Unity of the Spirit (1)

Ephesians 4:2 I urge you to live a life worthy of your calling.

Paul recognizes the first three chapters of Ephesians as a beautiful section of promises, purposes, blessings, and revelations God has for us. We are a part of the eternal church filled with the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The first three chapters are like being on the Mt of Transfiguration. All is wonderful and over whelping.

Then we come down the mountain into a demonic and fallen world.
The realities of our sinfulness and Satan’s attempts to destroy unity comes to us in full power.

Since we are prisoners of God by choice, Paul knew we must set some guidelines for our daily lives. So he begins with this suggestion: “I urge you to live a life worthy of your calling.”

I urge you (niv), beg you (nlt), beech you (nkjv)

The beginning words of verse 2 would say what is to follow would not happen automatically. Paul is speaking of a passion or effort that is not a natural reaction in life. Paul is stating the desired responses in life will demand a focused, determined, and thoughtful action.

Live a life (niv), lead a life (nlt), walk in a manor (nkjv)

These words have time and movement in them. We all are on a continuous road from birth to death. We will walk from youth to senior life. We will walk through various stages in life, each with its challenges to overcome. You will face great joys along with great pain. There will be times of comfort and time, especially of fear.

Worthy of the calling (niv), worthy of your calling (nlt), worthy of the calling (nkjv)

God’s calling to us and our accepting Jesus as our savior is a calling to live life at a higher level than we were without Christ. With God bringing life into our once dead spirit, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts to help us raise our standards in relationships, desires, and goals.
How many people do you see claiming to be a Christian, but their choices, language, and emotions seem very ungodly. A worthy life is not to put to shame Christ’s name through our actions. Walking worthy is a lifelong process, and we cannot do it without help from the Holy Spirit.

You have received (niv), You have been called by God (nlt), in which you have received (nkjv).

God has called you to be a vessel of His glory. To be a light in a dark world. To stand out from the darkness with a holy light in your path.

Paul’s urging is a hint. Your calling to live a holy life will not be natural. It won’t be easy at times. Everything inside you will vote against being worthy when you are in pain, when you are challenged, when the crowd promotes a different direction than your calling. See God, pray, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and strength. Your life will be transformed into a life worthy of your calling.

Let your lightnside shine a life worthy of your calling…for God has called you.

Faith and Strength

This week I had to connect with some leaders in various states that manage staff and students. The responsibilities placed on these leaders are pretty heavy. With the last six months of finding staff, growing students population, and our national struggles, I asked for verses that help keep their hearts strong in faith and trust in Jesus.

Below are some of their responses.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Timothy 1:7 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Romans 8:35 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Isaiah 64:4-5a

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.

2 Peter 3:9a  

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.

Isaiah 55:11  

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Ephesians 3:20  

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 6:10  

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Ephesians 6:16  

 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Psalms 46:10

Be stilland know that I am God

Let the living truth and spirit of these verses empower your lightnside this week.

The Candle Wick and Me

Not I, but Christ. (Gal. 2:20) Full of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 11:24) We would in Thee abide, In Thee be glorified, And shine as candles “lighted by the Lord.”

A devotion by F. B. MEYER, that has touched my heart, and I hope yours.

“For the service of many months, I thank thee.”

For long, the wick of my lamp had served my purpose, silently ministering as I read beside it. I felt ashamed that I had not before noticed its unobtrusive ministry. I said to the wick: “For the service of many months, I thank thee.” “What have I done for thee?” “Hast thou not given light upon my page?” “Indeed, no; I have no light to give, in proof of which take me from my bath of oil, and see how quickly I expire. Thou wilt soon turn from me like a piece of smoking tow. It is not I that burns, but the oil with which my texture is saturated. It is this that lights thee. I simply mediate between the oil in the cistern and the fire on my edge. This blackened edge slowly decays, but the light continually burns.”

“Dost thou not fear becoming exhausted?

See how many inches of coil remain! Wilt thou be able to give light till every inch of this is slowly charred and cut away?” “I have no fear so long as the supply of oil does not fail, if only some kindly hand will remove from time to time the charred margin…exposing a fresh edge to the flame.

This is my twofold need: oil and trimming.

Give me these, and I shall burn to the end!” God has called His children to shine as “lights in the world.” Let us, then, beware of hiding our light—whether household candle, street lamp, or lighthouse gleam—lest men stumble to their death. It is at variance with the teaching of the wick to try and accumulate a stock of grace in a sacrament, a convention, or a night of prayer. The wick has no such stores, but is always supplied! You may seem altogether helpless and inadequate, but a living fountain of oil is prepared to furnish you with inexhaustible supplies: Not by your might or power, but by His Spirit. Hour after hour, the oil climbs up the wick to the flame!

YOU CANNOT EXHAUST GOD!

Let us not flinch when the snuffers are used; they only cut away the black charred debris. He thinks so much of His work that He uses golden snuffers! And the Hand that holds the snuffers bears the nail print of Calvary!

Let the wick of my lightnside always be filled with the oil of His Presence.

Unity vs the Battle to Divide

Ephesians 4:3-5

 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Today’s blog will be a different experience.

