Today’s Thoughts, Ephesians 3:14-19

by Pastor Lee Hemen
March 28, 2008

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

What do you pray for dear child of God? What do you pray for, for others that you know in the Lord? Do you pray the prayers of the simple-minded where you ask God in His infinite splendor to heal those who suffer from the common cold or flu? Do seek at the throne of grace and mercy for Aunt Bessie’s trick knee? Do you come before the window of heaven’s gate in humble supplication to ask God to answer the desire of your heart that you know you just cannot live without?

How shallow! How sad! How extremely myopic, pathetic, and poverty stricken are your supplications! In fact, dare I say it, perhaps even a waste of the Divine’s time? Now I know some of you will indignantly qualify yourself by righteously claiming, “Isn’t our Heavenly Father interested in the smallest feather that falls from our heads?” And to this I would say “Yes! He is, but He does not need you to remind Him of them!” He is in control of your baldness just as He is aware of your dull daily life.

We have become a nation of whine-os. We whine to God about every little thing in life expecting the God of Glory to intently listen to each of our blatherings as if it were something of infinite value. Yes, I know dear child of the throne of grace that God listens to us, He cares for us, and His eye is on the sparrow, but your prayers have been reduced to meandering platitudes that focus more on yourself than what God desires to do through you! You have forgotten that God is control of all of His promises and we need not “claim” them as some may suggest. Do not think so? Oh, then let me ask you: Do your children have to remind you that you pay for the roof over their heads, the food in their stomachs, the clothes on their backs? NO! In fact, quite the opposite is often true! God’s promises for His children exist and are there for us no matter whether we “claim” them or not. We live and move and walk in them daily! Certainly we can thank Him for giving them to us daily, but to think that we must do some form of clipping a prayer chit in order to “claim” God’s provision for us His children is to limit the knowledge of God’s grace in our lives!

Now, look again and notice what Paul prays for, for his fellow believers: “that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Now look again at your puny little prayer list. Which is far fuller and richer and more interested in what God is doing in the lives of others?

Did you ever think that God may be allowing Aunt Bessie’s knee to bug her so she will “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” or that so and so is suffering the throws of the flu because they need to be made weak so He can “strengthen [them] with power through his Spirit in [their] inner being?” I wonder?

Everyday we live we are to live for the Lord, and it is “out of his glorious riches” that we are to pray, breath, and live each day. Are you dear child of God? Or are you just another whine-o before the Lord? Oh, I pray not.

NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Today’s Thoughts, Ephesians 3:14-19

  1. Dear Pastor Hemen,

    I know that it must be your heart’s desire to deepen the prayer lives of your readers. But in my view, this article has a frustrated–even angry–tone to it, that does not reflect the love that motivates your writing.

    I think that many Christians want the kind of relationship with God that results in the kind of prayer life that you are exhorting us to have. But I’m not sure how many of us have had either deep prayer or truly Christ-centered living and thinking modeled to us. Even the disciples had to ask Jesus to teach them to pray.

    Telling us to “stop whining,” and admonishing us to have a deeper life in Christ, does not likely result in your intended outcome. My suggestion is that you show us how, and point us toward others who can as well. Paul’s words are a start, but Paul was on a spiritual plane that most of us are not yet on.

    Love in Christ,

    Dave Greber

  2. Dave, I am sorry but it sounds as if you may have struggled a bit with what I wrote. My first question would be, “Why?” Look at the words of Jesus on discipleship and His were far tougher than mine. I know it may sound “harsh,” but our world has tons of spiritual pablum fed it weekly. In our day and age there are many who are more than willing to give the “crowd” an easy-believism (my word) and never challenge them. It is easy to pat someone on their head and say, “There, there little child of God, you will get better by and by, just fall into Jesus’ arms — go now and feel good about yourself!” And while this is true, it leaves the listener in a precarious place thinking that all they have to do is feel “love for Jesus” and He will do the rest! Now do not make the mistake and think I am suggesting a “works” salvation model here, quite the opposite in fact. But one whereby the Christian takes on the responsibility of their own personal growth. How to do that? Begin by praying daily, reading the Bible, talking with God and reading the works of those who knew what it truly means to “abide in Christ.”

    I would strongly suggest that you may want to read Hannah Whitall Smith’s age old classic called, “The Christian’s Secret to A Happy Life,” or do the actual book study, not just read the book, “Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God,” by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. Paul was not on any higher spiritual plane than you are. If you think so, you have missed what it means to “abide in Christ.” Put down the latest five minute read on easy steps to a purpose driven whatever and pick up the Bible. Become a student of Scripture and a conversationalist with the Lord. Find a church that actually requires you to be a member, grow in Christ, and be to be an active servant in the Lord.

    Spiritual depth and growth is found in the pages of your life lived out for Jesus and His body in the world. That is what Paul discovered, why haven’t you?

    When I tell the reader to “stop whining,” I think you know exactly what I mean. You are in control of your walk with Jesus and how much you will grow spiritually or not. It is your decision. You have the instruction book at your finger tips, read it, study it, and learn its lessons for yourself from the Master’s own hand and mouth. We are a nation too dependent on others to “show us” the way, when Jesus already has. We resist it because it requires that we actually do something called discipleship, walking in Christ. It is a daily and moment by moment thing that you must learn as you walk with God. Stop whining and go talk with your Master, Redeemer, and Savior. He will instruct you from His Word how to walk in Him. There is no “secret” to this.

