Sanctification is a Process… that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
Ephesians 4:14-15 [ESV]

I think that this is one of the most important passages on Christian living and growth. It is all about continuous process, grace, encouragement, biblical maturity, community, and love. When we become new believers, it is important to remember 4 things.

  1. You have everything you need in you to grow into the follower of Jesus God desires you to be. The thief on the cross next to Jesus had no time to grow this faith and mature his walk; he went straight to heaven in a matter of hours after Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise.
  2. Test everything. When we become believers, God places a hunger in us to know Him more. Our gratefulness of what Jesus did for us on the cross, drives us to want to know Him better and our goal is to be more like Him. It can be intimidating to hold the whole of the Word of God in our hands and be overwhelmed with all there is to learn. So, we have a tendency turn to what others say or interpret meanings in the Bible. So, we must test by going to the Word ourselves (Hermeneutical approach) and through fervent prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of His scripture to us. There are a lot of whacky stances out there that take certain passages out of context or even try to put thinking into the bible rather than only pulling out what God is saying alone. A good rule of thumb to use when something is not clear to you, is –> you can’t grasp it yet…not that God’s Word is somehow lacking.
  3. Seek Biblical Community. When I say Biblical community, I mean a Spiritual Maturity diverse group of people to learn with and from. Ensure that you have well-seasoned teachers in your group that can help you to find the places in the Bible to find answers. A good teacher will share but ultimately drive you back to God’s word to allow God Himself to reveal to you what there is learn.
  4. Don’t get discouraged. God’s Word says that somethings we just won’t know. Somethings will be held secret until the Lord is ready to reveal it to you. I believe that our understanding of certain things is a lot of times tied to what God is equipping us to do for His Kingdom…and we just are not ready yet. There are 3 Categories of Theology that we have to keep in mind.
    • First-level issues are most central and essential to Christianity. You can’t deny these teachings and still be a Christian in any meaningful sense. For example, there is one God in three persons; Jesus is fully God and fully human; Jesus sacrificially died for sinners; Jesus rose bodily from the dead; we are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone; Jesus is coming back.
    • Second-level issues create reasonable boundaries between Christians, such as different denominations and local churches. These issues will have a bearing on what sort of church you are part of. For example, what’s your view on baptism or church government or God’s sovereignty in salvation or the role of men and women in the church and home? You don’t have to hold one particular view to be a Christian, but it’s challenging for a church to have a healthy unity when its leaders and members disagree on these matters.
    • Third-level issues are disputable matters (also called matters of indifference or matters of conscience). They might involve how you interpret particular passages of the Bible. For example, who are “the sons of God” in Genesis 6? There is more than one viable view. Third-level issues also include many practical questions. For example, how should Christians view the “Sabbath?” . . . Disputable matters aren’t unimportant, but members of the same church should be able to disagree on these issues and still have close fellowship with each other. Disagreement on third-level issues shouldn’t cause disunity in the church family.


Ok, that was a lot longer than I anticipated it being…What really resonates with me is seeing good people getting ‘tossed about by the waves’ of culturally acceptable doctrine. We are surrounded by false teachers and people who want to twist God’s Word into saying something it is not…or worse, entirely eliminating passages to help conform to one’s personal worldview because it doesn’t align with present day worldly acceptance. I must stay strong and bold in uphold God’s Word as it is written. Every passage matters. That being said, I have to be careful not to move third-level issues into second or first level convictions.

Today’s Psalm

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.

Psalms 36:7-9 [ESV]

Gifts to Equip…

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
Ephesians 4:11-12 [ESV]

Shorter post today – Paul here is now talking about the ‘gifts’ Jesus has given teaching, prophesying, shepherding, and other gifts to equip believers for the building of the Kingdom. The gifting involves leaders & teachers who guide the church as a catalyst to its internal growth and maturity. The list is clearly specific and selective, given other lists that include gifts of service, not just teaching and guiding (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12).

In verse 12, the key comes in three phrases: for equipping, for ministry, and for edification. The saints as a whole are equipped for ministry, and the edification of the church is the outcome.