I listen to several podcasts. I am presenting to you today on this very subject of unity and the battle to bring division. Two podcast developers are joining teams for this one special presentation. John Cooper’s podcast is called “Cooper Stuff”. He is also the lead singer for Skillet. The other podcast leaders are from a well know biblical powerhouse called “Just Thinking”. Their names are Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker. 

John Cooper is white. Darrell and Virgil are black. In today’s world, this would not be a likely match. But together, these men of God bring a message for unity. They together also bring truth against all the racist agendas of today like BLM, CRT, and other divisions.  

One Race, One Body, One Blood.

Special guests Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker from the Just Thinking Podcast join Cooper Stuff for this absolutely FIRE episode. We talk about “race”; reconciliation; what’s the way forward?

Click here to listen

Well?? Did your lightnside explode to new brightness? Be Blessed.

Who am I?

psalm-139-14-feafully-and-wonderfully-made

In our postmodern world, we see many people feeling disconnected from purpose and hope.  Wealth and material things seem to have no saving grace when it comes to the deep issues of personal value and purpose.  It should be noted as the world has increased in science, medicine, and amazing inventions, we also are experiencing deeper drug addiction, violence, depression, and suicide. Why?

In the book “The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World”, by Voddie Baucham Jr., there are four basic questions we all ask in some form.

Who am I?

Why am I here?

What is wrong with the world?

What can fix it?

These answers depend on your worldview.  Let’s answer just the first question…Who am I?

Current world view – Who am I?

These answers are provided by secular humanists of today. You are the result of random evolutionary processes. Many people come from loving parents but some may have been unplanned or the result of an act of violence. There is no eternal connection to purpose. All nature has the same right to exist as you. No real purpose in life except to enjoy yourself. This worldview allows abortion, changing of sexual identity, assistance for death when desired.  This worldview does not deal with our soul so a feeling of emptiness and constant searching is common.

Biblical Answer: Who am I?

 You are God’s crowning creation!

Psalms 8:4-6 “what is mankind that you are mindful of them,     human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” 

Colossians 1:15-16 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  

It does not matter what the circumstance of your conception was. When the sperm and egg combined God began to create a perfect you with dignity, honor, and purpose. You are God’s crowning creation.


Psalms 139:13  For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

You are special. Created by God and for Him.  Don’t let the lies of this world and Satan convince you otherwise.

In God’s eyes you have dignity, and honor…you are God’s crowning creation.

cat-lion

Our battle against oneness

Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep yourself united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

Ephesians chapter four focuses on the power of a unified body of believers acting as one against the forces of darkness and division in our fallen world. There is a great battle for us to rise against unity because of our selfish and damaged desires. Pride and pain are our constant personal issues that repeatedly try to surface and spread their poison to others.

Theory is much easier than reality.

Ephesians chapters one through three describe the promises and power Christians and the church have from heaven’s point of view. It is wonderful to read and meditate on these promises and blessings we have in Christ Jesus. However, putting these promises and blessings into everyday use is much more challenging than the theory. “Count it all joy…” until you are in pain, and then with an effort, remind yourself to be joyful and thankful.  

“I urge you to live a life worthy of your calling.”

Why would Paul make that statement with the word “urge” (NIV) included? Because you will face the battle of humanity’s lostness as you connect with each other. Satan and his forces will try and destroy any efforts of unity or “oneness” with each other. Because it is that oneness with Christ in the church that any demonic force cannot overcome.

The world is full of Pharisees – There is one in the mirror! Luke 18:9-14

It is very easy for us to look out on all the world and see their problems. In Luke 18:9 “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:” The prideful Pharisee gave thanks to God that he was not like the despised tax collector. The tax collector would not even look up but asked God to be merciful because he was a sinner. Let us humble ourselves before God as sinners and ask for mercy. In this world, people battle with rage, Jezebel spirit, arrogance, the victim mentality, pride, and many other problems. As I look into the mirror, I see brokenness and pride trying to rise in me. Paul says to fight this nature by (verse two) Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, make allowance for each other’s faults in love. This is against our nature. Why should we fight these inner battles so hard? 

Power of oneness

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 

Although you have many lights in your house, they all have unity in the electricity. It is the oneness in our spirit with Christ, as in the Trinity, that makes us strong. “Lord, help me to walk worthy of the calling I have received.” Take a moment to consider your own life. Do you need to put on humility, gentleness, and patience? Paul says “I urge” you to walk worthy of your calling.

Allow your lightnside to be one with the source of light in the universe. 

Tired, frustrated, need help?

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;

LEAD ME TO A ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I,

for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalms 61:1-4

Lead me

Lord, today I need direction. I feel like my personal GPS is not aligned with today’s needs. God, please guide me today. I will listen more closely for your voice. Only directions from you and the leading of the Holy Spirit will I look for today. You know the path and I step outside today without predetermined directions. I will listen and feel your presence.

TO A ROCK

Lord, I need a solid foundation to trust. You are that foundation. You are the creator of all I see. Not only were you the designer and creator, but it is also Your power that continues to hold together all I see. Without your constant power and presence, all matter would dissolve. You are my most solid rock. You are my most trusted and true giver of hope and truth. You are my greatest foundation to build upon.

