Daily Devotionals

 
 
 

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Week 4, Tuesday, Ephesians 4:3-6

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 – Ephesians 4:3-6

Life Together

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
 
Scripture:
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:3-6 (New International Version)
 

A theme that the Apostle Paul touches on in many of the books of the Bible he penned is unity. Unity was central to Paul’s vision for the church. When looking at the world around us – and sometimes even the church – it is hard for us to grasp true unity. The “one body” that Paul mentions here is the church – us – and we are unified through Jesus, with the Holy Spirit being the glue which holds us all together. Paul writes that our commonality is that we have one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father – that’s what unifies us. Jesus must always be at the center of all we do.

I think another thing that Paul is saying here is that we are not called to be alone on our faith journeys. God didn’t create us to be loners, He created us for relationship. We are to enjoy fellowship with one another, supporting each other in the good times as well as in the bad, and striving towards the future – together.

So, no matter what you are going through right now, or no matter where your faith journey currently has you, please know that you don’t have to do it alone and that you are not alone.
 

Prayer:

Lord, we live in a crazy world – a world that throws a lot of difficult things our way. Thank you that we don’t have to face the craziness alone. Thank you that you are with us, and thank you that we have each other. Help us to keep our focus on you.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


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Week 4, Monday, Ephesians 4:1-2

Monday, May 11, 2020 – Ephesians 4:1-2

What If We Choose To Love?

By Pastor Paul Georgulis

 

From chapter four onward, Paul will describe the specific lifestyle changes God wants His followers to make by taking his readers back to the fundamental instructions on living the Christian life. He reminds them how they began and what it was all about.
 
Scripture:
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” – Ephesians 4:1-2 (New Living Translation)
 

At the time of my writing this (May 6th), I have just finished writing my sermon for this upcoming Sunday (May 10th). By the time you read this (beginning on May 11th) – assuming you tuned in to our Sunday morning worship service – you will have heard me preach about the story of The Prodigal Son from Luke 15. The way God orchestrates and times things is incredible to me. In the story of The Prodigal Son, we have the character of the older brother who is full of resentment and bitterness in regard to the poor decisions and subsequent return of his younger brother and how his father welcomed him back with open arms and no questions asked.

The older brother in this story was not doing what the Apostle Paul urged here in Ephesians 4. He was not being humble and gentle. He was not being patient with his brother, or his father. And he certainly was not making allowance for his brother’s faults. Actually, he was showing no love – only bitterness and hatred.

The truth is that no one is ever going to be perfect here on earth, so we must accept and love others, despite their faults. When we see faults in people, we should be patient and gentle. Is there someone who really knows how to press your buttons, annoying you to no end? Rather than dwelling on that person’s weaknesses or looking for faults, pray for him or her. Then do even more by actually spending time together with the goal of trying to understand them and learn from them.

Imagine if the older brother in the story of The Prodigal Son had allowed love to win over resentment and hatred? Imagine what it would be like if we did the same. What would happen if – no matter how annoyed or frustrated we are with someone – we chose to follow the greatest commandments of loving God and loving people (Mark 12:30-31)?
 

Prayer:

God, we know that you are love and that it is only because you loved us first that we are able to love. Help us when our sinful human tendencies try to take control and allow us to instead
 

choose to love. In doing so, we are becoming more like your Son. And that’s what we want, Lord…to be more like Jesus.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!


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Week 3, Saturday, Ephesians 3:14-21

Saturday, May 9, 2020 – Ephesians 3:14-21

Filled to Overflowing

by Pastor Paul Georgulis
 
Scripture:
 
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-21 (New International Version)
 

It seems as if Paul is concluding his latter here, but there are still three chapters to go in his letter to the Ephesians. He actually was wrapping things up, but only the first three chapters – chapters that were focused on God’s love and plan for the world. From chapter 4 onward, Paul will describe the specific lifestyle changes God wants His followers to make.

In these verses, Paul prays that the Ephesian believers – and we – would be filled to the point of overflowing with the fullness of God (verse 19). This doesn’t mean that we will be able to fully comprehend God. That would actually be impossible. What it does mean, however, is that God has all of us. And if God has all of us, His Spirit permeates our minds, hearts, and souls like water flooding in and covering everything – nothing remains untouched by His love.

When we get a taste of Christ’s genuine love for us, we will want it to fill every nook and cranny of our lives. This is a daily process of surrendering to Him and opening new doors so that His love can become the dominant influence in everything we think, say, and do.

Paul ends this chapter with – in my opinion – one of the most powerful benedictions in all of Scripture. This benediction will be our prayer for today.
 
 

Prayer:

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
 

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Week 3, Friday, Ephesians 3:12-13

Friday, May 8, 2020 – Ephesians 3:12-13

Ready to Scoop Us Up

by Pastor Paul Georgulis
 
Scripture:
 
12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.” – Ephesians 3:12-13 (New Living Translation)
 
 

Because of Jesus, we have open access to God the Father. But note the role of faith, of placing our hope and trust in Jesus as our Lord. It is because of our faith in Jesus – and the fact that we have been made into new creations in Him – that we can come before God at any time. And God Himself awaits us with arms wide open to welcome us into His presence.