As an elder at Canyon Hills, we take this role seriously. Our by line for CHCC is “Make more and better disciples”. We strive to be vessels used by God to bring more people into the knowledge of Jesus and then equip them for ministry in their lives, family, workplaces, and communities. I pray that the Lord continues to give us wisdom and boldness to do this in today’s crazy society and culture.

Today’s Psalm:

Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.

Psalms 36:1-4

Giftedness Underscores Unity…

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.  Therefore, it says,       
“When he ascended on high, he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
Ephesians 4:7-8 [ESV]

This is such a cool passage to follow all of the ‘Ones’. Not only are we all connected through the 7 ‘ones’ mentioned yesterday, but today this reading shows that one of the dimensions of preserving unity is for each one of us to live out the giftedness each of us has received. We are tied to each other in part through the gifts God gives us to make the body function effectively. When we exercise those gifts, it allows the church to be what God designed it to be.

In my reading and study, Grace here means a gift freely given. Paul has already noted this context and meaning in Romans 12:3-8. All of us are gifted to serve the church in one way or another. These gifts have been given out according to Christ’s gifting. In Romans and 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us they are measured out by God and the Spirit as well. We are all equipped to serve others. None of us is an island in the church. We need the giftedness others possess and they need ours. Christ determines our roles, so as we serve, we honor him.

Paul pointing to Psalm 68:18 is the subject of a lot of theologians because Paul changes the typographical context of the verse. In the Psalms it reads that Jesus received gifts and here in Ephesians he says that He gave gifts. Rather than take you through all the arguments, the main point is that the reading of the verse Paul gives here captures the message of the entirety of Psalm 68 and other Jewish texts of the same passage do the same thing. The main takeaway of the verse is that on his ascension Christ won a victory, and the spoils, the gifts, went to those allied with him.


Tomorrow we will see some of the gifts that Paul is talking about, but for today it really comes down to recognizing through prayer and searching God’s Word how best to apply the gifts God has given me. Throughout my Christian Walk I can see God’s hand and fingers placing the gifts that He would have me bring into the ministries he has placed before me. Whether that is serving in the media ministry, leading a Life Group, or even being asked to be an elder as I am now; I am to prayerfully consider the roles God has called me to as a member in the greater body of Christ’s church. I am continuing to follow God’s call even now by training to be a Biblical Counselor. I feel so blessed and honored to blessed with the gifts He has given and then use those gifts in service to Him.

Today’s Psalm:

Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the LORD,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long.

Psalms 35:27-28 [ESV]


There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6 [ESV]

So, remember, we are just coming off of Paul telling us that keeping unity with peace is huge…even telling us the characteristics of the person who aspires to contribute to that unity. We are One body which has been a theme of this book. That Oneness is reinforced now with all the Ones listed for us.

There are seven uses of ‘One’ here that are interesting:

  1. One Body
  2. One Spirit
  3. One Hope
  4. One Lord
  5. One Faith
  6. One Baptism
  7. One God and Father of all

It is interesting how the Body and the Spirit are linked just as they are in our life as followers of Jesus when we were saved. The One Hope is our key here on earth as it is our calling -> Hope in eternity with Jesus. A freedom in Him here on earth because our victory is already secured IN Him. Together in our unified church we center around One Lord, One Faith (in our Lord Jesus Christ), One Baptism (which I believe is inclusive of both Baptism by the Holy Spirit and Water Baptism), and finally One God and Father over all.

A little more on One Baptism – Christian baptism involves both Spirit baptism and water baptism, which symbolizes it (1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:12). These elements are all connected to what Christ accomplished through His death. Some interpretations of the verse might suggest choosing between these, but they likely all play a role. Christian baptism differs from John the Baptist’s baptism, which expressed repentance and readiness for salvation. In Christian baptism, believers participate in the deliverance made possible by their trust in what God did through Christ. This distinction has been evident from the beginning (Acts 19:5).


