Daily Word


Read Zephaniah 1 and any introduction your bible includes – Zephaniah gets right to the point. He says (he prophesies, or speaks God’s own words for the people), “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth.” :2 Then he goes on to broaden the listeners’ understanding of what God sees and is about to do.

I found verse :6 oddly beautiful and comforting. It shows God’s heart and expectation: “And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the LORD’s guidance or seek my blessings.”

Beloved, drifting breaks God’s heart. The LORD actually wants his children to seek his guidance and blessings. It is for our good and his glory that we remain close. The people Zephaniah is addressing have wandered into the dangerous territory of abandoning God. When love letters, then warnings do not get heard, punishment is necessary. Good parents always discipline their children to bring them back to right behavior.

Next we read, “Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign Lord….” :7a, and my own heart longed for silence. It takes effort in our busy world to get silent time before the LORD, to turn off the distractions of life, to quiet our mouth and mind enough to bask in his presence, but again, this is a protection for us. As Pastor John Piper puts it, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

Beloved, as you read, think about how you are hearing the words. We know that God is good all the time and all the time God is good… are you able to hold on to that here in this passage? No one likes punishment, but at times it is all that can save us. Will you take this passage as a cue to inventory your heart and make every correction the Holy Spirit leads you to?

Daily Word

Ephesians 6

Read Ephesians 6 – Love incorruptible – Those are the last words of Ephesians in the ESV… other versions say ‘undying love’ – ‘love in sincerity’ – and some just plain ‘love’.  

“Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” :24

Incorruptible love covers any waves of doubt or fear.  Incorruptible love rules over the heart and conduct.  Incorruptible love lives in celebration of the glory and holiness of our LORD and Savior, and it is a strength that carries one with authority and dignity through the corruption of this world.

Backing up to verses :10-20 you found a true powerhouse of wisdom for that very thing, and that is putting on the armor of God.  We are up against much more than we see, Paul mentions the schemes of the devil, evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, mighty powers in the dark world and evil spirits in the heavenly places. :12  

As Christians we need to be aware of these entities, and how to deal with them by putting on the armor described in :13-17, and praying in the Spirit at all times. :18  I caution you to be aware, but not ruled by this awareness.  As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Beloved, I hope you enjoyed Ephesians and all this epistle equips you with for life as much as I did.  Tomorrow we are going to revisit the Old Testament in the book of Zephaniah.  He is considered one of the minor prophets – minor in that the book is just three chapters in length.  I don’t know a thing about him beyond that and am looking forward to discovering with you.  

To find it, start at the end of the Old Testament, moving backwards you’ll find Malachi, Zechariah, Haggai and then our new friend, Zephaniah.

Daily Word

Ephesians 5

Read Ephesians 5 – Imitate God, as dearly beloved children. When my children were just toddlers, they would stand in my husband’s warm and worn work boots, imitating him with delight.   My heart is so full and happy with that image.

Things were so simple then.  Life seems much busier and complicated now, yet God is only asking that we do the very simple thing of imitating Him, as dearly beloved children (:1).

He says: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. ” :14

As you read Chapter 5, what did you sense you needed to arise from?   Hallelujah, it’s as simple as taking the stand to say YES to all of Jesus – and He does the heavy lifting… the shining of light as only He can.

Beloved, look carefully at how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise,  making the best use of time because the days are evil.  (:15-16)

Imitate, walk in the light, expose wickedness, love, respect, wake up and arise into the grand adventure of your Christian life!

Daily Word

Ephesians 4

Read Ephesians 4 – For Christ’s sake – I was raised with that expression; it wasn’t said in reverence to the LORD, much like people say o.m.g. today without thinking about the Lord they are offending.  But hear the words as the truth that they are…

For Christ’s sake live worthy of your calling.  For Christ’s sake always be humble and gentle.  For Christ’s sake live in unity with the church, your eternal brothers and sisters, by the power of the Holy Spirit in you. (:1-3)

And let’s talk about church.  Many people have strayed from church or go merely as spectators.  Verses :11-16 address the importance and purpose of church.  

