October 29 – November 4, 2019

WORD

11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:11-23

Reflection: …so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.

This week we celebrate All Saints’ Day, a day on which we specifically remember and memorialize those who have died in Christ since last November 1st.  We also, however, remember those who have died in Christ in years past and look forward in hope to our shared resurrection.  We call them saints, although this does not mean that they were perfect people – at least not in the sense that we normally think of perfection.  They had their flaws and idiosyncrasies just like all of us.  They could upset us and disappoint us as much as they could delight us and cheer us.  It is not something about them that made them saints.  They are saints because of the one in whom they placed their trust.  Because Christ is holy, we who place ourselves in Christ are made holy.

The primary job of the saint is to do as Paul mentions here: live for the praise of God’s glory in Christ.  I have often thought of All Saints’ as an opportunity to reflect on my own life.  Am I living in such a way that is both honoring to God and worthy of the name “saint”?  Are there things I can actively do to be more “saintly”?  Or better said, are there ways in which I can open myself anew to the work of Christ within me, so that He can bring His holiness into my life.

We are also reminded in this passage that our lives as saints are a continuation of the lives of those “who were the first to set our hope in Christ.”  Because they lived intentionally holy lives, we are enabled to do so two millennia later.  Our lives, then, will open the door for future saints of the church to experience the powerful sanctifying grace of Jesus Christ.  “Living for the praise of his glory” will change the world in the present and the future.  It might be many years before our names are memorialized on an All Saints’ Sunday, but we can prepare to wear the name worthily even now.

Journaling Focus: I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom.

I remember my seventh-grade English teacher taking me aside one day before school.  She was very upset with me.  She had heard me say an objectionable word as I talked with my friends before class.  I asked her why she was singling me out.  She answered, “Because I expect better from you.”  This was one of those small, but formational, moments of wise insight spoken into my life from an “authority figure.”  It spoke both affirmation and challenge into my life.  That is what wisdom does – affirm the goodness while challenging you to press forward toward greater goodness.  Recall a time in which wisdom was spoken into you by some saint in your life.  What did you learn?  How have you carried that wisdom forward?

Sacred Reading:

This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week (sometimes in larger context) and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.

  • Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture.  As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
  • Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time.  As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
  • Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time.  As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.

Explore: If you would like to explore the Scripture more deeply, go to our Exploring Scripture page!

 

SPIRIT

Scripture Song:

Listen to the song Be with You by Rich Mullins.  From the very beginning, this song deals honestly with the subject of death.  Is your ultimate hope to be with God?  If so, then how is your life heading toward that goal?  What is God communicating to you through this song? What might you communicate to God through this song?

Prayer Focus: I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.

This week, as you pray, name the people in your life in an act of gratitude for their lives and their love.  Widen your circle of thankfulness, naming not only your friends and family, but your co-workers, neighbors, and even those whom you struggle with to get along.  When we are intentionally thankful for others, we grow in love for them.

Meditation Focus: God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.

For centuries, Christians have found both power and peace in the simple, intentional speaking of the name that is “above every name that is named” – Jesus Christ.  Take some time this week to breathe the name of Jesus in quiet meditation.  Take note of what Jesus calls you in return.  What other words do you know Jesus by – Beloved, Lord, Friend?  Speak these as well and connect with the One who is both enthroned on high and present with you in every moment.

Examen:

Take some time to reflect upon your day or your week.  Follow the process below and open yourself up to the presence and work of God in your life this week.  Every week the structure is the same, but some specifics are changed to reflect the Scripture of the week.

  • Find a place and posture that will prepare you for prayer.
  • Begin by breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing deeply out of your mouth.
  • Invite God to lead you through the previous day or week.  For instance, if it is Tuesday night, reflect back on Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening.  If it is Saturday or Sunday, reflect back on Monday through Friday.
  • Ask God to guide you through these questions:
    • In what ways have you experienced the Holy Spirit this week?
    • How are you being formed into a saint?
    • In what ways have you begun to receive your spiritual “inheritance”?
  • Thank God for this journey of reflection on your day or week.  Ask God to continue to reveal Godself to you tomorrow.

Holy Action: 

Take time to remember this week.  All Saints’ Day is all about joyful remembrance.  Take out pictures, old journals, letters, or whatever it is that will help you remember a person, place, event, or season of your life which brings you joy.  Thank God and relive this time of joy.  Remember that God is always ready to bring a season of joy to your life.

Breath Prayer: LORD God, thank you for your saints.

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