In my life as a fellow believer with others in the church, I need to remember that all of these ‘Ones’ bind us together. My genuinely converted Christian believers will have this Oneness built into them from Salvation. Our differing opinions are going to be normal but these ones bring us together in the end every time. I need apply this thinking a realization earlier in my discussions with brothers and sisters so that my Faith and Spirit within my guide in all the ways mentioned yesterday –> Humility, Gentleness, Patience, and Forbearance.

Today’s Psalm:

Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD,
exulting in his salvation.
All my bones shall say,
“O LORD, who is like you,
delivering the poor
from him who is too strong for him,
the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

Psalms 35:9-10 [ESV]

Goal is to Preserve Peace in Unity…

Prefaces QTVOTD & BITE (Title Attributions) are being deprecated since I have categories that represent those different types of posts.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.    Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:2-3 [NIV

Tacking onto yesterday, our worthy walk has some characteristics Paul calls out here. One thing that stood out to (and what supports the command in verse 3) is that there are no defensive or offensive intent/objectives in the words Paul uses to talk about our walk and the keeping of unity. Instead, he uses “Humility”, “Gentleness”, “Patience”, and “Perseverance” to describe the ‘keeping’ of unity together as a church.

The way we live out our Christian faith truly matters. It’s not about being confrontational, especially with one another. Instead, it’s about embodying these attributes above. We should give each other the benefit of the doubt and bear with one another. Colossians also expounds on these principles in greater detail in Colossians 3:5-17 (especially verse 12). Let’s look at the Biblical meaning of each of these characteristics of the Christian Walk in unity.


A lowliness of mind. This was not something that was regarded as a strength during Paul’s time, rather a weakness. But in Old Testament times Judaism did view it positively. It is the opposite of arrogance, a character trait Paul condemns elsewhere (Rom 11:20, 12:16).


Normally gentleness is a term use in the context of conflict. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit. Gentleness does not imply weakness, but self-controlled and a tempered spirit.


Patience, as described in the Bible, embodies forbearance and self-control. It’s about willingly waiting upon God and aligning ourselves with His will. This steadfastness of character remains unshaken even during trials and tribulations. Patience originates from God, is a fruit of the Spirit, and is closely tied to self-control and godliness. We see Christ exemplifying patience, and it’s through challenges that we grow in this virtue. Gentleness and patience go together hand in hand. In challenging relationships, patience and gentleness band together to not destroy what is there in Christ.


Bearing with one another in love enables us to navigate the conflicts that inevitably arise in relationships. It involves enduring certain behaviors and then actively working through them. Unity demands relational tolerance without compromising on truth.

The pursuit of unity within our Christian communities involves applying virtues like humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance. Our eagerness to maintain this unity is crucial. It’s not about gaining peace; rather, it’s about actively preserving it. The unity we seek is grounded in the shared Spirit among believers. Love, like a glue, plays a similar role. Colossians 2:19 uses the imagery of ligaments binding the body together. Our intent should be to uphold the unity achieved by Christ’s work in the Spirit.

…and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Colossians 2:19 [ESV]


Sometimes I can have a sinful response to defending something I firmly believe in that does not threaten the 5 non-negotiables of my faith. 1) God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all GOD. 2) Only Jesus can save us from our sin. 3) The Bible is the infallible, complete, and sufficient to answer every question true Word of God. 4) Everything to the glory of God alone. 5) Only faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus can our sins be forgiven and through that faith be granted (through grace) eternity with Him forever. Everyone in the body of Christ is on their own walk to learn the truths of God through His scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Only the Lord knows the heart and when I respond in a way that is not humble, gentle, patient, or forbearing, then I am the one who needs to be admonished. Lord Jesus, help me to see these failures in myself and help give me the strength turn around my behavior when I do.

