Posted in Blog posts

Live a Life Worthy

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” Ephesians 4:1 (NASB).

If you’ve never read Ephesians, start to finish, do it as soon as possible! In fact, if you want to go and read it now, I’ll wait for you. It’s one of my favorite books of the Bible. Paul wrote it while he was under house arrest–a prisoner of Rome, by accusation of the Jews–for preaching the gospel (See Acts 28).

The verse I quoted above comes almost right in the middle of the book. Paul has just spent the first three chapters of Ephesians laying out all the wonderful things we have in Christ. And now, he says “THEREFORE,” which refers back to all he just told us. He’s saying–he, who suffered much for his calling–based on all God has done for us in Christ, live your life in a manner worthy of all this. In a minute we’ll look at how we do that, but first let’s look at the why.

Have you ever found yourself watching an informercial? The people yell and gesticulate excitedly and tell you what amazing things you’ll receive for one low price, then they say, “But wait, THERE’S MORE!!”

That’s what I think of when I read the first three chapters of Ephesians. There was a high price, not a low one, but Jesus paid it on the cross, and still there’s more. God not only gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16), but he continues to give us more and more, simply because we have believed in his Son. In fact, Paul says in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Here are just a few of the things God has given us in Christ as listed in Ephesians 1–3:

  • He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world and marked us in love for adoption as his children
  • He’s given us grace, redemption through Jesus’s blood, and forgiveness of sins
  • He’s given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that he will finish his work in us
  • Although we were dead in sin, he made us alive in Christ because of his love for us and because of his mercy
  • Formerly, (as sinners) we were objects of his wrath, but he saved us (from his wrath and judgment) by grace through faith–not by our works because we might boast (yet still they wouldn’t be enough); it’s a gift
  • He’s given us peace and reconciled us to God and given us his power through the Holy Spirit

WOW!! That’s a lot of spiritual treasure, and it’s only a partial list! So Paul says “therefore,” as in, because God has done that for us in Christ, live a life worthy of this calling on your life.

I told you earlier that Paul’s urging for us to walk in a manner worthy comes in the middle of the book; the first half tells why. Now, in the second half, he tells us how. How do we live a life worthy of what God has done for us? Let me say, first of all, that we are NOT worthy. We can do nothing to earn God’s mercy and grace. He gives it because of his great love for us, not because we deserve it or are worthy of it.

But that’s not what Paul means. He says we are to live our lives in a worthy manner, meaning that since God called us in Christ Jesus to be his children, we must live according to his commandments. As believers, we’re called OUT of our former way of life–that life that made us objects of the wrath of a holy God. We’re to put off our old sinful nature that’s being corrupted.

Instead, we are to put on the new nature, which is created to like God in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). We’re to be like God, not like our former selves, not like unbelievers, not like the world.

We should live as children of light: humble, patient, gentle, loving, peaceful, mature, truthful, industrious, etc., etc. (read the rest on your own).

There should be none of that former corruption coming from our mouths either!

  • no gossip
  • no slander
  • no unwholesome talk
  • no obscenity
  • no coarse joking


God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient, and we have been saved from that, so we’re not to be partners with them in that behavior. Paul says, “Be very careful how you live.”

In Jesus, God gave us his very best–he was the perfect Lamb of God, without sin, who came to take away the sin of the world. His sacrifice on the cross gave us forgiveness of sin, a relationship with God, and blessings in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). All of the incredible things described in chapters 1–3.

So THEREFORE, let us listen to Paul and live a life worthy of God’s call.

Posted in Mini Bible Studies

Dealing With Insecurity

Many people deal with insecurity. Are you one of those people? Now, I’m not talking about the normal, day-to-day insecurities pretty much everyone has. I’m talking about if you struggle to like yourself or if you feel you’re not good enough. Do you ever wonder if God could even love you?

That’s not what God wants for you. He created you. He brought you into this world for a special purpose that is unique for you. You have special gifts that are unique to you. Since he created you, God wants you to love, nurture, and care for yourself. He loves you, and if the Creator of the universe takes an interest in you, you must be special!

I want to help you become comfortable with YOU: how you look, your personality, your future, your faith, everything that makes you, YOU. There is NOTHING wrong with you.

Now, understand, I’m not saying you’re perfect. Of course, that’s not possible. Each person has flaws and sins they struggle with. That’s just part of being human and living in a sinful world. Sin has been in the world since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden. 

If you have never repented of your sin and asked God to forgive you through Jesus, skip to the end of this Bible study and learn how to do that. If you are already a believer, a follower of Jesus, and have repented and asked him to be your Savior, then read on. 

As followers of Christ, we should strive each day to make improvements in those areas of sin we struggle with and to grow and mature so we are more like Christ, our model of perfect, holy humanity. It is a lifelong process. The Bible calls it “sanctification.” And we won’t be complete until we get to heaven.

Just take a few minutes each day to read the verses in this Bible study and meditate on what the Scripture is saying to you. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all Scripture is God-breathed. So when you read the Bible and really take it in, you are hearing the very words of God, and he is speaking to you!

