BDBD is Philippians 4:1-3

Paul personally addressed two women, Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord and asked the rest of the congregation to do all they could to ensure that these women get along (2,3).

If I were to write a letter to my friends in the Lord, who would I address? What would I say to them that would help them in their stance in the Lord (1)? If the list of Christian names whom I consider friends are short and/or I struggle to know what to say to help them, then I need to work on personally connecting with other believers in the Lord.

Jesus taught that the world would know his disciples by the love we share. He prayed, “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23) Christian community is something that I am working on since I moved to a new state.

BDBD is Philippians 3:14-21

What are my short-term and long-term goals? That question was in the mindset of many individuals and companies thirty, forty, and more years ago. I haven’t heard it lately. Long-term goals mold the agenda of short-term goals and short-term goals set the agenda of daily life.

A proper and wise long-term goal ensures what is beneficial and needed. Say I want to build a shed to store my carpentry tools and my lawn and garden equipment, plus have a little area to do some work in. I need this done by winter. From this goal, I set monthly and weekly goals. Then every day I work to meet my goals. When something goes not according to plan, I do not stop short of the daily goal, because I know that doing so will keep me from having the shed done by winter.

What, then, is my short-term and long-term life goal? Paul’s long-term goal was a heavenly one (14). Paul wanted to rise from the dead and be with Jesus forever in paradise (10). He reminded the Philippi congregation to live their daily lives in accordance with their heavenly long-term life goal. (15,16). The wise long-term life goal is being raised to life and be there was Jesus comes again (20,21).

Paul gave them practical life examples on how to live their short-term daily goals to achieve their long-term life goal (17). Jesus also gave us practical life examples and teachings on how to live too.

I am not following the life examples of people whose long-term goal is to please their stomach and bodily function god (18,19). Such people’s daily life is set towards earthly things (19).

BDBD is Philippians 3:1-14

Paul was a self-applied man. He was a go-getter, an overachiever, a self-made man. He put his mind and will to rise to the head of his class, first in his field. He worked hard for his salvation and position. He succeeded (4-6).

Then Jesus came to Paul and introduced him to God’s way. He learned and accepted that true acceptance and true living was through knowing Jesus and having faith in Jesus (7,8). He left his old way of thinking and living, considering them useless trash because they countered his desire for a relationship with Jesus (8,9).

I have a similar experience as Paul. I believed and lived my life in ways that countered having a relationship with God. Then Jesus came to me. I believe him and so slowly started to live a new way. I learned from Jesus. I prayed to Jesus. I accepted what Jesus had to say, though not always and not always understanding what he was saying or doing in me and my life. I began seeking out others who had a relationship with Jesus.

However, do I still hang onto garbage that I either should have thrown away? Or do I pick back up that which I had thrown away once or twice before? Am I fully holding onto Jesus and his way of the cross, dying like him (10)? I like Paul can say that “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of God’s way” (12,13). I have no regrets (13). I move forward one day at a time, one moment to the next (13).

https://stephenricker.com/study/philippians/PhilippiansStudy3comments.htm

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BDBD is Philippians 2:25-30

Epaphroditus was the man that the Philippi congregation sent to help Paul in his incarceration (25). He was a messenger. He became ill probably because of the travel and almost died (26,27). He became better. Paul was sending him back to his home congregation and friends (28).

Every human that has ever lived has had to deal with illness in their lives. Sometimes the illness is an annoying cough and sinus infection that lasts for many days. Other times the illness is life-threatening. Sometimes we are ill. Other times a spouse, family member, and friend become ill.

Epaphroditus’ life-threatening illness was the result of his service in the Lord for this fellow Philippian believers and for Paul. We are prone to wonder why would God allow a person who is kind and loving, who is serving others, and who is dedicated to the service of God to become ill.

Though some may consider this a copout I seldom find the need to ask the “why” question anymore. I use to let the question “why” way me down and stress me. What I discovered is that my “why” questions were based on doubt of God’s love for me.

