A Single Verse in Ephesians One

Ephesians 1:3 inspires us with wonderful truths about our faith in Christ.

Have you ever pondered the wonderful truths in this verse:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). 

Think about that—when we come to Christ, we become new creations, fully saved and fully forgiven. There could be no greater blessings than these.

When we face struggles, confusion, testing, and persecution here on earth:

✔ We persevere because we have “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). 

✔ We focus on these eternal blessings, knowing this earth is not our home (Hebrews 11:16). 

We seek to store up treasures in heaven “as a firm foundation for the coming age” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). 

We have peace of mind when facing difficulties because we know Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).

Best of all, we know that when our earthly troubles end, our hearts and minds will be fully transformed and we will understand things that confuse us here on earth (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). 

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To read about another wonderful truth in Ephesians, see God's Love Is like a Colorado "14er".  Do you know someone who thinks the gospel is about worldly treasure? This devotion can help you explain the truth to them: Helping People Realize that the Prosperity Gospel Is a Lie.

Don't forget: If you order a copy of Wisdom for Life before December 31st, you can get the "Merry Heart" e-booklet as a free bonus. Read about it HERE. Amazon is currently selling Wisdom for Life the lowest they've ever sold it. I'm not sure how long it will last, but it's a great time to buy it!

Ephesians 1:3 inspires us with wonderful truths about our faith in Christ.




Bible Love Notes

Why Christians Don't Need “Holy Wars”

We are a "Family" in Christ. That's why we don't need holy wars or coercion to win converts. This devotion explains.

From 2005-2010, we lived in Budapest, Hungary, doing Christian work. When we returned for a visit this year, it 
renewed my appreciation for the family of God. If we love the Lord, we have family from every country, ethnic group, and walk of life (
Revelation 7:9-10; 1 John 3:2). 

God’s Spirit speaks the same messages to believers all over the globe (Acts 1:8Romans 8:14-16). 

I am reminded of this on a regular basis when I get an email or comment from Bible Love Notes readers from English-speaking countries such as the U.K., South Africa, Kenya, the Philippines, etc. 

And my “family” of Bible Love Notes translators reminds me that Hungarian, Serbian, Spanish, Portuguese, Telugu, Dutch, and Vietnamese Christians have the same love for God and His Word as English-speaking Christians. 

Our family connection isn’t limited by language or country of origin. In fact, while in Budapest this year, I met two of my brothers who found Jesus in refugee camps in Hungary, one from Afghanistan and one from Iraq. Their love for our Lord was powerful and their sacrifices for Christ were life-altering.

This is such a wonderful proof that our God is the only true God. 

We don’t need holy jihads or threats to bring people to the Lord. His Spirit speaks to hearts, and there are proofs of His divine nature everywhere (Romans 1:20).

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See More than I Could Have Imagined to read about one of God's miracles with my Bible Love Notes team. If someone brings up ancient history to claim that Christians have "holy wars," these 1-minute devotion will help you explain their error: Were Old Testament Wars the Same as Muslim Jihad? and Half-Truths about the Crusades.

Full-text Scriptures:

Revelation 7:9-10: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”

1 John 3:2“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

Acts 1:8“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Romans 8:14-16“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”


We are a "Family" in Christ. That's why we don't need holy wars or coercion to win converts. This devotion explains.


We are a "Family" in Christ. That's why we don't need holy wars or coercion to win converts. This devotion explains.


Bible Love Notes

4 Characteristics of Our "Rich and Satisfying" Life in Christ

These 4 Characteristics are necessary for the "Rich and Satisfying" life Christ calls His followers to live.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.… My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (
John 10:10 NIV & NLT).

When we make Christ our Lord, we are blessed with Christ's help, guidance, comfort, peace, joy, and hope for a perfect eternity. 

These wonderful blessings help us live as God has called us to live here on earth: 
  1. Giving up our desires and plans whenever they interfere with God's (Matthew 16:24-26, Matthew 6:28-34). 
  2. Obeying God's commands even when it's hard (John 14:15).  
  3. Enduring persecution when necessary (2 Timothy 3:12). 
  4. Loyally defending God's words even when it makes us unpopular (Mark 8:38). 
The world has a different list of things that make up a rich and satisfying life,” but Christians understand that true fulfillment, inner joy, and peace for our souls can only be found in Christ.

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Why not dig deeper and do the Bite Size Bible Study based on this devotion: Embracing the Difficult Aspects of the Christian Life.
For more insights into John 10, see the one-minute devotion Can You Hear the Shepherd's Voice?

If you own Wisdom for Life devotional, Day 98 reinforces some of the concepts in this devotion, so I encourage you to read or re-read it today!

These 4 Characteristics are necessary for the "Rich and Satisfying" life Christ calls His followers to live.