Day 1

Read Psalm 139:1–12

Notice in 1–4 how very WELL the Lord KNOWS you. Since He created you, he knows everything about you! Another place in Scripture says that He even knows how many hairs are on your head (Luke 12:7).

Verses 5 and 6 tell you that God is intimately involved in your life. His hand is upon everything you do. The rest of the verses, read them once more, are either a comfort or a problem, depending on your perspective. If we want the Lord to be in control, those promises are wonderful! No matter where we go, he is there. We can always count on Him. In Joshua 1:9 God tells Joshua, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And he is with you too if you are his child. One of the names of Jesus we hear especially at Christmas is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”

On the other hand, if a person is trying to run from God like Jonah did, that person has problems because God is everywhere, and you can’t get away from him. He was even with Jonah in the fish’s belly!

Pray right now that you will begin to understand that God created you exactly as you are and knows everything about you and that He loves you unconditionally.

Day 2

Read Psalm 139:13–24

How were you brought into this world? (v. 13)

How does v. 14 describe the way God made you? You are one of his works. So that makes you _______________________!

Notice v 16. When did God ordain all of your days and write them in his book?

Skip down to v 23–24. This should be your prayer to God for today. You may have a lot of anxious thoughts. We’re going to talk about those on a different day. God does know what you think, but you still can tell him about it. Verse 24 is what I mentioned yesterday. Every day we must allow him to reveal to us the ways in which we offend him so we can make it right with him and allow him to lead us down the right path.

Day 3

You may know John 3:16 by heart but look it up anyway and read it slowly so you get its full meaning. Why did God give his only begotten Son? 

It’s not in this particular verse, but what did God send his Son to do? (If you don’t know, read 1 Corinthians 15:3–4.)

You are part of the world, right? So that means that God LOVED you so much that he sent Jesus, and Jesus DIED for YOU!

Do you see what you mean to him? You have to begin to accept yourself as God accepts you. It is an insult to him when you don’t like yourself. In Genesis 1, after each thing God created, he said it was GOOD. God doesn’t make mistakes, and nothing takes him by surprise. When you can learn to rest in that, you will be at peace with yourself.

Next, I want you to look at Ephesians 1:4–5

Do you understand what that means? It is saying that we who are saved were chosen by God before the world was even created to be adopted into his family (to be saved) through Jesus because it pleased him, and he wanted to. Isn’t that incredible?

Flip over to Ephesians 2:10. This says that we are God’s workmanship – he is a craftsman and we are his finished product – and we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works. But here is the part I want you to get: God prepared those good works IN ADVANCE for us to do. 

That shows us that he created us for a specific purpose. He has a plan for our lives.

Lastly, look up Romans 8:28. Have you heard this verse before? We will look at it more tomorrow, but for now, just meditate on it a while. It doesn’t mean that God won’t ever let anything bad happen to us, because Scripture tells us we will have trials and hard times, but it means that God has a plan, and it is for our own good and the good of his kingdom.

Pray that God will help you to begin to rest in his plan and know that you are special to him. Thank him for sending Jesus to die so that we can know God.

Day 4

Today I want you to see that God has your best interest at heart. Go to Romans 8:28 again. This time read through the end of the chapter. Which of those verses speak to you the most?

You can trust God. He made you, he saved you, he has a plan for you, and everything that happens to you, both good and bad, works for your good because you have been called for his purpose in you.

This means that you don’t have to constantly be worried about when you’re going to meet the right guy or girl or find just the right job or whatever it is that gives you anxious thoughts. That is in God’s hands. 

Check out Matthew 6:25–34. What do these verses teach us about worry, trust, and what is truly important in life?

Pray that you will let go of the constant need to be in control of your life and that you will stop worrying and trust God with your future. Ask him to help you seek him first, above all the things you desire so that he will order your priorities into their proper place.

Day 5

Today I want to show you how to let God be in charge of your thoughts so you can let go of a desire when it’s not in your best interest or let go of the insecurities that cause you anxiety.

Romans 8:6–7 says that the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace and that the sinful mind does not submit to God. When you dislike yourself or allow yourself to be dependent upon the opinion of others for your self-worth, that doesn’t please God. If you put a human’s opinion above God’s opinion, that is sin.

Now, that is not to say that even if someone compliments or praises us that we have to shun that. On the contrary, Proverbs 25:11 says that words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in settings of silver. And 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to encourage people and build them up. God uses those “fitly spoken” words to help us feel good.

Next read Philippians 4:6-8

We are not to be anxious about things, but instead to come to God with thanksgiving for all he has done for us and ask him for the things we want—not material possessions, but our needs.

When we do that, we can have peace in Christ Jesus. That peace will guard our hearts and minds from bad things. Again, not that bad things will never happen; they definitely will. That is part of living in a sinful world as sinful people. But, instead, it means we can have peace in the middle of the storms of life.

Verse 8 tells us what kind of thoughts we are to have to give us that peace. Write out what things they are.

Verse 13 says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” What in your life do you need God’s strength for?

2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. That includes those anxious thoughts and those thoughts of not being good enough.

