Posts from the ‘Ephesians’ Category

Ephesians 6

Ephesians 6

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]

4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Final Greetings

21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

23 Peace to the brothers and sisters,[c] and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.[d]

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eph%206&version=NIV

…v1-9 In this section there are two groups being spoken to.

The first is to those under authority (which is technically all of us). Paul says to obey those in authority over us with respect, fear, and sincerity of heart–just as we would obey Christ–because it is the right thing to do. He goes on to say that we should obey them all the time, whether they are watching or not, and obey them wholeheartedly–because it is God’s will. Whether the people over us are our parents or teachers or employers or spouses or what have you–God wants us to honor and respect and obey them, as we would Him. (Kind of like my parents always told us kids when they left a babysitter in charge–obey them just like you would obey us!)

The second is to those with authority over others. Paul says not to exasperate them, but to train and instruct them. To treat them with respect and honor and to not threaten them, remembering that God is both your Master and theirs. Whether these are your children, or students, or coworkers, or employees, or spouse or what have you, if you are in any way responsible for them, remember that God is watching, and God is over you. You have a responsibility to that person to treat them as Christ treated you, and to set a good example for them–especially as a parent for kids often base their perception of God off of how their parents act. Scary huh?

…v10-20 I feel like the armor of God is all of the things that God has offered to us in one way or another that we can use to stand firm when Satan is tempting or tormenting us: Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, Spirit, and the Word of God. And after that: prayer prayer prayer prayer.

 

Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Instructions for Christian Households

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%205&version=NIV

..

… There are 3 things that really stood out to me in this chapter, so much so that I’m going to “ignore” the rest of it (meaning I’m not going to cover all of the verses like I normally do) forgive me for this if it bothers you. (and please don’t ignore the chapter–it is all very excellent and filled with many good things–these are only the ones that God is speaking to me about currently.)

…”follow God’s example…and walk in the way of love…offering and sacrifice…” There are a million and one things I could say here about this, and I’m honestly not sure what I should say. However, I do want to say this–it is going to hurt. In order to truly love someone and follow God’s example about how to love them, you will have to sacrifice–your pride, your time, being right, being comfortable, fairness, etc–and it will hurt, and it won’t be easy. If it doesn’t hurt sometimes, then you might want to relook at how you’re loving people. Chances are, you’re loving yourself more (this is coming from someone who loves herself very much–so trust me, I know).

…”be very careful…how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” I think a lot of times I put things off, thinking I can do it later, maybe tomorrow would be better, it doesn’t really matter if it gets done now… But honestly, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring and neither do you. If we have opportunities today to do something–whether it’s talking to someone about God, or doing the dishes to make your husband happy, or spending an hour with someone you don’t care for very much but you know they appreciate it, or spending a few extra minutes with God instead of on facebook, or praying for someone–do it today! If we use our time wisely we are not only honoring God, but we are also planting seeds in the hearts of other people who see how we live our lives–and they will notice how we spend our time…and of course, we are building our character (fun, right :P). 🙂

…”Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord…. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything….and the wife must respect her husband.” I have been blessed with a very loving husband. However, it is still not always easy to submit to him, or trust him to do the responsible thing, sometimes it’s not even very easy to respect him–but these things are because of my pride. Because I don’t want him to have his way, I don’t want to let him be in control. But, God ordered things a certain way and trusting God entails trusting that Him putting my husband in authority over me was His plan and He chose correctly. If I trust God, then I will submit to my husband and respect Him out of respect for God. Also, for those looking in on our marriage, we should be an example of Christ and the church that they can understand–and we want to be an example of a GOOD relationship between Christ and His Bride… not a bad one… 🙂

 

Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Instructions for Christian Living

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eph%204&version=NIV

…I feel like this chapter is mainly Paul encouraging the Ephesians in very specific areas of their walk with God, and showing them in practical ways how to live worthy of His calling. He also mentioned that Christ Himself gave us people who would teach and build us up in order that we would be equipped for His service.

