greatest commandments, loving God and loving people, is to walk in a manner worthy of your calling. So, can you do it? Can you walk that walk?

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He can do more than you can ask for

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

How do your prayers sound? If they’re anything like the prayers of the average person, they’re pretty mundane and lacking any real power. Why is that? Could it be that many followers of Christ simply don’t believe that the Father is capable of answering big, bold prayers?

But He is. He’s got everything at His disposal. He lacks nothing. He’s able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask for or even think to ask for. There’s nothing He can’t do, and He works according to the power at work within  those of who who are His.

This isn’t some “name it and claim it” bit. Every material possession you’ve ever wanted isn’t promised to you if you would just ask for it. But the real deal is that anything you need in order to accomplish the will of God is available to you. Anything you can think to ask for and much, much more. Approach the Father as though He actually has the goods and the intention to give them. He does and He does.

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No Man Left Behind

Philippians 3:17-21 “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

We need to be united as an example to the next generation. We need to be passionate about investing in them and modeling what it means to be a disciple of Christ. For this generation will be the ones who disciple the next generation and will be the future leaders of the church.

We were all once citizens of this world, headed for our own destruction. But through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we were redeemed and made citizens of Heaven. Every one of us have had elders The Lord has placed in our life who have invested in us and built us up on the foundation of the Gospel. It’s now our turn to disciple someone else in the truths of the Gospel.

The sad truth is, if we won’t take the time to invest in them, the world will. The enemies of the Gospel are many and they surround us everyday. It’s on the TV, our inbox when we check our email, and waiting for us when we get to work. The enemy wants nothing more than to reclaim their time and resources and trap them in their sin.

The temptations are many and the enemy may trick them into thinking the world is their home, but there’s one thing he can’t touch and that’s their citizenship to Heaven. Their salvation was bought and sealed by Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection. No power in Heaven or on earth can separate them from His love.

When soldiers are at a battle, no man is left behind enemy lines. Every soldier will wager his life to bring his brother back to safety. Let’s protect what The Lord has entrusted to us and take the time today to invest in the men and women He has placed in our lives. Those who we pull out of the world will be the same ones The Lord will send back into the world to seek out the lost and disciple the next generation in the truths of the Gospel.

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With all the fullness of God

Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

We’re blessed, as children of God, with knowledge of the love that Jesus Christ embodied in His self-sacrificial work on the cross. It’s unlike any other love that we can know here on this earth, in this life where everything is so limited. The love of a parent, a spouse, or a child can never even compare to the love of God

His love is beyond our knowledge, yet the desire Paul had for the Ephesians was that they could appreciate this love that surpasses human understanding. He wanted this that they might be filled with all the fullness of God. The same can be said for us today. Were we to fully know the love of Jesus Christ, we would be filled with all of the fullness of God.

Many attributes are discussed when it comes to God. He is mighty, He is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present. The list goes on and on. But to really know God is to know His love. To know Him is to be known (and loved) by Him.

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Can you even comprehend?

Ephesians 3:17-18 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

What gives us the ability to really connect with God in a deep way? No matter how hard we try to build a tower up to heaven or how many good deeds we try to accomplish, we’ll never get close to Him on our own. It’s only through the work of Christ that we get reconciliation and relationship.

But you know that; don’t you?  You know that only through faith in Jesus Christ can you have fellowship with God. You know that your own good works don’t get you any position with the Father, but only through the completed work of the Son do you have any standing.

You know that, but do you really understand just how broad, how long, how high, and how deep God’s love is for you? Can you even begin to comprehend just how vast that love is? The only way we can even begin to understand is to have Christ dwelling in us. That’s the key to unlock spiritual understanding. But to imagine how far the Father’s love stretches…that will take until we’re with Him, beyond this life, to even grasp it.

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His gifts are given according to His riches

Ephesians 3:16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

What comes to your mind when you think of gifts from God? Is it health? Wealth? Something else entirely? Sometimes we really limit God by not realizing just how much He has to give. This isn’t about money or possessions, this is about riches beyond compare.

There are two very important things to remember about God: First, He is a Father who loves His children and wants to give to them. Second, He has ALL things to give. There is nothing that you could need that God does not possess. Everything is His to give.

What’s more, He doesn’t give from His riches (that would mean He would be depleting His stash). He gives according to His riches. He’ll never run out, He doesn’t give to each of His children in percentages, He isn’t stingy. He has all things to give and He freely gives.

