A Little Known Hero

How would you like to be remembered? As I was reading Eph. 6:21, I realized that I would like to be remembered like Tychicus. This verse says, “Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything.”

Who was Tychicus? How did he become recognized as a “beloved brother” and “faithful minister” in the Lord? What set him apart for such recognition by Paul?

Tychicus is not someone we hear much about, but here are a couple of things that scripture tells us about him:

1) He is the one who brought the Letter of Ephesians to that city. After Paul wrote this letter in prison he entrusted its delivery to him.
2) Tychicus was apparently with Paul when he was in prison. As a result, he probably helped to care for Paul when in need.
3) In addition to delivering the letter, he was tasked with telling the Ephesians how Paul was doing in prison.
4) Paul also wrote the letter of Colossians in prison and Tychicus took that letter to the city of Colossae.
5) Onesimus accompanied Tychicus when he delivered the letter to the Colossians.
6) The fact that Onesimus went with Tychicus to Colossae is important because Onesimus was a runaway slave whom Paul led to Christ while in prison. Paul sent Onesimus back to Colossae to appeal for mercy before his slave owner named Philemon.
7) Tychicus and Onesimus took a personal letter from Paul to Philemon entitled “Philemon.” The letter to Philemon was Paul’s appeal for mercy on behalf of Onesimus.
8) Tychicus was entrusted not just with the letter of Philemon, but with the task of pleading the case of Onesimus to Philemon.
9) Tradition has it that Tychicus died a martyr’s death.

What an amazing ministry that Tychicus had. He is not someone we talk about very much, but he was an amazingly crucial person in the service of the Kingdom! He had proved himself a true brother and was faithful with all the responsibilities entrusted to him. He sacrificed much to help others.

Father, Tychicus is a great model for us to follow. He is someone who lived out his faith and didn’t just talk about it. He was dependable and proved himself a loyal servant. He is not heralded as a great hero of the faith, but he certainly was! He does not seem to be the “up-front” guy, but the “go-to” guy that anyone would want to partner with in ministry. May you enable me to be like Tychicus.

Following Jesus with you,


Let Yourself Be Filled

An important passage for the disciple of Jesus is Eph. 5:18. The verse says, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”

Why would Paul pick wine as a comparison to describe the appropriate influence to control the disciple? The UBS Handbook states, “It is impossible to determine why this particular warning was necessary; it appears that verses 18–20 have to do with group worship, and so the drunkenness could be of a religious nature, that is, drinking wine in worship to gain communion with God, as was the practice among certain religious groups of that time.”

The Ephesian believers would have been very familiar with the Gentile worship of Artemis because her most famous temple was located in their city. It was so grand that it was considered one of the seven wonders of the world! It is possible that the excessive use of wine was part of the worship of Artemis.

As a result, Paul is saying that instead of having wine influence the whole person in the hope of communing with God, the Sprit has been given to us to control and influence us to be imitators of God (5:1).

It is also helpful to notice the grammar in this passage. The verb “be filled” is a present tense command. It is something that should continually happen in the life of a disciple. This command is also in the “passive voice.” That means it is NOT something we do, but something WE LET God do in us.

So how does this all apply to you and me today? We are to continually allow the Holy Spirit to control us. We do that by yielding to his leadership as it is found in his Word. An alternate translation could be “continually allow yourself to be filled by the Spirit.”

As Hoehner said, “Each Christian has all the Spirit, but the command here is that the Spirit have all of him. The wise walk, then, is one that is characterized by the Holy Spirit’s control.”

Father, I thank you for the very practical instruction of the command. You have given us the Holy Spirit to be our helper and enabler. May you give me the grace and wisdom to live my life under the direction and control of the Holy Spirit so that I can be like you.

Following Jesus with you,


The Only Reasonable Response

When I think of celebrations that our country has had since its inception, some must have truly been glorious! Winning our independence, the victories of WW I and WW II all come to mind. What celebrations they must have been.

