Tag Archives: Epistle to the Ephesians

Enough Already God

A piece of art, in any form, is crafted and put on display to reflect the artist’s creativity and skill; to reflect a virtue or beauty envisioned by the artist. According to the Apostle Paul, we are God’s piece of art.

poiema-logo

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10

The word for “workmanship” in the Greek is poiema and can be translated: achievement, work of art, masterpiece. The more passionate an artist is about a particular piece of art the more they will labor to reshape it and mold it giving it their utmost attention.

C.S. Lewis put it this way…

We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life — the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child — he will take endless trouble — and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient [alive and conscious of its feelings]. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.
~
 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Most of the time I really do want to be shaped and molded according to God’s intended design. I know that sin has marred and twisted not only my true identity in Christ but also my capacity to reflect the glory of God. But when that process gets uncomfortable or downright painful my heart cries, “Enough already God!”

But God’s love for us will not allow Him to stop working to reshape us into the person He made us to be. And to balk at His work in us is to want less of His love.

Grant us grace God that we might give ourselves wholeheartedly to the work of the Holy Spirit as He transforms us into your poiema!

***

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, CS Lewis, Discipleship, Glory of God, God, Holy Spirit, Love of God, Morphing, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender

Don’t drop your guard!

They make it look easy. They’re not only having fun doing it but some how magically pull you into the story. They even take people from the audience to be part of it.

I’m talking about the stunt men and women at Disney World who seem to effortlessly fill their roles several times a day. Can you imagine getting paid to have fun like that? What a blast!

Sure they are careful to tell everyone not to try these stunts at home. But this is Disney. The place where wishes come true. What could go wrong?

Apparently, a lot!

About five years ago, according to Eli, the stunt man who plays Indiana Jones made a misstep while going through the spears that shoot up out of the ground. One of the spear tips injured him so severely that it cost him his life.

Others have died from simple tumbling routines that they’d performed hundreds of times.

No matter how routine it might seem to be or how practiced you are, losing your focus for even a moment can be deadly.

The same is true for those who have given themselves to follow after and serve Jesus. We have been called up into a grand story that is bigger than we can imagine. A battle for the very souls of people.

But we have an adversary!

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)

Satan is the epitome of stealth and cunning; a relentless enemy who knows exactly when to attack us. He knows our weaknesses and attacks when we least expect it or are most vulnerable.

After Paul lists the various pieces of the armor of God in Ephesians 6 he ties it all together with the admonition to “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Prayer keeps us close to God and dependent on Him; sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in dealing with an enemy as crafty as Satan. And we need to be praying for each other.

I don’t know everyone who will read this blog but I am praying that everyone who reads it will take it to heart and draw close to God through prayer; as well as take time to pray for others.

No matter how routine or mundane your schedule may seem to be today…

Don’t drop your guard! 
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Determination, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Prayer, Satan, Sin, Temptation

Immeasurably More!

Have you seen the new commercial by a well-known do-it-yourself store when a couple rushes into a big house where the walls are covered with nothing but white paper?

They are both carrying markers and when they draw the outline of an object on the blank wall it immediately pops into reality. A new appliance, some pieces of hardware, a new window or door.

As a guy with a carpentry background who struggles to complete remodeling projects on our old farm-house in a timely fashion I would love one of those magic markers.

But the point of the commercial is that this particular do-it-yourself store can take whatever you imagine and make it real. How cool is that?! But I’ve got one better.

In his letter to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul prays for them to be rooted and established in love and able to fully grasp the width, length, height and depth of the love of Christ. Then he makes this amazing statement:

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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Paul has own unique way with words. How do you calculate “immeasurably more”? Whatever it is, God can do it with whatever we ask or imagine.

Obviously, this is not a promise to satisfy our own wants and desires. And our ability to imagine tends to grow smaller as we age. But in keeping with God’s kingdom purposes, what can you imagine God accomplishing?

  • Healing for a wreaked marriage?
  • Boldness to share the hope of Christ with those who don’t know Him?
  • Wisdom and grace for parents dealing with a rebellious child?
  • Real peace for a heart troubled with worry?
  • Freedom from addictions or sinful habits?
  • Better choices made by a rebellious child?
  • The hard-hearted person finally opening up to receive God’s gift of grace?
  • Character and integrity in those who serve in our government?
  • Courage to forgive those who have hurt us?
  • A renewed love of God for those who claim Jesus as Lord?

