August 15, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 6:19-24

Paul’s Prayer Request …

No question, the apostle Paul was one of the most effective voices for the gospel in all of history.  With that being said, it’s always interesting to take a peek into what he valued, what was in the front of his mind, and what he cared about most.  We can see these things clearly when he asks for prayer requests.

If someone asked you or I for a prayer request, we would likely take a second and think of the most important requests we have.  If someone is going to pray for us, we want it to count!

Here, in closing the book of Ephesians, Paul makes a request.  What was it?  Paul asks for himself, “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

If Paul ended his letter this way, I think we would do well to take note.  Paul requested words to be given to him, from God, that he would open his mouth often, and when it was open that he would declare the gospel boldly.  He desired to boldly proclaim it.  He even goes so far as to say that this is the way it ought to be.

Paul was persecuted for his faith in ways we will never understand fully.  People looked down on him because of it.  They hated him because of it.  They hurt him because of it.  But through all of this, Paul only wanted to proclaim this gospel boldly.  Every time he opened his mouth.

Today, my encouragement for us is to pray this.  Maybe daily.  That every time we open our mouths, that words would be given, and that we would boldly proclaim the gospel, just as we ought.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

August 14, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 6:10-18

…so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.  2 Corinthians 2:11

Imagine going to war and never studying your enemy… or sports with no films of the opposing team.  How arrogant would that be?  What would you think of that coach or general?  Not studying the enemy is not fighting to your advantage.  This passage is all about giving us as Christians the advantage.

Recognize– where your strength lies (v.10)

Not in your might – your know-how – or your strength.  Strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS might.  He’s the mighty God – the God of Noah, Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Nehemiah, Peter, Paul, martyrs, and YOU!

Utilize– the full armor of God (v.11,13)

This is an action step – put it on.    Put on the FULL armor – if you leave off one piece – where do you think Satan will attack you?  Here’s a powerful prayer that might help you…

The Christians Spiritual Armor Prayer

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I claim the protection of the Belt Of Truth around my waist. I pray the protection of the Belt Of Truth over my personal life, my home and my family and God’s ministry for my life. I use the belt of truth directly against satan and his kingdom of darkness, I ask the Holy Spirit to protect me from believing satan’s lies.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I put on the Breast Plate Of Righteousness. I hold up the righteous life of the Lord Jesus Christ to defeat satan and his kingdom. I affirm that my victory is won and lived out by my Savior in whom I live.

I take the Shoes of Peace in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by faith I shall walk in them this day. I affirm that I am justified and that I have peace with GOD through the Lord Jesus Christ, who is my peace. Teach me to wait in Your Presence until the inner peace of GOD which transcends human understanding replaces my anxiety.

Heavenly Father, I take the Protection of the Shield Of Faith, I count upon your holy presence to surround me, offering total protection from all of satan’s flaming arrows. Grant me the grace to accept your refining purpose in allowing any of satan’s arrows to pass through the Shield and to even thank You for it. Help me to concentrate upon Your Presence and not the enemy’s arrows.

In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ I claim the protection of the Holy Angles to guard and shield me from the assaults of satan’s kingdom. May these ministering angles be present to interfere with the strategy of satan to harm me and my family. I appropriate the victory of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and hold it against the advances of the evil one. With gratitude and praise in the name of Jesus Christ I rejoice in your victory.

Heavenly Father, I take by faith The Helmet Of Salvation, in the person of Your Son, The Lord Jesus Christ. I cover my MIND WITH HIM. I desire that He put His mind within ME, let my thoughts be His thoughts. I open my mind fully and only to the control of the Lord Jesus Christ. I reject every projected thought of satan and his demons and request instead the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grant to me the wisdom to discern thoughts that are from the world and satan’s kingdom. I praise You Heavenly Father, that I may know the mind of Christ as I hide Your Word within my heart and mind.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I lay hold of the Sword Of The Spirit. The Word Of GOD. I embrace it’s inerrant message of truth and power. In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, grant to me the wisdom to always apply the Word against the enemy. May I use the word of God to defeat satan and to advance the cause of Christ into the realm satan CLAIMS.

Heavenly Father, I choose to see myself as You see me in the person of your Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, invincibly strong and able to do all that is in Your Will for me to do. Help me to see that in my union with Christ I am more than a conqueror. Cleanse me in my Savior’s Blood. I take back from satan all the ground I have given him by my sin and transgressions. On the authority of the Cross, I resist the devil and his kingdom, steadfast in the faith. I command satan and his demons to leave me and to go where the LORD JESUS SENDS THEM.   AMEN.

Realize– who the war is with (v.12)

It’s not against your wife, your husband, your boss, your teenager, your mom or dad – it’s against Satan and his forces.  He’s trying to destroy you and ruin your life.

Strategize(v.14-17)

  • Belt of Truth – The belt held up the robe so you could fight. Truth is what holds everything up in our lives.  Truth comes from God’s Word.  Believe it!
  • Breastplate of Righteousness – Righteousness mean right living. Protection comes from living right.
  • Shoes of the Gospel – Always thinking about where we go and our Gospel witness there.
  • Shield of Faith – When Satan shoots an arrow of doubt – defend yourself by commitment to your faith. Stand firm in it.
  • Helmet of Salvation – always remembering what God saved you from and what change your salvation has brought in your life.
  • Sword of the Spirit – God’s Word. Just like Jesus did in Matthew 4 – when tempted use the one offensive weapon you have – the Bible.  That’s why you have to know it.

