70 episodes

Lift Your Eyes is a series of reflections covering every sentence in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In each reflection, I take a short portion from the letter, provide a translation, describe what it’s saying, and reflect on what it means for our lives and our relationships with others. As you read Ephesians, it is my prayer that Paul’s letter will lift your eyes, raise your sights, and help you to stand. The reflections will be published twice a week starting 25 January 2019 and finishing in September 2019.

Lift Your Eyes – Forget the Channel Lionel Windsor

    • Christianity
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

Lift Your Eyes is a series of reflections covering every sentence in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In each reflection, I take a short portion from the letter, provide a translation, describe what it’s saying, and reflect on what it means for our lives and our relationships with others. As you read Ephesians, it is my prayer that Paul’s letter will lift your eyes, raise your sights, and help you to stand. The reflections will be published twice a week starting 25 January 2019 and finishing in September 2019.

    Lift Your Eyes: Please rate, review, share

    Lift Your Eyes: Please rate, review, share

    Thanks for subscribing to Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians. This is a quick request to all my subscribers, to ask if you’d be willing to help others find out about the podcast by rating it, reviewing it, or sharing it in the podcast platform of your choice?







    It makes a real difference–in fact, rating, reviewing and sharing by individuals is the main way that people find out about podcasts like this!







    As I’m sure you’re aware, the Covid-19 situation means that there are many people who are particularly isolated, fearful, and in need of encouragement and help. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians speaks into such situations, and is especially relevant right now. And while I didn’t create the series with the precise Covid-19 situation in mind, I did write it to encourage people to lift their eyes beyond their hard circumstances to God’s great purposes through Christ. So I think it will be helpful to many in our world today.







    Of course, please don’t feel any obligation to do this at all – and I’m not keeping track or anything! But if you’d like to do this, please go into your podcast platform and rate, review or share (or even better, do all three).







    Many thanks for subscribing, and I pray that many will come to see the wonderful hope and security in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him for salvation.

    • 2 min
    Translation of Ephesians

    Translation of Ephesians

    This is the

    complete translation of the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians for the

    series Lift Your Eyes:

    Reflections on Ephesians. The English text was translated directly from

    the Greek (Nestle-Aland text) by Lionel Windsor.







    To read or listen to the relevant reflection in the series Lift Your Eyes, click on any verse number in the text below (i.e. the small numbers in superscript). There are 70 reflections in total, including the Introduction.















    Chapter 1:1a

    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. 1b

    To the holy ones—those who are

    also believers in Christ Jesus. 2 Grace

    to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.







    3 Blessed

    is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every

    spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, in Christ! 4

    For he chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and

    blameless in his presence; in love 5

    he predetermined that we should be adopted through Jesus Christ for himself,

    according to the pleasure of his will, 6a

    to the praise of the glory of his grace. 6b

    He has given us this grace in the one he dearly loves. 7

    In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of offenses,

    according to the riches of his grace. 8

    God lavished his grace on us, in all wisdom and understanding, 9

    by disclosing to us the secret of his will. This was according to his good

    pleasure, which he displayed in Christ, 10

    leading to the administration of the fulfilment of time. It is to sum up all

    things in Christ: things in heaven and things on earth, in him.







    11

    In Christ we were also claimed by God as his inheritance, having been

    predetermined according to the design of the one who acts in everything

    according to the purpose of his will, 12

    so that we might be for the praise of his glory—we who first hoped in Christ. 13

    In Christ, you too—having heard the word of truth, the gospel of your

    salvation, and also having believed in him—were sealed with the promised Holy

    Spirit. 14

    The Holy Spirit is the first instalment of our inheritance, guaranteeing that

    God will redeem his possession, to the praise of his glory.







    a href="http://www.lionelwindsor.

    • 25 min
    Reading Ephesians (Ephesians 6:21–24)

    Reading Ephesians (Ephesians 6:21–24)

    This is the 70th—and

    final—post in Lift Your Eyes, a series of reflections covering every

    sentence in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. We’ve now come to Paul’s

    closing greeting. This greeting tells us a lot about

    the circumstances of the letter and summarises some of its key themes. So this final reflection is a good opportunity

    to look back over Ephesians, to summarise what it’s all about, and to remember

    why it’s worth taking the time to read and reflect on this amazing letter.







