Week 1, Wednesday, Galatians

By Rev. Sunil Balasundaram

Galatians 1:6-9

Bible Passage

It is easy to listen to and be swayed by someone who is persuasive and convincing, especially if they came with a semblance of religiosity. The danger is that we could lose out on the truth of the original because the “clever facsimile” (cf. 1 John 5:21) seems such a practical substitute even if it is deceiving. The Galatian Christians had turned from the simplicity of a personal relationship with Jesus based on grace and faith to “another gospel” which had traded “personal relationship” with “legal (ritualistic) requirement.” After all, isn’t ritual more tangible and practical than grace and faith?

How simple is your relationship with Jesus – is it based purely on what he has done for you? Or do you feel more comfortable adding some tangible things you can/are doing for him (because they are “required”)?



Forgive me Lord when I forget that the only way I can relate with you is trusting in your love and depending on what you have already done for me on the Cross. I am sometimes confused by all the voices around me that persuade me into believing that there is more to your “good news” than your sacrifice on the Cross for me. I want to come back to you Lord Jesus, to stop striving to win your approval and experience your pure love once again. Amen.

Song: “You Love Me Anyway” (Sidewalk Prophets)

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Week 6, Saturday, Ephesians 6:21-24

Saturday, May 30, 2020 – Ephesians 6:21-24

The Top Priorities of Our Lives

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
21 To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you a full report about what I am doing and how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper in the Lord’s work. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. 23 Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. 24 May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 6:21-24 (New Living Translation)

While I would love to provide a thorough explanation of who Tychicus was, I will simply say that he was one of the unsung heroes of the faith who made a big impact for the cause of Christ. I will also encourage you to research him for yourself, so as to see the depth of relationship he had with the Apostle Paul.

The reason Paul sent Tychicus to give a report on what he was doing and how he was, was because he was concerned that his brothers and sisters in Christ were worried about him. After all, he was in jail. But Paul had the peace of God, knew He was exactly where God wanted Him to be, and was continuing to spread the message of Jesus – even from behind bars.

Paul wanted to encourage these Ephesian believers, and to provide for them a blessing of peace, love, faithfulness, and grace. These were Paul’s final thoughts. I believe they are for us today, too. May peace, love, faith, and grace by the top priorities in our lives, and may they pour out onto the people we love.


God, grant us your peace, your love, and a greater faith. Most importantly, Lord, we ask that you continue to pour out your glorious grace upon us. Again, we don’t deserve it, but oh do we want and need it. Thank you!

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


Week 6, Friday, Ephesians 6:14-20

Friday, May 29, 2020 – Ephesians 6:14-20

No Pants Needed?

By Pastor Paul Georgulis

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” – Ephesians 6:14-20 (New International Version)

In yesterday’s post (click HERE to read it), I mentioned that Paul was telling us that in order to stand our ground in spiritual warfare, we need to be prepared. To be prepared, we need supernatural power. Thankfully, God has provided this by giving us His Holy Spirit within us and His armor surrounding us. In today’s passage, Paul lists each component of the armor of God that we must don if we want to “do everything” (verse 13) to be prepared. It’s not possible to be prepared without having first done these things.

The key to understanding the armor of God is found in Ephesians 6:10 – “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” All the pieces of the armor belong to – and are from – God. The pieces of armor are truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, and salvation – all of which are gifts of God to His people for their defense.

Paul starts with having the belt of truth buckled around your waist. But if you read through the passage, you will notice that it makes no mention of pants for the belt to hold up. Speaking of that, I own the following shirt.

Just wanted to share that with you.

The reason there being no pants is likely because people did not wear pants back then – they wore ancient Hebrew clothing consisting of underwear and cloth skirts. When a man needed his legs free for battle, he would tuck his garment (i.e., cloth skirt) into his belt – thus, no pants. The belt of truth is the first part of the armor listed because, without truth, we are lost, and the schemes of the devil will certainly overpower us. And what is this truth? It’s Jesus, since He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Next is the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate shields a warrior’s vital organs during battle. The righteousness in this breastplate refers to the righteousness of Christ which guards our hearts against – and protects our innermost being from – the schemes of the enemy.

Up next: shoes. Having the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace as footwear suggests that we need to advance into enemy territory with the message of grace only found through Jesus. Satan has many obstacles laid out in the paths of followers of Jesus, and we’ll need this footwear to get through them.

After shoes comes the shield of faith, which has the purpose of blocking/deflecting the seeds of doubt the enemy hurls at us. After the shield of faith comes the helmet of salvation, which protects a critical part of our bodies – our heads/minds. This is meant to protect our minds from receiving false teaching and to help us stand firm in the assurance of our salvation.

