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Series: DEVOTIONS IN Ephesians
Devotional - Be Patient
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Oct 14, 2018
Devotional - Be Patient

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." - Ephesians 4:2

 

Jamie Nieto is a two time Olympic high jumper. On April 23, 2016, Jamie was coaching high jumpers at Azusa Pacific University. To show his pupils he still had spring in his step at age 39, he attempted a backflip, but caught his foot on liftoff and landed on his head.

"We were doing backflips, he said “And my foot slipped and I basically went from my feet to my head and the disk in my neck slipped and bruised my spinal cord, and that left me paralyzed from my chest down. I couldn't move."

He recalled lying on the ground, gasping for breath. As Jamie waited for an ambulance, he asked another athlete to pray for him. That athlete also went to grab a Bible from his car and placed a hand on it as he shouted prayers to the Lord.

After surgery, Jamie “a powerful and successful athlete” faced an uphill recovery battle. Keeping positive and forging on wasn't easy, especially as he experienced paralysis. Jamie said he had to rely on "a lot of faith, a lot of prayer, a lot of hard work" to make it through.

Today, more than two years after his devastating injury, he walks with forearm crutches and is able to move every part of his body. The recovery process is ongoing, but Jamie is positive about his stunning improvements.

"Never give up, never lose that faith," he said. "You need to pray and God will see you through some of the most toughest and hardest times in your life."

Jamie still struggles with impatience. He wants to jump up and run now.

"I want to be better yesterday," he said. "I've just got to be patient, stay faithful, keep praying."

 

We are called to develop patience. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His patience towards you and seek to be humble and patient in all that you do.

 

"True patience grows with the growth of love. – Gregory the Great

 

God's Word: "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." - James 5:7-8

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - More Than All We Ask Or Imagine
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Oct 11, 2018
Devotional - More Than All We Ask Or Imagine

"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" - Ephesians 3:20

 

David M. Howard relates the following: “He arrived at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, during my junior year, 1947-48. A German who had spent time as a prisoner of war, he was now working as a janitor, sweeping the halls and cleaning the restrooms of Blanchard Hall.

Many of my fellow students had served in World War II; some had even been prisoners of war themselves. We heard that this man had served in the German military forces, but we knew nothing else about him. Had he been a Nazi himself? Or was he one of those young men who were obligated to serve their country regardless of political opinions? We did not know. And since he spoke almost no English, we could not communicate well with him.

The janitor had a pleasant smile, and we enjoyed greeting him in the hallways as he carried out his duties. As far as we knew, he was not a Christian, so Jim Elliot (who would later be martyred, along with four other missionaries in Ecuador) got the vision to start praying for him. Jim rounded up several more of us and challenged us to pray that this young man would give his heart to Christ. We would get together from time to time and pray especially for this German, who remained a mystery to us.

After a time, he left Wheaton and we lost track of him. We only hoped that somehow the Lord would be working in his heart to bring him to salvation. After a while he faded from our thoughts and memories.”

In 1978, David was invited by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization to help organize and direct a consultation on world evangelization. The leadership committee met in Hamilton, Bermuda.

One afternoon David was standing at the waterfront of Hamilton with another committee member as they looked at some of the ships tied up in port. David continues his story: “One was a large British submarine. My companion, who was from Germany, looked at the submarine and commented, ‘I served in Hitler's submarine corps.’ I was fascinated, so I asked for more details.

He said, ‘Toward the end of the war, as the Allies were sweeping across Europe and crossing the Rhine River into Germany, Hitler pulled most of us off the submarines and naval vessels, which were no longer of much use to Germany, and put us in the front lines as infantry.

I was on the front lines in Holland, where I was wounded. This was the best thing that ever happened to me, as I was abandoned by our troops in retreat and was captured by the British. They sent me to a hospital in England. The rest of my contingent retreated eastward and was captured by the Russians. Most of them were never heard from again.’

He went on to explain that he had gone from England to the United States for a period of time. He said his name was Peter Schneider, and he was the chairman of the board of directors of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Germany. He spoke perfect English, and so served as Billy Graham's interpreter whenever Mr. Graham preached in Germany.

Suddenly my mind began to spin, dredging up memories of 30 years earlier. Peter Schneider? That was the name of the janitor in Blanchard Hall for whom we had prayed!

I asked, ‘Peter, were you ever at Wheaton College in Illinois?’