    First, a note on Lift

    Your Eyes itself. I’m offering this series of 70 reflections for free—in

    both text and audio podcast

    format—to

    anyone who wants to spend time diving in and learning from Paul’s letter to the

    Ephesians. The reflections are a little more in-depth than the average

    devotional, but still they’re designed to be accessible and readable by the

    average person. Here are some of the ways you might be able to use the series:







    * Make a plan to read or listen to one reflection per day (or every two

    days, or once a week, or whatever suits you), and use the questions at the end

    as a basis for reflection and prayer. This would take 10–20 minutes each time.

    You can bookmark the main

    page which has

    links to all the posts in order.* Subscribe to the entire podcast (using the podcast player of your choice), so

    you can listen to an episode as you travel or commute. Each podcast episode is

    about 15 minutes long.* Use the posts and questions in a weekly Bible study or discussion group.* Share individual posts with friends on social media if you think they’re

    relevant.* If you’re a Bible teacher, use the posts to get ideas for teaching

    Ephesians.* Also, if you’re a Bible teacher, share the posts for people to read in

    parallel with your own series on Ephesians.* Encourage others involved in your church or ministry to do any of the

    above.* Keep the link as a reference in case you’d like to do any of

    the above in the future.















    Now let’s look at the final words of

    Ephesians to see what we can learn about the letter and its value for us:







    So that you may also know about my circumstances and what I am doing, Tychicus will make everything known to you. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very reason: that you might know our news and that he might encourage your hearts. Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ, in immortality.Ephesians 6:21–24







    Ephesians is personal







    This closing greeting helps us to see

    that Ephesians is personal. Paul’s letter is not simply a theoretical treatise about

    the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul is writing to real people so that they might

    have fellowship in the gospel. He has told

    them that he is praying for them, and he has asked

    them to pray for him, especially that he would keep proclaiming the gospel

    despite his imprisonment. And now, he says that he wants his readers to

    • 17 min
    Prayer: the heart of evangelism (Ephesians 6:17–20)

    Prayer: the heart of evangelism (Ephesians 6:17–20)

    What do you pray for? How someone answers

    that question says a lot about what is close to their heart.







    Prayer is clearly a very important theme

    in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. As the

    apostle sits in chains in a Roman prison, writing this letter, he keeps coming

    back to this topic of prayer. He prays for his

    readers, that they will be able to lift their eyes to see the greatness of

    God’s purposes and plans through his Son Jesus Christ. He prays that they

    won’t be discouraged by the news of his imprisonment. He prays that they

    will be able to grasp how immense

    God’s plans and purposes are, and how immeasurably vast is his love for us

    through Christ. In previous posts in this series on Ephesians, we’ve seen that

    prayer

    involves praise, humility, thanksgiving, and asking God for things. We’ve

    seen that the

    God to whom we pray is both infinitely wise and powerful, and also our loving

    heavenly Father who is patient and kind and willing to forgive. These great

    truths should shape our prayers and encourage us to pray more and more.















    Now, at the end of Paul’s letter, after

    modelling his own prayers to his readers, he asks them to pray. What’s

    more, he gives them some specific instructions and requests about what

    to pray for. We can learn a lot from Paul’s words here about what we should be

    praying for. Of course, we can pray for anything, big or small: our daily

    needs, our personal struggles, our relationships, our loved ones, and our hopes

    and dreams. God always hears believers in Christ when they pray. Yet for Paul,

    there is something central to God’s plans and purposes that he wants his

    readers especially to pray for. It’s at the heart of what Paul has been

    writing about throughout his letter to the Ephesians. In short, Paul wants his

    readers to pray for evangelism. He wants them to pray that the gospel of

    the Lord Jesus Christ will go out to the world, both through his readers and

    through others.







    Paul writes:







    And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—that is, God’s word—praying with every kind of prayer and petition, at every opportunity, by the Spirit. To that end, stay alert with all perseverance and every kind of petition for the holy ones and for me. Pray that the word would be given me as I open my mouth, so that I can boldly make known the secret of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I would be bold in speaking it, as I must.Ephesians 6:17–20







    What exactly is Paul asking his readers

    to pray about here? And why does he see it as so important?







    Salvation and evangelism: The final

    armour for the struggle







    At this point, Paul

    is finishing off his call to his readers to “put on the full

    armour of God” (Ephesians 6:10). He’s been urging them to take their part in

    God’s great spiritual battle. Throughout his letter, Paul has been describing how God is fulfilling his plan to “sum up all

    things in Christ: things in heaven

    and things on earth,

    • 20 min
    The importance of being a struggling Christian (Ephesians 6:14–16)

    The importance of being a struggling Christian (Ephesians 6:14–16)

    Do you ever feel like the Christian life

    is a struggle? Do you feel that it’s hard, day after day, to keep going? Do you

    find it hard to trust God, to live for Jesus, and to speak about Jesus with

    other people? Maybe you look at other Christians—at church, or online, or in sermon

    illustrations or books—who seem to have it all together and who seem to be able

    to live victorious Christian lives, happy and largely free from struggles. And

    then you look at yourself and ask: “What’s wrong with me? Why is it all such a

    struggle for me?”