Pray that God will transform you into the strong, confident person he created you to be and that you would give your heart and mind to him. Pray that you will rest in HIS plan for your life and focus on doing good works to others in his name and not focus on gaining the approval of others.

The hurts and brokenness of the past don’t go away overnight. Healing takes time and sometimes requires help from a friend, a pastor, a mentor, or a professional counselor. This little Bible study is simply to point you to Christ Jesus, who loves you and died for you so you could know the Father.

Isaiah 40:31 “They that wait upon the Lord will mount up on eagles’ wings. They will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint.”

Optional Day 6

This day is for the person who hasn’t yet come to the place of accepting the gift of salvation by faith in Jesus.

The first thing you have to do is understand your need for a Savior. If you’re struggling in the swimming pool and I knock you on the head with a lifesaver to try and drag you out, assuming you’re drowning when you’re not, you’re going to be upset with me. 

If, on the other hand, you are drowning and desperately hope someone will come along and pull you to safety, you will be so grateful for that lifesaver.

So why do people need a Savior?

Romans 3:23 and 6:23 tell us that everyone has sinned. There is no one who is righteous, “No, not one.” But God will forgive us and make us righteous in his sight if we have faith in Jesus.

The Bible calls that being “born again.” (John 3:3). You may have heard that term before. Jesus said in John 14:6 that he is the way, and the truth, and the life, and no one can come to the God, the Father, except through him.

So let’s review right quick. We are all sinners. We’re born that way. Can’t help it. If you think about it, you never have to teach a child how to lie or how to be selfish. They know that instinctively. What you have to teach them is truthfulness and kindness. 

God, on the other hand, IS holy, righteous, perfect, sin-free. His very nature requires that he judge sin. So what’s to do? How can we know God? How can we go to heaven? How can we gain forgiveness from sin?

You have to recognize your need for a Savior, your need for forgiveness of your sin. Romans 10:9-10 says that you have to confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believer in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be “saved,” “justified,” “born again.” Those are all terms the Bible uses to mean FORGIVEN!!

There’s no magic prayer or special words you have to say. You just have to come to God and humbly ask him for salvation and forgiveness. Romans 3:24 says he justifies us FREELY by his grace. It is all by faith in Jesus, not by our own righteousness (remember, we have none) or by our works. God through Jesus did all the work. We just have to believe (Ephesians 2:8-10 and Titus 3:3-7).

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and received forgiveness of sin, you are now a child of God, a Christian. Your work is now ahead of you. You must learn the teachings of the Bible and work in God’s kingdom and grow in your faith. 

Step 1: TELL SOMEONE!! Share what God has done in your life.

Step 2: Find a person or a ministry who can help you grow and support you as you learn to live for Jesus. (I heartily recommend or Grace to You ministries at or Precept Ministries at or

Step 3: Find a local, Bible-following church where you can be baptized and join in fellowship with other believers. There are many out there, so don’t be discouraged if you try one and it doesn’t quite fit. Churches are like shoes. There are hundreds of sizes and styles and types of functionality. You have to try them on to see what fits. 

But the Bible is clear: we can’t be a Christian all on our own. We are part of the body of Christ, his CHURCH, made of many, many members across the world in hundreds of countries. There are local meeting places where we meet together, but we are all brothers and sisters, and we encourage and support one another as we serve Jesus in this difficult life.

Posted in Blog posts

Hope in Death

The Visitation

Groups of people clustered around the spacious gathering room, in the aisles, between rows of chairs, smiling, chatting, embracing, remembering. Some, with chins quavering, dabbed the corners of their eyes with tissues to levee the tears that overflowed their banks. A blond wooden casket presided over the room, but most of the people ignored its presence. They knew the broken, octogenarian form resting inside was just an empty shell. His spirit was rejoicing in the presence of the Heavenly Father. Jim lived a full life, always surrounded by family and friends, just as in that room at his death.

The Funeral

When the time came for the service to begin, Jim’s son stood to officiate. With fondness, he told warm stories of days gone by, of quirks and habits that made his father beloved by all. The listeners nodded their agreement and chuckled in their reminiscences. 

Jim had been a schoolteacher for more than three decades and a Sunday School teacher longer than that. Years of sharing his life with children, grandchildren, students, and friends, investing his life in the lives of others, talking of the Lord—this was the fruition, being honored by those left behind. Those who would, as his son poignantly noted, “have to learn how to live life without him.”

 “But I know I will see him again one day,” he continued, his eyes wistful. “That hope allows me to stand before you brokenhearted, and yet with a smile.” He shared his father’s love of the Savior. Jim, in death as in life, pointed people to Jesus. 

The Hope

The funeral of a Christian is a time of rejoicing and hope. Though we mourn, we are comforted. The Apostle Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).

He also says, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).

The Truth

Outside of Jesus Christ there is no hope after death. But because Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, he provides a way for humans to be reconciled to God the Father, to be forgiven of sin so that we can have a relationship with him. Jesus said of himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He is our hope, the reason we can rejoice even in the face of death, if we have trusted in him as our Savior.