Bible Love Notes

The Two-Fold Call of James 1:27

James 1:27 has a two-fold message that explains different aspects of genuine faith.

This is another devotion from my friend Amy Quinlan. Enjoy! ~ Gail

James 1:27 talks about true faith, and it offers this twofold call: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” 

In answering this call to true faith, we must: 

First, be actively seeking to be others-focused, not self-absorbed. There is no purer example of this than Christ, whom we strive to imitate (Philippians 2:3-8). 

Secondly, be “unstained from the world.” This is essential to our effectiveness in doing Kingdom work. Being constantly surrounded by distractions, temptations, and the lies of the enemy, we must be actively guarding our hearts and minds against corruption from the world, allowing us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Being in the world but “not of the world” (John 17:14-15), how do we as Christians remain unstained? 

We must be proactive in keeping aligned with truth (Romans 12:2): 

⮚ Memorizing Scripture to protect against temptation (Psalm 119:11

⮚ Dwelling on God’s Word (Colossians 3:16

⮚ Putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18

We can wisely navigate each day in this fallen world with joy and conviction in true faith because “he who is in [us] is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

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For another important lesson from James, see Why Christian Lifestyles Are Not the Same as Non-Christian Lifestyles

 

James 1:27 has a two-fold message that explains different aspects of genuine faith.


Bible Love Notes

Science Can't Deny Our God-Shaped Void

This short devotion explains a fact about mankind that even atheists believe. Other great quotes by C.S.Lewis and Pascal

"Atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think." ~ Science 2.0

This quote is based on the scientific research of atheistic scientists. No matter how much a man might protest, there is something deep within us that believes in something beyond ourselves.

C.S. Lewis said it this way: "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

Blaise Pascal said it this way: "Within each human being there is a God-shaped void.”

God clarifies it this way: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

As Christians, we know man is created for fellowship with God but separated by sin. The longing in our souls is not a product of evolution, but a confirmation that we need and want God.

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For more insights on Romans 1:20, see A Way He Speaks to Us—Romans 1:20. And I think you'll also enjoy reading Responding to Atheistic Arguments.



This short devotion explains a fact about mankind that even atheists believe. Other great quotes by C.S.Lewis and Pascal


Bible Love Notes

Did You Know There's a Rock that Protects and Saves?

Let's look at some wonderful reasons Christ is called our ROCK.

We've talked about Jesus as our foundation and Jesus as our cornerstone. Now let's look at Christ as the Rock of our protection:

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.… For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?... The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!  Psalm 18:2,31,46

We can always find refuge, comfort, peace, and hope in our Lord:

Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3

We can depend on our Rock to lift us out of pits of discouragement, confusion, and self-pity: 

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

But the most important aspect of our protection in Christ is found in Psalm 62:2,6-7:

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.… My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 

Why not take some time today to ponder these passages and the two below and ask God to give you insights into Christ's character as our Rock.

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Psalm 61:2: “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  

Psalm 92:15: “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” 

And I encourage you to read The High Rock.


Let's look at some wonderful reasons Christ is called our ROCK.



Bible Love Notes


Were Old Testament Wars the Same as Muslim Jihad?

Let's Examine the difference between Christianity and Islam in regard to violence.

Have you heard this propaganda:
God's Old Testament commands to destroy nations are just as evil as Muslim jihad”?

Let's examine this claim:

1. God’s commands were specific, not ongoing.

God's Old Testament commands to destroy nations didn't target any/all pagan nations. But the “Quran is replete with explicit and implicit sanction and promotion of armed conflict, violence, and bloodshed by Muslims” against non-Muslims (source).

2. God’s Old Testament commands targeted unimaginable evil.

The nations destroyed in the Old Testament weren't simply pagan; they were involved in “brutality, cruelty, incest, bestiality, cultic prostitution, and even child sacrifice by fire” (source). 
 
And God gave them hundreds of years to repent before destroying them. (See The Sin of the Amorites; Why Did God Destroy Entire Nations?)

3. Every biblical example is part of ancient history.

The most modern accusation of a biblical “holy war isn't found in Scripture. But it still requires going back 800 years to the Christian Crusades. And accusers fail to mention that the Crusades were a response to many years of cruel Muslim jihad (source).(1) 

In addition, Christians readily admit the Crusades weren't biblically sound.

4. New Testament Scriptures command us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44Romans 12:14-21). 

Not all Muslims agree with jihad, but their holy book, the Quran, encourages it (source 1; source 2; source 3). Not all Christians agree with loving their enemies, but our holy book, the Bible, commands it. 
 
