Weekly Devotional

Meditations on Ephesians 5 – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Meditations on Ephesians 5

If you’d like to read Ephesians 5 before reading the below Meditations on Ephesians 5, tap or click here.

Because God has replaced our death with life, he tells us to be imitators of him like a child imitates its father (v. 1). And to walk in love, like Christ loved us. 

This kind of love was shown in how he gave himself up for us. And we also are to give our lives up as an offering and sacrifice to God (v. 2). 

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Do we believe God is who he says he is? – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Everyone has an opinion about who God is. But the question we should ask ourselves frequently is, “Do we believe God is who he says he is?” 

We live an opinion-saturated culture. Our feelings are our guiding force (yes, even in the Church). 

“I don’t feel like God is really that way…” 

Do you find yourself saying things like that?

I do often, even without thinking. 

When faced with the reality of what the Bible claims about God, it’s easy to think, “I don’t believe God is like that.” 

Take the idea of substitutionary atonement (the concept that Christ died on our behalf, to forgive our sins). 

More and more people are finding substitutionary atonement so distasteful that they hate the idea of it, and even hate the God who says he commanded it. 

They say, “That version of God is no more than an abusive sky-daddy.” 

But is that what God calls himself? Of course not. 

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Meditations on Ephesians 4 – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Meditations on Ephesians 4

Who’s ready for some meditations on Ephesians 4? 🙂 I hope you’ve all had a good week.

Tap here to read Ephesians 4.

In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul reminded the Ephesians of God’s incredible gift.

He also reminded them of his labor to share God’s incredible gift with them, and his imprisonment for their sake.

All of that was built up for these final three chapters of Ephesians, where he lays out how they should respond to God’s incredible offer. 

As a prisoner for God, Paul asks them to walk in a manner worthy of God’s calling on their lives (v. 1). This is a life defined by humility, gentleness, and patience. The sort of life lived out by us bearing with one another in love (v. 2). 

He urges us to remain eager to maintain close bonds of peace, because there is only one church. 

Every Christian belongs to one another, as permanent family. So, we strive to reconcile with each other in humility and gentleness (v. 3). 

There is only one Christ, and one Spirit inside all of us. We have the same hope, attached inseparably to the one call to live worthy of Christ and to bear good fruit through his Spirit (v. 4).

We share the same trust in Jesus (faith). The same Lord who commands us all to live the same kind of life.

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What do you fear? – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

What do you fear? Devotional image

During this intense time, fear is being shouted from the rooftops.

So. What do you fear? 

What we put into our minds makes an impact. As a result of the bizarre events surrounding COVID-19, I’ve been craving the psalms lately as a respite from all the anxiety-inducing headlines. 

Over and over, I’ve felt the reality of Psalm 63, “my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. … Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” 

At the same time, fifteen minutes after worshipping him and reading his Word, my mind returns to the anxieties that have been plaguing me. 

It does sort of make sense. I’ve been stressed about a book launch, had my whole schedule flipped, began working from home, been literally stuck in my home for nearly a month, and struggled with a chest-cough due to allergies for three weeks (it’s still there, folks – ugh). 

But I know that the peace he gives me is real, and stronger than my fears. 

So, why do the pressures return so quickly? 

I think I might know why, at least in part.

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Meditations on Ephesians 3 – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Meditations on Ephesians 3

Before we begin: Are you all safe? Let me know in the comments below how I can be praying for you. 

If you don’t have your Bible, tap here to read Ch 3 of Ephesians on Bible Gateway.

Alright, let’s get going. 

Throughout Ephesians, Paul takes the believers in Ephesus back through the beautiful promises of the Gospel – that God has promised to save, change, empower, and reward faithful believers with a life of intimacy with him now and forever.

In each of the first three chapters, he digs through a deeper layer of this to focus on something slightly different. 

In chapter 3, he chooses to focus on the fact that he’s been imprisoned precisely because of the good news he preached to the people in Ephesus.

He refers to that good news as “the mystery of Christ.” 

What exactly is this “mystery” that he’s talking about? 

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New novel coming April 1st!

Eden book

Today is going to be a bit different. Instead of a devotional, I’m going to be sharing the first chapter from my new novel, Eden, which is launching on April 1st.

It’s without a doubt the best book in the series, and I’m very excited for its release! Because not only does it mark the release of a new book – it also marks the release of new editions of Flood and Babel with brand-new book covers.

On April 1st, you’ll get another email from me with a link to the book on Amazon. But before then. . . here’s what the book is about:

“You want me to tell of how I broke the world.” 

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A Prayer for Peace During the Coronavirus Crisis

We live in strange times. Two weeks ago, there seemed a chance everything would blow over. Now businesses are closing doors. People are staying inside. Much of international travel is banned. 

It appears that many more will get sick and die. Businesses will suffer, and financial pressures will increase. These are real, unusual pressures. 

So, today we will be praying together for peace and protection. 

Because one thing we are certain of: God is in control of everything, and our prayers matter. 

Lord, we don’t understand why any of this is happening. And we know that you grieve over the tragedies that have taken place. We know that you grieve over the tragedies that happen every day with car crashes, murders, death from illnesses, and more. 