When Paul uses the words “boldly and confidently,” he is doing so to encourage us to come to God, even when we are a bit afraid or shy or feel too ashamed. We should come before God in prayer with the abandon of children. Don’t be afraid of God. Talk to Him about everything. He wants to hear from you.

In verse thirteen, Paul tell us that his suffering, trials, and imprisonment should make us feel honored. What a strange thing to say, right? What he means by this is that if he would have not preached the message of the gospel, he would not be in jail – but then the Ephesians would not have heard the Good News and come to faith in Jesus either. Paul had to suffer so that the gospel could be spread and people would come to faith in Jesus, but He knew that God was with him every step of the way.

Just like Paul, God is with us every step of the way – helping us, guiding us, comforting us, sustaining us, and sometimes carrying us.
 
 

Prayer:

Father God, thank you for providing a way for us to come boldly and confidently into your presence. Allow us to not be afraid, but to come to you as a young child running to their daddy. Thank you that you are there with open arms, ready to scoop us up and hold us close. We love you, Lord.

In Jesus name we pray, amen!


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Week 3, Thursday, Ephesians 3:7-11

Thursday, May 7, 2020 – Ephesians 3:7-11

A Bottomless Reservoir

By Pastor Paul Georgulis
 
Scripture:
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:7-11 (New International Version)
 

In yesterday’s passage, the Apostle Paul elaborated on the mystery of God’s will that is the unity that is available through belief in – and living for – Jesus. In today’s passage, Paul talks about sharing this mystery. He beautifully describes that he is called to preach “the boundless riches of Christ…” (verse 8). These boundless riches have been described as a reservoir so deep we can never find the bottom, out of which we can never draw too much, and of which we can never exhaust. And Paul tells us he was called to share this mystery with all people. The same is true for us. If we are persons who follow Jesus, then that means that He has changed our lives from the inside out. We who once had no hope are now filled with hope. As followers of Christ, we have been tasked with sharing this glorious hope with others by making disciples (i.e., leading others to faith) and by teaching them God’s Word (Matthew 28:19-20).

 
Prayer:
My prayer is that you would find strength in this passage today. Whatever you are facing, God’s resources are abundant and there is nothing that is too big for Him – He can handle it all. What an incredible God we serve!

Amen?


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Week 3, Wednesday, Ephesians 3:2-6

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 – Ephesians 3:2-6

A Mysterious Unification

By Pastor Paul Georgulis

 

Scripture:

2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.– Ephesians 3:2-6 (New International Version)
 

In Ephesians 1:9, Paul said that God “made known to us the mystery of his will,” but he never elaborated as to what that mystery actually was. He comes back to that thought in this passage, citing the mystery as being “the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you” (verse 2), and “through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (verse 6).

The term “gentile” describes anyone who is not Jewish. Paul is saying that all people now have access to God through the Gospel. Before, Jews were the only ones who had access to God through their laws and belief systems. Now – as a result of Jesus’ arrival on the scene and all that He accomplished and changed for us – anyone who follows and believes in Jesus has direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.

The mystery to which Paul was referring is the incredible unity of the church – that we are all one in Christ. Paul writes that as a result of Jesus and the Gospel, we are now heirs together, members together, and sharers together in the promise of Christ Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I’m blown away by the mysteries of Christ and they make me stand even more in awe of Him each and every day.
 
 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for your mystery – for making us a part of your family. Thank you for providing a way for us to be reconnected with God and to spend eternity with Him. We stand in awe of you.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen!


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Week 3, Tuesday, Ephesians 3:1

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 – Ephesians 3:1 (New International Version)

Incomplete Sentence With a Purpose

By Pastor Paul Georgulis

Scripture: 

“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles…”
 
 

No, I did not make a mistake here. Our passage – or I guess I should say verse…or actually half of a verse – is exactly as the Apostle Paul wrote it. In this incomplete sentence, the Apostle Paul begins writing and then gets diverted and doesn’t finish the sentence. Sounds like a pastor going off on a rabbit trail mid-sermon, doesn’t it? Paul does, however, come back to it thirteen verses later and completes his thought, and we will get to that on Saturday, May 9th. What sidetracked Paul was the need to explain who he was, his mission, and why he was willing to suffer imprisonment and persecution for the message of the gospel. Even though Paul penned these words while in prison, he maintained his firm belief that God was in control of all history, including all that happened to him.

If that’s not a powerful message for us in this time of quarantine due to the Coronavirus, I don’t know what is. Do the things you see on the news or our current circumstances make you wonder if God has lost control of this world? Like Paul, remember that no matter what happens, God is in control and carefully watching over you.
 