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Note: There are a few places in the Quran that talk of treating non-Muslims humanely, but they contradict other passages such as the one below:
 
Quran (9:5) “And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists [worshipers of any deity besides Allah] wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah [donations for Islamic needy], let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” 

Full-text Scriptures:
There are many passages in Scripture that talk about loving, forgiving, and helping our enemies. I'll just share these two:

Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  

Romans 4:14-21: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
 
(1) In researching the Crusades and jihad, it becomes clear that you can find articles to support a variety of views. It's clear that someone is lying. So look at the provable evidence in your own lifetime: List the situations where extremist Christians have violently attacked non-Christians. List the situations where extremist Muslims have been violently attacking non-Muslims. Keep that in mind when you read different views about the Crusades.

A great hardcover devotional priced lower than most paperbacks.
If you enjoy Bible Love Notes one-minute devotions, I think you'll enjoy my devotional Wisdom for Life. It's a hard-cover book priced lower than most paperbacks.  Click the image to find out more. ~ Gail


4 Things to Consider if someone claims Old Testament Wars are the Same as Muslim Jihad



Bible Love Notes


Slip On Your Own Shoes – Ephesians 2:10

While Scriptures tells us to imitate godly behavior, we can go too far. This 1-minute devotion explains why we need to be who God designed us to be.

I couldn't fit them in my suitcase, so I gave some shoes to a friend. 

They weren't her size, but they were almost new and close enough to her size that she thought they'd work. But they weren't really comfortable.

One afternoon while wearing them, she found herself struggling with questions about who God wanted her to be and what He wanted her to do. That's when she had this epiphany: “Stop trying to be someone else. You can never fill someone else's shoes!


“Ah, it was a freeing moment,” she said. God knew her “size” and He had purposes specifically designed for her life (Ephesians 2:10). 

Do you ever wish you were someone else: younger, older, married, single, taller, shorter, with different gifts or abilities?

Scripture tells us to imitate godly behavior, faithfulness, and devotion (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17) but we're not called to imitate other personalities or covet other people's lives.

God has designed us one-of-a-kind for His purposes.

So slip on YOUR shoes today and ask God to show you what path He's specifically prepared for your feet—your gifts, personality, and sphere of influence.

Find additional insights on this subject in these one-minute devotions:



If you own Wisdom for Life, you'll find some encouraging insights by reading or re-reading Day 82. 




While Scriptures tells us to imitate godly behavior, we can go too far. This 1-minute devotion explains why we need to be who God designed us to be.


Bible Love Notes

What Scripture Means when It Calls Jesus Our Cornerstone

Do you know what the Bible means when it says Christ is our "Cornerstone"? It's Wonderful!!

Have you ever thought about this passage describing our position in Christ:

“You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. Ephesians 2:19-21 

“A cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.” (wiki)

Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. When we come to Christ, we become “living stones, built into a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:4-7). We don't fit Him into our plans. He fits us into His (Ephesians 2:10).

This means we transform our minds and hearts through prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship so we understand our position in Christ's house”:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Unsaved men and women align themselves with a crooked cornerstone named Satan. He builds them into a “false spiritual house which will one day come tumbling down.

But our home is built on the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And He will never be shaken! Can I get an Amen?

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I also encourage you to read Are You Standing on the Rock?


Do you know what the Bible means when it says Christ is our "Cornerstone"? It's Wonderful!!


Bible Love Notes

Why Judas Opposed Mary's Extravagant Love for Christ

Sometimes an argument sounds logical, but we need to be careful not to let it stop us from showing extravagant love for Christ.

In the devotion Extravagant Love, I talked about the time Mary
 anointed Christ’s feet with costly perfume (John 12:1-8)

When this happened, Judas objected, saying, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”

Scripture tells us that Judas didn't care about the poor, but he handled the money for the disciples and helped himself to it when it suited his purposes.

But you have to admit that his argument sounded logical.

When God prompts us to help a friend extravagantly, share our faith extravagantly, give time, money, or love extravagantly, it rarely sounds “logical.” And we may have people try to dissuade us, even well-meaning friends. 

But when we are sure God is calling us to do something extravagant, let's overcome our fears, doubts, and logic and take our cues from Mary, not from Judas. 

Note: Mary's extravagant gesture didn't hurt anyone. And that's an important consideration. We may deny ourselves things we'd like in order to help others, but we don't neglect the needs of our family. See Matthew 15:1-9 and 1 Timothy 5:8.

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Why not check out the collection of one-minute devotions about Mary and Martha, and choose a few to read this week.

If you've purchased the Wisdom for Life devotional, I encourage you to read or re-read Day 74 which talks about people's attitudes toward money and honesty. It offers additional insights into this devotion.


Sometimes an argument sounds logical, but we need to be careful not to let it stop us from showing extravagant love for Christ.



Bible Love Notes