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church body.”  :11-12

The leadership is to equip us and our responsibility is to build up the church body.  No spectators and no immature believers… you are not called to make things up as you go.  You are called to:

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”  :15

It’s time to live for Christ’s sake… in the past you may have lied, been ruled by anger, stolen, used harsh/foul language and brought sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit in any number of ways.  Jesus is calling you to turn from that to a life of honesty, generosity, helpful and encouraging talk, forgiveness, kindness and tenderheartedness.  Can you feel your soul relax as you read the last sentence?  The things the Lord expects you to give up are garbage and everything he calls you to is beautiful. 

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

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Ephesians 3

Read Ephesians 3 – Be awed. Be truly and fully AWED by our holy, benevolent, glorious Heavenly Father.

As I read I couldn’t help but want more of Jesus. I don’t think I have even scratched the surface of how awesome he is.

Paul mentions that “the stewardship of God’s grace” (:2) was given to him for the Gentiles (like me). The words struck me as especially wonderful…. I may have read them countless times before, but today they are precious. He even says the mystery was made known to him (:3). What an incredible and joyful privilege… how very special to introduce a person to the most excellent nature of God’s grace, especially a Gentile who may have felt outside of the Lord’s love prior to Jesus.

Paul’s prayer is that we, and all God’s people, have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (:18). I am small in the presence of His love, even my little understanding is so enormous it makes everything else small. The God of the universe, the LORD God Almighty loves us fully and eternally… wow!

Beloved, may we both ask for more today…. More understanding of God’s love, and more understanding of our privilege to know and share Jesus.

Daily Word

Ephesians 2

Read Ephesians 2 – There are two teams in the game of life.  We’ve been misled to believe there are many paths a person can take, many spiritual paths, or none.  Those are just fancy clothes on the same old lie, and Satan is the father of lies.

“You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil – the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.”  :2

Jesus is God’s rescue mission for us and for all who turn to him.  “But God is so rich in mercy and he loved us so much that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.  (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” :4-5

When I first got saved I thought there must be a third option.  There are so many nice people who were not yet Christians.  I asked my pastor’s wife, and she had so much compassion when she answered me in truth.  There is no third (or fourth, or fifth, or eighty-seventh… etc.) option.  There is God in his loving mercy and power and there is rejection of him which leads to eternal separation and hell.  That was a hard truth for me then, yet it is a reason to share all the more so now.  It is a reason to delight in this life and shine for Jesus because I have so much to be grateful for.

Paul’s letter is clear, Salvation is not a reward we can earn for the good things we have done (:9).  There is no room for pride or arrogance in Christianity, only gratitude, and eagerness to step into the good things he planned for us long ago (:10).

Beloved, live worthy of who you are – God’s masterpiece!

Daily Word

Ephesians 1

Read Ephesians 1 – It’s a fountain of wonderful! We talked about the importance of remembering and looking back at God’s hand over our life a few days ago, and hear Paul is doing that very thing for the church at Ephesus.

Paul reminds them of God’s goodness and power. He reminds them they were chosen before the creation of the world, predestined for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ simply because it pleased Him(God).

Paul shared his thanks and prayer support for the church. (:16) He prays that the glorious Father may give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they would know him better. (:17)

That is a great prayer to pray over yourself, your pastor, your loved ones in Christ… that all would know Jesus better.

Paul writes about this age and the age to come (:10, :21) – life is about infinitely more than this moment!

These truths were for the Jewish and Gentile believers then and even now, you, me, all who are Saved, always. Read this chapter with the eyes of your heart wide open. May you unwrap each verse like the gift that it is and look confidently and expectantly for all that is to come.