Israel also had many things to celebrate, but the greatest celebration was not focused on what they had accomplished, but that God was in their midst. This most unique and grand celebration took place when Solomon completed the temple and a cloud filled the temple symbolic of the presence of God. Of all the celebrations we have had as a nation, I am unaware of any like the one described in 1 Kings 8:10-11,

“And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.”

WOW! That sight must have been something. The glory of God was so overwhelming that the priests could not even stay in the temple. The response of Solomon and the nation was twofold. First, as the rest of the chapter describes, they worshiped. What else could they do? That was the most appropriate and natural reaction to the blessing of the King of Kings and LORD of Lords taking up a symbolic residence among his people!

Second, as great as this event was, Solomon made a keen observation in verse 27, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!”

As great and glorious as the temple was, Solomon wisely knew that no created thing can contain God! Our God is so much greater than that. He is omnipresent and is outside of creation because he is the one who has made all things. I like how the ESV Study Bible summarizes this section,

“Though God will dwell in the temple (vv. 10, 13), it is not to be thought of as the only place where God is, but as a special place where his name is, a place toward which his eyes are open (1 Kings 8:29; cf. Isa. 66:1–3). The hearing of prayer is done in heaven (1 Kings 8:30), which is (if anywhere is) the dwelling place of God. Even then, however, God cannot be limited to any one place; he cannot, strictly speaking, dwell in even the highest heaven (v. 27). He cannot be confined by space.”

Father, I confess that my opinion of you is way to small. I can fall into the trap of just thinking you are a stronger me! You are so vast, powerful and incomparable to anyone or anything. You are the unique God of all creation. Help me to see your greatness and may that realization help me to live by faith in you and your promises.

Following Jesus with you,


The Wisdom Of God

From your perspective, what is one of the greatest displays of God’s wisdom to the visible world and to the unseen world? There probably could be many answers to that question, but one of the them is found in Eph. 3:10 which says, “…through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

Paul tells us the wisdom of God is clearly seen in the creation of the church containing both believing Jews and Gentiles. Who would have ever thought!

The word translated “manifold” is only used here in the Greek New Testament. The great scholar Harold Hoehner points out that,

“In classical Greek the adjective ‘manifold’ (polypoikilos) referred to the beauty of an embroidered pattern or the variety of colors in flowers …The ‘manifold wisdom of God’ does not refer to redemption as such but rather to the new relationship between believing Jews and Gentiles in one body. The medium by which this wisdom is communicated is the church.”

The Church is so amazing in its creation that both the righteous and fallen angels marvel at it. The angels are learning about God’s great wisdom through us. The fact that believing Jews and Gentiles could be brought together and fused as one in the Church displays the variegated wisdom of God!

This amazing truth also makes clear that having the Gospel shared with the Gentiles was not “plan b.” It was not because the Jews rejected the Gospel, but because God had planned to include them all along. This is God’s predetermined plan!

Father, as I read through Ephesians noting the clear emphasis of Gospel truth as it is applied to the Gentile, your multicolored wisdom is overwhelming in its beauty. Thank you for loving all mankind enough to provide a solution for sin for anyone who would choose to believe in Jesus as their Savior and God!

Following Jesus with you,



When I was reading Ephesians 1:1-2:11, an important truth stood out to me. Often when I have heard others discuss this passage they interpret this section as Paul talking to individual believers. Thus, the blessings and even predestination are applied to individuals. This certainly is possible, but I do not think that is the case here. Instead, Paul is describing people groups. This is clear when you highlight every use of “you,” “your,” “we,” and “us.” He uses these terms to provide a contrast between groups of people. But who are these groups?

The “us” and the “we” (from my count, these words are used 21 times in this section) are describing believing Jews (in most cases). The “you” and “your” (from my count, these words are used 18 times in this section) are describing believing Gentiles. How do I know that? In Eph. 2:11 Paul says, “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands.” Paul himself defines the “you” as the Gentiles. That would mean the “us” is believing Jews of which he is one.

