Saint Lucas Lutheran

Church, School, Pre-K and Child Care in Bay View, WI

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Home Every Day With Jesus 1-27-14 to 2-2-14

1-27-14 to 2-2-14

EVERY DAY WITH JESUS

From now until the beginning of Lent (March 5),  let’s enjoy a brief consideration of Saint Paul’s inspired letter to the Christian church at Ephesus.

MONDAY, January 27, 2014  Ephesians 1:1,2  “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.”

SAINT ___________?  At first you might think that you are reading someone else’s mail.  After all, we are not used to putting the title Saint in front of our name.  And, who could live up to such a title - saint?!  But, this letter is meant for you and me today as much as it was intended for the first people who heard it read as they gathered as God’s congregation in Ephesus.  

Yes, the title saint means a holy person.  Someone without sin.  And, that is you and I.  It’s not a title we arrogantly put in front of our own name.  It’s a title that God graciously put in front of our name when He put His Name on us at our baptism.  There we received the perfect holiness of Jesus as our personal possession by faith.  Fellow believers - we are SAINTS!  

Ask yourself, am I enjoying that reality?  Try this for the next week:  every time you see your reflection somewhere, consciously say to yourself - “Saint (your name)”.  Get started right now - look in the mirror and see a genuine saint.  Then, say your name with the title saint in front of it - you might have to do this over and over about five times (don’t worry, you can’t overdose!).

Once the reality sinks in, it just might make a difference in the way you and I live!

PRAYER:  Wow LORD!  Your grace in Christ received by faith through the work of Your Spirit has made me, yes me! a saint.  Help me to grasp this and to reflect it.  AMEN

TUESDAY, January 28, 2014  Ephesians 1:3-6  “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.”

“CHOSEN”  Your status as a genuine saint has a long history.  In fact, it’s “pre-historic”!  God’s grace “...chose you in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight”!  Double wow!!

“Chosen” simply by grace in Christ to be connected to Christ and thus to receive from Christ absolute purity.  Blameless before God in Christ, Who took our blame before God and the world on the cross.  

“Chosen” before time and “...predestined to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace”.  This was all God’s gracious doing not a result of our anticipated performance.  Grace not merit.  Done for our good yes, but for “His pleasure”.   Choosing you gave Him pleasure - wow again!  And, of course His selection of us results in us praising Him - with songs, yes, but, better with lives lived according to His will.  As Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven.”   

PRAYER:  Father, by Your Spirit enable me from my heart to praise you with all that I am and have at all times for choosing me to belong to You!  AMEN and AMEN

(Don’t forget to do the exercise from the second last paragraph in Monday’s devotion!)

WEDNESDAY, January 29, 2014  Ephesians 1:7-10  “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, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”

“REDEMPTION”  It’s a “church word” for sure.  One of the so-called “tion words” - like justificaTION, sanctificaTION, substituTION.  But, don’t let that turn you off; rather, savor it.  These are words that belong in the vocabulary of the Church because the fullness of their meaning is found only in Christ.

We redeem prizes and we redeem coupons.  Christ redeems people.  He “buys them back” to belong to God.  Purchases them at the price of nothing less than “His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death”.  

BLOOD, bought by His blood.  That’s you.  The ransom price He paid for you has provided you with complete forgiveness.  Complete, as in, TOTAL!  The “riches of His grace” has done this for you and me.  That’s REDEMPTION.

That redemption puts His claim on us.  We belong to Him.  As Luther taught us to say, “All this He did that I might be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally.  This is most certainly true.”  Redemption - nice word!  And, it’s certainly true!

PRAYER  I belong to You Jesus.  You wanted me.  I am Yours, purchased by Your blood.  Help me to experience and display the value of my life as I use it to honor You.  AMEN

(Don’t forget to do the exercise from the second last paragraph in Monday’s devotion!)

THURSDAY, January 30, 2014 Ephesians 1:11-14  “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.”

“SEAL”ed  Do you believe in Jesus?  That faith is evidence of the Presence of the Holy Spirit in you.  He lives in you.  He testifies that you are loved by God and forgiven in Christ.  His testimony leads and enables you to believe in Jesus and receive the salvation He purchased for you with His blood.

That Presence of the Holy Spirit evidenced by personal faith in Jesus is not only a “seal” but a “deposit”.  That “deposit guarantees our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession - to the praise of His glory”.  The Spirit’s faith-producing and sustaining Presence in our lives makes it a certainty that when time ends and eternity continues we belong to God; we are a part of His family; we are heirs of the family estate - all “to the praise of His glory”.

