Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Get Out of the Comfort Zone

I tried to walk with God by faith
Knowing life was not mine to own,
But testing would come and make me face
The security of my comfort zone.

"I'll live for you both day and night;
I'll serve you in the way;"
But trials would come, push back the light
And I would go astray.

I would read about heroes of faith
Who walked their earthly life
With grace reflecting on their face
God's power for the fight.

I would say, "I'll be like that;
My resolve I’ll hone."
But when opposition blew away my peace,
I flew to my comfort zone.

I'd say to myself in a moment of joy,
"This is it. I will be strong."
But trickery would show a brand new ploy
And all my peace was gone.

I struggled alone with pain and fear,
No relief could I find.
No solution, no way to clear
These fears of every kind.

Then one day, on went the light--
The truth came shining through.
His Word flooded my soul so bright,
I knew what I had to do.

I knelt in prayer and said to God,
"I'll trust You and obey."
I felt His assurance so sweet and strong,
His peace had come to stay.

"What about you, dear friend of mine?
Are you lethargic, dull, and alone?
Do you sense that now is the time
To get out of your comfort zone?"

Could it be that God is calling you
To adventure and paths unknown?
But you're frozen in fear, still afraid
Cause you're trapped in your comfort zone?

Faith has rewards we all can know
When we stifle our sighs and groans,
When we lay down our life and let it all go,
When we abandon our comfort zone.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Prelude to Redemption

The Birth of John the Baptist
Luke 1

It was four hundred years since Malachi without a prophetic word,
Yet the faithful remnant in Israel remembered what they had heard.
They looked with longing for the day their Savior would arrive
Praying they would see the Lord before it was time to die.

Among the priests was Zacharias who humbly served the Lord
Who with his wife, Elizabeth, walked in faith and one accord.
Their service to God was honorable, but there was a missing part.
For years they yearned to have a child and hold him near their heart.

One day at the holy hour to the right of the incense altar
An angel appeared, so glorious, Zacharias nearly faltered.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, the Lord has heard your prayer.
Elizabeth will soon conceive, an amazing son she will bear.”

He shall serve with the spirit of Elijah, turn weary hearts to God.
Many will heed his message; pass under the Master’s rod.*
Just as the shepherd guides the sheep with an ever gentle touch,
John will proclaim the Messiah, the One who will give so much.

Zacharias was astounded. Words of assurance had been so few.
He wondered aloud just how he could know the angel’s words were true.
Gabriel replied, “I wish you had believed me and trusted in God’s grace,
From this moment on, you will be mute until these things take place.”

There was more that happened in this interim period of time.
They received a visit from Mary, with an encounter quite sublime.
The child within Elizabeth leaped in her womb for joy,
For he knew the other child in the room was Mary’s Savior boy.

All of us know the rest of the story, the man that John became.
From out of the desert he came forth with a long and flowing mane.
He called for the people to forsake their sin while living on this sod;
Telling them not to admire him but to behold the Lamb of God.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

* In NT times the shepherds returned the flocks to the safety of a walled enclosure counting each member as they passed under his rod into the safe shelter. Thus came the term, “passing under the rod.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

Final Instructions from James

The Letter from James: Part 6
James 5:1-20

“Here is a word to the rich oppressor whose bank account has been growing
By refusing to pay the workmen employed for the fields they were mowing.
‘Your sin is gross. Their cries have been heard. You have stirred the Lord’s ire.
Your sin has condemned you and very soon, your flesh will burn in the fire.’

To those who are suffering in this time, God calls you to persevere.
A Day of Accounting will come to oppressors with judgment sound and severe.
But you, my brother, be patient, stand firm; remember who you work for.
The Lord is coming very soon. Judgment is at the door.

Here are instructions to help you grow as you serve the Lord each day.
If you are happy, sing songs of praise; when you are troubled, pray.
If you are ill, call for the elders; tell them how you feel.
They will anoint and pray to the Lord asking Him to heal.

The prayer of faith is mighty indeed. Many have been made whole.
Our Lord is aware of all our needs and heals us body and soul.
When the illness relates to sin and perhaps some offensive behavior,
God will forgive and cleanse within those who seek His favor.

If any of our friends fall to deception, from truth they wander astray;
Let us go forth and bring them back from the errors of their way.
God’s loving mercy longs to forgive, His Kingdom has no limit.
He will forgive all who belong, for His covenant has placed them in it.”