‘Why yes,’ he replied. ‘I worked there as a janitor, sweeping the halls and cleaning the restrooms in the main administration building.’

My heart leapt with joy. I burst out, ‘Peter, were you a Christian at that time?’

‘No,’ he said. ‘I became a Christian later, at a YMCA camp in Wisconsin. When I was at Wheaton I knew almost nothing of the Gospel.’

My excitement continued: ‘Peter, you would have no way of knowing this, but I must tell you what happened during your time at Wheaton. Jim Elliot got a vision to pray for your salvation. He organized several other students, including me, to pray that you would come to know the Lord. We could not witness to you, because we spoke no German and you apparently had learned almost no English yet. But we prayed faithfully for you in those days. We used to greet you in the hallways, and you always responded with a pleasant smile and a nod.’

My exhilaration knew no bounds. Here I was, standing at the waterfront in Bermuda with a key evangelical leader from Germany who was committed to proclaiming the Gospel to the world—and for whose salvation I had prayed!

As my mind harked back to 30 years earlier and the prayer meetings we used to have asking God for the salvation of Peter Schneider, I could only bow in humble thankfulness for the way God had so abundantly answered those prayers. We never could have dreamed where this young janitor and former prisoner of war would end up.”

 

Our Lord is a God of miracles and He provides for us in countless ways beyond what we can imagine. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that He does immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

 

"He can give only according to His might; therefore He always gives more than we ask for." - Martin Luther

 

God's Word: "The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice." -Psalms 97:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - Do Not Be Discouraged
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Oct 10, 2018
Devotional - Do Not Be Discouraged

"I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory." - Ephesians 3:13

 

Many years ago a young Midwestern lawyer suffered such deep depression that his friends thought it wise to keep all knives and razors from him.

His problems began when he was 7 years old, his family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them. When he was 9 years old, his mother died. When he was 22 years old, a business he owned failed. When he was 23 years old, he ran for the state legislature and lost. That same year he lost his job and was unable to get into law school.

When he was 24 years old, he borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.

When he was 26 years old, he was engaged to be married, but his sweetheart died and his heart was broken.

So at 27 years old, he had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.

During this time he wrote, “I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not.” He was wrong. He did recover and went up to become one of America’s most-loved presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

 

Do not become discouraged during difficult times; the Lord is with you. Today in prayer, do not let anything discourage in your faith in Jesus.

 

“Too often, discouragement, depression, and disappointment grabs a hold of us with what seems like a death grip. This seems to happen even more after we commit to a consistent and deeper walk with the Lord.” - Troy Dewey

 

God's Word: "Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." - Romans 8:17-18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - Our Approachable God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Oct 9, 2018
Devotional - Our Approachable God

"In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." - Ephesians 3:12

 

In January 1656 during a voyage by ‘t Nachtglas ("the night glass"), a Dutch ship under the command of Jan Jacobszoon, sighted an island halfway between South America and Africa. Captain Jacobszoon originally named it "Nachtglas" island.

Soon the island became known as "Inaccessible" island, because of the sheer cliffs at its beaches, numerous crews were unable to access the interior of the island.

Only two men have ever lived on the island. The Stoltenhoff brothers, who arrived on Inaccessible from Germany in 1871, stayed there for two years intending to sell wares to traders. The one thing they did not take into account is how infrequent ships passed by the island. They almost died due to the scarcity of food, until a British research ship rescued them in 1873.

Today, no one lives on the island, and it remains just as inaccessible as it always has been.

 

The Lord is not far away, in a remote, inaccessible land. He is omnipresent and approachable, desiring all to come into a relationship with Him. Today in prayer, give thanks Jesus that He we can approach Him in confidence knowing that He hears our prayers.

 

"On the ground of our own goodness we cannot expect to have our prayers answered. But Jesus is worthy, and for His sake we may have our prayers answered. But if we trust in Christ, if we hide in Him, if we put Him forward and ourselves in the background, depend on Him and plead His name, we may expect to have our prayers answered." - George Muller

 

God's Word: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." - Hebrews 4:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - Our Citizenship
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Oct 8, 2018
Devotional - Our Citizenship

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." - Ephesians 2:19-20

 

The island nation of Malta lies in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Italy. It is one of the world's smallest countries with only 122 square miles. It is also one of the most densely populated countries with a population of about 475,000. It was on Malta that the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked (Acts 28:1).