The Seal and Deposit - the Holy Spirit - makes and keeps us alive.  He enables us to experience what Jesus spoke of when He said:  “I AM come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10)  Full life comes when we are set free from the death of sin - free from its guilt and free from its power.  Free to live as the children of God in loving response to the love He has given us through His Son.  The Holy Spirit “Seals the deal” - we belong to God and can serve Him.

PRAYER:  Signed, Sealed, delivered - Jesus, I am Your’s!  And glad of it!  AMEN

(Don’t forget to do the exercise from the second last paragraph in Monday’s devotion!)

FRIDAY, January 31, 2014  Ephesians 1:15-17  “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.”

“BETTER!”  Paul wanted something better for the Ephesians.  They already had inestimable good.  Think of what we have considered this week!  They were saints - chosen by God - redeemed by God’s blood - marked and sealed with the very Spirit of God.  What could be better?

Paul tells them.  “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 “.  There were not better gifts awaiting them; but, their understanding of, appreciation for, and response to those gifts could continually get better with God’s blessing.

It’s always that way with Christians.  Who of us knows all about Christ?  Who of us has the fullest appreciation of Who He is, what He did, and what He means to us every moment?  Who of us has reached perfection in our loving response to His perfect love?  We ought to pray for each other as Paul - who himself was always striving to know Christ better - prayed for the Ephesians.  We ought to pray for each other to continually get to know our Father better through His Son by His Spirit.

PRAYER:  FATHER, graciously help me to continually get to know You better through Your Son by Your Spirit.  In Jesus’ Name I ask this.  AMEN

(Don’t forget to do the exercise from the second last paragraph in Monday’s devotion!)

SATURDAY, February 1, 2014  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, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

“ENLIGHTENED”  The Ephesians were walking in the light of Christ.  He dwelt in their hearts by faith.  Yet, there was room for growth.  Paul was praying that the light in which they walked would more and more dispel the natural darkness of sin.  That the light would dispel the fogginess of our view of life.  With that fog and darkness becoming less and less a factor in their lives, then, the light could more and more illumine that life.

With increased light from God in their heart for their path, their eternal future and their present circumstance could be greatly improved.  For the eternal future, they would more and more know the sure and certain “...hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints…”  It is true and certain - we are heirs of eternal life in Christ and with Christ in glory.  That hope is a glorious reality and our glimpse of that coming glory can grow more and more informed as it is “...revealed by His Spirit”  (I Corinthians 2:9,19)

The increased light would not only provide light about the eternal future but power for the present:  “...that you may know...His incomparably great power for us who believe”.  Power for living comes from Christ Who gave us life.  Our awareness and use of that power comes by the power of the Holy Spirit as, through the Word, He increases our effective knowledge of Christ and His power.  He equips us to live life with effective power through our connection with the power of Christ.  Power for living.  Power for eternal life.  All coming through increased knowledge of the reality of Christ through the Holy Spirit making us more and more aware of it.

PRAYER:  LORD, Your Spirit has enlightened me to Jesus as my Savior.  May that enlightenment grow and increase within me so that I confidently put my eternal hope in Him and receive power in my life for Him.  AMEN

(Don’t forget to do the exercise from the second last paragraph in Monday’s devotion!)

SUNDAY, February 2, 2014  Ephesians 1:19b-23  “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 namethat 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.”

RIGHT NOW EVERYWHERE   Perhaps you have seen the billboard on the freeway with beach scene and the tag line “Right now in Manitowoc…”  No doubt it is intended to show us how beautiful and peaceful life can be if you would go to Manitowoc.  To make us aware of and to desire to be in Manitowoc.

Fellow Christians, you and I need to have God cultivate within us the awareness of the powerful rule of Christ and what that means for His Church as a whole and for every individual member, including you and me.  Right now - everywhere - Christ is ruling.  The same LORD who died for our sins has been “...raised from the dead”   and NOW!! HE is “...seated at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to BE HEAD OVER ALL THINGS FOR THE CHURCH, which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills everything in every way!!”

WOWSERS!!  Right now - everywhere - the One Who died for us lives and rules for us over all things for our good with His almighty power…  Think about that and let it affect your life giving you encouragement and power for all things;  in every way;  at all times; in every place; and in all circumstances.  

PRAYER:  FATHER, let the reality of Christ’s rule empower my life as I serve Him in His kingdom in all circumstances,  in every place; at all times; in every way.  AMEN

(Don’t forget to do the exercise from the second last paragraph in Monday’s devotion!)

 

St. Lucas Lutheran Church and School

(414) 483-9122

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