Daily Word


Read Ephesians 1:1-2 – Back to book… Back to the Good Book.  Today we are going to return to our reading with the book of Ephesians.  It is in the New Testament.  The New Testament starts with the four gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  They covered Jesus’s birth, life, death and resurrection.  Acts comes next and covers the early beginning of the Church, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Stephen’s death (the first person martyred for the Christian faith), and Saul/Paul’s road to Damascus experience.  Then Romans, Paul’s letter to Rome, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth, then the shorter epistles of Galations, EPHESIANS, Philippians and Colossians.  

I learned an acronym GENERAL ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY, to keep these epistles straight.  My friend later taught me the Sunday school method – GO EAT POP CORN; isn’t that cute?  I hope  this is helpful.  I want you to know your way around the Bible as we go.

Ephesians was written by Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome.  If your bible contains an introduction to Ephesians, please read it along with verses :1-2:

“This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.  I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.  May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.”

Paul was chosen by God to be an apostle of Jesus… This happened after Jesus’s death, as Paul was on the road to Damascus with the intent to persecute Christians there.  It is an incredible conversion and you can read about it in Acts 9.  

Beloved, we are on a mission with Paul for more grace and peace found in Jesus.  God bless your day.

Daily Word

Confession – part 2

Confession part 2 – Back to the butterscotch – So I left off as I was walking outside to confess, but it seemed so benign. I started to prayerfully negotiate for a juicer confession, I mean what a cop out! I was just a kid. Jesus was firm though. So I confessed to stealing the candy.

The exercise was to confess, the other woman would place her hands on me and say, “In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.” And then we would switch. That was it. No problem solving, or discussion, just confess, listen, touch, and receive forgiveness. It sounded too simple.

My partner placed her hands on my head…. it felt like she was placing a crown on me. She looked straight into my eyes and with great love and mercy said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.” It was profound.

Then she gave me her confession. I put my hands on her head and said the same words. It didn’t even feel like I was the one saying them – it was a moment of perfect love, peace, grace, mercy and total forgiveness.

Afterwards, I said, “Wow, we are going to walk back in that room as brand new people! This was amazing!”

And halfway back to my seat, the LORD gave me a lightning bolt of clarity for the confession I wrote that made me cry. A decades-long burden had been lifted off my shoulders. And much later in the day, the LORD graciously let me know why the butterscotch sin was important. It was the first sin I consciously committed. It was my Adam and Eve sin.

Beloved, do you ever dismiss something the Holy Spirit lays on your heart? Do you categorize sins as big ones you must confess and little ones you can sweep under the rug? What is the first sin you can recall?

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 1:5

Daily Word

Confession – part 1

Confession part 1 – When I was about 5 years old I was shopping with my grandma at JCPenney.  They used to have bins of hard candy for sale by the register.   I asked for some butterscotch and she said no.   She never said no.  I decided in my heart that this was a mistake and that I really deserved that butterscotch. I took one. My grandma discovered my disobedience to her and my theft from the store…. The guilt and shame were awful! 

I hadn’t thought about that in forever, but the LORD put it on my heart recently and I have to admit, I was perplexed as to why.

At the retreat last month we did an exercise on confession.  We were to confess one thing on paper – that was all ours – we weren’t going to share it, no one was going to read it besides me and Jesus.  

I wrote mine, but didn’t know what to do next.   I saw it as a situation out of my control, and knew I would repeat the sin the next time it came around. That’s not repentance, the thing I’m supposed to do after my confession and his forgiveness.  

I started to cry which in turn caused my mascara to melt and burned my eyes. I got distracted from the emotion and had to go wash my face. That made me laugh, but still cry. I felt like a mess inside and out. 

By the time I got back we were on to the next thing.  We were to confess something else to a partner (we were instructed to go with a PG confession for this).  I silently asked the LORD what he wanted me to confess as I walked outside with a younger mom.  As clear as day, Jesus brought up the butterscotch!

Beloved, what comes to mind as you read my story?  Do you have guilt over something you did when you were little?  Do you recognize the difference between conviction from the Holy Spirit and guilt from the enemy?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”  Psalm 139:23-24