So let us heed the instruction received in this practical letter from James,
For a life without purpose, fulfillment or peace is certainly not our aim.
So as we grow close to the final Day when Jesus comes for His own,
Let us serve with joy and faithfully pray as we wait for our heavenly home.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Words of Wisdom from James

The Letter from James: Part Five
James 4

What is the source of quarrels and fights that plague the human race?
Is it not the sin within, a truth we all must face?
Everyone has a desire inside to have things go our way.
When sin we fail to push aside, our selfishness we display.

Oft we pray and do not receive because we ask amiss.
Our Father does not receive the prayers that flow from a shopping list.
Too often we ask for material things; all forms of earthly treasure,
But possessing gold and beautiful bling can never bring lasting pleasure.

A true believer belongs to God. It isn’t this world we love.
Our focus while walking on this sod is fixed on heaven above.
Though we live within its system, this world is not our friend.
We seek to do the will of God, to live as honorable men.

God stands in opposition to those who are given to pride,
But freely gives grace unto the humble in whom the Spirit resides.
So let us serve our Lord above with motives pure and true;
Let us seek to please Him in everything we do.

Submit yourselves then fully to God; be all that you can be.
Resist the devil by standing firm. Eventually he will flee.
Draw near to God, be cleansed from sin; purify your heart.
Our glorious God will reign within, His power to impart.

Consider God and seek His direction to form a business plan.
Seek Him first with true affection before you decide to expand.
We have been given these earthly years to successfully serve our Lord.
So determine to live with reverent fear; pursue a heavenly reward.

To him who knows the right thing to do but decides then not to do it,
To him it is an intentional sin and sadness will come through it.
So heed these wise words that come from James; hold them in esteem.
For this is the way to steer clear of shame defeating the devil’s schemes.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Power of the Tongue

The Letter from James: Part 4
James 3:1-12

Here is a word to my teacher friends complete with an exhortation.
If to this office you would ascend, remember the expectation.
Those who are called to teach God’s Word will be held to stricter account.
All who are careless with research and words will certainly be found out.

This is a warning all teachers heed as they prepare their daily thought.
Our students suffer when we fail to prepare ourselves as we ought.
Things of value for which we reach feature workmanship first-rate
So prepare thoroughly when you teach. Leave no room for mistakes.

The power of words that flow from our heart bring honor and instruction,
But words uncontrolled tear others apart with sorrow, pain and destruction.
Even though the tongue is small, the power it generates is great.
It’s the spark that lights the fire. Calamity and heartache await.

The tongue can be used to praise our God or curse the ones He created.
Once it is loosed and out of control, it’s impossible to sedate it.
As water pure and that defiled can’t flow from the very same source,
So words that heal are cancelled out by words that blow others off course.

So let us watch our tongue today. Consider God’s Word and fear it.
Let us submit our unruly heart to the Lordship of God’s Spirit.
Let us reach up and trust our God to give us the Spirit’s power
To live today governing our tongue as we walk with Him each hour.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Faith without Action is Dead

The Letter from James: Part 3
James 2:14-26

What good is it brothers to claim to have faith when your life reveals no deeds?
Just hearing how well that you can talk is not what a lost world needs.
Suppose a brother in the Lord is homeless and without clothes.
He doesn’t need a Bible quiz to see how much he knows.

What he needs is love from the church and not some trite confession.
He’s homeless, hungry, without hope cause He’s lost his earthly possessions.
So don’t show your faith with a spiritual speech but lacking pertinent action.
When a person has needs there must be good deeds to elicit satisfaction.

Take for example, Abraham, who placed his full trust in God.
He chose to believe and walked in faith as he travelled this earthly sod.
He didn’t sit there in his tent waiting for God to descend.
He followed God from Ur to Canaan, was known as God’s dear friend.

Consider Rahab, a soiled dove, a lady of the night.
Whose heart upon meeting Joshua was opened to the light.
She made a decision to follow God as her spirit was moved with awe,
So she hid Israel’s spies upon her rooftop covering them with straw.

If Rahab had not acted; if her faith had stayed in her head,
The spies upon on the rooftop were just as good as dead.
Faith cannot deliver if it’s reduced to something you think
Anymore than water can help if you fail to take a drink.