I considered the hardship that I was going through unjustifiable. So I asked God “why” in hope that the reason for the illness would make it endurable and I would be at peace. Now I just skip the “why” and accept that I don’t need to know “why” to find out that God loves me and cares for me. I accept that whatever transpires is for the good of me and those I love. Just accept and don’t let an unanswerable “why” add anger, shame, and guilt to my illness and suffering.

BDBD is Philippians 2:19-24

I self looks out for the well-being of myself, that is until Jesus came into my life (21). Humans are born with selfish traits. I think of young toddlers. They play with themself and their toys. Soon some learn and/or are taught to interact and play with others. An adult needs to show by interacting with the child that interacting and playing with others can be better than living in one’s own self-contained world. I don’t remember much of those years. Still, I’m sure I was no different than the rest of the human race.

Even though I now have a compelling need to be with and interact with others do I still look out for my needs? Or am I concerned for the needs of others?

I sit alone in an apartment getting ready for work and the day ahead. I don’t want to be alone. Yet, I had chances to make choices to be with others. I looked out for my financial needs and chose to move to a new job, starting over in a new place making new acquaintances and friends.

Therein lays a need to search my motives. When I reach out to others I need to have a genuine interest in others (20). Am I like a toddler who has just learned that interactions and playing with others are better than being alone? Or do I follow Jesus’ teaching of love for my neighbor?

BDBD is Philippians 2:12-18

God is at work in me (13). He is working on my character so that I will be like Jesus, the Son of God. He is leading, guiding, and directing me to will and to act. He is like a good father that instructs and disciplines me so that I may be a mature and stable adult. Even more, he gives me the will and strength to overcome every false impulse and motive in me that harms and destroys, and the will to act according to his good purpose.

I have a choice to submit to his works in me or resist them. I can incorrectly submit with complaints and arguments (14), or I can be a good and obedient child trusting his works in me is best for me (15).

Working out my salvation with fear and trembling (12) means cultivating it, bringing it to full effect, and actively pursuing spiritual maturity. The fear of God is awe-inspired fear and trembling. It’s using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ.

Work my salvation out to the finish is not a reference to the attempt to earn my salvation by works, but to the expression of my salvation in spiritual growth and development. Salvation is not merely a gift received once for all; it expresses itself in an ongoing process in which believers in Jesus are strenuously involved (Matt. 24:13; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrews 3:14, 6:9-11; 2 Peter 1:5-8) in the process of perseverance, spiritual growth, and maturation.

For more visit:

https://stephenricker.com/study/philippians/PhilippiansStudy2comments.htm

BDBD is Philippians 2:1-11

Jesus is in very nature God (5). He always had the nature of God. He always will have the nature of God. Jesus exists as the form and essence of Sovereign God (11). He is as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity. John 1:1-3 says this well.

I am united with Jesus through grace (1). I am united with love. I have fellowship with the Spirit of Christ. I experience his tenderness and compassion. His power and strength flow through my spiritual veins. His wisdom and insight are at access all the time. My relationship and companionship with him are like the union between a loving husband and a respectful wife. All this is encouragement to my soul.

Being one with God in spirit will and should transpose into my daily life (2). My life should change like a musician changes the key of a melody to make it new and different. The interactions I have with others, especially fellow believers should be as Jesus interacts with me (5).

Jesus became a man in outward appearance (8) while retaining his deity. He did not lose the position nor essence of his divinity when he acquired flesh and bones (7). When he was found in appearance as a man Jesus chose to further humble himself and become a servant to other humans (8). He did not assert his divine place. He lived and displayed true humility. I can and should follow Jesus’ example.

I can live in humility, not that I am lesser of a person than others. In fact, I am a son of the most high God. Rather, my humility should be like Jesus. I should do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit (3). I should look out for the interests of others (4).

Thus, as the Father exalted Jesus, so I will be exalted on the day of judgment (9-11).

BDBD is Philippians 1:27-30

Christians not only believe and confidently trust in Jesus, but we also suffer for him (29). Though this reality is seen in the lives of those who confess his name for the last two millenniums in every culture and country, some today don’t want to believe that we suffer for his name.

