2015 Retreat Morning Devotions

SATURDAY
SUNDAY
MONDAY

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
– Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV 1984)


Saturday, May 23

Read Ephesians 3:14-21.

The word “riches” (Greek: ploutos) is used several times throughout Ephesians (look up the following verses together: 1:7, 18; 2:7; 3:8). God is a God of riches – riches of grace, riches of inheritance, riches of glory.

Paul prays that God would strengthen his people with power “out of his glorious riches”, which the ESV translates “according to the riches of his glory”. For Paul, the measure of God’s giving is to be the inexhaustible wealth of his glory and power available to humanity. That alone sets the limit for his prayer. Paul is seeking for his readers to grasp how God is more than able to meet their needs abundantly.

We sometimes limit God in our prayers, when we have a God whose wealth and resources and power are inexhaustible and limitless. Paul resumes this theme again in verse 20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine….” God does not fit the limitations of our expectations.

  • What is one area of your life in which your small expectations have limited God? What would a greater measure of faith in God’s glorious riches look like for you in that area?
  • What is a need in your life in which you need a greater measure of God’s power, love, wisdom, or grace?
  • Pray for one another to grow a greater sense of the glorious riches of God at this retreat.

Sunday, May 24

Read Ephesians 3:14-21 again. We need the glorious riches of God to strengthen us for two different things – strength to love and strength to comprehend Christ’s love.

In vv. 16-17, Paul prays that they would be strengthened in order that they would be rooted and established in love. Love is the source and the soil of their stability in life and faith. Some Christians who long for the Spirit may have a shallow and superficial faith, but being rooted and established in love brings depth. Greater experience of the Spirit’s power will mean the character and love of Christ becoming increasingly present in our lives.

Then in vv. 17-19, as they are rooted and established in love, Paul prays that they would have a greater experience of the infinite dimensions of Christ’s love. Even though the Ephesians are already Christians, Paul knows that there is more of God’s love that they have yet to experience. And this is a love that surpasses knowledge, for it is beyond anything that we can understand or comprehend with our natural faculties and abilities. We must prayerfully and eagerly seek greater experiences of God’s love, for there is always more.

  • Paul is writing to a group of Christians. Why would he pray that they would experience Christ’s love? Don’t all believers already know the love of Christ?
  • How much do you seek and hunger for a greater experience of Christ’s love? Do you pray for this regularly? If not, what do you think is the reason for that? And what might that reveal about your faith right now?
  • It is partly by walking in love that we comprehend the greatness of God’s love. Do you agree? How does walking in love (being rooted and established in love) help us experience more of God’s love?

Monday, May 25

Read vv. 17-19. We cannot plumb the riches of God’s glory alone. We will have power to experience the fullness of Christ’s love only with all the saints. The isolated Christian can indeed know something of the love of Jesus, but it will be limited by his own experience. We can only grasp something of the great, knowledge-surpassing love of Christ in community with other believers.

Verse 19 says that as we experience the supernatural dimensions of Christ’s love, we will be filled with all the fullness of God. Read Eph 1:22-23. What does Paul describe the church as? (Answer: Christ’s body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.)

It is only as a body, as a community, as a church that we can experience the great dimensions of Christ’s love. And that is when the church will start to become the fullness of God.

How has being in community with believers who are completely different from you helped you experience a greater measure of God’s love?

What implications does that have for how you will leave this retreat? You may have had powerful experiences and revelations at the retreat. What part does community and the church play in continuing along that momentum?