God delights to bring all manner of new life and restored hope because He loves us more than we can begin to fathom. The question is…

… what is it that we ask God for or imagine Him doing?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brokenness, Christianity, Courage, Family, Forgiveness, Glory of God, Grace, Hope, Imagination, influence with the world, Love of God, Marriage, Parenting, Peace, Prayer, Revival, Sin, Trusting God

Stay alert!

Last night a new season of Biggest Loser got under way. It’s inspiring to watch people who are slaves to unhealthy habits begin to get their lives back; to regain a sense of freedom.

Being the first show of the season there were plenty of breakaway segments delving into the contestants’ backgrounds. The list of reasons or circumstances that lead to folks getting so out of shape and unhealthy is enormous. And most have struggled with it their entire lives.

But last night I noticed something. For the last few seasons, the ones I can remember, there have been one or two people who were at one time very healthy and very much in shape. The story that jumped out at me last night was Kim’s.

Being active came easily as a child for Kim Nielsen; she played basketball and softball, and in high school, she was the MVP and an all-state athlete for both sports. She went on to compete as a professional wrestler and model for Natural Muscle magazine. At her peak, she had just 10% body fat!

Now a single mother of three at age 38, Kim weighs 252 pounds and says she is tired of hiding from fans, friends and family because of the way she looks. She wants to be around as long as possible for her children and have the energy to keep up with them.

Life threw Kim some curves and now she’s stuck inside a body big enough for two people. What’s my point?

Stay alert!

It doesn’t matter how well we’ve done in the past, as followers of Jesus we still have an enemy who is out to destroy us.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8

Stay focused! Don’t drop your guard! Don’t be complacent but keep pursuing Jesus hard every day! In his letter to the believers at Ephesus Paul wrote:

 Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. ~ Ephesians 6:18

One of the best ways to stay on track in our journey with God is by praying for other’s who are sharing the journey. I’ve prayed for everyone who will read this blog, God knows who you are.

Who will you pray for today?

***

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Filed under Choices, Determination, Encouragement, involvement with the church, Prayer, Satan

Why Church Matters

The Good News is simple and powerful—Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins, and there is no other way of salvation (see John 14:6; Romans 5:8). To receive the free gift of salvation Jesus offers, we must turn from our sin in genuine repentance and trust in Him and His sacrificial death on our behalf (see 1 John 1:8–9; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8–9)…

Now I want you to see how the church and the Good News connect: The church is the vehicle that Jesus chose to take the message of the gospel to every generation and
people.

Are you seeing the bigger picture? The church matters because Jesus chose it to tell and show the world the message of His love. And this message, carried forward through history and lived out for all to see, is the world’s only hope.
~ Excerpted from Why Church Matters by Joshua Harris

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet with your church family this weekend!

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Filed under Christianity, Grace, involvement with the church, Love of God

A deep, abiding love

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” ~ Ephesians 3:17-18

No matter how hard we try, how many achievements we make, or how many ideals we keep, we will never be able to do enough to earn God’s love. Such attempts lead us down a dead-end road paved with feelings of life-depleting guilt and condemnation. Only the grace and love that God gives freely through his merciful nature can provide us with that which we long for: peace and joy.
~ Excerpted from Dancing with My Father by Sally Clarkson

Stop for a moment and consider this truth. God cannot love you any more than He does right now! Really! Nothing you do will make Him love you any more or any less!

Are you allowing yourself to be embraced by His deep, abiding love?

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Filed under Christianity, Grace, Joy, Love of God, Peace

His name is Mighty God

For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us.
The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: 
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~ Isaiah 9:6

You can’t help but see the power of God displayed in Jesus through all the amazing things He did:

  • Turning water into wine
  • Cleansing a man who was possessed by demons
  • Healing many sick people
  • Feeding crowds of thousands of people with a tiny bit of food
  • Walking on water
  • Raising people from the dead

But the most amazing thing about all this power of God in Jesus is that it is available to us today!

I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven.  ~ Ephesians 1:19-20

Stop a minute and reread this passage of Paul’s statement to the believers at Ephesus. Did you catch it? Does this statement strike you as profound? The very same power of God that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us who follow Him today!

Wow! What an amazing statement! God’s life-over-death power is available to us. Right here! Right now! Today! I’m struck by a question that deserves further consideration.

What is it that God wants to accomplish in us and through us by His power?

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Filed under Jesus, Morphing