 

Prayer:

Father, in a world that seems to be without hope of a positive future right now, we take comfort in the fact that with you as our focus, there is always hope. We thank you that even though the world seems to be crumbling around us, we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are still here, you are still working, and that you still have everything under control.

In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!


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Week 3, Monday, Ephesians 2:19-22

Monday, May 4, 2020 – Ephesians 2:19-22

No Longer Strangers

By Pastor Paul Georgulis

Scripture: 

19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.– Ephesians 2:19-22 (The Message)
 
 

When you think of the church – or God’s house – do you think of Doylestown United Methodist Church and all of the other churches that sit empty, unable to host people for worship right now? It’s common to think of the actual church building as the church, but that’s not what the church actually is. The church is way more complex than a structure. It’s way more complex because it’s made up of people from all over the world. It’s made up of people who never met each other, and who likely will never meet each other until they get to heaven. It’s made up of strangers who are no longer strangers. In fact, this “no longer strangers” mantra is what this passage is all about.

Not only are we no longer strangers, but we are being added to the constructing of a kingdom that includes the apostles and prophets from throughout antiquity as the foundation of the building, with Jesus being the cornerstone that holds it all together. If nothing else, this should tell us that we are not alone on this faith journey, and that we walk the paths that many godly men and women once walked in their calling to bring the message of the gospel – of Jesus – to the very ends of the earth.

I don’t know about you, but knowing this empowers me to continue serving Christ to the best of my ability and to continue loving God and loving people (Mark 12:30-31), which is what all of this is all about.
 
 

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for seeing value in me and using me to further your kingdom, despite my background, and despite my past, present, and future sins. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of something so great, and for being the cornerstone that holds not only my life together, but serves as my connection to all other followers of you. Thank you for making me a part of the team.

In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!


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Week 2, Saturday, Ephesians 2:11-18

Saturday, May 2, 2020 – Ephesians 2:11-18

From Wall Builders to Kingdom Builders

by, Pastor Paul Georgulis

Scripture: 

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) – 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting 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, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:11-18 (New International Version)
 

One of my undergrad professors used to say that when you see “therefore” in Scripture, you have to ask, “What’s it there for?” This is true with today’s passage of focus. If you remember back to Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul reminded us about how we were dead in our sins, yet God reached out to us and saved us by His grace. So, what the “therefore” is there for is for Paul to elaborate on how this salvation by God’s grace has affected us.   

And how it has affected us is that the Salvation Jesus offers is for anyone and everyone. Jesus breaks down the walls of prejudice, reconciles people back to God, and unifies us as one body. Jesus has destroyed the barriers that we are quick to build between ourselves and others. Because these walls have been removed, we can have real unity with people who are not like us. Because of Jesus’ death, we are all unified, on the same side, citizens of the same kingdom (2:14); our hostility against each other has been put to death (2:16); we can all have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit (2:18).

Do you struggle with barriers and finding unity with others? If so, allow the Holy Spirit to help you to look beyond those potential barriers to the unity we are called to enjoy. Focus on the cross, and the barriers will crumble.
 
 

Prayer:

Jesus, help us to keep our eyes on the cross so that we may remember what it truly means to us and our future with you. I thank you for your sacrifice on that cross, and for the immense love that enabled you to go through with it for each and every one of us. Thank you for how you unify us with others – even those with whom we disagree. Help us to stop being wall builders and instead let us become kingdom builders.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen!


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Week 2, Friday, Ephesians 2:10

Friday, May 1, 2020 – Ephesians 2:10

You’re a piece of work!

by, Pastor Paul Georgulis
 

Scripture: 

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10 (New Living Translation)
 
 

Have you ever heard someone call someone else “a piece of work?” It’s not usually a good thing, except for in Ephesians 2:10 where it is. This verse refers to us as being “God’s masterpiece.” Other translations word it: “God’s handiwork (NIV);” “his workmanship (KJV);” “His creation (HCSB);” and, “what he has made us (NRSV).” I could go on, but you get the point – God created us and we are a piece of work – His piece of work. The Greek word Paul chose for this verse is “poiema.” This is where we get the English word, “poem.” What Paul had in mind when penning this verse is that we are a work of masterful creativity. Paul did not use this word flippantly. In fact, Paul only used this word twice: once in Romans 1:20, and the other in Ephesians 2:10. However, this word is used several times in the Old Testament, one of which being the Creation account found in Genesis 1, where God concluded that His work was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

I want to remind you today that you are perfect, beautiful, amazing, and a masterpiece in God’s eyes and that He loves you more than anyone else will ever love you. Go and live in that love, realizing that you are God’s masterpiece.

Watch this powerful video on God’s continual work on and in our lives: Watch Video

 

Prayer:

God, thank you for creating us, for loving us, and for declaring that we – being your masterpieces – were “very good.” Thank you for viewing us as such. Help us to remember that even though we are your masterpieces, we are still works in progress, meaning that you continually work on us and mold us more and more into the image of your Son. Help us to be open to your continued work on and in us.

In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!


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