A Prayer: that We May Know the Mighty Strength We Have!

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PrayingHands_200Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23

Most of us are familiar with the saying “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”1 Although the quotation is supposed to remind us to understand others and to be kind to others, it often resonates with us in the other way: we feel that we are fighting a battle that others do not know or understand.

At times we feel strong and energetic, but all of us have, at some other times, felt defeated, overwhelmed, weak and helpless. Continue reading

A Prayer: that We May Know the Riches of His Glorious Inheritance

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PrayingHands_200b

Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23

The feeling of newness and freshness when we obtained or experienced something new is unforgettable. We remember that feeling when we bought our first car, how we closed the door lightly, and how even the sound of the closing door felt good to our ears. We remember the feeling when we bought our first house, that feeling when we opened the door after we got the keys after signing the papers.  Continue reading

A Prayer: That We May Know the Hope of His Calling

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PrayingHands_200Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23

As Christians, we seem to know certain truths but at the same time we don’t seem to know them. For example, we know that God has glory, but what does that really mean? What kind of image do we have when we talk about God’s glory. Does a bright light or a halo come to our mind? Have we seen the glory of God? Has seeing the glory of God changed our lives?

Questions like these are difficult to answer. We can answer yes on one hand, but we can answer no as well, on the other hand. Continue reading

A Prayer: Open Our Eyes, Lord!

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Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23

PrayingHands_200For a church or churches that he has personally taught for over 3 years,1 for the saints who he knows have received every spiritual blessing from God, for the believers for whom he thanks God unceasingly for their faith in the Lord and their love toward others, the apostle Paul offers this prayer to God: that the Holy Spirit2 may give them wisdom and illumination and that the eyes of their hearts may be opened in order that they may know God even more/deeper.

Oh, how we need the same prayer, or even more! Continue reading

A Prayer: Thanking God for Faith and Love

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Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-16

A person who has a true faith in God should be a loving person. A life which is truly changed by Christ is a life full of love. We know that “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”1 We have also been told that in Christ, all external differences are of no significance but what really matters is “faith expressing itself through love.” 2

It is interesting to note that both these statements appear in letters where the apostle Paul strongly argues that justification is not attained by work. Continue reading

A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Petition

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Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23

Praises and petitions are very closely connected and are often offered together, as we see here in the opening of the Epistle to the Ephesians.

After the opening praise to God, Paul moved on to a prayer for his readers. While it must have brought tremendous joy to Paul when he heard about the Ephesians’ coming to Christ or remaining in faith in Christ, that was not the end of the story. Paul wrote and told them that he had never stopped praying for them. Continue reading

Praise be to God: A Call to Live a God-Glorifying Life

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PraiseBeToGodScripture: Ephesians 1:3-14 (text at bottom of post)

We have mentioned early on that Ephesians 1:3-14 is one single sentence. It is a praise to God and at the same time an invitation to praise God. Regconizing it as one sentence and praise will remind us to respond with praise. Hopefully it will also prevent us from entering into endless debates on issues such as election and predestination, which are still being debated after over 2000 years. Continue reading

Praise be to God: A Call to Understand God’s Blessing (2)

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Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14 (text at bottom of post)

PraiseBeToGodWhen Paul offered his praise to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he mentioned the salvation that God had prepared, accomplished and guaranteed for us, but he did not explain any detail because that part of the letter was really a praise to God and not a lesson in theology.1 The lack of explanation, however, suggests that Paul expected his readers to reasonably understand his words and that his readers would likely respond with praises to God as well. Continue reading

Praise be to God: A Call to Understand God’s Blessing (1)

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Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14 (text at bottom of post)

PraiseBeToGodWe have talked about the core message of Ephesians 1:3-14 being “praise be to God who blesses us with every spiritual blessing.” Next we are going to look at the long part of the sentence. Before that, let us visit the core sentence again and compare it with v. 3:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph 1:3 TNIV) Continue reading

Praise be to God: A Call to be Thankful (Appreciative)

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Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14 (text at bottom of post)

Psalmists in the Old Testament remind us to praise God and not to forget His grace. Most of us are familiar with what David says in Psalm 103:2, “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” David then proceeds to list the benefits that he has received from God: forgiveness of sins, healing of diseases, deliverance from threats, crown of love and compassion, and so on.

In Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul is basically doing the same thing, except that he is talking about spiritual blessing. Continue reading