Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV)
#2 THE MARVELOUS MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL Ephesians 3:2-6
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:6 (NIV)
#3 GOD’S SELFLESS SERVANT Ephesians 3:7-11
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 2 Timothy 4:6 (NIV)
#4 CONFIDENT CONNECTION TO GOD Ephesians 3:12-13
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25 (NIV)
#1 FAITH AND LOVE MAKE A LASTING IMPACT Ephesians 1:15-16
#2 PRAYER 1: Growing Knowledge of God Ephesians 1:17
#3 PRAYER 2: Illuminated hearts for God Ephesians 1:18
#4 MIGHTY STRENGTH FOR LIFE IN CHRIST Ephesians 1:19-21
#5 THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH: JESUS! Ephesians 1:22-23
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)
#1 THE BLESSINGS OF BEING “IN CHRIST.” Ephesians 1:3
#2 BLESSINGS FROM GOD THE FATHER Ephesians 1:4-6
Chosen by God
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. Baptist Faith and Message 2000
Adopted by God
#3 BLESSSINGS FROM GOD THE SON Ephesians 1:7-12
Redeemed by Christ
Informed by Christ
#4 BLESSINGS FROM GOD THE SPIRIT Ephesians 1:13-14
Marked by the Spirit
Guaranteed by the Spirit
#5 BLESSED TO PRAISE Ephesians 1: 3,6,12 and 14
—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:14b (NIV)
There is much conversation about God’s will for individuals and organizations. Some wrongly describe God’s will as being a secret or hard to find. Even worse is the pursuit of God’s will apart from a pursuit of God Himself. The truth is that God wants you to live in His will daily and have confidence for your life. In the devotional Experiencing God Day by Day, Henry Blackaby writes,
“If you are walking daily with the Lord, you will not have to find God’s will—you will already be in it. If you are walking with Him in obedience day by day, you will always be in the will of God. The Holy Spirit’s role is to guide you step by step to do God’s will. Walking closely with God each day guarantees that you will be exactly where He wants you to be. You would have to reject all of the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life in order to get out of the will of God.”
Devotion to God and a close growing relationship with Him is essential for living in the will of God. The disciplines of the Christian faith become paramount in order to live in God’s will. The disciplines of prayer (John 10:27) and fasting, reading the Word of God (Psalm 119:105), and worship (Romans 12:1-2) lead you to a closer relationship with Him. As you abide in Him, He will direct your steps. John 15:5
As you devote yourself to God you will notice something amazing happening in your life. The Holy Spirit will work in your life to transform your heart and mind and lead you to God’s perfect will (Romans 12:2). Following God’s desires is the natural response of a believer what is devoted to Christ. Through your transformed desires God’s is leading you from the inside out. Psalm 37:4 says,
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Your devotion to God will also lead you to a determination to do God’s will. In Ephesians 1:2, Paul describes himself as an “apostle of Christ by the will of God.” Paul had a determination to follow Christ even though his path was hard. It’s the power of God working through devoted followers that allow them to do God’s will in sometimes hostile environments.
Living daily in God’s will is more a matter of “being” His child than “doing” His will. He is the goal. Philippians 3:14.
God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You.
I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
So I gaze on You in the sanctuary
to see Your strength and Your glory.
My lips will glorify You because
Your faithful love is better than life.
So I will praise You as long as I live;
at Your name, I will lift up my hands.
You satisfy me as with rich food;
my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.
Psalm 63:1-5 (HCSB)
Those of us who live in the high plains of north Texas can relate to King David, who wrote this psalm while he was in the desert wilderness of Judah. We know the satisfaction that comes from a tall glass of ice water on a hot day. As great as cool water is for physical thirst, David thirsts for God to satisfy his spiritual thirst, to satisfy his soul. Where do you turn to find satisfaction for your soul? When you find yourself in the dry wilderness situations of life, what do you do? This Psalm shows the path to find satisfaction, even satisfaction for your soul.
David begins his journey by seeking God in His sanctuary. David had experienced God in His power and glory in the tabernacle; now David is in a dry place spiritually. He longs to see his wilderness transformed into a sanctuary where God is honored and worshiped. We should follow David’s example and seek God through our dry times and say, “I want to seek God’s glory through this wilderness experience just as though I were worshiping God in a church service.” God wants to be found. He will satisfy your soul. No one else can.
David continues his journey by blessing God. He focuses his attention on the greatness and faithfulness of God rather than the wilderness. When we choose to trust God through the dry times of life He refreshes our souls. When we are in the wilderness, the choice is ours, focus on the dryness of the desert or on the faithfulness of God. Choosing God will lead to deep satisfaction. He writes, “Your faithful love is better than life.” Wow. How would your life be different if God’s faithful love was even more precious to you than life itself?
David arrives at satisfaction when he writes, “You satisfy me as with rich food.” Satisfaction doesn’t come from external circumstances. It comes directly from God as He blesses us on the inside. Wilderness experiences can benefit you. They teach you the important truth about the source of real satisfaction. Circumstances on the outside can never lead to true satisfaction. Only God’s work on the inside truly satisfies. When you find yourself in the wilderness, follow David’s example. God will meet your need and you will find satisfaction for your soul.
This article originally appeared in the Dalhart Texan and was written by Sean Vickers.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the concrete in the foundation of the Christian faith.
Reasons to believe Jesus really did rise from the dead:
#1 JESUS OWN PREDICTIONS OF HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION Luke 9:22
#2 THE PUBLIC CRUCIFIXION John 19:32-34
#3 THE EYE WITNESS TESTIMONIES 1 Corinthians 15:6
#4 THE EMPTY TOMB Mark 16:1
#5 THE TRANSFORMED LIVES OF THE DISCIPLES Matthew 26:56, Acts 3:15, Acts 4:1-2
#6 THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH Acts 2:40-41
#7 THE TRANSFORMED LIVES OF CHRIST FOLLOWERS TODAY
How do these truths effect our lives today?
– WE ARE TRULY LOVED Armand 5:8
– BY FAITH OUR SINS CAN BE FORGIVEN Justified=declared righteous
– DEATH IS NOT THE END In death we fall asleep only be awakened to new life.
– HOW WE LIVE IS IMPORTANT How we live is proof of what we believe
– CHRIST DEMANDS AND DESERVES OUR FULL DEVOTION