So what is the point? Paul is letting the believing Gentiles know that they and the believing Jews are now fused in the sight of God. They are one! They are equal and not “second class” believers. The predestination mentioned in the first chapter is not individual, but groups. Both Jews and Gentiles are now one in Christ. God predetermined this truth from long ago.

Father, it is amazing that you designed salvation to be available for all who believe regardless of their race, or nationality. You truly are a loving and gracious God and I thank you for allowing me as a believing Gentile to be equal in your sight with a believing Jew. We are all one in Christ and this is the way you planned it from the beginning!

Following Jesus with you,


You Reap What You Sow

I have noticed in life there are universal truths that cannot be changed. An example would be the law of gravity. This physical law is one of those truths which applies anywhere on earth. In fact it is true whether I want to believe it our not.

In Gal. 6:7-8, Paul gives us a universal spiritual truth that applies to all who live on this earth and is true whether or not a person embraces it. Notice what this passage says,

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

The general truth is that if we live to indulge our flesh we will reap the temporal fruit of that rather than the eternal blessing of sowing for eternal things. Don Campbell says it well when he says,

“No man can snub (’turn up the nose at’) God whose rule, a man reaps what he sows, is immutable. Each sower decides what his harvest will be. If a person sows to please his sinful nature, that is, if he spends his money to indulge the flesh, he will reap a harvest that will fade into oblivion. On the other hand if he uses his funds to support the Lord’s work, or sows to please the Spirit, and promotes his own spiritual growth, he will reap a harvest that will last forever.”

What an amazing eternal truth! I can now make decisions that will impact my eternity. I can now choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that he can help me become more like Jesus. In addition, the investments I make in Kingdom work will also have eternal fruit for me!

Father, you are an amazingly gracious God. This passage is a great reminder that I should live life now by universal truths. The general truth that we reap what we sow is something that should impact my choices on earth now. Help me to keep eternal things the priority in my life that you desire them to be.

Following Jesus with you,


Be A Man

When David was approximately 70 years old and about to die he gave his son Solomon this challenge in 1 Kings 2:2-3, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.”

David was on his deathbed. What was most pressing on his heart as he knew that his days were numbered? What would I want to pass on to my loved ones if I were in a similar position? I can only imagine how important these last words were to David and how important they should have been to Solomon. A dying man doesn’t waste words.

Three things stood out to me as I contemplated this passage. The first is noticing that the word “strong” can refer to “strength of character” and not physical strength. The role of king would require great strength of character. David is reminding Solomon of this priority over physical strength and power.  He also is tying character to God’s Word.  Character comes from faithfulness.

The second observation is the description “show yourself a man.” The ESV Study Bible observes that this is “an idiom that refers primarily to conducting oneself bravely (cf. 1 Sam. 4:9; 1 Cor. 16:13), as defined specifically here within the framework of faithful adherence to the Mosaic law; it will take bravery for Solomon to lead the people faithfully.” In addition to character, Solomon would need to reject passivity and lead courageously through living out God’s will instead of his own!  Courage comes from faithfulness to God’s Word.

Finally, David told Solomon to “keep the charge.” This is a reference to staying within the will of God. Deut. 17:18-20 describes the expectations of a king of Israel as follows,

“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.”

David knew that Solomon’s character and courage would come from his commitment to be faithful to God’s Word. Father, may I heed David’s charge in my own life. May you give me strength of character as I obey your Word. May I live with a courageous obedience. May I accept the charge to live out my faith obediently to your Word. May I “BE THE MESSAGE.”

Father in addition, I pray all of these things for my family as well. May we be examples of those who have character, courage and commitment to your Word.

Following Jesus with you,



When you think of the concept of freedom, what comes to mind. For me, I can’t help but think of the great sacrifice so many have made in the history of our country to allow us to experience the great freedoms we have in America. We are free from the dominating rule of another. As a result, we can pursue our hopes and dreams.

Paul reminds us of an even greater freedom in Gal. 5:1 which says, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” This short verse is packed with truth.

Th first thing that stood out to me is that Paul uses both the noun and verb form of “freedom” to make his point. As a result of a past action, we are now set free. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, freedom is a reality for his disciples now. He has set us free from the power of death and the yoke of slavery to the Law and we are to live now as free men and women. What a privilege and blessing!