So show me your faith without your works; by deeds I’ll show you mine.
Faith acts upon God’s promises, the counterfeit asks for a sign.
Having received the Spirit of God, who gives us wisdom and power,
Let us go forth and act in faith as we serve Him every hour.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Proof that our Faith is Genuine

The Letter from James: Part 2
James 1:16-27

Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above,
Our eternal, never-changing God who pours out grace and love.
Choosing to redeem us, He sent His Son to earth
To grant to us eternal life by giving us new birth.1

Everyone should be quick to listen but slow in angry speech,
For anger cannot bring righteousness or validate what you teach.
Therefore be rid of moral filth, to evil we should not cave;
Humbly receive the engrafted word, for it alone can save.2

Do not merely listen to the Word and think you are receptive,
For listening without doing is a philosophy wholly deceptive.
God has called us to His Law, about His precepts we talk;
We demonstrate our love for God when we walk the walk.3

The man who claims to walk with God is the one whose lips are sealed
By the way he guards his tongue he proves he has been healed.
True religion, faultless and pure, transforms a heart from greed
To focus on orphans, widows in distress and upon all in need.4

1. James 1:17-18 2. James 1:19-21 3. James 1:22-25 4. James 1:26-27

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 14, 2009

Count it all Joy when Trials Come

The Letter from James: Part 1
James 1:2-8

The letter from the Apostle James is replete with very strong words,
Filled with compelling insights that strain, words not easily heard.
“Consider it pure joy, my friends, whenever you face life’s trials.”
A command as solemn as this one is tends not to elicit smiles.

It’s difficult to respond with joy when our faith encounters a test.
Tests of faith tend to annoy and sometimes make me depressed.
But reading my Bible this I know: through testing we persevere.
Then by perseverance we grow, for this is how we mature.

When perseverance completes its work, the believer is not deficient.
When duty calls he will not shirk, for God has made him sufficient.
We thank the Lord for yesterday’s trials; without them we’re incomplete.
We’re ready to face the devil’s guile without shrinking or retreat.

The second truth James brings to us concerns wisdom’s appropriate source.
If we don’t receive our wisdom from God, we soon will drift off course.
Three things we do to receive Godly wisdom: ask, believe, don’t doubt.
Trust in God instead of this world; it’s what believing is all about.

But if you ask in fear and doubt, you’re tossed like the waves of the sea.
You’ll be confused and do without. What a miserable way to be!
If this is the kind of believer you are, you sadly wear this label:
“Double minded, windblown and tossed, unbalanced and unstable.”

God would not tell us to seek His face if His wisdom He wouldn’t bestow.
The wisdom of God that comes from above is superior to that below.
You can trust Him; don’t live in fear, His thoughts about you are love.
Accept His trials, persevere; place your hand in the Father’s above.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Onesimus, the Runaway Slave

Paul's Letter to Philemon

When Paul was old, a prisoner in Rome, to Philemon he wrote a letter.
He said was sending Onesimus home so all could see he was better.
This once worthless, runaway slave had experienced a transformation,
For while in Rome he was saved, responding to God’s invitation.

This man, Philemon, was close to Paul, a special friendship dear.
The circumstances were known to all, so Paul spoke frankly and clear.
“I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do,
But let the following story unfold and carefully think this through.

Onesimus is like a son to me. His faith is genuine and true.
All who know him clearly see that he would be useful to you.
Though still a slave in earthly terms, he’s a brother in the LORD.
Now, with all that he has learned, his usefulness is restored.

Personally, dear friend, if it were up to me, I’d keep him here in Rome.
He has been a blessing to me as I minister from my home.
If for some reason he returns, it must be with your consent.
We have committed this matter to God in whom we are content.

Since we are partners in the LORD receive him as you would me.
Whatever it is that he may owe, you know I’ll pay the fee.
Perhaps his departure in a mysterious way was part of a greater plan.
You can receive him not as a slave, but a new and better man.”

There is a truth that flows through this letter forming a powerful theme:
Those God calls are changed for the better the moment they are redeemed.
We are given these earthly years to faithfully live for His glory
Awaiting the day we give account, relating to Him our story.

What will I have to give to the Master when standing before His throne?
Will I have fruit to lay at His feet that moment when all is known?
Do I care about His kingdom? Have I responded to His call?
O Lord, I treasure your truth. Help me to give my all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Coming Day of Judgment

Messages from Malachi: Part 4
Malcahi 4:1-6

Once again Malachi warns of a Day of Judgment to come.
True believers are safe in Christ, but there will be judgment for some.
God has provided a way of salvation to avoid His righteous ire,
But those who choose to reject His plan will burn like straw in a fire.

