Be Strong

Finishing up another book in our goal to read the New Testament in 2017.  Ephesians 6 takes us to the end & concludes the book with instructions on how to be strong in the Lord.  Armor.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. {vs 11}  We do not fight what we see, but the battle rages on in a behind-the-scenes manner.  And our armor as described in verses 13-20 is our only chance to stand firm.  Be strong in Him for he is Mighty.

Next week…drumroll please…1 Corinthians.

unity muscles

 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.  I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.  I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  Jesus says {John 17:21-23}  [emphasis mine]

Unity.  So important that Jesus spent time praying about the unity of those that would follow him.  Even followers to come thousands of years later.  And Paul picks up this important theme & reveals in Ephesians 4 the keys to unity.

First he hits on how we should treat each other.  Humble.  Gentle.  Patient.  Making allowances for each other’s faults.  The enemies of unity are pride, harshness, bitterness, impatience.  Paul reminds us that we must treat each other well in order to unify as one body.

Then he hits on how we should behave.  Don’t steal.  Don’t lie.  Don’t use foul or abusive language.  These things are also enemies of unity.  They are divisive.  But using our hands for good, telling the truth, building up & encouraging each other with our words…these things bring about unity.

Paul sums it all up in the end:  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

 Easier said than done.  Clearly.  Or he wouldn’t need to say it.  And Jesus probably wouldn’t have prayed it.  This is not a moment for shame & regret.  This a moment for change.  And while sometimes I’d like to read these scriptures hoping someone else might absorb them {you know you do it too}, truly the only thing I can change is me.  So.  I pray that my unity muscles {humility, patience, gentleness, support, encouragement} grow and replace the divisive qualities that sometimes are stronger.  And I pray the same for you.

Ephesians :: What’s it all about?

My timing may be a bit off, as we’re already on chapter 3 of 6 in Ephesians today.  But I really wanted to share this resource.

The Bible Project.

Along with several various Bible study tools, they have a fabulous set of videos.  This collection of easy-to-understand flyovers about the books of the Bible is excellent.  Quick & to-the-point, they’re a great place to start when beginning a new book study.

Here is the link to Ephesians. It will take you to The Bible Project’s YouTube.  Enjoy the video & then make sure & head to their website for more resources, videos & information.  Good stuff.


…through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 3:6 [NET]

I am

Let’s take a quick trip back in time to middle school today.  Rather, not?  That’s my thoughts on it too.  Middle school.  Awkward.  Changes.  Stuck in the middle between little kid and teenager.  Those years are not the friendliest {but provide some great images to laugh at in scrapbooks as the years go by}  There’s a whole lot of trying to figure out who you are in the those years.  Or perhaps better said, trying to figure out where you fit and what you’re worth.

For me, the year is 1988.  I was 13.  Hair was all the rage.  Big, big hair.  I have a huge advantage in this department as I come complete with naturally wavy hair with a texture that can get enormous given the proper product, teasing and spraying.  Lucky me.  I could {and did} spend hours {no really, hours} washing, drying, curling, teasing, curling some more, lightly brushing, more teasing, more curling…sometimes re-washing & beginning again to get it right.  It could drive me absolutely crazy.  {and likely the two males in my household too!}  But in my mind it had to be just so.  Because it wasn’t just hair.  It was “me”.  My identity & worth were all wrapped up in those mall bangs and big hair.  If it wasn’t right, neither was I.

Now, luckily I grew out of that phase & big hair is not quite the thing is was in 1988.  But sadly, I still carry around some of those middle school behaviors.  It might not be hair, but I do put my identity and worth in all kinds of things that are just as silly.  And it all comes back to the questions “Where do I fit?” & “What is my worth?”.  Us humans are a funny bunch that way.  We long for acceptance & a “pack”.  We long to belong.  And we manufacture all kinds of things to determine how well we’re belonging.

I look sometimes to who I know, what I have, what I wear.  Sometimes it’s in accolades, like Instagram followers or Facebook likes.  Sometimes it’s in what I drive or where I vacation.  Sometimes it’s still even hair {only this is highly unlikely and only immediately following a salon visit}  Whatever it is I look for my worth in all kinds of places and in all sorts of things.  Mostly all things that will eventually fail me.  And when I’ve determine who I am and what I’m worth on such shaky things, well…I’m bound to think I’m worth-less from time to time.

Great news!  I am not the sum of my good hair days and Instagram followers!  In fact, because I am In Him, my identity is all laid out and sealed and assured for, well, ever.  In our reading in Ephesians this week, Paul hits on this.  It’s easy to miss.  But here’s how you find your true worth & identity.  As you’re reading, mark every time Paul writes “In Him” or In Christ”.  Then list what Paul says about what we have “In Him”.  You’ll be amazed at what you find.  From there, begin to believe that those things are who you are & what you’re worth.  For.Ever.