But most, you grieve over your beloved children not knowing you and living the life you’ve offered to us. 

Don’t let our fear sap our lives of the joy of your presence! Don’t let our anxieties outweigh the reality of your power and goodness and faithfulness. You are our refuge. You are who we go to for protection and strength. 

Strengthen us now to handle what’s ahead of us. Calm our troubled spirits. 

We know that you will not protect everyone from a bad outcome. But you have promised to be faithful, to never leave us, and to always hear our prayers and comfort us in our pain. 

Then, after we die, you have promised that our greatest reward will be given in the next life. That we will be taken home to be with you, in total peace, and given a new body that can never die from sickness, never lead us away from you with a corrupt nature, but only lead us deeper into your heart, where we will live forever in joy and purity. 

So, replace our panic with peace, even as you give us wisdom in how to respond to these quickly evolving changes to our world. And remind us that together, we can weather much more than we can alone. By supporting each other in true, practical ways in times like these. 

Let not our hearts be troubled. What can sickness do to us? Our life is by the Spirit, not our bodies. Sicknesses may ravage our bodies, but they can never steal the unending life Christ has given us! 

And yet there are those who will die in this epidemic never knowing your name, never loving you, Lord. For their sake, and for the sake of our families and the work you have for us to do in the future, we will not be foolish and risk spreading this illness. Instead, we will be wise in preventing ourselves from getting sick, and in preventing ourselves from spreading potential sicknesses that we don’t even know we have yet. We will not be selfish!

You gave your life as a ransom for us. You came to serve us, not to be served. So, what is it for us to stay indoors and listen to the advice of professionals in how to reasonably keep this illness from spreading? 

Forgive us for feeling selfish for our freedoms. Make us into servants during this crisis who do not risk the lives of others, so that others will see our claim to your name is true! 

And by your supernatural power, slow the spread of this virus, heal people around the world from it, and give the people who are working on medical solutions wisdom to find how to treat this epidemic effectively and save many lives. 

We worship you, Lord. We thank you for the life you have given us. Thank you for every day we’ve had with you, and with each other. Have mercy on us! Defend us in your name. 

Amen. 

Meditations on Ephesians 2 – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Meditations on Ephesians 2

Grab your Bible and flip to Ephesians 2. Or, if you don’t have your Bible, go here to read Ch 2 of Ephesians on Bible Gateway.

Now let’s dive in!

Paul begins chapter 2 of Ephesians by transitioning away from talking about Christ’s life and power, to reminding us that we used to be dead in our sin (v. 1). Because we all lived totally enslaved to sin before Christ set us free (v. 2).

Our life used to be just like all the people we see who can’t stand God (v. 3). But God, because he loved us, made us alive in Christ while we were enslaved to evil (v. 4-5). Then he raised us up into a new life, right alongside Christ (who calls us his brothers, sisters, and friends!), to show the depth of his kindness (v. 6-7). 

And how does this show his kindness?

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Meditations on Ephesians 1 – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Meditations on Ephesians 1

The below meditations on Ephesians 1 marks the first in a series that will walk linearly through larger chunks of Scripture.

After last week’s topical devotional—a critical examination of the Christian worship industry—I wanted to spend some time focusing on God’s grace. 

The first half of Ephesians (ch 1-3) is, in my opinion, one of the most epic dissertations of all time on God’s grace and power.

It’s so dense that I don’t have space here for more than just the first chapter. (I know, whenever I hear pastors say that, I instantly want to wander the halls looking for the water cooler—but I promise it’s going to be good!)

The plan is to continue this series until we finish the book together. Does that sound good? Let me know in the comments below, because I’m open to throwing more topical devotionals between. 

Because of copyright issues, I can’t quote every verse in the book. In lieu of that, I’ll be giving verse references throughout the text for you to follow along in your Bible, along with quoting occasional keystone verses. 

If you don’t have your Bible, tap or click here to read Ch 1 of Ephesians on Bible Gateway.

Let’s dive in.

After greeting the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul (the author of Ephesians) launches into a dissertation on God’s grace (v. 3-10) that is extremely meaningful, yet a little hard for my brain to absorb. So, let’s break it down piece by piece.

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Is God Pleased with Modern Worship Music? – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Is God Pleased with modern Worship Music?

There’s a lot of modern Christian worship music out there these days. And some of it makes big money.

But is God pleased with all that modern worship music offers?

Before we examine the answer to that question, let me give a little backstory to justify why I think I have any perspective to offer here at all.

While still in high-school, I started playing the drums professionally. At first, it was only a few gigs here and there, and some early work in a “professional” studio environment. Regardless, by the time I was 16, I decided that I wanted to be a professional musician for the rest of my life.

I went to a small private college that ran a focused music program. After failing to convince my family that I should major in music, I became a business major and obsessively played music for the next two and a half years (while barely passing my classes).

Music was my original passion long before writing ever became “a thing.” In fact, I nearly failed my college English class, and when I turned in a short story to the little private college’s publication, the editor patted me on the back and said, “Stick to music, bud.”

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