What does it mean to suffer for Jesus? Suffering for Jesus is doing so for his sake. So stubbing my toe on the corner post of my bed the other day is not suffering for Jesus. It is either because of the position I have as a son of God, or while doing service for him and others, or through someone who is wrongly treating me simply because they resent my faith in Jesus.

David suffered for years God while Saul tried to kill him. James and John suffered when the Pharisees threw them in jail because they were jealous. Paul suffered for Christ when he went to the temple to worship because the religious leaders were afraid of losing their positions of power and financial income. Suffering for Jesus comes from outside the congregation and inside it.

Suffering for Jesus’ sake will come. Whether they are or will, how I conduct myself is important (27). I need to stand firm with my fellow believers. I should not fear (28). Saying this is easy. Doing it is not. When I stand firm in my faith in Jesus, they will begin to see that I will be saved from death and they will not (28).

BDBD is Philippians 1:18b-26

Paul is a passionate man full of dedication to Jesus and his people. He is full of joy and love (18b). His love for Jesus is evident. His love for others is evident.

Does this mean he never doubted himself and his future? Was he always self-confident as he awaited his fast-approaching trial and possible death? Was he concerned by shifting sands of emotions and feeling, so much to succumb to sinking in the depths of worry, doubt, and despair? Did he contemplate giving up and moving on to the next life?

These verses are Paul’s self-examination of his hearts’ desire and finding the reason not to despair and lose hope. People were evidently working against a favorable outcome for him (17). He knew that. He could be killed (20). This was a real possibility.

Paul looked at his life circumstances and knew he could soon die or live (22). Was this his choice? No. It was the judges. Yet, he could decide to not make a defense during the trial and thus be found guilty and die. So would he give a great defense, win, and live? Or would he remain quiet and die? He asked, “What shall I choose?” He answered, “I do not know! (22b) What did Paul do in the midst of a major life decision?

Paul only looked at the pros of both. He only looked at the positive benefits of going to Jesus in heaven. He looked at the positive reasons for staying in this world. He did not look at the negative perhaps because they were evident. What did he want most?

Since the Holy Spirit dwelt in him (19) he knew that if in his heart and will he turned to the Spirit he would find God’s will. He would be either delivered (saved) from this life or delivered (saved) from death.

When major life decisions come upon me it is good to examine my heart in the Spirit. As others pray for me I can turn to God and find his will. I can let him help me examine the pros of the possible outcomes. Paul finally concluded that he would remain in this world a little longer to help the young congregations and his friends (25,26).

BDBD is Philippians 1:12-18

  Paul’s arrest and jail time that has lasted for several years did not stop his ministry in sharing the gospel as some has feared. Rather it actually served to advance the good news of Christ (12). The Philippian congregation was concerned that his work has diminished. God actually used this to advance it to places formerly hard to reach.
   Paul has happy because other believers were also sharing the good news more confidently. They were not afraid. They were more daring (14).
   Most believers in Jesus become afraid to share with others their relationship with Jesus. During conversations after years of witnessing the Lord still gives me opportunities and need to tell people of my hope and faith in Jesus. Accompanied with this is a vague fear of rejection, shame, and persecution.
   I have found that in Christ I can defeat this self progressed fear. What is there to fear since I have a Lord who has always been there for me? Vague fear should be no fear at all. Vague fear is perceived as eminent trouble based on faithless assumptions and protections. Trust God and present hope in Jesus and Jesus’ love (18).

BDBD is Philippians 1:1-11

Paul is under house arrest after being arrested in Jerusalem in 59 AD. He was in Rome awaiting trial in Ceasar’s court. It is now 62 AD. Paul wrote four letters (now in the Bible) while waiting; Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, and this letter. He states in this letter that he would be released soon.

Paul’s beginning remarks consist of two often quoted verses, “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (6).” And, “…this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…” (9,10). These three verses are worth quoting.