Last – but not least – we have the sword of the Spirit. This is referring to the Word of God, which is the greatest spiritual weapon in existence. Jesus’ used the Word of God to resist the temptation of the devil, and we can – and should – do the same.

It’s important to note that we are told to pray in the Spirit in addition to wearing the full armor of God. Without relying on God and prayer, we will fail in our spiritual warfare fight. The full armor of God – plus prayer – are vital to our being spiritually victorious.

Finally – in verses nineteen and twenty – we see that Paul knew that unless people were praying for him, he wouldn’t be able to boldly go on preaching about Jesus, no matter what happened. And not only could he not do it without the prayers of others, it wouldn’t mean anything if he did. So having begun the letter with an extended prayer, and then an extensive report of his own prayers for the young Christians in the area, he finished with the urgent request that they join him in this ministry.

To conclude this long post, I urge you not to neglect any part of the armor of God or prayer. These are gifts from God, and they are all vitally important.


Thank you, Lord, for providing us these powerful tools with which we can combat the lies, deception, and other tactics of Satan. Without these, we know that we are exposed and do not stand a chance. Help us to wear these boldly, and to ask others boldly for prayer. We can’t do this without you, Lord, and I pray we don’t try.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


Week 6, Thursday, Ephesians 6:10-13

Thursday, May 28, 2020 – Ephesians 6:10-13

A Battle Rages

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:10-13 (New International Version)

Earlier in this epistle (Ephesians 4:22-24 – Click HERE for devotional on this passage), the Apostle Paul talked about putting off our old selves, renewing our minds, and putting on our new selves as we follow after God and try to live the life He has called us to live. As we do that, we must be cognizant of the fact that there is a battle for our souls going on. This battle is known as spiritual warfare, and whether we want to admit it or not, it does exist. If we live our lives for Jesus and play our part in sharing His love and furthering His Kingdom, the enemy – Satan – does not like it.

Author C.S. Lewis, in his famous Screwtape Letters, stated that, “The general public prefers either to ignore the forces of evil altogether or to take an unhealthy interest in everything demonic, which can be just as bad in the long run.”

When we realize/admit that we are engaged in a spiritual battle – against forces that seek to derail us from our relationship with/service for God – we need to rely on a strength that is not of our own to combat this evil. This strength comes from God, and it enables us to overcome.

In verse 13, Paul uses the phrase, “stand your ground.” This is a military term meaning either “to take over,” “to hold a watch post,” or “to hold out in a critical position on a battlefield.” Paul is telling us that in order to stand our ground, we need to be prepared. To be prepared, we need supernatural power. Thankfully, God has provided this by giving us His Holy Spirit within us and His armor surrounding us. In tomorrow’s post, we will look at the various pieces of the armor of God.

I know that spiritual warfare is scary to even think about, but don’t be discouraged. Keep in mind Jesus’ words to Peter: “On this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).


Father, we pray for the strength that we need in order to overcome the spiritual warfare that exists all around us. We know that there is a war going on for our souls, but we thank you that you have already won that war and that we are yours. Help us to stay focused on you, and help us to stay strong and diligent so that we remain close to you.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


Week 6, Tuesday, Ephesians 6:1-4

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 – Ephesians 6:1-4

Parenting with Love

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.’ 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:1-4 (New Living Translation)

In yesterday’s passage, we saw the dynamics of a godly marriage and how husbands and wives are to treat – and relate to – one another. In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul continues to lay out what a Spirit-filled home looks like by focusing on the relationship between children and parents. Children and parents have a responsibility to each other. Children should honor their parents, and parents should care gently for their children.

Why did Paul single out the father as the one who should not exasperate his children, and who should bring his children up in the training and instruction of the Lord? That can be answered with one word: culture. In Paul’s culture, the father was the absolute head of the home, and as such, was responsible for the education and discipline of his children. Obviously, we do not live in the same culture as Paul did, so things are a little different for us today. Now, “father” – in verse 4 – can mean mothers and fathers, parents, and other guardians.

Parenting with love and discipline takes lots of patience and understanding. As a father of a five-year old and a two-year old, I can promise you that patience and understanding are vital. Frustration and anger should not be causes for discipline. Instead, parents should act in love, wisely treating their children as Jesus would treat them. Parents must also be diligent to give them the instruction and encouragement that is vital to their upbringing.

I would like to close with a set of questions. These questions are for you, and for me.