() be humble
() be gentle
() be patient
() bear with one another in love
() make every effort to keep unity and peace
() speak the truth in love
() put off your old self and old ways of thinking and old deceitful desires
() be made new in the attitude of your minds
() put on new self–like God in righteousness and holiness
() speak truthfully to your neighbor
() to not sin in anger
() do not steal
() do something useful with your hands–in order to share with those in need
() get rid of every form of malice (bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, etc)
() do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths
() only speak what is helpful to build others up
() be kind
() be compassionate
() forgive

Do you notice that nearly all of these things have to do with how we treat others, and our responses to them? In our interactions with people we should put them first, be gentle and patient with them. When they do something that irks us we should do everything we can to keep the peace. When we say things, even if they might hurt, we need to speak it in and out of love. If we are angry with them, we must not act in that anger. We must work hard in order to share with others (is that why you went to work today? So that you could share with someone else? Share your money or food or clothes or home, or even your smile with that person who you just hate so much at work? Everyone needs something–what can you share with them?) When we interact with others we must not say anything unwholesome… stay positive and encouraging and clean, only say things that will build others up–that includes people that aren’t in the room. Be compassionate and forgive…

A lot of times this is SO hard, because we automatically focus on ourselves a lot of the time, what we need, what we like, what they did/said to us. I think this is why it also mentioned that we should be renewed in the attitudes of our minds. We need to be refocused and reprogrammed to focus on what God wants and how He wants us to view those around us. But, if we learn to focus on other before ourselves, I think the rest of these things will fall much more easily into place.

Love God. Love people.

Ephesians 3

Ephesians 3

God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles

1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eph%203&version=NIV

…Paul explains that God chose to extend His grace to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, and this was the mystery of Christ that Paul was chosen to preach to the world. He goes on to say that this was the purpose God created him for, so the Ephesians should not be discouraged because of the things Paul was suffering because it was through this suffering and purpose that their eyes were opened to the gospel.

…Paul again prays for his readers:
(1) that God would strengthen them with His power
(2) that God would dwell in their hearts through faith
(3) that they would be rooted and established in love
(4) and that they may have the power to grasp how long and high and deep is Christ’s love…and to KNOW that love…that they may be filled with the fullness of God.

at the end of his prayer, Paul casually reminds the Church that God is capable of doing more than all we can ever dream of, and that His power is working in and through us…

When Paul prayed for the Ephesians, he chose very specific things. He was afraid of them getting discouraged because of the trials he was facing (and possibly they were too).  Paul prayed for God to strengthen them… and to be with them. Anyone you know going through a hard time? Paul also prayed that they would be rooted and established in love. Often when we face hard things it’s easy to become angry and bitter–why me? why this? –angry at God, angry at those who seem to be causing the pain, angry at the situation, angry at ourselves, whatever the case may be…and Paul prays that despite our circumstances we would focus on love, be based in it in the core of our being, that we have no room for anger or bitterness…that we would be able to love those causing pain, we would continue to love God and look to Him for guidance and comfort in the midst of our sufferings, that we would pray for those persecuting us, that we would continue to reach out to others who are hurting and show them God’s love and encourage them in the midst of our sufferings. And he prays that they would KNOW God’s love in all of it’s fullness and be filled with it. And he finishes by reminding the Church that God is able to do not only what we ask and hope, but He is capable of so much more, and He knows what He is doing and He is strong enough to bring His perfect plans into completeness.

May God strengthen you and be with you. May His love be firm beneath your feet and fill your heart to overflowing. Amen.

Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2

Made Alive in Christ

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Jew and Gentile Reconciled Through Christ

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eph%202&version=NIV

…This whole chapter is a continuous thought.

Paul reminds the Ephesians of where they came from: They used to be wallowing in sin. Gentiles. Dead. Without Hope. Without God. Strangers. Deserving of wrath.

He reminds them of what changed: God loves us and made us alive with Him. He saved us through grace. We were brought near by the blood of Christ. He destroyed the dividing wall of hostility.

He explains what it means for us now: We are God’s handiwork–created to do good works that God has prepared for us to do. We have access to the Father through His Spirit. We are a unified household, built on the apostles and prophets with Christ as our cornerstone, a household that Christ is building even now that God is living in.

My brain is very scattered right now….so bear with me as I try to focus these thoughts and explain what they mean to me.
(1) I believe that Paul wanted to remind the Church of their past. If we ever forget what we were or where we came from, we instantly forget what Christ’s sacrifice meant, it loses all significance to us and we begin to take it for granted and we begin to feel entitled. We also forget how much Christ has changed us–which also causes problems. If we forget how much we have changed, we forget the blessings He has given us and the purpose behind the hard things that we have struggled through in our lives. If we forget those and the purpose behind them, we begin to doubt whether God is a good God. We question His pure motives and we begin to think we know best and stop trusting Him like we should. We must not forget where we have come from.