Once a British colony, today Malta is an independent republic.

As a member of the European Union, Malta is trying to attract rich investors. One way they are doing this is by selling citizenship. It costs $1.57 million for one person to become a citizen. In 2013, Malta originally announced it would sell citizenship for $865,000, but they raised the price after citizen opposition protests. The outrage also led to other requirements and limitations: Future Malta citizens now need to reside on the island, and the program is capped at 1,800 passports.

 

As Christians, we are citizens in God’s family. He paid the price for our citizenship and there is no cap on how many people He accepts. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that He has adopted you into His family and given you a new home in Heaven.

 

"Socrates, being asked what countryman he was, answered 'I am a citizen of the whole world.' But ask a Christian what countryman he is, and he will answer, 'A citizen of heaven.'" - William Secker

 

God's Word: "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" - Philippians 3:20

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - Our Peace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Oct 7, 2018
Devotional - Our Peace

"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" - Ephesians 2:14

 

Pastor Arthur Blessit has carried a large wooden cross through every country in the world. In an article entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” he wrote:

“After having walked with the cross through twenty wars in the world in places as divergent as Nicaragua and Chad from Northern Ireland to Beirut and so on and having been in jail twenty times, been beaten, stoned, been before a firing squad to be shot. Had the cross stolen, broken and spit upon. I’ve seen tribes fighting with spears in Papua, New Guinea and planes dive-bombing in Lebanon and having eaten, slept and walked among army troops and guerrilla fighters all over the world. I have some observations that I feel are relevant to the root of the conflicts of our time.”

Arthur summarizes his observations saying:

“At the cross the worst of man met the best of God. For at the cross all people can gather together, injustices can be laid aside. Hatred and prejudices can be cleansed and we can become new, for the cross not only was a place of death but through the resurrection of Christ has become the place of hope. As Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Yet peace must begin with a person becoming right with God, then one can find peace with their family or husband or wife or children and their neighbors, then their community and world. Dear friend, if you don’t have peace in your own heart, how can you have peace in the world?”

 

Only Jesus can reconcile us to our Heavenly Father and bring peace. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord that He is our peace.

 

“Christ alone can bring lasting peace - peace with God - peace among men and nations - and peace within our hearts.” - Billy Graham

 

God's Word: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - By God's Grace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Friday Oct 5, 2018
Devotional - By God's Grace

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9

 

In his book “No Wonder They Call Him The Savior,” Max Lucado gives the following example of grace:

“Longing to leave her poor Brazilian neighborhood, Christina wanted to see the world. Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother's heart. Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janiero. Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for streetwalkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture--taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. It wasn't too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. 

It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina's eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation. ‘Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn't matter. Please come home.’ She did.”

 

Our God loves us and it is by His abundant grace we are saved. Today in prayer, thank Jesus for His grace.

 

"Saving grace makes a man as willing to leave his lusts as a slave is willing to leave his galley, or a prisoner his dungeon, or a thief his bolts, or a beggar his rags." - Thomas Brooks

 

God's Word: "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved." - Ephesians 2:4-5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - No One Is Like Him
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Oct 3, 2018
Devotional - No One Is Like Him

"And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." - Ephesians 1:22-23

 

In “The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ,” Dr. Norman Geisler wrote the following:

“Unique in the Resurrection. The crowning miracle of Jesus’ earthly mission was the resurrection. It was not only predicted in the Old Testament (Psalms 2, 16), but Jesus himself predicted it from the very beginning of his ministry: He said, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ ... But the temple he had spoken of was his body' (John 2:19, 21; Matthew 12:40-42; 17:9). Jesus demonstrated the reality of his resurrection in twelve appearances over forty days to more than 500 people.

Unique in the Ascension. Just like his entrance into this world, Jesus’ departure was also miraculous. After commissioning his disciples, 'he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them' (Acts 1:10). Contrary to the view of some, this was not a 'parable' but a literal bodily ascension into heaven from which he will return in the same literal body to reign in this world (Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7, 19-20). The great Christian creeds clearly emphasize the miraculous bodily ascension of Christ.”

 

Jesus stands alone; no one is like Him. Today in prayer, give thanks to Christ that He is Lord of all.