God is “in charge” of the whole universe. Yet, in regards to his kingdom, of which I am a member, God is “in control” for we submit to his rule. God’s control ensures these truths; that God is working for good IN ME and he WILL carry it out.

Confusion arises when I look at my life circumstances and conclude, “God is not working good in my life,” or “God is using these bad string of events to bring out good in my life.”

The truth is that God is most concerned about my character, my being, my essence. Thus, he is working IN ME first and foremost. The mere fact that God sent his one and only Son to suffer and die for my essence is evidence enough that God is working for good IN ME first and foremost.

God wants me pure and blameless until Jesus comes again (10). So he sent his Spirit to guide me in the way of love (9). As I practice Jesus’ way of love my knowledge and depth of insight grow. I am able to better discern what is best. I am able to live in God’s will for my life. This is God’s good work IN ME.

Read more on this at:

https://stephenricker.com/study/philippians/PhilippiansStudy1comments.htm

BDBD is Philemon, the whole book.

Paul wrote this short personal letter while still under house arrest after being arrested in Jerusalem. He was in Rome awaiting trial in Ceasar’s court. Paul wrote four letters while waiting. It is now 61 or 62 AD.

Onesimus met Paul while in Rome. He was a runaway slave who had stolen some things from his master, Philemon, who lived in Colosse. He may have been a fellow prisoner in Rome. How they met is not clear. That Onesimus had come to faith in Jesus at Paul’s message is clear. Paul was pleading to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus.

Paul was a peacemaker. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Mt 5:9) James 2:19 says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

Yeah, I want to be called a son of God and raise a harvest of righteousness, even though I don’t exactly know what that means.

Do I know two people or groups of people that have differences and hostilities? No two come to mind. However, though it’s not the same as what is meant, my younger brother and I have differences that I would like to be resolved.

More than that, though I get along with my remaining sister and older brother quite well, and all four of us live far apart, I pray that we may get together in Christ’s name before another of us pass. So there, I can be a peacemaker like Paul, and like my Father above.

After praying and while praying I need to find ways to act. I have reached out to my younger sibling in the past. I can continue to try to, perhaps someday we may build up a report.

BDBD is Ephesians 6:18-24

   Paul asked for prayer to be released from house arrest. He was chains awaiting trial to see if he will be jailed or killed (20).  No he didn’t ask for this prayer topic. He asked prayer that he be given a message, clear words, so that he may fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. He asked twice that he may declare the good news fearlessly (19,20).
   I see three facts here. First, he asked for prayer support. He was not so self confident and proud to ask for help (22). This is true humility. Along with asking for prayer support, Paul kept the line of full communication exposure open (21,22).
  Second, Paul’s dedication to fulfilling the will of God, the will Jesus had made known for his life. This was more important then his freedom.
   Third,, I see that Paul had fear with regards to fulfilling God’s specific will. Paul had fear in sharing the good news. Fulfilling God’s specific will for me comes with fear in living it. Living in God’s will takes faith and courage. That is why it is imperative that I “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (18).
   One final thought, pray for others with alertness (18)

BDBD is Ephesians 6:10-17

Some days I wake up ready for the Lord’s service. Other days I want to go back to bed. Today, I want to go back to bed probably because I was up later than normal. On days like this I need to remember that the Lord’s mighty power is always available (10).
All of God’s people have an enemy, the devil (11). He has an army (12). The battle is a spiritual one. The war rages on every moment, though the engagements vary in degree and magnitude. Therefore, I need to be prepared to engage in the spiritual battle (13). I prepare early in the morning getting up an hour before I need to.
The articles of spiritual warfare is truth (14), righteousness (14), sharing the gospel of truth (15), faith (16), salvation (17), and the word of God (17). I can and should put these on every day. Finally, I need go to sleep at a proper time so I am not so sleepy in the morning.