There is a remnant in the land—God calls them His treasured possession—
Who have trusted Christ as LORD, been forgiven all transgression.
This, His Church, will come with Christ to enter the millennial reign
Where they will serve the King of Kings ruling His vast domain.

The sun of righteousness will arise with healing in its wings,
As His servants light the world with the perfection Jesus brings.
Like the calf that leaps and jumps as it exits a crowded stall,
So godly rule brings joy and fulfillment not just for one, for all.

Before the Savior would be born, an Elijah-like prophet would come
To preach the message of repentance and identify God’s only Son. He said,
“The Fathers who turn and love their sons instead of the money purse
Will prepare them, with help from above, to survive the coming curse.”

Certainly our present immoral culture, weighed down by sin and greed,
Is plunging into spiritual despair unaware of its peril and need.
So we must shine as lamps in the dark, be salt in these difficult days.
We must live our lives in truth to the glory of His praise.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Friday, December 11, 2009

Generous Giving and Prosperous Living

Messages from Malachi: Part Three
Malachi 3:1-17

God sent the Savior to His people, the messenger He had proclaimed
Who suddenly appeared and cleansed the temple, just as He had ordained.
But man’s greatest judgment lies in the future when Jesus comes again,
For then will the oppressors, sorcerers, and liars hear testimony against their sin.

“Return to Me and I will forgive you,” says the God of power.
“It’s only because of My covenant that you are here this hour.”
“What do you mean ‘Return to Me;’ what have we done to thee?”
“I mean that you are under a curse. You’ve got to stop robbing Me!”

“How have we robbed you? What’s your problem? What do you advise?”
“The whole nation is under a curse for failing to pay the tithe.”
“Bring the whole tithe and not just a part. To you, I offer this test:
See if I open the windows of heaven til you are exceedingly blessed.”

“I will protect your crops in the field. I’ll do this by My mighty hand.
Then all the nations will clearly see you live in a prosperous land.
For when the tithe is brought to God so that there is food in My house,
I, the Lord, will rain down blessings on you, your children, and spouse.”

“There’s one more thing you need to hear: You’ve spoken harsh words against Me.
You have said, ‘It’s futile to serve’ and grumbled against God Almighty.”
Then those who were wise and feared the Lord came together for consultation.
God saw their hearts; listened and heard and honored their consecration.

It’s so easy to groan and complain in troubled times of living,
But are you removed from God’s gracious care because of a lack of giving?
Are you in need of blessings today? Do you need God’s generous provision?
Perhaps it’s time to kneel and pray, to recant your previous decisions.

You can count on God to forgive, for He is a God of grace.
He will supply all your needs when He sees your repentant face.
He has not promised to grant all your wants, but if His Word you will heed,
God will provide fulfillment in life and all your material needs.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 10, 2009

God Hates Divorce

Messages from Malchi: Part Two
Malachi 2:1-16

Three sins are shared in Malachi two that were the focus of God’s attention.
He addressed them plainly as you can see to be sure of their comprehension.
Each of these issues chronicled departure from God’s commands in His law
When given by Moses to the tribes as they stood at Mount Sinai in awe.

The first was the curse upon the priests as their God they refused to revere.
The priests were the reason their worship of God was deficient and insincere.
The lips of a priest are to pour forth knowledge, from his mouth men seek instruction,
But by their example and dishonest hearts, they were messengers of destruction.

The second sin was their love for world and evil God had forbidden.
All were to marry within the faith. From within they should find their women.
By marrying pagans who worshipped false gods, they deeply offended their LORD.
Then within two or three generations His truth and light are ignored.

The third sin was the sin of divorce as they abandoned the wife of their youth.
Divorce is not a viable option for those who would live in the truth.
Guard your spirit; commit your heart, for life is a long-distance race.
Devote yourself fully to your spouse. God’s will is not to break faith.

These three sins the Lord condemned as He spoke through Malachi.
We would be wise to watch our ways and his message earnestly apply.
Let us sincerely follow the LORD; loyally walk in His truth,
And let us be faithful to the one who became the wife of our youth.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Are You Serious about your Faith?

