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Ephesians 2 - Be Together

Probably the largest number of artists to work on a single picture were the 130 who helped paint the Pantheon de la Guerre in France between 1914 and 1918. This gigantic panorama of the first World War is 402 feet long by 45 feet high and contains - besides battlefields, flags, monuments and symbolic figures - the life-sized portraits of 6,000 war heroes and leaders of 15 countries.

We are a lot like the picture mentioned above... It would be arrogant of us to claim that we are the only artist at work on the painting of our life. This means that it is vital to choose properly those who will be adding to the panorama and that we must be careful and considerate when it is our turn to pick up the paintbrush for others' murals. Read the following chapter of Ephesians (chapter 2) and notice how Paul addresses our inborn need for support and unity.

"1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of t…
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Ephesians 1 - Be Grateful

Ephesians 1 "1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. {A}In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 {B}In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to uni…

What If... Solomon

Read 2 Chronicles 7:1-22

What if Solomon would have truly taken to heart what God said in 2 Chronicles 7:14? What if Solomon had heard the warnings and heeded them? What if Solomon had kept his humility instead of allowing the pleasing words of people like the Queen of Sheba distort his values? Solomon is widely considered, even by many in the secular world, to be the wisest man who ever lived. This is not merely coincidental, nor is it due to his years and years of studying at the finest universities in the Middle East. Solomon's incredible wisdom is attributed to a 'once in a lifetime' discussion with God where YHWH simply extended the offer to Solomon to pick whatever he desired. Many of us would dream of that situation because, selfishly, we think about the money, homes, jobs, etc that we would ask for because we believe that would improve our lives somehow. God gives Solomon this choice and the rookie king chooses wisdom over possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of …

What if... Jonah

READ Jonah 1-4

What if Jonah had gone to Nineveh the first time God told him to go? Would it change the account in some way to see Jonah fully obey God in the first place? Would it change our opinions of Jonah (or even of God for that matter) concerning the Ninevites had he simply replied with "Your will be done"? As you read the story recorded in the book that bears his name, you find a character in Jonah who appears to be selfish, self-centered, bitter for reasons we do not know from just a reading of his account, and quite obviously stubborn. However, as God informs him of his assignment, we see an anger in Jonah that results in blatant disobedience. (v.3 "But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.") In taking that first step in the opposite direction of the Lord's assignment, Jonah sets out on a course that can be described as frightening, disturbing, sad, but also educational, surprising, and even spiritual. So, again, I ask, what if …

Simple Search

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God..."

A simple refrain that we have read, memorized, stated, and even sung on numerous occasions. We have looked into the eyes of our children and taught them the song that accompanies the words in Matthew 6:33. We have looked into the eyes of those who are dealing with trials and tribulations in this life and have called to mind the words found in Matthew 6:33. We have even, in some cases, written those words on a notecard and taped it to our mirrors in our homes to remind us of what is to be first and foremost in our lives. The simple challenge in reading this verse is not whether you can recall the years of singing, reading, and studying that you have done concerning this verse, instead it is the challenge that comes with realizing that I do not consistently put God first in my life.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God gives us an "if-then" proposition... "...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my …

Simple Kindness

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." - Aesop

In some ways, the culture and society our children are growing up in is more sensitive and more aware of the need to be kind. Our social media pages and airwaves are filled with messages of acceptance, tolerance, and the pressing need for a lack of passing judgment. However, in other ways, it appears our culture and our society has become even less drawn to the actions of being kind. Words impressed on a cool background that say how we should be kind are good to put on your desktop or as the lock screen of a phone, but do those words grow into any form of action? Many teenagers are confronted on a daily basis by bullies (both physically and by cyber means) whose intentions are to crumble and break apart any foundation of confidence that has been built. Many young children are confronted on a daily basis by bullies in their school who are desiring some type of "pecking order" and therefore will attemp…

Simple Fear

The book of Ecclesiastes is filled with words of wisdom, filled with ideas about what it means to survive your own poor choices, and, ultimately, filled with one major idea about what it takes to live a life that is full.

READ Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

"The end of the matter; all has been heard..."
This is not a statement of opinion, nor is it an open door for future discussions about what is going to be stated next... Rather, it is a full statement of fact, intended to let the reader (or hearer) know that what follows this statement is to be considered the end-all, be-all statement on the matters that have been discussed previously. When you read back through the book of Ecclesiastes, you find that Solomon covered everything under the sun (quite literally, he states that throughout the book). It is the basic concept that everything else has already been discussed and talked about ad nauseam. In other words, as the statement goes, "I have said all of these things to say this on…