Today’s Psalm:

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalms 34:19-22 [ESV]

BITE: Let’s Do Some Application…

​ I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 
Ephesians 4:1 [ESV]

In the first half of this letter, Paul talks about the core elements of the church’s identity. We now start the second half of Ephesians which is all about ‘Application’ so for the Quiet Times for the rest of this letter, I will share the application I take away to my own life from each day’s passage. — Fair warning: this will go slow as I can’t even read one verse without stopping and seeing what I need to take away from it. —

For most of Paul’s ministry he was under some type of bondage in jails or on the run for what he was teaching. So much so that he identifies himself as such, a prisoner. As he opens, Paul exhorts us to ‘walk’ in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called. Walk is translated in some versions as ‘leading a life’ or ‘living a life’ worthy…but I think that misses out on the ‘Step-by-Step’ aspect of walking. Our process of sanctification is exactly that, a journey of steps that lead to place of being closer to looking like or resembling our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The calling – so what was that again? Well, back in Eph 1.:18 Paul tells us.

having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 1:18 [ESV]

The ‘Calling’ is the Hope we receive in and through the Gospel. When we listen to what the Gospel says in Who God is, who we are relative to God’s Holiness, and what Jesus did for us because He loves us, it is the hope of eternal life, saved from a destruction and punishment we deserve. So, the life we live as a step-by-step process should be reflective of that gift we have been given in Jesus.


Every day of my life must begin with an acknowledgement of the Hope God has called me to through His grace and love. If I start every day this way, then I have an automatic heart condition that is bent toward a gratefulness of what the Lord has done for me. I am nothing, He is Everything. It is because of Him that I am something and that something is an identity IN Jesus. When the God of the universe looks at me, He sees the face of His Son. I have been bought with the ultimate price and my service should be to the One alone Who gave everything for me. That heart condition is powerful! It will affect my tone with my kids, my wife, my friends, my co-workers, and the church body God has called me to guide, guard, and grow.

Today’s Psalm:

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalms 34:15-18 [ESV]

BITE: Alignment is Power…

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 [ESV]

The whole of this 3rd chapter of Ephesians has so much packed into it, passage after passage; building on each preceding block of thought. First, Paul talks to the reader about his calling to the gentiles. Then he prays that the church at Ephesus would be strengthened through His Spirit in their inner being. Then drawing on that strength to under the love of Jesus so that they would be filled with the fullness of God. Finally, we come to the last 2 verses in this chapter.

These last 2 verses draw our attention to the goal of being filled with the fullness of God…it is to Glorify God above all else. Now TO HIM Who can do far more than we can ask Him or even think about. TO HIM be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever.

So, in the end, when we align ourselves with the love of Christ, to share that love in service to others, and when we give God all the glory…that is where the real power comes. God’s will can then be completed through us. When we are aligned, our thoughts and desires are God’s thoughts and will. No matter what circumstance or situation we find ourselves in, even if it feels unfair in a ‘worldly’ sense, we will know in our hearts that the Lord is working in and through our circumstances and situations toward His will and purposes. We rest in freedom with our minds and hearts focused on the eternal life we will have with our God and Savior in Heaven.

Today’s Psalm:

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

Psalms 34:11-14 [ESV]

BITE: Sophie’s Life Passage…

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19 [ESV]

First things first -> BELLA IS HOME! We picked her up from the airport last night and then had dinner all together at McD’s. All of Bella’s sisters were so anxious to see her. Since Marianne and I just got to see Bella in Guatemala, we got all our tears out then but see the love of these girls for each other made us well-up again. So excited to spend some time together with her as a family, love on her, and hear all the stories of her trip to Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa, and Guatemala.

Today’s passage is Sophie’s life passage. When I really started into memorizing scripture, committing my family’s life verses was the first thing I did. We start here from my previous quiet time’s passage which is the start of Paul’s prayer, on his knees before God, asking for strength in the Spirit that has been placed in our inner being. So that, “Jesus might dwell in our hearts through faith.”

I really like the building of this prayer with steps that precede one another.