THAT IS HIGHER THAN I

Lord, today I rest in knowing that You see farther than I can. Today I need to be elevated to Your presence beyond my capabilities. Today I feel frustrated at my efforts and need a more substantial hand from a higher position, and a stronger base. Lord, today I pray that I can feel you lifting me upward. That feeling of being gathered in your strong arms and you raising me to a position I cannot reach myself. “Not by might, or strength, but by My Spirit”

Lord, you have been faithful all my life.

You are my refuge and a strong tower.

I long to be in your presence and rest at your feet.

Today I enjoy your strong arm and wise counsel.

Today my lightnside is refreshed on a ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I.

The Church – unexpected, undefeated, limited time.

Ephesians 3:10 “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

The Church

No one expected the church

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil to God was torn, and the Holy Spirit was given to the Jews and the Gentiles. God was up to something BIG. Paul was given a revelation that was hidden from all prophets in the Old Testament.  

Ephesians 3:3-5  

 As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. 5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit, he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. What was the revelation? All Gentiles are now accepted into the family of God with all the rights of a born Jew. Jesus is building something new. It is the birth of a brand new plan. A worldwide church filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and built upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is the cornerstone.  

 …display his (God’s) wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities

It is the church that will now do battle with the leaders of darkness. It is the church that will establish a place of hope and righteousness. A place where broken and lost people can find restoration and relationship with Christ. The church brings down demonic powers and prays for miracles and divine help in troubled times.

The church has a specific purpose.

The power of the church is to proclaim Christ against all the dark rulers of this world. It is the church that is holding back the power of the antichrist and lawlessness. It is the church that leads righteous nations to greatness and the church that proclaims the hope of Christ to the ends of the world.   

Acts 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

The end of the church

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17   For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

The church will be taken away from the earth during the end times or the tribulations. I cannot imagine a world without the church. It is essential to be a part of the church of Christ while it is still at work today. The church was a masterstroke of God and was kept secret from the world until it was revealed to Paul and the Apostles.

Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16:18 “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. “

Let your lightnside shine bright in your church as the end of days approach.

All is Well

I am pressing on…forgetting everything which is past. (Phil. 3:12-13 WEYMOUTH)

Today a single quote from “Springs in the Valley” by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman July 12th captured my thoughts. It comes from one of the most important commands from Christ, to forgive as we have been forgiven by God.

Matthew 6:14-15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

In the very depths of yourself, dig a grave. Let it be like some forgotten spot to which no path leads, and there, in the eternal silence, bury the wrongs that you have suffered. Your heart will feel as if a weight had fallen from it, and a Divine peace comes to abide with you.

CHARLES WAGNER

Let your lightnside shine bright as you bury your grudges.

A Prisoner of Christ

Ephesians 3:1 For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—

A Prisoner by the government

Paul is in a physical prison because of His ministry. He is on house arrest awaiting to give his testimony to Caesar. He is free to write and have visitors. It would seem he has more ministry capability because of this imprisonment. However, I don’t believe this was Paul’s tone when he stated he is a prisoner of Christ.

Captured by Christ

Paul claims to be the worst of sinners. Also, in this chapter, Paul claims he is the least of all saints. There is humility with Paul that is opposite from the Paul before conversion. Paul was filled with rage and hatred toward Christians. Because of Paul, many Christians were killed, and many Christians ran for their life away from Paul’s influence. Jesus Christ met Paul supernaturally when Paul was on his way to another attack. Christ captured Paul’s heart and he became a prisoner of Christ by choice. Paul’s love for Christ spread into compassion for the Gentiles who were considered outcasts in his former life. 

Prison has both limitations and opportunities.

When one is in prison, there are several limitations. Many addicted prisoners find their mind becomes clear because they have no access to drugs or alcohol as in their normal life. Most do not have access to the internet and social media. So the junk found online is no longer poisonings their mind. Addicts n Jail can take classes and be connected to religious training with clearer minds and purpose.

Paul is a prisoner of Christ. His focus to seek Christ and be in the presence of God has some positive outcomes. For one, revelations from Christ. One of Paul’s revelations is a vastly expanded understanding of Christ’s love for us and the potential power we have in Christ. Paul writes in verses 16-19 “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Do I need a type of self-imposed prison?

Would you be willing to place yourself in a type of prison to benefit from more time and focus on Christ? Maybe a prison from gaming, social media, entertainment, and other things that swallow up your precious time. Would you like to receive revelations from Christ and know deeper truths from the Holy Spirit about the power you have in Christ? 

Imprisoned for others

Paul said he was a prisoner of Jesus for the Gentiles. Do you have someone in your life you are praying for or a desire to help someone find greater hope through Christ? You can become a prisoner of Jesus Christ for them. 

My desire

I am choosing to become a prisoner of Christ so God can work through me in my later years in life. I want to see God move in this nation and in my family. What will it take? Prisoners who are seeking Christ. Who place themselves in a restriction to allow the truths of Christ to be revealed.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Imprison your lightnside so it will shine even brighter for HIM.