Messages from Malachi: Part One
Malachi 1:1-14

After Ezra and Nehemiah died, Judah allowed her devotion to slide.
There was one hundred years since Haggai before Malachi came forth to prophesy.
He spoke to a people whose priests were corrupt with words that were strong, sometimes abrupt.
They doubted God’s love, dishonored His name; exploited the priesthood for personal gain.

It was a hard message that Malachi spoke to a nation enslaved by sin’s cruel yoke.
All the same problems Malachi observed are present today among those who serve.
We approach His writings with attitude sincere; the sin that was there is also here.
So let’s not pretend we haven’t heard, but carefully examine the prophet’s word.

“A son honors his father and a slave his master, for life without order becomes a disaster.
I am your God deserving respect. Where is the honor I rightfully expect?
How can you keep your spiritual life fresh when the greatest among you live in the flesh?
Why light these fires and burn incense when your heart is filled with evil intent?

The priests are the ones who dishonor My name, whose conduct brings disgrace and shame.
Don’t pretend you’re not to blame when you sacrifice lambs that are blind and maimed.
Try offering them to the one in charge. Why don’t you give it to the governor at large?
You need to come humbly for forgiveness of sin. You need to be cleansed from vileness within.

I wish you would shut the temple door, for your sin is increasing more and more.
You light many fires on the altar true, but I will receive no offering from you.
My name is great among all the nations. I will not endorse your corrupt celebrations.
Such devious conduct will never be accepted. Your hearts are dark, your sacrifice rejected.”

I told you His message was for the serious, not for the faint or merely curious.
God is calling a people to claim, a body of believers who honor His name.
What kind of service have you been giving? Has He become your reason for living?
Time is short, the end is near. Be sure your devotion to Christ is sincere.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dressed for Success

Insights from Ephesians: Part Nine
Ephesians 6:13-18

All true believers are in a war with an evil enemy we cannot ignore.
We must be alert every hour remaining strong in God’s mighty power
To defeat the flesh and demonic teams who carry out the devil’s schemes.
In order to triumph in this test, the Bible tells us how we should dress.

We buckle on the belt of truth. Works best if we wear it from our youth.
The Breastplate of Righteousness does its part giving protection to the heart.
Fitted with peace, our feet are ready to move in battle or stand steady.
The shield of faith provides protection when arrows are fired from every direction.

Our minds we protect from evil temptation by wearing the helmet of salvation.
We pick up the fearsome sword of the spirit so lethal to demons they won’t come near it.
This is how we dress each day, but before we head out, we stop to pray.
We exalt our God with prayers and praises trusting His guidance in all its phases.

There’s coming a day when we’ll battle no more, but until that day we fight in this war.
The armor, the weapons and giving of thanks help us defeat the enemy’s ranks.
So get up tomorrow; be ready to fight, put on the armor; go forth in God’s might.
Soon our Lord will call us up higher, but the devil will land in the Lake of Fire.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thoughts about Marriage and Family Life

Insights from Ephesians: Part Eight
Ephesians 5:21-6:4

The Bible speaks of the partnership that husband and wife share.
It isn’t about naming who’s in charge but about the way they care.
The husband is to love his wife with the love Christ has for the church
When a woman finds that kind of a man, she’s ready to end her search.

When a husband loves his wife in the same way Christ loves His bride,
It means he’s willing to lay down his life and work very hard to provide.
Then as he ponders life’s decisions, when there must be a choice,
He seeks her counsel avoiding division, desiring to hear her voice.

The wife is to love her husband, yes, but also to give him respect.
This is what her husband needs from the one he pledged to protect.
The woman needs to hear tender words; to know that she is desired;
She needs to know that she is special, not just a toy he acquired.

Then when children come to the home, the mother gives natural nurture,
But the father is important too; he helps prepare them for their future.
The mother models service and love, dispensing hugs and kisses,
But the father teaches his bold young sons how to treat their future missus.

When teenage emotions and responsibility clash, it elicits testing and sobs.
The Father is there to help his sons learn to be faithful to their job.
He can’t be too harsh or unsympathetic provoking his children to wrath,
But great is their need for a steady strong dad to guide them on life’s path.

It’s clear to see as we read the Bible that God created both sexes.
He created them to make a home and not to become each other’s ex’s.
The very best way to raise a family, to preserve the next generation,
Is for husband and wife to build their lives upon a godly foundation.

I am a product of a clan that was led by godly grandparents
Whose love for God and all their kids was readily apparent.
My mom and dad, aunts and uncles too, all followed their example.
Each produced memories so warm and true, they serve as a heavenly sample.