  3. Dear Pastor Hemen,

    Well, I can see that your name is blastor / blaster, in the biblical sense of name. That’s fine.

    You don’t know me, nor do you know my prayer life. You don’t know my relationship with the Savior. You don’t know my church, or my pastor. You don’t know the road I’ve walked, or what I’ve studied, or for how long. So it’s a little silly (I hope you don’t think it inappropriate for me to actually tone down my reaction a little, out of love for you, brother) for you to be writing spiritual prescriptions for me.

    Rather than blast your Internet congregation for their insipid prayer lives, which I still think is more foolish than fruitful, you might want to turn the thrust of your gust toward those who are supposed to be discipling the flocks. Because it is those of us who are spiritually mature who are largely to blame here. Yes, that means you, too.

    I don’t mind you taking the speck out of my eye, pastor. Just don’t forget your own log. Fair enough?

    Love in Christ,

    Dave Greber

  4. Wow, such a harsh response? I am amazed at your response. I would honestly ask, “Why?” Much of the Biblical message of Jesus, the New Testament, and the Old Testament is filled with God trying to get His people to return to a godly lifestyle and what I have written is mild in comparison! (By the way, you are mistaken as to why I use the name “PastorBlastor,” it was a the name of a skit character who was an astronaut! It is a derivative of the old term “Sky Pilot,” which was used in the Old West for preachers.)

    Perhaps you equated what I wrote as personally directed to you, it was not. Remember, however, you were the one who wrote me on my blog site, expected me to tacitly agree with you, and when I did not it may have disarmed you. Sorry if it did, but that is not my fault.

    I know I wrote that “I would strongly suggest that you may want to read Hannah Whitall Smith’s age old classic called, ‘The Christian’s Secret to A Happy Life,’ or do the actual book study, not just read the book, ‘Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God,’ by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. Paul was not on any higher spiritual plane than you are. If you think so, you have missed what it means to ‘abide in Christ.’ Put down the latest five minute read on easy steps to a purpose driven whatever and pick up the Bible. Become a student of Scripture and a conversationalist with the Lord. Find a church that actually requires you to be a member, grow in Christ, and be to be an active servant in the Lord.” So, if you found this harsh, well, I am not sure what I could say in response except that I may have misunderstood your first attack on what I wrote and thought you wanted some advice on what to read and for me “to point [you] toward others.”

    Personally, I believe we have become a nation of dependent people and it has infected the church as well. We want others to give us a full blown faith walk. The reason so many do not have a deeper spiritual life is because they want all the “goodies” of faith (feel good about myself) without any of the responsibilities (how does God feel about me) of actually living for Christ. Much of what we do is directed at ourselves instead of the Lord. We love to hear, “God loves you!”, but not the responsibility of what it means to actually abide in Christ. No person should ever be brought to Christ without knowing the personal cost and sacrifice involved. While trusting Jesus for salvation can be easy, living under His authority as your Master and Lord is far more difficult for those of us who do not like to become servants to anyone. Many followed Jesus around the lake to get more food, but soon left when He told them what real discipleship meant.

    Perhaps you may have not have realized what a “devotion” is to be about? It is not to give you a “deep” step-by-step instruction manual of how to walk in Jesus, but rather as a means to sensitize you to your spiritual walk. (If you struggle with what I write, you will definitely not want to read Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning by Morning, Evening by Evening,” nor for that matter Hannah Whitall Smith’s book!) The reader himself or his church and pastor should be doing the actual personal discipleship of how to. However, honestly, how hard is it to open up the Bible, begin reading it, pray over what a person has read and talk to God about it? This is what I have done and continue to do when I want answers and to “grow” spiritually.

    Finally, I smile when people get upset and use, “take the log out of your eye!” Not only is it a misuse of this verse, it takes it out of the context of what Jesus was saying. Jesus was referring to the Pharisees and their spiritual blindness. They found Jesus inadequate by their own human standard. He was not offering the kind of kingdom or Messiah they anticipated or the righteousness they had always exhibited! So they rejected Him. Jesus therefore warned them against nearsighted judging. (In John’s gospel He calls them demonic!) This passage does not teach that judgments should never be made. In fact, Jesus tells us that Christians can and should judge those who say they know Him but do not live like it. (Matthew 12:33, Luke 6:44; & Luke 12:57) Nowhere did what I write in response to your comments “judge” you. If you thought it did, I apologize, but perhaps you were a bit sensitive?

  5. Dear Pastor Hemen,

    I have found that communication by blog or email has its limitations, particularly when the people involved don’t know each other. There is so much room for misunderstanding of both meaning and intention. If we knew each other, we could go have a cup of coffee, but that’s obviously not possible under our circumstances.

    Rather than focus on what I didn’t like about the substance and tone of what you wrote, let me focus on what I agreed with:

    1. Many Christians (maybe most of us) should, with the help of the Holy Spirit, examine and deepen our prayer lives.

    2. Many of us should take a look at the substance of our prayers, and at our circumstances, to consider what God may be trying to accomplish in the lives of those for whom we are praying.

    3. The key to an abundant life is to abide in Christ.

    4. The Word of God, with the help of the Holy Spirit, informs and guides our prayers.

    There are probably other things that you said or implied with which I agree.

    God bless you, Pastor, in your ministry.

    Love in Christ,

    Dave

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