Tag Archives: devotional

What am I praying for?

ddSo many times, when I read through the word of God, I try to keep my mind on the the “theme” that is usually indicated at the top of the passage (in my NIV).  Today’s scripture reading was Ephesians 1:15-19.  It was highlighted as Thanksgiving and Prayer.  So, my natural thought was this will be about giving thanks and a prayer about that.  While that is true of this section, I felt something different come out of it.  In this passage, Paul is building up the believers in Ephesus.  He is giving them a pep talk so to speak.  Well, he gave me one too.

What am I praying for?  Often times, I find my prayer life to be focused on making sure I mention everyone and everything on my heart and then just leaving it at that.  I have full faith that God hears my prayers and that He loves me and that He will answer my prayers according to his perfect plan and will.  Check.  Got that.  But this passage opened up my heart to how confident I am in the big picture.  I am speaking to the creator of the universe.  To the one that has no beginning and end.  He is more powerful than anything that has ever been or will ever be.  My study notes mentioned that the atom is the most powerful particle in the universe.  We fear its potential, we have seen in history the possible devastation through the atomic bomb.  Yet, I am speaking and praying to the one that spoke the atom into existence.  Didn’t create…but spoke it into being.  God is powerful.

I should not walk through this life with fear and uncertainty.  I will from time to time, because I am not perfect, but my prayer should be for the boldness and assurance found in the hope of Jesus Christ.  I want to be more like Christ.  I want to follow His perfect example recorded in the gospels.  I want to look more like Christ in my daily walk, everyday.  I want to come to the father in prayer in the same way He did, with total reverence for who He is and in total confidence that He will be faithful to hear my heartfelt prayer and work all things for the good in my life.

The bonus…cherry on top, if you will, in this passage was to see how God views me.  Because I have the hope of Christ sealed in my heart and God’s assurance through the Holy spirit, I can know I am his.  Guess what?  He is looking forward to his inheritance, which is me and all of his children that have put their faith and hope in the finished work of Christ.  I am His inheritance.  Praise God that He loves us so much.

Further reading: Ephesians 1:15-19

Working out Faith

ddDepart from me, I never knew you”

I can’t imagine any more harrowing words will ever be uttered in all the universe.  For that phrase isn’t for the person that knows they have never done anything with faith in Christ.  They completely rejected him in every way while alive.  No surprise there.  I still believe that even a person who has purposefully rejected Christ, when standing before the throne, with full understanding will be in shock and utter despair.

But what about the person that has found that  balance between faith and the world?  You know the “check-off” christian. This is the person that has the head knowledge of Christ.  They have read the Bible…maybe all of it.  They know who Jesus Christ is, what He did, and even why.  They can recite scripture, all in all they appear to be with it.  But when Sunday has passed. When they leave the church building, or when the quietly sit in the service each day without the slightest intention of living for Christ beyond those walls, they are as good as dead..

James 2:14-20 tells us plain and simple that our faith, if not accompanied by works is dead.  It’s useless.  In fact it may not even be real.  Now this may raise some eyebrows and cause someone to say, “Wait a minute, I thought all I had to do to be saved was believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  You are absolutely right.  Paul was very clear when he said “For it is by grace you  have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  But Paul and James are on the same page, and I am pretty sure would agree with each others points.  We are saved by grace.  But if we have truly put our full trust in the word of God and in His plan for our salvation, then our life will reflect that.  That’s where the works come into play.  We will have no choice but to show evidence of what has taken place in our heart.  When you are saved, you are different.  You are changed.  That’s the idea of “born again”.  Will you sin again?  Of course you will.  We are fallible beings.  We will not reach the perfect creation that God intended until we are in His perfect kingdom.  But we will grieve that sin.  We will turn from it and pray for forgiveness and strive every day to overcome it through Christ.  We will be filled with compassion for others, and the desire to live everyday for Christ – telling others about Him.  Head knowledge is not a bad thing.  It’s why we feed our soul with God’s word, to gain knowledge – but the purpose of that knowledge is so that we can LIVE IT OUT.

I have struggled with this in my life.  Maybe more than anything else.  I have allowed the devil to stir up thoughts of eternal insecurity.  Am I really saved, do I really believe?  At times I have doubted that I had anything more than head knowledge.  Why this doubt – habitual sin.  Repeating the same behaviors day in and day out.  How could I keep going to that broken well if I was really saved?  The answer is pretty simple.  I am a sinner and I am weak.  I can always look back at those moments where I was more worldly than not and see that it was during a time when there wasn’t much dedication to reading the word, not much prayer, not much more than being in church when I was expected to be there.  God made it simple.  Believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins, was buried and rose again on the third day, and offers free salvation through that belief.  Then feed the Holy Spirit whom he sent to help guide me through this life. through daily reading and applying His word and constant prayer.  When that is taking place, and when I am purposefully focusing on His word and  His will, I will  have no choice but to have outward evidence through my actions and thoughts that Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior.

God, today I thank you for the free gift of salvation through your perfect sacrifice.  I thank you that you spoke to my heart and that you welcomed me into the family of God on simple faith alone.  I pray that my heart and mind would be constantly on you and my desire would be to feed my soul and grow in your word daily so that I can live out my faith for the purpose you have called me.  – Amen.