1 Corinthians 15:54-57 – When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“The resurrection of Jesus is more than a belief that his body was dead and came to life again, though this is quite true. It is an awareness that there was a cosmic explosion when Jesus rose again, and the power and repercussions of this reality echo through the ages to our day and into eternity.” [NT Wright, Surprised By Hope]
This is the Easter reality, that we are living in the ongoing shockwaves of the cosmic explosion of the resurrection, where sin and death have been swallowed up in Christ’s victory. As we worship the Lord today, may we once again be completely undone by the power of the resurrection as we worship with the song “Upon Him” (click here) by Matt Redman.
Thank you for the Cross, for we are now forgiven. And in your resurrection, we are the risen. We praise you today for the power of the Holy Spirit that brings resurrection reality to our daily lives. May every area of our lives, our deeds, our thoughts, and emotions display this resurrection power. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 – 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
“This doxology sums up the intent of the first half of the letter [of Ephesians]. We should praise God for his astounding work in Christ Jesus…[It] invites us to meditate on God, the One who is much more powerful than we anticipate. This is not an invitation to think up self-centered grocery lists of tasks for God to do…God does not fit the limitations of our expectations…Rather, it is a call to realize God’s unanticipated power to effect change in us, in keeping with the power already working in us…God is at work and eager to work in us to achieve his purposes for salvation.” [Snodgrass, Ephesians (NIVAC)]
The Holy Spirit’s power, Christ in us, the vastness of His love and power, the fullness of God filling us, and knowing that God is at work and eager to work in us His purposes, the “immeasurably more” is simply the norm for our Christian life together as the Church!
As we pray, let’s worship to, “Yours (Glory and Praise)” by Elevation Worship (Click here).
Prayer/Commitment: God our Father, the One who does immeasurably more then all we ask or imagine, according to Your power we will live and love to glorify Christ in our churches, ministries and families! In Jesus’ name Amen.
Ephesians 3:17b-19 – And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
“In experiencing Christ, Christians experience the fullness of God, his presence, and power. In experiencing that fullness they themselves are made full by Christ. That is, they partake of God’s own being and are made like him. This is an ongoing process.” [Snodgrass, Ephesians (NIVAC)]
The fullness of Christ is at work in you, and “out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given” (Jn 1:16). Out of Jesus’ grace we are filled with His love. Knowing this fullness comes as we participate in His grace, relying on the Spirit’s work of Christ in us in all that we do, say, and think. Fullness = Loving God and loving others.
How can you live in the fullness of God today and this upcoming weekend?
What ‘old’ ways of ‘filling up’ can you replace with intentional demonstrations of love toward God and those you interact with?
As we pray, let’s worship to “Fill This Place” by Red Rocks Worship (Click here).
Prayer: God our Father, may we know Christ’s love today, being filled to the measure of all your fullness in Him, and now at work in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ephesians 3:17b-19 – And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.
The vastness of Christ’s love for us is what we are “rooted in” and “established” or grounded upon. Another way to understand the magnitude of Christ’s love and power is this: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).
What cracks your conviction of God’s love for you? What ways wear you down and bring doubt or guilt into your thoughts about God’s powerful work in your life?
“Grasp” the vastness of Christ’s love and the Spirt’s power for you in those areas by spending time praying Ephesians 3:14-21 and declaring Romans 8:38-39 over your life when these moments begin to affect you. And then intentionally love – love God and love others.
As we pray, let’s worship to, “The Goodness of God” by Bethel Music (Click here).
Prayer: Our Father in Heaven, we bow our hearts and thank you for the magnitude of love we have in Jesus. I pray we will grasp this love and power today and love the Church, our missional groups, and our campus ministries with this love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ephesians 3:16-17a – I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
As Dwight Moody (1837–1899) was struggling with his own personal shortcomings, God met him one day in New York. He later wrote, “I can only say God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.” Christ does not make our lives easier. He makes our lives wonderfully harder as he cares for us with a love so great that we need strength to endure him. [Ray Ortlund]
When Christ ‘dwells’ He sets up His home and His ways. They can be so powerfully displacing that at times it hurts. But it is good…wonderful.
Have you experienced Christ in you in such a way that He overwhelmed your heart?
In what ways have you been resisting the powerful Presence of Christ in your life?
As we pray, let’s worship to, “Only Jesus” by Bethel Music (Click here).
