Focus intently upon the Word, in order to be changed.
Many times our days are filled with stress and frustrations that seem to raise our blood pressure, cause our hearts to race, and cause us to speak in snappy ways to others. Sometimes during our most stressful moments during the day, we encounter that person or those people who tend to push our buttons and push us over the top with our stress levels. We tend to struggle with such physical conditions as tensity and stiffness in our necks, headaches, migraines, and even TMJ. After long periods of such stress, our physical conditions can increase leading to serious health issues such at heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure.
We have got to learn how to handle such stress and focus on a more peaceful lifestyle. Of course, diet and exercise are two great factors that can help alleviate such health issues, but one of the most important factors is alleviating stress by focusing on the peace that only God can bring to us. We must learn to go in His peace and leadership at work and rest. This week we will focus on doing just that.
Sunday: Read Ephesian 1:1-2 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Today as you meditate on these verses, pray think about the Grace you have received from God and the peace He bestows. Take a deep breath and read these two verses several times. Absorb the word “peace,” and meditate on the peacefulness of God through Jesus Christ. Pray and ask God to give you His peace and to help you recognize it all day. This may also be a good day to sit outside on your patio or porch, sip coffee, listen to the birds, and meditate on the peacefulness of God.
In your journal write a commitment statement that you will relax in the peace of God all day and all week.
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Monday: Focus on Ephesians 1:3-6 “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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Today let’s meditate on the blessings that God has bestowed upon us through His Son Jesus Christ. God planned before we were born and even before the foundation of the world to provide us with His special blessing which is eternal life with Him. He has chosen for us to receive spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, which means these blessings are coming from the heavenly realms. In order to fully understand and enjoy these blessings, we must put our focus and affections on spiritual things rather than earthly things. If we can develop the mindset that although we live here on earth, we have our focus on spiritual matters, we will strive to be holy and blameless before God our Father, He will bless us and provide all we need to get through our daily routines of life. This kind of mindset will require us to relinquish our ideas of living for self and accept the mindset of living for God here on earth.
As we develop this heavenly and spiritual mindset in our daily lives, we will recognize the spiritual blessings of God. Then, we should, in turn, show our adoration and thankfulness for what God is doing for us by giving Him praise for His glorious grace and blessings. It seems that we are quick to ask God for help and beg for His assistance, deliverance, and blessings, but we are not always prone to praise Him as He deserves. Today, focus on your praise to God for all He has done and will continue to do for you. Start by praising Him for the blessing of salvation through the sacrifice He made by offering His Son on our behalf to cover our sins.
In your journal today make a list of the blessings God has given you. Write a praise to Him for each blessing. Get creative in how you choose to praise Him. Begin to recognize the exceptional qualities of God. For example, praise Him for being the all loving God who willingly gave His Son, who knew no sin, to die in your place as you are from a sinful nature. Praise Him for being the all knowing God who guides and directs your paths and keeps you from harm even when you don’t know it is coming. I’m sure your list can go on and on.
Tuesday: Focus on Ephesians 1:7-10 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Today, we will go deeper into the act of God giving His only Son to cover our sins, so we can we can have eternal life. We are the ones who have trespasses and sins against our Holy Father, but Christ is the one who paid the price to cover our sins. God, through His Son, offers us forgiveness as a free gift. Not only is this free gift offered to us, but we are also lavished with all the blessings from God on behalf of what His Son has sacrificed for us. We are allowed to have the wisdom and insight of God as He reveals to us His will and purpose for our lives. He trusts us enough to allow us to know His heart.
Have you spent time focusing and comprehending the magnitude of exactly what Christ has done in order for us have such blessings and redemption? Spend time today comprehending the reality of what was sacrificed so you could receive God’s grace and blessings freely. In your journal give God praise for that and thank Him for your redemption.
Wednesday: Focus on Ephesians 1:11-14 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Today we will think about the inheritance we have received as a result of believing in Christ and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. We who have done this are considered the children of God and are guaranteed our inheritance in Him. Therefore, we are to offer praises to Him for His glory. Once again, we are going to focus on the praise God deserves from us because of the way He has included us in His family and has provided an inheritance for us as a beloved family member. We are actually children of a King! We are in the royal family!
In your journal, write a statement praise and gratification for the inheritance that has been promised to you. As you write this statement, consider the eternal alternative you could have faced had God not provided this inheritance for you.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
Thursday: Read Ephesians 1:15-21. “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.” Today let’s think about how Paul prayed for those who were close to him and striving to live a faithful life in Christ. He acknowledged their willingness to be faithful regardless of what they were experiencing or facing in their daily lives, and he made a special point of praying for them to be strengthened and provided the wisdom needed as they continue and the enlightenment of hope they have as they remain faithful.
Today, turn your focus from yourself to others who could benefit from that same kind of prayer and encouragement that Paul offered to the saints to whom he considered close friends. In your journal make a list of people who need your prayer support and encouragement as they continue in their pursuit of remaining faithful to God and the path He has directed them to follow. Once your list is made, fervently pray for their protection, wisdom, and continued guidance in their daily lives. Now, take that prayer a step further and write a note or card to one or all on that list. In this note state that you are praying for them according to Ephesians 1:15-21, and offer them a word of encouragement for their faithfulness.
Friday: Read again Ephesians 1:15-21. “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.” Today let’s focus specifically on verse 19 that expresses the fact that we today have the same great power available to us as was exerted when God raised Christ from the dead. Today as you go about your daily routine and face adversity, stress, frustrations, etc., relax in and trust the power of God that is available to you through Christ Jesus. Move in His power and overcome whatever comes your way. Allow that power to be perfect and real in all you do and face all day. Remember, you do not have to fight against the obstacles; you just have to proceed in the power of God Almighty, who has all things under His control.
It is our nature to want to fight back, or take control and put people in their place. That method causes us lots of stress and frustration. Let it go, and let God take care of it in His power and strength. This will alleviate your stress as you are able to practice this kind of Godly power in your life.
In your journal today, write a prayer of thanks for all that God will take care of for you. Of course, you also will want to write a statement of your willingness to allow Him to have control over your day and exert His power over all situations and people you encounter all day. Once you have made this commitment, relax and go about your day with a spirit of peace, knowing God has all things under control.
Saturday: Read Ephesians 1:22-23. “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.” Today we will acknowledge who is actually over all things to the church. God has placed Christ to be the head of the church; therefore, all are to subject and yield in sincere obedience to Christ. It was God’s gift to Christ just as it is our gift as well to have a such a dominant head over us who has such power and authority to control all things. He has been given all power in heaven and earth. As Christ is the head of the church, He will guide and protect the body as it is His pride and joy. We can rest in the fact that if Christ is allowed by us to be the head of the church, the church will flourish and thrive.
Take a moment today to reflect on Christ as the head. Understand what it means for us to let go of controlling factors within the church according to our thoughts and ways, and give the control back to Christ, so He can accomplish His desires for the church.
In your journal today list activities that have recently occurred that verify Christ is in control. Are there areas that need to be relinquished to His control? Pray that God will give all members the ability to give Him complete control over the church and to allow Christ to be the ultimate head of the church. Relax now in the leadership of Christ rather than fighting to enforce the will of man.