If you are a parent, do you read the Bible to your children? Do you tell them the great stories of the heroic men and women of the faith? Do you pray for and with them daily? Do you take them to worship services, small groups, Children’s Ministry, Sunday School, or youth group and let them see how important your involvement in church is to you? Can they see the difference Jesus makes in your life?

P.S. – If you don’t have children, perhaps you can apply this to nieces, nephews, friends’ children, and so on. You have a very special part in being a godly presence in those children’s lives.


Father God,

We thank you for allowing us to influence the lives of children. At times it can be very hard, but being a Christ-like, loving example is the best gift that we can give them. So please help us to do just that. Help us to be more like you, and to love more like you. Allow us to make a difference in the lives of the young people in our lives.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


Week 6, Monday, Ephesians 5:21-33

Monday, May 25, 2020 – Ephesians 5:21-33

Submitting to One Another

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:21-33 (New International Version)

Some take this passage to mean that husbands are to control their wives and that the husbands are more important, and therefore have all of the authority in the relationship. What’s interesting, however, is that Paul devotes twice as many words to telling husbands to love their wives as he does to telling wives to submit to their husbands. What Paul is talking about in this passage is a unified submission out of love – one to another as husband and wife.

The Apostle Paul seems to have felt that any relationship would be abusive if a self-centered person were in it to seek control. Any relationship – no matter how outwardly authoritarian – benefits both persons if each views Jesus as Lord and has the other person’s best interest in mind.

While these verses focus on the dynamics of a marriage relationship, I also believe they can be for every follower of Jesus. Verse 21 tells us to, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This describes the general attitude that Christians should have toward one another, and it all points back to how we are to love God and love people (Mark 12:30-31).

In Mark 10:45, we are told that “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” As both men and women who are called to model the same heart and character as Jesus, we should always look to how we are to mutually serve one another. Paul’s main point is that relationships in a marriage and in Christian community should be modeled by Jesus’ relationship to His Church.

Are you submitting to one another out of reverence for Jesus? Are you submitting to one another to love and serve them?


Lord, help us to submit to, care for, and love one another as you have loved your church. Strengthen our marriages and our relationships so that there can be great blessing among your people. As you have come to serve, help us to see the importance of serving one another. Let love, grace, and kindness be the founding principles of all our relationships.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


Week 5, Saturday, Ephesians 5:15-20

Saturday, May 23, 2020 – Ephesians 5:15-20

Making Wise Decisions

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:15-20 (New Living Translation)

People often complain that they don’t have enough time to do everything they need to do in a day, week, month, or year. I’m guilty of this as well and have jokingly said, “I’m trying to figure out a way to add more hours to a day and more days to a week.” The truth of the matter is that every person is given the same twenty-four hours every day. The difference is in how we choose to use our time. Here, the Apostle Paul is warning us to not waste our time doing things that are unproductive, or that are flat-out sinful. Instead, we should be looking for opportunities to do what God wants us to do every day.

Each of us has only one life, and no one knows how long we will live. We only get one chance to live each day, and unfortunately, we don’t get to add hours to days or days to weeks. Perhaps you’ve heard people talk about how they would live differently if they had another chance, or a redo. In these verses, the Apostle Paul is trying to help us live a Spirit-filled, godly life now – so we don’t have to get to the point where we wish we could go back and do things differently.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit leads to worship (verse 19) and to giving thanks for everything (verse 20). Do you find yourself stressed about not being able to get everything done? If so, this leads to not being able to devote time to our relationships with God – rendering us unable to truly worship and focus on being thankful. So, the next time you find yourself stressed – because let’s face it, it will happen – take some time to slow down, breathe, and connect with God in worship. If you do that, I promise you that He will alleviate your stress, give you the answers you are seeking, grow you closer to Him, and allow you to live a more thankful life.


Father, we thank you that we can come to you when we are stressed out and burned out due to the things with which we have allowed to fill our lives. Help us to focus more on the main thing that should fill our lives – worshiping you and growing closer to you. Fill us more with your Holy Spirit so that there’s no room in us for the other unwise things.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


Week 5, Friday, Ephesians 5:11-14

Friday, May 22, 2020 – Ephesians 5:11-14

In the World, Not of the World

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” – Ephesians 5:11-14 (New Living Translation)

In this passage, the Apostle Paul continues his thoughts on how followers of Jesus need to walk in the light of Jesus and please God. He is making it clear that living apart from the darkness (i.e., sin) does not mean we need to withdraw completely from the world. After all, Jesus – in John 17:14-19 – referred to both Himself and His followers as “not of the world” but in the world. In this passage in John’s Gospel, Jesus states, “My prayer is not that you (God) take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (verse 15). This tells us that we are in a world filled with sin and darkness, but that we have a protection from it, and that protection comes from God – via the Holy Spirit – in the form of a relationship with Jesus.