And so dear friends, I ask the question, “Will you be in heaven too?”
If you are a dad, it’s time to respond to this question honest and true.
If you are a mom who carried your child all the way to birth,
You want them to join you in the glories of heaven, not to lose them on earth.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 6, 2009

God Sees How You are Living

Insights from Ephesians: Part Seven
Ephesians 5:1-20

As we continue in chapter five, there are many more truths to see
The chapter begins with instruction clear about what we should be:
Be imitators of God, my friend, for Jesus was the lamb,
Who forfeited His life for our sins; not a dove or ram.

The flesh is subject to many sins, not the least of which is impurity;
When we see them in a believer, it demonstrates immaturity.
God has told us we should be holy avoiding behavior immoral:
Obscenity, greed, foolish talk and certainly meaningless quarrels.

Once we lived in darkness, but now we live in the light.
The light reveals goodness and truth to be the goal in sight.
The evil deeds of darkness God wants us to expose,
The shameful, immoral deeds of the flesh are evils we oppose.

So wake up sleeper, rise and shine. It’s time to live in truth.
Throw off the impure deeds of the flesh, all things vile, uncouth.
It’s time to let Jesus shine through you, His glory to reflect.
It’s time live a life that’s pure, that garners love and respect.

Be careful then how you live, for the days are short.
Live your life with heaven in sight, gain a good report.
Do not get drunk on wine or spirits that make you lose control,
For your whole life belongs to God, body, spirit, and soul.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Success Principles from the Apostle Paul

Insights from Ephesians: Part Six
Ephesians 4:17-32

Paul gave the church clear instruction to live in God’s grace each day,
For the pagan worldviews are offensive to God with their acceptance of sinful ways.
The Gentiles were known for the vilest of sin yielding freely to base desire
That’s why believers put off their old self and live by truths that are higher.

The Lord has made us a brand new creation, His Spirit lives within.
He helps us say “no” to sinful ways. It’s important to listen to Him.
He teaches us how to deal with anger before the day is through.
The devil employs bitterness and strife as a means to bring harm to you.

There are other truths that transform our life about which we should care:
We must stop the stealing, get gainful employment; always be willing to share.
We must be careful how we converse choosing words that strengthen our friends.
If we encourage, comfort, and edify, they will be friends to the end.

Get rid of all bitterness, anger and brawling.
Refuse to take part in slanderous name-calling.
Don’t grieve the Spirit, with whom you were sealed,
For discipline comes to those who won’t yield.

These are a few of the truths Paul taught that help keep us pure in deed and thought.
But we must do more than read his letter. We must apply them if we would be better.
The Spirit of God is faithful and true never failing to tame and subdue
The foulest temper and unconquered mind enabling us now to be loving and kind.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Friday, December 4, 2009

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

Insights from Ephesians: Part Five
Ephesians 4:1-16

We have been given new life in Christ and called to a new way of living,
Unlike the old days, when it was all about me, I’m now called to living giving. 1
I strive to be humble, patient and kind, bearing with others in love, 2
Maintaining the peace and unity that comes from the Spirit above. 3

Observe the importance of the numeral one in this life to which we are called:
One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord; one God and Father of all. 4
Elsewhere we learn there is only one name by which we must be saved; 5
Only one mediator between God and man—It’s Jesus, whose name we praise. 6

Jesus descended down into Sheol where the righteous awaited His plan.
Then He ascended with the saints to sit at the Father’s right hand. 7
Through the Spirit He created four offices—all with distinct spiritual features.
They were the apostles and prophets, evangelists too, along with the pastor-teachers. 8

The purpose of these gifted men was to help the church form and grow.
Apostles performed signs, prophets taught doctrine, and evangelists won many souls.
We find that the church is like our body having numerous important parts.
When working together in unity and love, we demonstrate God’s great heart. 9

As we grow in wisdom and grace, we’re no longer tossed by the waves
Or blown around by winds of doctrine disputing the need to be saved.
We expose the evil schemes of men whose false teaching leaves others dead;
By teaching the truth the church matures giving glory to Jesus, the Head.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Scripture References:
1. Eph. 4:1. 4. Eph. 4:4-6 7. Eph. 4:7-9
2. Eph. 4:2 5. Acts 4:12 8. Eph. 4:11-12
3. Eph. 4:3 6. 1 Tim. 2:5 9. Eph. 4:14-16

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Mystery of the Gospel

Insights from Ephesians: Part Four
Ephesians 3:1-21

There is a mystery, the apostle wrote, given by revelation. 1
This mystery, previously unknown, pertained to Gentile salvation. 2
Until Jesus came to bring a new covenant, salvation belonged to the Jews.
By life and death, He fulfilled the law qualifying the Gentiles too.

