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Devotion for Nov. 25, 2004

Devotions

National Geographic magazine has reported that wild turkeys are now here to stay. A century ago, their population had dwindled to an estimated 30,000, because settlers had moved westward, cleared land that was the turkeys’ natural habitat, and over-hunted them for food. Today, however, due to various factors, wild turkeys number at least 5.4 million. “The recovery of the wild turkey is definitely a success story,” said one environmental leader. “They are part
of America’s heritage, and the American people came together to recover the species.”

That’s good news this Thanksgiving Day! In today’s reading, Paul gave thanks for the Ephesians and characterized them as a church filled with faith and love. In his epistles, he often told churches what he was thankful for about them
and what he was praying for concerning them. We can make these our prayers as well, both for ourselves and for our churches.

The apostle’s main prayer for the Ephesian believers was that they would come to know Christ even better. This would happen as they gained wisdom from the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures (v. 17). The word wisdom here is not primarily intellectual but relational—it suggests personal knowledge.

Paul also prayed that through this godly and God-given wisdom—our Today in the Word theme for this year— believers’ eyes would be opened to two truths. First, the hope that is our rich inheritance in Christ (v. 18). As “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,” we have been reborn “into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (Rom. 8:17; 1 Peter 1:3–4). The Spirit is a deposit on this inheritance of salvation (v. 14).

Second, God’s incomparable power, which guarantees our hope (vv. 19–23). The best proof of this is how God’s power and authority worked in Christ to accomplish His mission of redemption. Paul closed his prayer with an eloquent statement of praise for the Christ to whom he wanted himself and others to draw near.

Apply the Word

The irony of Thanksgiving is that so many people give thanks only in a vague, feel-good sort of way. They fail to thank the Giver of all good things. When you are gathered with your family this Thanksgiving Day, be sure to spend extra time praising and thanking the Lord for His bless- ings this past year. Your thankfulness might take the form of testimonies, Scripture readings, or songs, but don’t let it take second place to football games or more pumpkin pie.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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