It is important for Jesus’ followers to avoid the “worthless deeds of evil and darkness” (i.e., anything that results in sin), but Paul – in today’s Ephesians passage – takes this one step further and states that we are to also expose these things. We are to prove them fruitless, definitely by our conduct, and not so much by private or public scolding. Unfortunately, some Christians focus more on the scolding and the publicly calling out of others who live lifestyles with which they disagree, which makes others view all Christians as judgmental.

My encouragement to you – and to myself – is to continue walking in the light of Jesus, realizing that we live in a world in need of the hope that only Jesus can provide. When we walk in the light of Jesus, we are lighting up the darkness and sharing the love and hope of Jesus with those who desperately need it.


Father God, thank you for allowing us to go from darkness to light – from a life of sin and separation from you, to a life that is lit up by your glory, grace, and goodness. Thank you for showing us a better way, and for providing us hope. Thank you also for allowing us to play a part in lighting up this dark world so that others can come into relationship with you.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


Week 5, Thursday, Ephesians 5:8-10

Thursday, May 21, 2020 – Ephesians 5:8-10

In the Light

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. 10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.” – Ephesians 5:8-10 (New Living Translation)

In this passage, the Apostle Paul once again contrasts the lives of followers of Jesus both prior to, and after coming to faith in Jesus. Prior to, we were full of darkness (i.e., sin). After, we are full of light. Paul is continuing the emphasis he began back in verse one of chapter five by stating that followers of Jesus are to be imitators of God. The first way we are to imitate God is in His love, and the second way is in relation to light.

As is often the case, God brings songs to my mind when reading Scripture. As I have been reading and meditating on verses eight through ten, a song called “In the Light” by DC Talk has been running through my mind. Click here to listen to the song. Here are some of the lyrics:

“I keep trying to find a life…On my own, apart from You
I am the king of excuses…I’ve got one for every selfish thing I do

What’s going on inside of me? I despise my own behavior.
This only serves to confirm my suspicions that I’m still a man in need of a Savior

I wanna be in the Light, As You are in the Light
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light” A-Z Lyrics .
Are you living your life to reflect the light of Jesus that is inside of you, or does the way you live suppress that light, making it hard to see? Learn what pleases God through the reading and studying of His word, and then live in those ways – live in the light.


Father God, thank you for being our light and for allowing us to share your light with others. As children of light, help us to join together and light up the darkness in this world. And, Lord, if our light ever starts to fade due to the distractions we allow to creep into our lives, help us to be aware of it and to draw closer to You so that our light can be strengthened.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


Week 5, Wednesday, Ephesians 5:3-7

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 – Ephesians 5:3-7

Lives Pointing to Jesus

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do.” – Ephesians 5:3-7 (New Living Translation)

Today, in the world in which we live, some don’t like to hear about anything but love, particularly when it comes to God. So when Paul talks about immorality and other sins, that there will be some who will not inherit the Kingdom of God, and the anger of God, it can be disconcerting. While God IS love (1 John 4:8), there is also more to God than love. Actually, I should say that the other aspects of God’s character all point back to His love for us.

Paul is very matter of fact here when he states that there shouldn’t even be a hint of sexual immorality among us and that we shouldn’t partake in impure talk. Obscenity and coarse joking are so common today that we begin to think they are acceptable and normal – we have almost become desensitized to them. Paul cautions, however, that improper language should have no place in the Christian’s conversation because it does not reflect God’s gracious presence in us. Paul’s point is that this kind of language has no value because it does not build anyone up, and it does not line up with how followers of Jesus should live their lives.

James focuses on this as well in James 3:10:

“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

We are called to point others to Jesus and to show them what a relationship with Him looks like by letting them see our lives. How can we praise God and remind others of His goodness when we are sometimes no different than the rest of the world?

However, Paul offers a solution. He says that instead of living in these ways, we should live in – and show – thankfulness to God. Every year, I see posts on social media where people post something for which they are thankful for each day leading up to Thanksgiving. What if, instead, we tried something like this with speaking encouragement to a random person each day? What if we spoke only kind and uplifting words?

Does the way you live your life point others to Jesus? Do the words that come out of your mouth show that you are a follower of Jesus and point others to Him?


God, help us to remember that we are called to a higher standard than the rest of the world and that we are often being watched to see how we will react and respond to the situations in which we find ourselves. May our reactions, words, and everything in our lives point to You.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!