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"From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised," Psalm 113:3.

Heavenly Father, You are a great and awesome God, majestic, wonderous, highly exalted and to be praised. Thank You for Your abundant blessings. Transform us into Your image as we gaze on You and praise Your name.

Prison Ministry




"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him."

Ephesians 1:3

This year we're discussing who we are as believers. We're including, but going beyond the standard list one that includes "redeemed, sanctified, justified." We're being extremely practical; as in our identification today. God chose us to be holy and blameless before Him. When does "before Him" begin? Is it when we're in heaven? If so, we're good to go. We know that is our heavenly identity. But, if we look at the message of Ephesians 1:3 it tells us God's heart. We are His children - playing, working before His eyes. He sees our every success and failure. It is not pleasing to His eyes to see us living in sin. That's not what He chose for us. Think of it this way. Children are playing and you are watching. They are belittling each other, hurting one another, and acting out selfishly. It pains you. It annoys you. They know better. However, at another time those same children are being sweet and kind to one another. They are being unselfish. You sit back and watch in pleasure those children before you. Todays' few words at the end of Ephesians 1:3 are not there by happenstance. And, they cause me to pause and consider my actions and behavior before God.  

Heavenly Father, would you please forgive me for the selfish, foolish ways I have often acted? It must have pained You. Help me keep in the forefront of my mind that I am living before You. Every moment, every day, it is not what other people see in me, but rather what You see. In Jesus' name, Amen.



"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him."

Ephesians 1:3

Do you struggle with sin? Or, I should say, do you struggle to not sin? That's because God chose you before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless. Sin doesn't feel right. It dirty. It's uncomfortable. It doesn't fit with our new nature in Christ. Oh, for a bit sin may feel good. It may be fun. But, it always has a sting. It always has consequences; some that we live with for a long time. I know sin well from my own struggles. I know from those to whom I minister. Last week I was at the Lockhart Prison in Texas sharing with the female inmates. Their stories? They're living with the sting of their sin - driving while drunk, not paying their creditors, outbursts of anger that ended in physically abusing their children, and more. Sin. It is NOT how God created us. Knowing that God chose you in Him to be holy and blameless, what decisions will you make today to stand against sin? 

Heavenly Father, Thank You for doing what I could not do for myself - making me holy and blameless in Christ. Help me choose wisesly today so that my choices honor You. In Jesus' name, Amen. 



"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."

Ephesians 1:3

Thrilled. That's how my heart felt this morning as I turned in my Bible to Ephesians. After completing our discovery of who we are in Christ as revealed in the book of Colossians, we're now turning to Ephesians. I pray your heart took a leap as mine did when you read verse 3. In case you hurriedly read it, reread it. God has (past tense) blessed us. That's good news in and of itself. "How, in addition to salvation?" we might ask. "I'm hurting. I need something to which to cling," we might admit. And that's why we read on. God knows you need something now. He knows that there are earthly blessings some may never experience - the house, great spouse, having children, a rewarding job. So He gives us something beyond the physical realm. He gives us love. Love in our hearts that no person can give. He gives us peace when we think we may "lose it." He gives us hope. Not a false hope in earthly things. Rather, He teaches us to redirect our eyes to hope in Him. Open your Bible and begin reading through Ephesians with me. Take hold of the spiritual blessings associated with who you are in Christ. 

Heavenly Father, You have blessed me with spiritual blessings that far outweigh earthly blessings; yet too often I'm not mindful of them. Open my eyes and heart to take hold of them over the next weeks and months. In Jesus' name, Amen. 



"laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God."

Colossians 4:12

Wednesday I was a guest speaker for The God of Hope Ministry, which has a "faith dorm" at the Lockhart Prison in Texas. During a break, an inmate approached me and asked how she could know if something was of God or Satan; how she could know if something was right or true. I was thrilled to encourage her that she could look to the Bible; that it is God's words and she could be fully assured in it. Have you ever floundered with a decision? Have you ever wavered between knowing if something was wrong or right to do? Because believers are set apart in Christ, we have the blessing of trustworthy guidelines for how to live. We have assurances and promises on which we can depend. We can be fully assured that if God said it, it's true. We can live day by day fully assured in the will of God. 

Heavenly Father, it's a blessing to know that I can be fully assured in all Your will. Help me walk faithfully in Your will today.  In Jesus' name, Amen. 



"Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me."

Colossians 4:11

Could you use some encouragement today? I don't know of anyone who doesn't appreciate being encouraged. Why? There are so many ways and things that can discourage us; that a person who has an encouraging heart is a breathe of fresh air. Are you that breathe in people's lives? Are you an encourager? Do you realize what a great gift that is? Today, while writing, I received an email from a friend. It was a word of encouragement about how much our study of If God in In Control, Why Am I a Basket Case? has meant to her. My heart soared when I read her words. As a matter of fact, I reread, printed, and saved the email. It's precious that she took time to email me. God used this "sister" in my life today. Would you be an encourager to someone today? 

Heavenly Father, thank You for the hope that is in You. Use me to encourage others in their daily walk and struggles. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Adapted from If God in In Control, Why Am I a Basket Case?

NAS Bible Verses, Bible Gateway, #bgbg2