  1. Indwelling of the Spirit (vs 16)
  2. Jesus dwelling in our hearts through faith (v 17)
  3. Rooted and grounded in love (v 17)
  4. Produces strength to wrap our brains around the totality and greatness of the love Jesus has for us (v 18)
  5. Which in turn helps us ‘know’ the love of Jesus which cannot be understood with just human understanding (v 19)
  6. So that -> we may be filled with the fullness of God. (v 19)

Throughout my Christian walk, I have seen these play out. The important part of reading these verses is that we must stay true to God’s Word in obedience, trust, and love for more knowledge of Him. When we let the idols of this world creep in with prominence, this chain is broken and we must start back a number 2 again…inviting Jesus to have ownership of the desires of our hearts.

What step are you at in your walk as a believer? Have you accepted Jesus to receive the indwelling of the Spirit? Have you surrendered your life and heart to Jesus? Is your faith grounded and anchored in a love for Him? Has your love for Jesus grown because of the ability to understand the greatness of His love for you? Because you now know how undeserving you are of the grace and love you have been given, had your life transformed in a love for others? In service to Jesus in love, have you experienced a filling of the fullness of God?

Today’s Psalm:

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Psalms 34:8-10 [ESV]

BITE: His Spirit in My Inner Being…

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Ephesians 3:14-16 [ESV]

These next 5 verses of Ephesians are very important and significant for me and our family. I will explain more on that tomorrow. The big takeaway from these verses today is that whole aspect of the opportunity we have to receive strength and power here in this life through God’s Spirit Who lives IN us. You might notice that in my posts I tend to capitalize ‘in’ often. That is because that little word is so important in understanding what we have in our Salvation -> a power given by the grace of God to overcome whatever this world throws at us. That power comes through God being in us.

When my inner man was recreated (reborn) at the time of my salvation, that part of me was reconciled to God forever. At the same time, that part of me exists in this carcass of flesh here on earth. While my inner spirit desires to be with God, my flesh desires the things of this world. What is available to me is a power from God through His Spirit which resides in me to combat the desires of the flesh. When that relationship between my inner man and the Spirit of God Who lives in me, is nurtured, reinforced, and vibrant, there is power and ability to overcome anything this fleshly body tries to subvert in that relationship, and the strength I have to choose against a sinful action, is huge.


The application is obvious but putting that into practice is predicated on a love for God that is founded in the work He has done for me on the cross. Preaching the gospel to myself everyday kindles that love for my Savior because He first loved me. It is then that my desires are driven to know more about Him, spend more time with Him, and be more like Him.

Today’s Psalm:

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Psalms 34:4-7 [ESV]

BITE: The Mystery Revealed…

This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Ephesians 3:6 [ESV]

Well, I know that it has been a week since I posted. Last week I was working normal office hours from 8am to 6pm and then heading to a test location here in the Puget Sound area to working until 2am before getting back home to bed and back up for work at 8am to start that process over again. It was a big slog, but I was able to catch up on my sleep this weekend and thankful to be back to a normal schedule this week.

I love this passage of Ephesians where we get to see the full nature of Paul’s ministry come to life. Paul the apostle to the Gentiles (non-Israelites/non-Jews) tells the church at Ephesus that Jews and Gentiles are now one big family in the Lord Jesus Christ. For those that accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, reap the gift of sons and daughters of the Almighty God and will inherit eternal life.

One of the theological stances I have heard in the past is that once Jesus came, that Israelites (sons and daughters of Abraham) do not have the promise the Lord gave to them through Abraham in Genesis 17. That the remnant in Israel spoke of in Revelation is only those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. I struggle to see this as a firm point for one reason alone; God always keeps His promises. In Genesis 17, the promise is clear and at the same time, through Jesus there is so much more available to the Jews than what they have without Him.

The mystery revealed through the Gospel that Paul speaks of is so powerful. When you read back in Genesis of the promises made to the Children of Israel through Abraham, it is an amazing thing that God would choose a people for Himself. To know now that I have an equal place adopted into that family as a child of the Living God, is so amazing! The Holy Spirit I have received as a believer also provides me with a ‘help’ that assists me in navigating this life before being called home with my Savior.

Today’s Psalm:

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Psalms 34:4-5 [ESV]