But most of the Lord’s blessings are not material, but rather spiritual blessings.  His greatest blessing of all is himself. He has given, according to the riches of His glory, His own Spirit to dwell in those whom He calls His children. With that gift comes all the power that is included with having God dwelling inside you. Now, how thankful does this make you for the Father’s blessings?

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Learn to pray as part of a family

Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,

When we pray, we don’t do it as a chore that’s required of us to please a deity that doesn’t care about us personally. When we pray we approach our loving Father, who cares about us. He’s not distant from us, He’s only a prayer away.

All too often we neglect to pray in the context of a family. If you’re a child of God who has been adopted into His family, then every other one of His children is your sibling. Families think about what’s best for every member, and Christians ought to do the same. We’re called to be part of God’s family, to project His image into the world, and to carry out His purposes — together.

That means when we pray, we should be thinking about the greater context of God’s family. What’s best for the overall purposes of God? What will best benefit all of His people? Who can we pray for right now that’s
-weak and needs strength
-lonely and needs comfort
-sick and needs healing?

What does the Father want for me in the context of everyone He’s called to be His own? Does He want me to pursue something that makes me uncomfortable? I should pray for His guidance. Does He want me to reach out to someone? I should pray for boldness?

When you bow your knees before the Father, do so in a way that keeps in mind your place in His family, among many other children.

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The race is on

Philippians 3: 12-14 “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. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

There will never be a point, while we are still living and breathing, where our mission on earth will be finished. Jesus didn’t set up a retirement plan for us once we hit a certain age or put how ever many years in. Our lives as Christians shouldn’t be treated as some kind of career but instead we should treat it as a race, which Paul compares it to here. And in a race you never let up, you never stop pressing forward until you reach that finish line.

Paul could have easily said, “Well that’s enough for me boys. Going to hang it up until The Lord calls me home.” Paul had accomplished a lot and suffered much, for and through The Lord. Paul, though, didn’t dwell on his current achievements, but what he had yet to achieve. His heart’s desire was to become more in the likeness of Christ and to share in his sufferings in a deeper, greater way. He was excited for what The Lord was going to do next, not what He had already done. That’s not to say he didn’t appreciate how far The Lord had taken him, but his eyes were set to what lay ahead.

On the flip side, Paul didn’t wallow in the sinner he use to be. He didn’t focus on all the mistakes he made in his ministry along the way. He forgot what was behind, good or bad, and pressed forward towards the perfection of Christ. Remember, there are many laps in a race. It’s not where you start at, but where you finish.

Let us celebrate what God has done through the work of Jesus in our lives and let us always be thankful for the grace that was afforded us on the cross. But, above all else, let us be excited and eager for what God is going to do next. Let’s strap in, put the pedal to the floor, and focus our eyes on the course Jesus is laying out before us.

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Grace to the least of all the saints

Ephesians 3:7-13 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

We’ve all been given a ministry and the Lord has equipped us specifically for the role He’s given us. What’s your ministry? If you’re not sure, take an inventory of your circumstances, talents, abilities, resources, and even what burdens you.

The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church with his own specific burden. No one else quite cared the way Paul did about certain people or certain issues they faced. He had his own ministry that was no one else’s. You and I also have to live out our own calling, not one that belongs to someone else.

Just when you may object to the idea that you are a minister of any sort, look at Paul as an example. He not only calls himself the least of all the saints, but if you know anything about his history, you know he’s not exactly who one might have expected to be used in such a huge way to see people converted for Christ. If Paul’s the least of all the saints, the chief of sinners in his own eyes, how can you be any worse? You’ve received no less grace than Paul. Isn’t it time you had “boldness and access with confidence through [y]our faith in him?”

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Christ Following

Matthew 4:19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!”

There are a lot of distractions in the world but for the Christ follower that wants to be obedient, the number one focus should be on making disciples, it’s what Jesus spent his time doing everyday. He started his ministry with the call to the first disciples and he ended his ministry by telling his disciples to go make some more disciples.

Jesus told his potential disciples up front what we was going to do with them but I don’t think that they really understood and I am pretty sure that they didn’t realize the process as it was going on. Jesus subtly brought them along one tiny step at a time, just the same as he has done with me, he knew that there would be a process and that I wouldn’t suddenly become a mature, faithful follower right away.

Jesus spent three years in close daily contact with this group of men, showing them the new way of life and the new way of thinking, he did so through his teaching but most important he did it through his lifestyle.

Disciples don’t get made by themselves, I need to be intentional and make it a part of my lifestyle, I need to be about building relationships that God can use.

Help me Lord to step out and intentionally work at making disciples, I want to live so that my walk is consistent with my talk, so that you will get the glory.

Equipping believers to follow Christ and make Him known