Prioritize– the secret to winning (v.18)

Prayer is the secret weapon to winning the war against satan.  Make time for dedicated prayer with God AND pray each day as you go.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

August 13, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 6:1-9

Children, obey your parents. Parents, teach your children well.  (vs. 1-4)

Verses 1-2 are pretty straight forward.  Children should obey and honor their parents.  That’s a big responsibility, and verse 3 tells us that the reward for obedience is great.

Verse 4 teaches me, though, that the greater burden and responsibility is actually on the parents for their children to obey and honor them.  Fathers (and I think it’s safe to assume the same command to mothers) are not to provoke their children to anger, but are to raise them under the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  In other words, parents have the huge responsibility to teach their children the importance of obedience, in general, as well as the responsibility to teach them things worthy of their obedience.  What are those things worthy of obedience?  The discipline and instruction of the Lord.

So, parents, verses 1-4 might just be more of a challenge to you than it is your children.  What are you teaching your kids?  How are you instructing them?  Are you holding them accountable to obedience?

Children, are you being obedient?  Are you honoring your parents?  If not, confess that to your parents and to the Lord and commit to obey and honor your parents.

Slaves, obey your masters.  Masters, treat your slaves well.  (vs. 5-9)

The master-slave relationship referred to here parallels an employer-employee relationship.  Verses 5-7 tell us that slaves were to be obedient to their masters with a pure heart.  Now, this effort to be obedient was not to be done just to “please the boss,” so to speak, but to please the Lord.  True obedience is done with a pure heart.  Verse 8 speaks of a great reward that the obedient slave would receive for his/her obedience.

Verse 9 teaches that the boss is supposed to be a boss that is worth following in obedience.  Masters were to be people who didn’t motivate their slaves by threats and harsh treatment.  Instead, they were to treat slaves as the Lord would treat them as the boss—as one who shows no partiality.

So, are you an employee?  If so, work and serve as unto the Lord in all that you do.

Are you an employer?  Treat your employees in such a way that they actually would want to be obedient to you.

Ultimately, this whole section of Scripture is about having obedience with a pure heart.  Remember, all of God’s commandments include His enablements.  His enablement was given in Ephesians 5:18 when He said to be filled with His Spirit.  The power of the Spirit enables us to live in obedience to His commands.  And, we have this power source within us only because of what Christ did on the cross for us.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

August 12, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 5:22-33

Today’s passage has been one that can cause a lot of division. This idea of submission between husband and wife is one that in our American culture is seen as “ignorant” or “old school.” We want to be seen as progressive in our thinking toward women and men. We should be seen as equal partners. In many cases the wife is the one who leads the home and the husband submits. I would argue that this passage is in agreement that both men and women are equally important and equal partners in the home. There is great hope in the instruction and the order that God has set up for the home.

Paul’s first instruction is to the wives. They are to “submit to your own husbands as to the Lord.” This is literally saying that submitting to the leadership of your husband is an act of worship to the Lord. Submitting to your husband has little to do with your husband. For a wife to submit to her husband in the way that this passage describes means you have to have a complete trust and confidence in Jesus Christ as Lord. You may say, “I don’t think that my husband is capable to lead.” I would counter back with do you think that God through Jesus is capable to lead your husband? If your answer is no then I pray and I hope you pray that God grows him in these areas.

I want to be clear that this passage is not saying that you cannot contribute to the decisions of your household. Absolutely, you should not only contribute but a good husband will want your impute because God has designed you to be his helper (Genesis 2:18). As a husband I am often faced with tough decisions for our home and my wife is the first one that I ask for impute and help. Often she has excellent ideas and input that we end up going with. This passage is also not saying that as a wife you can’t oversee certain areas of your household. My wife is great at organizing and detail so we meet to together from time to time to discuss decisions to be made about our finances but she oversees it because she is better at it. Finally, this passage is not saying that you should ever live in an abusive situation. If this is your situation please seek help from your pastoral staff and appropriate authorities.

This leads me to the husband, we as husbands are called to lead as servant leaders in our home. If you read verse 25 it should convict all of us. We are to give ourselves to our wife as Christ gave himself to the church. Christ came and sacrificed himself not only in leadership but even to death on a cross so that we can be saved. This means that every decision that we make for our home should be for the benefit and edification of our wife. Our main goal is to inspire and encourage her in her faith. Husbands sacrifice our own desires for the good and betterment of our home.

This passage does not say that we Lord over our wives. Jesus is Lord over you and your wife. We as husbands are stewards and we will answer to how we treat his daughters. This passage does not say that your family helps lead your home. Verse 31, says that you leave your father and mother and cling to your wife. She is now your main family. It does not mean that you can’t accept some wisdom from your family but final decisions should be made between husband and wife. I can’t tell you how many couples that I have either counseled or just known about through friendship that the lack of leaving and cleaving has caused great harm in the marriage. One couple that I know ended in divorce over this issue. If you are reading this and you are an In-law I encourage you to push your children to leave and cleave to one another. Finally, this passage does not say that your wife is less that you. In many cases your wife will be smarter and more talented than you. Good leadership will result in those you leading flourishing not floundering. There is no room for pride in God’s model of leadership.

Questions to ponder:

Husbands are you serving your wife sacrificially? Is she growing closer to God because of your leadership? Is she flourishing or floundering? Do you make it easy for your wife to submit to your leadership?

Wives are you praying for your husband’s leadership?  Do you submit to your husband’s decisions for your family? Are you a helper or a hurter?

Posted by: Chad Wiles