BDBD is Ephesians 6:1-9

   The principle of submission stated in 5:31 is the theme of these verses. Children submit to their parents by obeying and honoring them. God made a promise if we do. Children submitting does not mean all parents are always worthy of honor and obedience, nor does it mean long lived life comes from them. It means that rebellion complaining attitude shortens a person life.  God is the one who ultimately blesses and extends life in this world. This takes faith and hope in God.
  Fathers submit to their children by maintaining control and a clear head. Exasperated children have parents who are over bearing, controlling, and micromanage. A emotional stable parent is one who is rooted every day in the Spirit through prayer and meditation.  This takes faith in the Lord.
   Supervisor and supervised also submit. Doing so is possible when remembering that God is ultimately our Supervisor if we have faith.
   Submission is not natural in the fallen world. Our fallen nature tends to succumb to selfish faithless life styles. Walking in the Spirit is the key to living and applying the principle of submission.

BDBD is Ephesians 5:21-33

The interaction and relationship between a man and a woman, between husband and wife, need to have guiding principles to succeed. Without guiding principles all relationships will be like driving a car without a steering wheel, eventually, they crash and may even cause death.

The relationship between God the Father and Son, between the Son and the Spirit, the relationship within the Trinity, is the basis by which God established the relationship between a man and a woman, between husband and wife.

The relationship between Christ and the church is the basis by which the Christian relationship between husband and wife is to be bassed. Submission is the guiding principle, but each part in its own way.

Jesus submitted to the Father through enduring a humiliating and painful crucifixion and death. So a wife is to submit to her husband even though she is equal to him in position and abilities in many things. Submitting is not easy, but it can also be liberating. Submitting to a husband is an expression of faith in God.

Jesus sacrificed himself for the church, his bride thus saving her. A husband is to sacrifice completely for his wife. His model is Christ becoming shame and disfiguration so that the church may be without stain, wrinkle, and blemish. A husband is to ensure that his wife looks her best and is living in the best environment. Unconditional sacrifice is an expression of faith in God.

BDBD is Ephesians 5:15-20

“Be careful how you live” (15) and “making the most out of every opportunity” (16) is similar to “living in the moment” with the understanding that a Christian’s heart “understands what the Lord’s will is” (17). I can worship God by celebrating what he is lovingly doing in my life every moment. I know that all things work out for the good of those who believe. I know that his will is best. I will look to see the good he is going to do at the moment to come.

Some struggle with making decisions and living in the Spirit (18). We are afraid that we will make a poor choice that will lead to bad things happening in life. So we get stuck in a rut of mind fear. Some will even lay in bed all day rather than seek to fulfill God’s wonderful destinies in living. The fear of decision-making is egotistic and lacks faith in Jesus’ love for us. No matter how unsure I am of myself I am to make my plans known to God and ask his will be done not mine. Then seek to ensure the plan will happen fully trusting in God’s control.

Others of us sadly escape to the wine bottle and pill bottle (18). Rather than knowing God can turn anything around (which is his will), we escape into numb existence. Numb existence robs me of singing and making emotional and moving music in my heart to the Lord. Some of them aren’t joyful, but they are emotional movements that tend to be the sweetest when he touches me (19).

BDBD is Ephesians 5:1-14

To walk in the way of love (1,2) and live as children of the light (8,9) are similar. The chapter before spoke of changing my heart, mind, and will. These verses are what my heart, mind, and will are to be set on and not set on. These verses deal with practically loving sacrificially as Jesus did on the cross and the fruit of living in light.
   Christianity is not a set of do’s and don’ts. However, there are things that are good to do and things that are not good to do. These things have to do with morality and ethics.
   For example, as a toddler my parents told me not to touch the hot stove. Most of the time they did not tell me the dier consequences if I did. Their word wasn’t a rule as much as a compassionate warning and sound advice.
  The black coils turning glowing red was fascinating and mystical. I was compelled to investigate beyond vision. When I sheepishly moved my hand closer to they mystical device the heat increased. “No!” was the alarm from my mother. She saved me from self inflicted pain.
   Exposing fruitless deeds of darkness (11,13) is not instructions to meddle in other people’s lives as some moral police such as the Pharisees were. Rather, it has to do with examining my words and actions throughout each day. It is getting to the reason and motivation of why I do and say. Rather, I am the one to wake up and rise from the dead (14).

