Today we are reading Ephesians 1. In this chapter we read about Paul writing to the church in Ephesus. He begins this letter with a magnificent prayer! “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:15-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬ In this prayer, he reminds the Ephesians of God’s power and might to help. He also speaks about Christ’s authority and dominion over all rule and authority. How does knowing that the unlimited power of God is “on your side” bring you comfort? How can you “access” God’s resources for your wellbeing? Why do you think Paul was encouraging the Ephesians like this? May God enlighten the eyes of your heart to the reality of His great love and strength that He freely gives you. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Galatians 6. In this chapter we read about the impact of how we live our lives. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians‬ ‭6:7-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Sometimes it appears that those who do evil are unhindered and they “get away with it”. The truth is that God sees everything. He sees what is done in secret. He sees what happens behind closed doors. He even sees our heart. I once read something called the “Laws of the harvest”. The “laws” are as follows: 1) You reap what you sow. 2) You reap more than you sow. 3) You reap in a different season than you sow. With this in mind, let us not grow weary in doing good! Plant love and mercy! Plant forgiveness and reconciliation! Plant peace and harmony! Plant the Gospel of Jesus! Anticipate the Harvest! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Galatians 5. In this chapter we read about living by the Spirit. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:17-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬ when you look at the “works of the flesh”, which of them are most difficult for you to resist? When you look at the “fruit of the Spirit”, which do you desire most in yourself?  In others? May God abundantly produce in you the fruit of the Spirit! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Galatians 4. In this chapter Paul continues to write about how we are set free from the legalistic religion of the Jews by the death and resurrection of Jesus. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”” Galatians‬ ‭4:4-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬ We have been adopted in God’s family! We are forgiven. We are loved. We are treasured. We are provided for. We are protected. We are heard by God when we pray. Spend some time today asking God to help your heart receive these truths. May He make you smile today.  Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Galatians 3. In this chapter we read about works of the law versus grace as the way of salvation. “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.””
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:10-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬ What rules do you live by? As you think about your daily life do you keep score of the good things you do? Sometimes we are tempted to look at our good list and congratulate ourselves! This is what the Jews were doing in Galatia. Not only that, they also looked down on others who were not doing the same “good things”. How are you tempted to look down on others? Do you think they “pick up” on it? How would that be a roadblock to sharing your faith? May God bless you to love your neighbor as yourself. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Galatians 2. In this chapter we read about the conflict between Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Paul, a Jew, talks of his willingness to accommodate the Gentiles and not force them to follow Jewish customs. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬ In your practice of faith, are their any man made “rules” that hinder people who are new to the faith? How do we keep the balance of following Jesus and being able to connect with unbelievers? How do we stay faithful to Scripture and also stay relevant? What is the hardest part for you in this balance? What is your strategy for connecting with those who do know Jesus? May Hod give you His wisdom and heart for the lost. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading Galatians 1. In this chapter we read about how important it is not to compromise the Gospel. “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians‬ ‭1:6-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Paul makes it very clear there is no other gospel—only salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul says if anyone preaches a different message they will be cursed by God. So, the way of salvation is not up for debate. There are not “many paths”. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Why do you think people are tempted to believe another message? How can you make sure you are not led astray? May God guard you and keep you on His path. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 2 Corinthians 13. In this chapter Paul concludes his second letter to the church in Corinth. “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭13:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Paul gives his readers four commands, 1) Aim for restoration—who is God wanting you to restore? 2) Comfort one another—who comes to mind when you read these words? 3) Agree with one another—what common ground can you go to with those who do not agree with you? And 4) Live in peace—where is there hostility in your life? May the God of love and Peace be with you today and every day. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 2 Corinthians 12. In this chapter we read about Paul’s visions and his “thorn in the flesh”. “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:7-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Paul says that he was given this thorn in the flesh to keep him from becoming conceited. How does being conceited hinder the Gospel? Do you know anyone who is conceited? How does that impact your relationship? God told Paul, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Have you ever come to the end of your strength and found that is when God is most powerful? May God bless you to be confident in His strength! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 2 Corinthians 11. In this chapter we read about Paul’s sufferings for the sake of the Gospel. “Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭11:23-28‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Paul’s dedication to proclaiming the Gospel is truly amazing! How have you suffered for Jesus? Why do you think Paul was willing and able to suffer like this? The temporary suffering Paul endured has blessed all Christians for 2,000 years. Who is blessed through your suffering? May God use you to produce a living harvest! Pastor Tim