Secondly, the term “yoke” is describing the beam that coupled two animals together. We were coupled to death and the Law. Jesus has broken this burden and set us free! We should be a thankful people.

Third, we should not allow ourselves to be placed again under anything that could make us its slave. No law of man, or religious law should be allowed to control us in our attempt to gain God’s approval. In addition, our freedom should not place us in a position to come under the controlling influence of anything that could dominate us.

As Paul clarifies for us, the amazing truth of freedom does not mean we have license to do whatever we want. In 1 Cor. 6:12 Paul tells us “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” What does this mean? We are free, but we need to make sure our freedom does not lead us into some behavior that ends up controlling us or lead to unprofitable behavior. As free men and women, we have the ability to choose to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit. He is our helper to live as Jesus desires. What a blessing!

Father, thank you for the amazing reality of freedom because of what Jesus has done for me. I am free from death and the Law. Help me to use my freedom as you intended it. May I live under your leadership so that you can enable me to live as you desire.

Following Jesus with you,


An Unexpected Pulpit

I was really impressed with Gal. 4:13-14 which says, “You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.”

A couple of observations here include: 1) Paul did not intend to go to Galatia until he was sick. That means God used his ailment for the spreading of the Gospel! 2) Paul’s sickness apparently made him hard to look at! Something about his illness made him repulsive. It would have been easy to shun him, instead they welcomed him with open arms. 3) Even though Paul was sick, he still was able to interact with the Galatians. Paul was sick, but not sick enough to stop spreading the Gospel. 4) As Wuest mentions, “His sick chamber was his pulpit.” Paul did not take a “woe is me” attitude, but seized the opportunity to continue spreading the Gospel.

Lenski has also observed, “He could not remain and work in Perga which lay in the lowlands, he had to seek the higher elevations; Antioch and the Galatian region lay over 3,000 feet above sea level. Here Paul could hope to work even while he was sick, could gradually shake off his illness and then later on evangelize Perga—the very thing he did.”

Father, it is amazing that you worked in Paul’s life to the point that you used even illness to direct him where you wanted him to go. He had no intention of going to the Galatians, but you superseded the events to allow Paul to become sick so that he needed to seek relief in the area of Galatia.

Forgive me for losing sight of how you can use all the circumstances of my life to lead me and accomplish your will. Thank you for being intimately involved in my life.

Following Jesus with you,



If you are like me, I want to leave in impactful legacy for the Kingdom. It appears that David also saw his role in leaving a legacy. His thoughts on this topic seem to be recorded in 2 Sam. 23:1-7. David calls it his “last words” but this seems to be a record of his legacy in two areas. The first relates to the Psalms he wrote which have been a blessing for thousands of years to God followers. The second is his dynasty. He is the king through which God would establish his permanent rule.

It is also interesting in this section that David describes himself as a prophet, priest and king. Notice what the first two verses say,

“Now these are the last words of David:
The oracle of David, the son of Jesse,
the oracle of the man who was raised on high,
the anointed of the God of Jacob,
the sweet psalmist of Israel:
“The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me;
his word is on my tongue.

Bergen observes that “throughout the New Testament Jesus is likewise depicted as a king (John 18:37; 19:21), priest (Heb 3:1; 4:14–5:10; 7:21–8:6), and prophet (Luke 1:76; 4:24; 13:33; 24:19; Acts 3:22).” Some have proposed that Jesus saw himself in this Psalm. Jesus is the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King.

Somehow, David saw his role in the future plan of God for his people. We live in a different age and it is harder to see how we fit in God’s ultimate plan, but I am thankful that somehow, as a disciple of Jesus, I do fit in the plan God has to redeem his world (Matt.28:18-20).

Father, although it is sometimes hard to see how you are using each one of us for your ultimate purposes, I thank you that you are. I pray that you will help me to live with a lazer focus trying to make my maximum impact for you.

Following Jesus with you,