But whether one is a Gentile or Jew the gospel must be preached.
So God appointed apostles true so both groups could be reached. 3
In the beginning faithful Jews welcomed the message with joy,
But when Paul preached to Gentiles too, their leaders were annoyed.

The apostles wrote about this church age when billions experience salvation.
It was mostly Gentiles who filled the church, for the Jews denied its formation.
After the rapture when Jesus comes for His Bride, when the world is filled with pain,
Twelve thousand evangelists from each tribe will call Israel back again.

Until the Lord comes, the church is called to make His wisdom known
To demons who followed Lucifer; holy angels around God’s throne. 4
The Father achieved His eternal purpose through the sacrifice of His Son,
So Paul is preaching to the Gentiles salvation for them has been won. 5

Paul prays for the church to be filled with power; grounded in God’s love.
He wants them to grasp how high and deep is the love of God above. 6
To Him whose power is without measure, to Him we can’t do without
To Him be all the honor and glory. To Him our praises we shout. 7
© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

1. Ephesians 3:2-3 2. Ephesians 3:6 3. Ephesians 3:7-9
4. Ephesians 3:10 5. Ephesians 3:11-12 6. Ephesians 3:14-19
7. Ephesians 3:19-20

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Wall Between God and Man

Insight from Ephesians: Part Three
Ephesians 2:11-22

All of us know that Adam’s sin built a wall between God and man,
But God had prepared a plan to redeem even before time began.
God called a man, Abram by name, to found a brand new nation.
He called him to a walk of faith, to help us grasp salvation.

Abraham’s descendants increased in number, belonged to Israel proper.
As they honored their covenant with God, He enabled them to prosper.
Through the years as they walked with Him, He taught them to follow the Law,
But most of the Gentiles in the world were excluded by that wall.

But Jesus destroyed that hostile wall; gave His life to pay the price.
His perfection applied to our life is more than enough to suffice.
Thus the Gentiles, once far away, now have been brought near.
He became peace to Gentile and Jew destroying the power of fear.

From Pentecost on until His return, we live in the age of grace.
All may come to God through Christ irrespective of heritage or race.
Jew or Gentile, black or white, we’re included in His plan.
In God there is no segregation, for He loves every man.

So once again we see without doubt that God’s eternal plan
Is to pay the price by giving Himself to bring salvation to man.
God is building His people together into a temple glorious, and
He will carry us to the end to enter eternity victorious.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Ephesians 2:11-22
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (NIV)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Saved by Grace and Not by Works

Insight from Ephesians: Part Two
Ephesians 2:1-10

Once no sin was found in this world. All was utter perfection.
When Adam ate the forbidden fruit he severed the heavenly connection.
Oh what a day of gloom and despair, man’s nature distorted within!
Ruled by the kingdom of the air, he succumbed to the power of sin.

All of us lived here in Satan’s kingdom until the Lord set us free.
We were the object of God’s just wrath deserving sin’s penalty.
But God’s loving mercy, as strong as His wrath, wanted us to survive,
So Jesus came to pay the price that we might be made alive.

By grace we are saved and not by our deeds. What an incredible thought!
We place our trust in Christ you see. Our salvation cannot be bought.
If we could earn it, we would boast. We would live and die arrogantly.
So God grants to us by faith in Christ salvation completely free

Some people say, “What about works? Isn’t there something I must do?”
You cannot do works in an attempt to earn salvation true.
But when you experience God’s new birth, He makes you a new creation.
Then the good works that flow from your life validate your transformation.

We live our lives until Jesus comes with devoted and happy faces.
Our God, who defeated sin’s dark power, has raised us to heavenly places.
The devil and all his angry demons see you with Christ on His throne.
How they desire to cause you to stumble as you live in your earthly home.

Indwelt by His Spirit and led by Him, we are filled with His glorious power.
As we walk humbly before our God, He will guide us through the dark hours.
Some day soon in the coming ages as trophies of God’s great love,
We will tell of how we left this world to live with Christ above.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Ephesians 2:1-10
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)