Chapter 2 takes a different turn as move out of the first chapter. After Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian Christians, he presents a picture of life before Christ, of salvation and the ultimate results of faith in Christ.
First we have to realize our condition that we are naturally born into. Paul writes that we were dead in our trespasses and sins. We formerly walked in this condition, according to the course of the world and the prince of the power of the power of the air and the spirit of the sons of disobedience. We formerly lived in the lusts of the flesh and the mind and were by nature children of wrath.
Paul writes two important words next. But God.
God steps into our lives to save us. He is rich in mercy because of his great mercy. What does He do? He changes our condition. Where we were dead, now He makes us alive. He loved us even when were were dead in our transgressions making us alive together in Christ. Not only that, but he has raised us and seated us with Christ in the heavenly places. We are already seated in our ultimate destination. He does this so that He can show the surpassing riches of His grace.
What is the result? By His grace we are saved. This is not of ourselves, it’s the gift of God, It’s not the result of works, so that we cannot boast.
What are we saved to? Works. We are His workmanship, created for good works which God prepared beforehand for us to walk in.
My son called me yesterday morning. He does that a lot of times during summer break. It’s always good to hear from him when he wakes up.
He proceeded to ask me if I knew what I had said before going to bed the previous night. I’m prone to dozing off while watching TV. When I wake up to go to bed, I tend to say some crazy things.
Evidently Andrew asked me if I would ride a roller coaster that goes around 120 miles per hour. I, in turn, evidently said no.
Andrew asked me again when he called me, expecting a different answer. My answer, however, had not changed. I absolutely have no interest in riding a roller coaster that fast.
The reason I gave each time was not different either. The reason I don’t want to ride this fast coaster is simple.
For as long as I can remember, I was taught to be afraid of roller coasters. My grandparents rode one by mistake before I was born. They had no idea what they were getting into, but found out soon enough.
My parents taught me to be afraid of roller coasters as well. There was never anything good said about them. My fear of them grew until I reached the age of nineteen. Finally, at that late age, I rode roller coasters at Six Flags. And I had a good time.
A couple of weeks ago we went to Dollywood. We had not been in a few years. We got there late, so all we did was go ride each roller coaster they have there.
I was afraid each time I got on the roller coaster.
Yes, I now ride roller coasters. I look forward to riding them. Yet I am still afraid each time I ride a roller coaster.
That’s kind of the way it is in life, isn’t it? You face things that you fear. You have a choice. You can either turn tail and run in the other direction or you can embrace them.
I choose to ride the roller coaster despite being scared to death each time I get on one. That’s the only way I know how to face life.
It’s a secret that not too many know. Now I’ve let you in on it.
I used to be extremely consistent writing this little blog. Day after day I showed up to write and post. My friend, Jim, even called me “the Cal Ripken of blogging.’
Lately this has not been the case.
I have been wildly inconsistent. I have struggled to write my normal five days per week. I backed it down to three days each week and I’ve even struggled with that.
I think I’ve finally realized what the issue is.
Sure, I’ve been busy, but I was busy before. I have the same amount of time that I did when I wrote posts weeks ahead of time.
The problem is that I’m not sure what I want to write anymore.
I have been writing this blog for just over four years now. I wrote a couple of other blogs for a couple of years before that. All told, I’ve been writing and blogging for almost seven years now.
The problem is that I haven’t been writing for myself first.
On the surface that sounds like a selfish statement, but I don’t think writing is any different from brushing my teeth or combing my hair. Well, let’s skip that last one. I haven’t combed my hair in years now.
I haven’t been writing what makes me happy. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing about faith, but that’s not everything I want to write about. I have some other interests in life too.
I’m doing some soul-searching right now. I’m looking deep within myself at what all I want to write about. I want to give a clearer picture of who I am and, in turn, I want that to make a difference in people’s lives.
I don’t think I’m unique. If I write about what I need and want to learn through writing, I expect there are other people out there like. me.
Thanks to all my friends who hang with me even when I ‘mstruggling.
I hope you are off work today enjoying the unofficial start of summer. Pause today and remember those who have fallen in the service of our country. See you later in the week.
As we wind down the first chapter of Ephesians, we see how Paul prays for the believers of Ephesus.
First, Paul had heard, while in prison, of their faith in Christ and love the saints, prayed for them. He did not cease giving thanks for them while making mention of them in his prayers. He did not just give thanks for them, though. Paul prayed for specific things.
The second component of his prayer for the Ephesians was that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened. What Paul is getting at is that he desires for their minds to grow in the knowledge of Christ.
Next, he prayed that they would have the hope of His calling. Paul wants them to have the assurance that comes from the hope of this calling.
Paul also wants them to know the riches of the glory of His inheritance among the saints. Each believer is an heir of the kingdom. Knowing this changes one’s outlook on life.
Finally, Paul prays that they will know the surpassing greatness of His power toward those who believe. God has given His power to those of us who believe. This power is demonstrated through the working of the strength of His might. This same power is what raised Christ from the dead.
Not only was Christ raised from the dead, but He was seated at God’s right hand, above all other rule, authority, power, dominion or name that is named. He named Him head of the church, which is Christ’s body, which is the fullness of Christ.
What does this mean for us?
We have been prayed for before. Yes Paul prayed for the Ephesians, but to think that he did not pray this for all believers to come would be to not know Paul.
We can know Christ, not just wish to know.
We have an assured hope of His calling. We don’t have to just wish to know it.
We have an inheritance. We are heirs of Christ.
We have God’s power. We don’t have to ask Him for it. He has already given it to us.
i was lucky when I asked Jan to marry me.
I was poor and couldn’t afford an engagement ring. Jan didn’t really mind and married me anyway, with no pledge toward our engagement.
That isn’t standard operating procedure.
Almost every girl now receives a ring before getting married.
The ring is a pledge. It is a down payment on the coming marriage. It is earnest money, telling her that the guy is serious about marrying her.
God does the same thing for us.
Once we are saved, we become the Bride of Christ. One day He will come back to get us and finalize the marriage.
He gives us a pledge toward the marriage. He puts a down payment on it. He gives us some earnest money.
He gives us the Holy Spirit.
You can read about that in Ephesians 1.
The Holy Spirit is a pledge toward our inheritance, which is our eternal life with Christ.
The Holy Spirit is our engagement ring. He is another example of God’s grace in our lives.
Approximately four years ago I started this blog. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride.
It started out as a way for me to express myself, to take these crazy ideas, these little inspirations, and throw them out there in the world.
Unfortunately, I didn’t stop there.
I decided to grind my ax. I wrote about some things that I shouldn’t, some events in my life, some people. It caused a lot of hurt in my life and my family’s life.
It would stand to reason that I would have some regrets. Yet, for the most part, I don’t.
I wouldn’t be where I am without those ill-fated posts. I wouldn’t have learned anything that I learned in 2011. I wouldn’t know what I know now.
I have been reading in Ephesians lately. A lot lately. Ephesians 1:12 says that we have “been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”
I’m not saying that everything I’ve done is good. I’m just saying that He works it out according to His will.
So, do I have regrets?
I regret the hurt I caused, but I don’t regret where I am now. God used it to make me who I am now.
So, no ultimate regrets here.