BDBD is Ephesians 4:25-32

   The main subject in these verses is anger (26, 27, 29-31). Anger is an emotion that in itself is not evil nor godly. Anger in itself is not good nor bad. Anger is a natural emotional expression from the heart. Anger is a result. Anger is the plant springing from a seed. Many heart conditions can produce anger, and anger usually produces a reaction.
   If the heart condition is impure, then the reason for and expression of anger will be impure and destructive. If a heart is pure, then the reason for and expression of anger will be pure and constructive. Therefore, all these facts about anger refers back to the previous verses concerning the need for a new attitude (23), a new heart (17), and a new way of thinking (18). Not meaning riding oneself of anger. Rather, what to do about and with anger.
   The Lord driving Adam and Eve from the garden in anger was a pure reaction. Jesus cleaning the temple of a market in anger was a pure reaction. Jesus’ anger to the stubborn disbelief of the religious leaders was pure. Jesus’ reaction to the apostles often had a hint of constructive anger and compassion.
  To a certain degree anger can be bottled up. However, often only bottling up anger creates a time bomb that often results in sin. Rather than containing anger, be sure to control the reason and reaction to anger. “In your anger do not sin.” (26)
   If the motive and reaction to anger is impure,  then quickly correct and amend the result of your anger (26). “Get rid of bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (31). Ask the Spirit to help transform and replace these with kindness, compassion, forgiveness (32).

BDBD is Ephesians 4:17-24

A common desire and question Christians have is, “What does a daily life in Christ look like?” New and growing believers especially are interested in knowing what they should cease doing and what they should start doing.
A personal relationship with Jesus must start with changing thought patterns (17) and heart attitudes (18). Before accepting Jesus as lover and master human minds are set on bad thinking patters and heart attitudes and desires. Christians are to substitute those with new thought patterns and heart desires.
A person who does not know Jesus has hardened their heart, having lost all sensitivity to God (18). Jesus taught the parable of the sower where God’s seeds penetrates our being and begins a new life in us. These seeds are the Holy Spirit transforming our heart, out thoughts, our will when we allow him to do so.
A daily life in Christ is to change and renew thoughts and heart attitude. It consist in setting my will on Christ. A sensitive heart towards Jesus is a relationship of faith, hope, love, respect, and submission. Christians daily are to “be made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (23,24).”

BDBD is Ephesians 4:7-16

  Jesus rose from the dead amd ascended into the highest heavens (9,10). He brought with him all those who had died while believing in him and loving him (8). Jesus also gave gifts to those still on the earth who also believe him and love (11).
   Jesus gave many types of gifts because there are many positions to fill (11). Jesus through the Spirit enables each of his believers as is required for each needed place. This doesn’t mean that at times the position will be easy and without problems. It just means he insures that his people are able to do that which they need to do.
  Jesus made Paul an apostle. Jesus make Luke a physician.  He made Mark an assistant.
  Jesus has some things for me to do too. I don’t have to be concerned that his will for me won’t be accomplished nor that I will fall short. By faith I know that God has and will enable me to accomplish his specific will for me. I have a place in Jesus’ home.

