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Paul’s prayer for the believers at Ephesus serves as a pattern for us. Paul prays that God’s glory will be advanced, and he also prays for the spiritual well-being of believers, including himself. Let us pray earnestly, humbly, fervently, and frequently. Pray that we will know God better and be empowered to follow Him in righteousness.
Let us be a church on mission together for the glory of God, present together in spirit while physically separated. A church on mission prays and provides care and encouragement. It edifies and exhorts one another to practice integrity even while alone.
Philippians 3:20-4:1 declares that our citizenship is in heaven. This is a grace-based promise, not a merit-based wishful thinking. We eagerly await the return of our risen Lord and Savior. At Christ’s return, He will transform our lowly bodies, by His divine power, to be like His glorified body. Therefore, let us stand firm in the Lord.
Jesus is the Redeemer who rescues us from our slavery to sin. The Son of Man and glorious High King of Heaven (Daniel 7:13-14) is the same one who gave His life to ransom many (1Peter 1:18-19). Through faith in Christ , we can be set free now from the penalty and power of sin, and one day we will be freed from the presence of sin in heaven.
The Holy Spirit is a divine person, not a vague energy source, but an equal member of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is our helper, one who comes alongside us to be our comforter and advocate. The Holy Spirit is also our teacher who opens our mind to understand the truths of Scripture. Let us depend on the Holy Spirit to guide and change us that we may exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in our lives ( love, joy,…
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who voluntarily lays down his life for the sheep. This same shepherd provides for us by gathering us together and knowing us personally. He leads us through His word and keeps us safe and secure Him.
Isaiah 41:10 provides promises and commands in a time of fear and uncertainty. We are told not to fear or be dismayed. Then we are given the many reasons why the holy, righteous, victorious, almighty God is worthy of our trust. Let us declare:
During the transfiguration of Jesus, God speaks from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” Because Jesus is the the majestic King or Glory, it is utterly necessary for us to listen to His words as revealed in Scripture. The disciples saw the glory of Christ, and His divine majesty and excellence should also motivate us to heed and serve Him in humility.
Jesus ministers to the blind man at Bethsaida in a very individual way, showing his compassion and deep awareness of our needs. In a spiritual sense, we are all living in darkness, blinded by sin. Our eyes need to be opened in order to see our true selves and to see Jesus and His saving work on the cross.
When Jesus miraculously fed over 4000 people with 7 loaves and a few fish, He demonstrated deep, personal compassion. Jesus proved Himself to be the almighty Son of God and the promised Messiah. Look to Christ and His total sufficiency for whatever you face. Only Christ can abundantly satisfy and is worthy of our trust and praise.
Human jealousy can be damaging and sinful, but the jealousy of God is a holy, passionate zeal to guard the exclusiveness of our relationship to Him.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, stands in heaven triumphant. What rewards has Jesus purchased for Himself by His sacrificial death? His reward is a holy people being sanctified more and more through the Word and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:25-27). These people are also to be zealous for good works, not in order to achieve salvation, but as an outgrowth of salvation by grace. Finally, Jesus receives the glad, reverent adoration of eternal worshippers (Revelation 5:9-10). When the dust of history settles, the Lamb wins!
So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified…
Jesus heals a deaf and mute man in Mark 7:31-37. Jesus moves the man out of the crowd and interacts with him, demonstrating His compassion and healing power and affirming the man’s worth and individuality. In a similar way, Christ entered into the world of humanity to reveal Himself to us and save us from our sin so that we might have a personal relationship with Him.
In Mark 7:24-30 Jesus speaks with a Gentile woman who sought healing for her daughter. At first glance, the response of Jesus may be surprising and confusing, but in reality Jesus is not rejecting or deriding her. Jesus affirms her faith and promises healing for her child. God’s blessings promised to Abraham were given first to the Jews but included all people on Earth. We, too, are the recipients of God’s generous grace, mercy, and blessing.
The Cross Benediction (Revelation 1:5b-6) reminds us that Christ’s love for us has been demonstrated by His death on the cross. Christ’s redemption saves us from the penalty and power of sin now and from the presence of sin in eternity. We are now part of His kingdom, the sovereign rule of Christ in our hearts and lives. We are to gratefully serve as priests, making Him known to others.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:16, the apostle Paul pronounces a benediction of peace. The Lord Jesus is our source of peace, reconciling us to God (Isaiah 53:5). His peace is sufficient because He is sovereign, and His peace is certain because He is always with us (Philippians 4:17 and 2 Timothy 4:17). Our messiah is Emmanuel, God with us, the prince of peace.
Biblical hope is not wishful thinking. It is a confident expectation based on the promises of God. Paul’s benediction of hope in Romans 15:13 reminds us that God is our source and continuing supplier of hope. He is able to fill us with joy and peace, even in difficult times, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our role is to place our belief and trust in God.
In Romans 15:5-6, Paul pronounces a benediction of unity upon his readers. The benediction encourages them to live in harmony and to welcome each other. Unity among believers matters because it brings glory to God, it follows the example of Christ, and it is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our Unity should be a witness to a watching world (John 17:20-23). We are to be a unified body, a family, a fellowship.
A benediction is a sincere, earnest wish for all who hear it to receive by faith. Paul’s New Testament letters are filled with benedictions of grace because he understood the reality, necessity, and wonder of God’s grace. Grace is the undeserved favor of God, lavished upon us and available because of Christs’s sacrificial death on the cross. “Grace to you” refers to our salvation apart from our own works. “Grace with you” refers to our ability to access God’s grace in our lives each day.