Prayer: God our Father, we bow our hearts to You today, and we pray that out of Your glorious riches, strengthen us with power by the Spirit deep within us so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. Father, we want Christ to flourish in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ephesians 3:14-17a – For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
This prayer is so different than many of our typical prayers. We might tend to pray prayers that focus solely on our current situation. This is when we are simply asking God to change our circumstances and make our lives easier. There is a time for this kind of prayer. There is another kind of prayer that focuses on God changing us rather than Him changing our situation. This is how Paul prays. These are prayers where we are asking God to make us and those in the Church “complete in Christ.” [This] prayer often gets at the eternal prerogatives of God. We must, therefore, pray prayers that are aimed at this ultimate end. Otherwise our community is in danger of degenerating into, “God, would you please continue to make us more and more comfortable in every situation in our lives?” [Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates New People in a New World]
Using Ephesians 3:14-21, let’s pray for our Church, Missional Group, and Campus Ministries. And as we pray let’s worship to “Here I Bow” by Brian & Jenn Johnson (Click here).
Prayer: Our Father in Heaven, we pray that out of Your glorious riches, strengthen us with power so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV) – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
“We keep falling into the same sin when we fail to believe that holiness really will make us happier than giving in again. Many other factors may influence us, but at the root of habitual sin is a battle not for self-control, but for happiness. What we believe and want, deep in our hearts, really matters.” – John Bloom
We are the happiest when we are doing what we were created to do – to love, worship and glorify God. Seeking the Lord in these ways is far better than reaching back to old habits and tendencies. Our struggles come when we aren’t living as God intended – trusting in other things, means and ways to make us happy. In God’s goodness is our deepest happiness.
In God’s divine power we seize the day for his glory.
In what ways are you not living as God has called to live? How can you dive back in?
Father, thank you for your great and precious promises. May the church find its joy in you alone today! Free me from lesser happiness and immerse me in your divine joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 John 1:5-7 (NIV) – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
When our desires conflict with Scripture, human beings do not always live according to what we say we believe. We can say we believe one thing, but our lives betray other allegiances…How can you detect these false beliefs? Start by looking at the things you do in private. Do you live very differently in private than you do in public? Do you permit your imagination to indulge itself in ungodly fantasies? If so, even though you know that God sees everything, you are experimenting with an alternative theology that says that there are some places where God can’t find you. [Welch, Edward T.. Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave]
God’s faithfulness is why we begin each day.
Spend time seeking the Lord in prayer and studying His Word concerning your struggle or unhealthy cravings. The Word of God is powerful and life giving.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your faithfulness. Align my belief with your Word, that I may live true to who I am in Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Psalm 34:8-9 (NLT) Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! 9 Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
“If the root problem of addictions is false worship, the answer is knowing the Lord, the One who deserves our worship…Scripture is full of teaching on how we are to respond to Jesus…We are told to trust him, obey him, magnify his name, worship him, love him, imitate him, and follow him. One response that might not sound as familiar is that we are told to fear him.
“While the holiness of God will leave many knees knocking when Jesus comes again, a mature fear of the Lord is more akin to awe, devotion, and worship. It is a response that says, ‘In your presence, nothing else matters. You are all that I desire.’ It is a response that is active. It does something…it follows Christ in obedience. It searches out his will and can’t wait to do it. Stop for a moment: ‘It searches out his will and can’t wait to do it.’ Here is the ultimate protection against addictions.” [Welch, Edward T.. Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave]
Before the day begins, He is. God is who defines our day, our lives, and our desires.
Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come and your will be done in my life today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ephesians 5:15-20 – Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we experience true forgiveness and freedom, but sometimes we go back to memories and old ‘crutches’ or habits. Reaching back into an old life causes cyclical patterns of habitual sins that diminish the blessing of forgiveness, grace, and joy. As people of God, we are to put off and put on (Eph 4), and we are to be filled with Spirit, speak/sing words of Spirit in worship, fellowship, giving thanks/prayer (Eph 5:18b-20).
This Spirit-filled reality is how we begin each day.
When was the last time you experienced the Holy Spirit’s filling and empowering? Soak in the memory and recognize that in those moments you were most free.
In light of the Spirit’s filling, how can you increase His filling and lessen ‘being filled’ with the struggles and temptations?
Prayer: Father, thank you for the Spirit’s presence in my life. Come Holy Spirit and fill my heart today, help me make the most of every opportunity for your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.