BDBD is Ephesians 4:1-6

  God’s love is greater than I can comprehend. His love maintains, connects, and supports all creation and all people. I can stay connected to him and his love. This was yesterday’s devotional theme.
  Today’s verses concern my love towards others. Verse 2 contains the 3 “be”s. Be patient, Be humble, Be gentle. These are how Jesus’ followers engage with everyone, especially other believers.
   Professionally I have been in the bearing business for much of my career. So the phrase, “bearing with one another in love” (2) stood out. Bearings support a moving load. Many types of bearings exist. Each type have special features that best handle specific types of moving loads.
   One bearing type is totally anchored so that it does not move with the supported moving load. A Slip-n-Slide is an example, though technically that fun summer toy is not a bearing.
  Another bearing type moves with the supported moving load. A door hinge is a good example. That type of bearing is called a sleeve bearing.
   Another type of bearing is called a roller bearing. A roller bearing has a part that rolls between the load and at least one ring. A ball bearing in a roller skate is a good example.
  All of these bearing types not only support a moving load, they do it much more efficiently and smoothly that if they were not present. Added to this, they extend the life of the moving load, keeping it from wearing down. They do this at their own expense. The moving load will exist eternally because the bearing sacrifices itself as the load moves.
   Jesus took my moving load with him on the cross so that I may live a much more effective and smooth life. He extended my life to eternity. Like Jesus, I am to be a “bearing with one another in love”.
  There is one body connected to Jesus (4). I am to be a bearing joint in Jesus’ body; like a hip, an elbow, a neck, and a knee. I am to make every effort to keep the unity of the body with the power of the Spirit and peace (3). I am to “Be patient, Be humble, Be gentle.”

BDBD is Ephesians 3:14-20

  Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers may come to know God’s love (14,15) He prayed this even though God’s love can never be fully known (19). Perhaps the fact that God’s love can never be fully known is because it is so vast (18), explains the reason why love is so hard to define and comprehend. The old saying is true, “Love is a many splendor thing.”
   How do I define my relationship with God? Can and do I define it as love? Does his power through the Spirit make me strong in his love? Do I passionately seek to know his love? Is my roots and foundation in Jesus’ love (17)?
   Knowing God’s love is to be completely filled with the very nature of God (19). And God’s love feels so good.. This is why I make time for one-on-one personal encounters with God, to experience his good and pleasing love.
   Be concerned not that at times I am not at rest with his love. For God is at work in me (20). Out of his glorious riches he strengthens me with power through his Spirit (16). He sustains me.

BDBD is Ephesians 3:1-12

The NIV in verse 10 states, “the manifild wisdom of God.” The GNT states, “God’s wisdom in all its different forms.”  God wisdom has many facets that constantly pour out different flavors like the modern day soda dispensers in movie theaters. God’s intent for the church is to reveal, display, and make known the many aspects of his wisdom (10).
  God is rich in many ways. God who owns everything has riches that are not tangible (9). Jesus riches is mainly in the Spirit and dispelled by the Spirit. His riches is boundless grace.  He is rich in mercy and compassion. He is the prince of peace and serenity. He is rich in love. His wealth is displayed and dispenses from the cross.
   Christ Jesus’ riches were a mystery in ages past, but revealed now through the church (2, 5, 9). This mystery is that through the gospel his people are heirs and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus that we have, are, and always will receive his riches (6).
   Right now I can receive his riches of peace, passion, power, serenity,  and healing. This is a promise of God. Right now I can allow the Spirit to reveal and dispence his love to others through me.  This is “the manifild wisdom of God.”

BDBD is Ephesians 2:11-22

   Jesus “set aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two (Jew and Gentile), thus making peace.” (15) Jesus accomplished this by allowing himself to be crucified on the cross and by raising himself from the dead. Jesus’ work on the cross is not limited to reconciliation and salvation (16).
   Israel separated themselves from God by not keeping the covenant that they made with him, unless they put their faith in God like Jacob did. Gentiles remained separated from God unless they put their faith in God as Abraham did (11). Jesus made the way for both Jew and Gentile to have a sincere relationship with God (19).
  Now God dwells in his people (20-22). The Spirit in me is God. He is a reminder that I qm a child of God set to inherit the kingdom, the world (1:13-14). At times when I focus my heart and thoughts towards Christ, the Spirit reminds me that I am his and he is mine.
   At times the Holy Spirit reveals in me that I need to let go and trust God. He shows me I have fears and reservations that I need to trust him. This happened yesterday during the times at church. Lord, I trust you. I give my all to you. You own me.