 

"If ever man was God or God man, Jesus Christ was both." - Lord Byron

 

God's Word: "And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him" - Colossians 1:18-19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - Praying For Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Oct 2, 2018
Devotional - Praying For Others

"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." - Ephesians 1:15

 

Christian author Roberta Messner of Huntington, West Virginia had been prescribed Oxycontin for 28 years for a genetic condition that causes invasive, noncancerous tumors. When her physician prescribed another medication, Roberta suffered withdrawal. “I shook with chills. My skin felt as if insects were crawling all over it. I couldn’t keep anything down. Worst of all, my mind buzzed with bad voices. They taunted me endlessly,” she said. A piece of advice someone had told her came to mind: “It’s the friends you can call at 4 a.m. who really matter.”

Roberta decided to stay at a friend’s guest bedroom until her withdrawal had subsided and she felt great again.

Roberta wrote: “After 10 days at Sue’s, I was well enough to return home. As I rejoined the living, I finally listened to my voice mails, read my e-mail and col­lected the big stack of colorful en­velopes and packages from my mailbox. I hadn’t told a single soul, out­side my inner circle, what I was going through. And yet dozens—many dozens—of people had prayed for me anyway.

‘I sensed you’re in crisis, Rober­ta,’ one friend wrote. ‘I’m praying for swift healing.’

‘I felt moved to pray for new pain relief for you,’ another e-mailed.

‘It’s the friends you can call at 4 a.m....’ the advice went.

I had called. The greatest friend of all—and his network of followers—had answered.”

 

Prayer makes a difference because our Heavenly Father answers prayer. Today in prayer, thank Jesus for the privilege of prayer and pray for the needs of others.

 

“Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons; but they are helpless against our prayers.” – J. Sidlow Baxter

 

God's Word: "After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before." - Job 42:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - Forgiveness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Oct 1, 2018
Devotional - Forgiveness

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace" - Ephesians 1:7

 

In 2001, Didier, was an 11 year-old boy living in Medellin, Columbia. He witnessed the murder of his mother. She was a street vendor and she was killed with 38 bullets. Dider was next to his mom when he saw her drop dead. 

As a reaction to his mom's killing, Didier went down a self-destructive path and embraced a life of drugs, alcohol, and crime for four years. “In drugs and alcohol I looked for the love that was taken away from me with the assassination of my mother,” he said.

In those years, Didier was also thinking about retaliation and vengeance. Planning his vengeance, Didier started collecting guns and even two grenades in his room. At night he would cry and think of how he would kill his mother’s assassin, but he never found the courage to do so.

The opportunity for change arrived when a friend, belonging to a Christian church, approached Didier. He was skeptical and dismissive at first but eventually accepted the words and the invitation of his friend. As he was realizing that the hatred he was harboring in his heart was consuming his soul and was killing him, he found the strength and the courage to forgive the man who killed his mom.

For the past few years, Didier has been helping other youth who are facing trouble and problems. “If I was able to change and to forgive, then others can do so as well,” Didier said.

 

God has forgiveness us for the death of His Son to all who place their faith in Him. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His forgiveness of your sins and seek to forgive others for the wrongs they have done to you.

 

"The man who is truly forgiven and knows it, is a man who forgives." – Martyn Lloyd-Jones

 

God's Word: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you." - Matthew 6:14

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

Devotional - He Adopted Us
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Sep 30, 2018
Devotional - He Adopted Us

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will" - Ephesians 1:4-5

 

In 1864, George Washington Carver was born into slavery in Diamond, Missouri.  His master, Moses Carver, was a German-American immigrant who had purchased George's parents, Mary and Giles.

When George was only a week old, night raiders from Arkansas kidnapped him, a sister, and his mother.  Moses could only locate the infant George. Moses negotiated with the raiders to gain the boy's return. A year later, after slavery was abolished, Moses Carver and his wife Susan adopted George and his older brother James and raised them as their own children. They encouraged George to continue his intellectual pursuits, and "Aunt Susan" taught him the basics of reading and writing.

George became a Christian when he was 10 years old. He would go on to be an inventor, chemist and botanist. He established Tuskegee Institute and developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton.

He went from an orphaned slave to one of America’s greatest inventors because a loving couple opened their hearts to him.

 

In a similar way, God has opened His heart to adopt us into His family. Today in prayer, praise your Heavenly Father for His love and making you a son or daughter through Jesus Christ.

 

"The moment we were born again, we were placed in an adoptive state as heirs, as sons of God." - Jon Courson

 

God's Word: "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." - Romans 8:23

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2018, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN EPHESIANS

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