(2) We also cannot forget what Christ has done for us and what grace cost Him, and all that He accomplished through His sacrifice. If we forget this, we begin to cheapen grace. We think that “oh yeah Jesus died for me” as if it we no big deal. This is incredibly easy to do, especially for those of us raised in the church. Forgetting what Christ did also lessens the power and greatness of EVERYTHING He accomplished at the cross: conquering Satan and Hell, crushing Death and Sin, bridging the great divide between God and humanity, and SO much more. This was no small thing, and we cannot forget.

(3) And we cannot forget who and what we are now. The things Paul mentions in the text here are that we have purpose: to do good works that God has prepared for us. We need to keep our eyes open to the opportunities He brings us to bring Him praise through those good things. We have access to God–we are His people and He loves us and is willing to talk to and with us. And we are the Body, the Church. We are united in and by Christ. We have a history, a foundation and a cornerstone, and God is IN the Church, we will not fail. As the Church, the Bride of Christ, we have responsibilities and duties. We are part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are a chosen people. There is SO much here I want to say–the Church is such a beautiful thing, we cannot cannot forget that that is who we are, what we are part of. Paul knew it was important. We aren’t just single, random people wandering around on the earth that God randomly chose to each individually do a couple of good things before they died. God created a living organism. He birthed the small tiny Church that has grown and developed and been shaped by His Hands. The Church is created to be a single unit, a single Body, each part unique and interdependent upon the rest. We need each other. We cannot survive this world alone.

I have piles more to say… but my brain fails me. 😛

Ephesians 1

Ephesians 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

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. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 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, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%201&version=NIV

…v3-14 I noticed for the first time ever that the purpose of that section is to remind of us the many spiritual blessings God has given us. We often remember some of His earthly blessings: food, friends, work, etc but when it comes to spiritual blessings, we usually only think about the fact that He died for us (which is great, but, it ain’t all). Here are some of the things Paul things we should remember:

(1) He chose us
(2) He chose us to be holy and blameless before Him
(3) He loves us
(4) He chose us to be part of His family
(5) He gave us grace
(6) He has redeemed us
(7) He has freely given us forgiveness
(8) He has revealed His will to us
(9) He gave us purpose: we might bring Him praise
(10) He gave us an inheritance.

So I had to ask myself, why is it important that we remember spiritual blessings? What do we gain from them? Why should we remember them? Friends, we were not made for this world. We were not made just for food and clothes and work. We are spiritual beings. We were created for fellowship with God. It is super important that we focus on and are reminded of all the spiritual blessings we have–in order to remind us of our eternal home and our greater purpose in life. If we only had a God who gave us food and clothes and earthly things, we would tend to think that this world is all that there is. But if we have a God who loves us and rescues us and adopts us into his family and forgives our mistakes and offers us an inheritance…it sounds to me like He is planning on us coming and living with Him.  Those reminders are there in order to help us to focus on God and on what He is planning, rather than on this world and the things that are happening here.

…v15-19 Paul lets the Ephesians know he is praying for them. I swear Paul tells people that he prays for them, and what he prays for them, probably 1-2 times at least in every single letter. Paul had a lot of people he was praying for, and he prayed incredible things for them. Like here:

(1) give thanks for you
(2) God may give you His Spirit
(3) know God better
(4) eyes of your heart enlightened
(5) know the hope to which He called you
(6) know the riches of His inheritance
(7) know his Power

I suppose there are several reasons Paul tells them what he is praying and why.

(1) they will know what Paul thinks is important
(2) they will be reminded of what to focus on in their own prayer lives and in their prayers for others
(3) they will know when his prayers are being answered (or at least, starting to be answered, cause we can never fully grasp these things)
(4) they will be encouraged to know that he is praying for them
(5) it also makes Paul accountable to KEEP praying for them, because he said he was, AND he even told them what he was praying for

It makes me think that praying for people, and telling them what I pray for might be a good idea. I’m usually embarrassed to pray for people aloud or tell them what I pray for partly because I’m afraid they’ll think it’s stupid, and partly because, when I really pour myself into prayer I feel that it’s something super special and it’s scary to let others in on that, especially if it’s about/for them. But… it might be worth the risk…. 🙂

…v19-23 just remind us that God is awesome and powerful… more powerful than anything that ever was or will be or anything thought up ever. And He is on our side. (or rather… we are on His… 🙂 )