BDBD is Ephesians 2:1-10

   The good news, the gospel, is presentedl in  these 10 verses. Accepting the truth laid out here is not hard, complicated, nor undesirable. Believing them personally does not require going to a special group, congregation, nor denomination.
  The gift of God as spelled out here does not require getting ones life right before God dispels his grace. The only prerequisite is to be a living human.
  No one is excluded from everything stated here, not because of race, age, gender, social position, occupation, gender affiliation, location, health, occupation, nor any thing that now divides and separates us. Everything stated here is for anyone who breaths. The only thing that stops anyone from accepting this good news is themself.
   Once accepted I must never forget the grace of God for I, like all believers in Jesus, was dead in my sins and lived according to the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air. I thank God for his grace to me.

BDBD is Ephesians 1:15-23

  God has so much to offer his people. He gives the Spirit of wisdom, revelation (17), and power (19). And he will give the riches of his glorious inheritance.
   Yet at times I do not believe nor feel these. I do not feel wise. I am not sure what his will is for me because revelation has not come. I feel weak. I lack hope. Apparently Paul saw that the believers in Ephesus needed his prayer because they too were in need of these.
   I pray throughout the day and I have set times of prayer. The set times of prayer can become habitual. Other times I have little to say. In those times I can simply ask for his power so that I may know him better (17) and have hope for what lies ahead (18).

BDBD is Ephesians 1:11-14

   God has predestined every one who has been, is now, and will ever be chosen in Christ (11). This truth usually brings up objections and confusion. No wonder. For God’s wisdom and knowledge is far beyond the collective wisdom and knowledge of all who has been, is, and will ever be. “Who can fantom the mind of God?” so said the psalmist
  Can a gear in a watch comprehend the watchmaker? Can the ant carrying a leaf comprehend the maker of the hive in the root of the tree? Yet, just because I can not fully comprehend the Creator God, which is Christ, I can understand some of the mind of the Lord God.
   I am told why God chose me, “for the praise of his glory.” (12) The Holy Spirit, who is my seal of predestined presence in Christ (13) excites and enables me to praise him in mind, heart, words, and action (14).
   Even when I have a bad moment, day, week or year the Holy Spirit has the power and will to enable me to praise him. I have found that when I am feeling lower than dirt, if I praise God in spirit and truth the Spirit flows into me like warm coffee on a chilly foggy fall morning, warmth entering my mouth, going down my throat, and into my belly, and lighting a fire in my chest.

BDBD is Ephesians 1:1-10

   Paul is in a Roman prison as is recorded at the end of Acts. He first wrote to the congregation in Colossai. Then he wrote this letter to the congregation in Ephesus.
   God predestined his people, of which I am one, as laid out in these 10 verses. In Jesus I have every spiritual blessing in Christ (3). I am forever holy (4), adaption as a son of God (5), redemption from sin, the law, and hell (7), forgiveness of sins (8), and knowledge of the mysteries of his will (9).
   I will experience the complete unity of all things in heaven and on earth under Christ (10). Heaven is living and experiencing God’s calming and empowering peace and God’s satisfying and fulfilling love.
  The Spirit of Christ enables me to experience the unity in part in this world when I worship in spirit and truth. In fact, I experience all these now if I so chose to. It is up to me. God is willing and able.

BDBD is Colossians 4:7-18

  Paul ends his letter to the congregation in Colossea with greetings to individuals and from individuals who were with him.
   Tychicus and Onesimus were to give an update on Paul’s ministry. Paul was under house arrest awaiting trial before Ceasar’s court (18). I see that there is nothing wrong with giving personal updates as long as it doesn’t include boasting.
   Mark was with Paul again (10). Paul had objected to bringing Mark on his previous mission because he had deserted Paul and Barnabas on their second mission trip. Paul had forgiven and accepted him. Mark was a squeamish young man. Paul made accommodations for him because of this and out of love for him.
   Epaphras is a good example of praying for others (12-13). Paul wrote he wrestled in prayer. What does it mean to wrestle in prayer? Struggle till the request is pinned down?
   Nympha was a woman with means (15). Her house was large enough to host the congregation. The wealthy should be generous to others. I am far from being wealthy by American society. Yet at times I will host others in my loft. It is right and good.