Devotional Reflections

God Working Within Us

Posted on October 19, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Intercessory prayer is probably our most common category of supplication. Laying our own personal needs and concerns before the Father takes priority, but praying for family and the needs of those who are sick and dealing with problems consumes most of the time we spend in prayer. Paul prayed with joy as he remembered and thanked God for fellow believers and those in various churches who labored with him in the gospel.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for

Read the rest of this entry »

Knowing God’s Love

Posted on October 12, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

Recognizing Paul’s prayers reflect God’s will for us, we continue his supplication in Ephesians to be rooted and grounded in love. Last week we focused on the desire to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. We think of this as the power to live for Christ, the power to witness effectively and even being a worthy instrument of miraculous manifestations.

However, the purpose of this power in the inner man is that our faith would give Christ free reign and control and our life would be firmly established in God’s love. …

Read the rest of this entry »

Strengthened with Power

Posted on October 5, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” Ephesians 3:14, 16

Our previous devotional reflection on the prayers of Paul concluded in Ephesians 1:19 with the prayer that we might know “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Paul goes on to explain that power in the following verses, but in chapter three he once again prays that we would be strengthen with the power of Jesus Christ.

Paul had learned through personal experience that we need a power beyond our own. As long as we try to live the Christian life …

Read the rest of this entry »

A Deeper Knowledge of God

Posted on September 28, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1:17

I have found an immense blessing delving into the prayers of Paul. I have always had the conviction that God actually leads our prayers because He wants us to be involved in what He is seeking to do in our own lives and in the world. As He inspired Paul to pray for for the believers at Ephesus, these prayers–included and preserved in divinely-inspired Scripture–reveal what God desires for us as well. He desires that we grow in the knowledge of Him.

We know God because we have personally received Him …

Read the rest of this entry »

Grace and Peace to You

Posted on September 21, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2

I have always been incredibly blessed by reading the prayers of the Apostle Paul. In most of his epistles he digresses in what seems to be a spontaneous pouring out of his heart in prayer to God on behalf of the recipients of his letter. Confident these prayers were inspired by God, as is all of Scripture, they were captured as a divine legacy revealing God’s purpose and desire for all believers.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing insights and reflections from these prayers but begin with one consistent with all of Paul’s writings. Whether to a congregation or an individual …

Read the rest of this entry »

Blessing Without Responsibility

Posted on August 24, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us–that Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1-2)

This initial verse of Psalm 67 expresses a familiar refrain. I have often heard it pronounced as a benediction at the close of a worship service. Having heard a stirring sermon to challenge congregants to faithful service, sang hymns of praise and said our prayers, we are dismissed with these words invoking God’s blessings–”God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause Your face to shine upon us.” We say “Amen” and go home.

This was a prayer often uttered by the Nation of Israel as they …

Read the rest of this entry »

Seeking Elusive Rest

Posted on August 17, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” Psalm 55:6

The Psalmist captures an attitude that seems so prevalent in our hectic pace of life. The demands of family, work and over-committed schedules put us in bondage to lives with little margin. We wilt under the burden of responsibilities and wish we could just get away from it all.

We think, “If I didn’t have to face another 40-hour week of the same old routine and work that never gets done,” or “If I could just get up one morning without being confronted by fussy kids, a messy house, meals to fix and shopping to do.” Even church seems to contribute to …

Read the rest of this entry »

Being the Person God Desires

Posted on August 10, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3

Every Christian has a pretty good idea in his mind what their life should be like. It is usually an ideal that is seen as unattainable in terms of holiness and Christlike character. We get serious from time to time about trying to be such a person, but invariably our efforts are short-lived. Typically we embrace failure and see the Christian life as a constant struggle and the victory elusive.

However, the guidelines for success and prospering in our spiritual walk are rather simple. The …

Read the rest of this entry »

Is the Lord Your Shepherd?

Posted on July 27, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The 23rd Psalm is probably the most well known and most-quoted passage of Scripture.  It is a beautiful exposition of God’s love and his provision and care for us as “the sheep of His pasture.” We relish the image of a caring shepherd totally devoted to our welfare and giving us assurance of eternal security.

But do we daily experience His peace and rest in the stress of our daily hectic pace of life? Do we rely upon Him to provide for our needs, or do we busy ourselves trying to make ends meet in a fragile economy, worried and anxious about the future as our savings and investments erode? Do we trust Him to guide our paths or frantically …

Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Forfeiting God’s Grace?

Posted on July 20, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“I do not nullify the grace of God.” Galatians 2:21

Basic to the Christian life is the understanding that we are saved not by works or personal efforts to become righteous but by the grace of God. However, many fail to realize that we must live by grace as well; the strength and guidance for everything we do, and especially the ability to live a holy life is due to the grace of God. Paul often testified that his gifting and calling as an apostle was of God’s grace.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor; we are undeserving of His mercy, yet He has chosen to save us due to His love and kindness. Likewise, none of us are worthy of …

Read the rest of this entry »

More News