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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




"you, lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth."

Ephesians 4:22-24

It sounds simple, doesn't it? "you, lay aside the old self." The problem? If we could, we wouldn't need a Savior. We would obey the Ten Commandments and all would be well. So why is a command given to lay aside our old self if we can't do it? The answer isn't simple, but it's critical for us to understand. The command is given so we know what we are to do. Our stinky old self needs to be laid aside from our lives. But, here's the point: we can't do it in our own strength and with our old mindset. Therefore, we have to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. We have to learn Christ's ways. Then, we have to call out to Christ to fill us with His Spirit. (put on the new self) Only then are we empowered to lay aside our old self (nature) and live in the likeness of God.   

Heavenly Father, we know what to do; yet so often fail. Help us be renewed in the spirit of our minds and walk in the new self; Your likeness, righteousness, and holiness of truth.



"...we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,"

Ephesians 4:15

It was Peter Pan who sang, "I won't grow up." Do you remember the lyrics?

"I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me,
Not I,
Not me!
So there!

'Cause growing up is awfuller
Than all the awful things that ever were.
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up,
No sir,
Not I,
Not me,
So there!"

I wonder if the Lord Jesus Christ ever looks upon us as having a "Peter Pan" attitude about growing up in ALL ASPECTS into Him? In other words, do we have a stubborn streak in some area? For instance, rather than "growing up" and being forgiving, do we harbor resentment? Instead of growing up in ALL ASPECTS into Jesus, do we maintain our "right" to do what we want, when we want, how we want; rather than do that which our Heavenly Father commands us to do? Rather than grow up in ALL ASPECTS into Jesus, do we worry rather than pray, exercise our right to indulge rather than exercise self control, hate rather than love? Maybe we should take a hard look in the mirror and then answer the question, "Do I look and sound more like Peter Pan or Jesus?" 

Heavenly Father, I love how You provide specific instructions to us. Thank You for the reminder we're to GROW UP IN ALL ASPECTS into Christ Jesus!




"but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,"

Ephesians 4:15

The word "but" is important. It connects who we are in Christ to the prior verse that explains who we are NOT to be: children carried about by every wind of false doctrine. In other words, as a vessel at sea, we are sailing through the rough waters of life. Storms of false teachings beat against our sails. BUT we keep our course. Our eyes are on the heavenly shore of Christ's Kingdom. Rather than be blown off course, we study God's Word and then speak the truth in love. Unfortunately, some will try to silence us. But we are to continue to speak the truth in love. It is our calling. It is our purpose to represent Christ as we sail to the heavenly shores.  

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the responsibility to represent You. Thank You for the reminder that we ARE TO SPEAK THE TRUTH, even though it may not be popular or politically correct. Help us be faithful and bold to speak the truth of Your Word; but to always speak it in love. 

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"As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;"

Ephesians 4:14

This year, we've been talking about who we are in Christ. But today, I'd like to focus on who we are NOT to be in Christ. We are not to be children. We are not to be carried away by false doctrines. We are not to be tricked into believing like the world on issues that are black and white in the Bible. What happens when we are craftily deceived? We may not know it or experience the harmful effects of the serpent's bite immediately. But, the vile bacteria of his sting of deceit will cause us to rot from the inside out. How do I know? That's what's happening right now with my lab, Abby. A snake struck her two times, but apparently it was a "dry strike" with little or no venom. However, the vet explained that a snake's mouth is filthy; filled with bacteria. Abby didn't show signs that she'd been bitten until a full day after it happened. She's gradually become worse and worse; even with treatment. The sting of the serpent is vile. Jesus said Satan is a serpent and deceitful. If we don't want the vile bacteria of his lies in our lives, we must guard our thoughts and beliefs; holding firmly to Biblical truth. We are NOT to be children, carried by every wind of doctrine, trickery, and craftiness in deceitful scheming. 

Heavenly Father, the only way that we can avoid the serpent's vile sting is to hold close to Biblical truth. Thank You for giving it to us so clearly. If we have strayed, help us quickly return. If the poison of worldly thinking is already running through our veins, cleanse and heal us.




"When He ascended on high,
He led captive a host of captives,
And He gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:8

Sometimes it's hard to believe. I know. Pastors tell us we're gifted, and we just don't buy into it. We look around at other people, and think, "Yes, he's a gifted teacher. She's gifted with faith. He's gifted with administrative abilities. She's gifted to be a great encourager. Me? I have nothing." BUT, as with many of our innate thoughts, we're wrong. We have to put on the new self and mind that are ours when we become Christians. And, one of the "newbies" is "we're gifted." This gifting is not a natural talent with which we're born. Rather, it is as Ephesians 4:8 states, it is related to Christ's resurrection celebration and pouring out spiritual gifts on all His followers. If you are a Christian, He gave you a birth day gift. It's not wrapped with paper and bows. It's in your new inner man and is to be unwrapped and used for Christ's kingdom. When you use it, it will make you super happy. It's like you finally find yourself and your purpose for existing. Have you unwrapped your gift? Are you using it? It opens up like gift wrapping tissue being flung from a gift bag when you're walking in step with Christ. Here are a few of the fun ways you'll see gifts being expressed. Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. If you don't immediately identify your gift, why not start by exercising your faith and encouraging others? (2 of the gifts!)

Heavenly Father, Thank You for the gifts of Your Spirit. What a joy to serve You with them!