    Whether or not any of that is part of

    your experience, this part of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has something very

    important to say to you. Struggling is normal for Christians. In fact, it’s

    not just normal. Christians should be struggling, and if we’re not,

    there’s something wrong! The Christian life is a struggle. Struggling is

    vital for Christian life and ministry and mission. We need more struggling

    Christians. We need more people who are committed to the tough, hard slog of

    trusting God, living for him, being transformed and changed, and sharing Jesus

    and our lives with others.







    In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul describes

    the normal Christian life as a spiritual “struggle” (Ephesians 6:12). The

    word translated “struggle” was originally used to describe close combat. It’s about

    standing our ground against an opponent who wants to throw us down, and grappling

    with everything we’ve got to keep our place. It’s a spiritual

    struggle against spiritual powers, but this struggle is not primarily about

    uncanny supernatural events. This spiritual struggle takes place in the daily

    struggles of the ordinary Christian life. It involves living, speaking and

    trusting the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it’s a struggle that all of us need to

    take part in:







    Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the armoured vest of righteousness, and having wrapped your feet with the preparedness of the gospel of peace—in all things having taken up the shield of faith, by which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Ephesians 6:14–16







    Here, Paul is expanding on “the full

    armour of God” he mentioned back in verses 10–13. He’s taking things that he

    has talked about previously in his letter, and describing these things as

    military equipment for a spiritual struggle. As we look more closely at these

    items of armour, we can be encouraged and emboldened to keep going in that

    struggle.















    The struggle to live for the gospel







    Firstly, Paul says to “stand” in the

    struggle, “having girded your waist with truth” and “having put on the armoured

    vest of righteousness”. Those words “truth” and “righteousness” are a summary

    of many of

    the things Paul has already said in his letter. As we learn Christ, we

    learn to be like him and so “to be

    renewed by the Spirit of your minds and put on the new humanity, which has been

    created according to God in the righteousness and devotion that come from the

    truth” (Ephesians 4:23–24). Which truth? The truth of the gospel of Jesus

    Christ, as Paul has said near the start of his letter: a href="http://www.

    • 13 min
    Stand your ground (Ephesians 6:10–13)

    Stand your ground (Ephesians 6:10–13)

    In the modern materialistic Western world,

    it’s easy to ignore the spiritual realities of life. There are just so many

    things to get on with and worry about: relationships, health, family, work, leisure,

    career, reputation, and so on. With all these concerns, it’s hard to find the time,

    let alone the motivation, to consider spiritual things. Of course, this isn’t

    true for everyone in the world. There are many who live their lives conscious

    of the spiritual realm—but not always in a beneficial way. In fact, there is a

    lot of fear and anxiety associated with spiritual practices, as people seek to

    access special transcendent powers or to ward off demonic influences to try to

    achieve control and peace in their earthly lives. And so, whether we ignore spiritual

    realities or are deeply conscious of them, anxiety and fear for the future is

    an ever-present threat.







    In the final part of his letter to the

    Ephesians, the apostle Paul turns to talk directly about spiritual realities. If

    you’ve been reading Ephesians up to this point, this topic might feel like an

    awkward gear shift. Just before this point, Paul has been talking about very

    practical realities of living the Christian life on the ground: how to live as wives, husbands,

    children,

    fathers, slaves, and

    masters. It

    might seem odd, then, that Paul suddenly turns to talk about battling spiritual

    powers. But when we look more closely at what Paul says here, especially in

    light of what he’s been saying in the rest of his letter, we can see that it

    makes perfect sense. Paul isn’t saying we should ignore the concerns of

    everyday life, nor is he suddenly trying to make us curious about special angelic

    powers or fearful of demons. Rather, Paul is talking here about living our

    common, ordinary, everyday lives in light of the spiritual reality that is

    behind it all—the spiritual reality he has already been talking about earlier

    in his letter. Rather than producing fear and anxiety, what Paul says here gives

    us a great reason for confidence and joy as we seek to stand in God’s grace:







    Finally, be empowered in the Lord and in his mighty strength. Put on the full armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes: because our struggle is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armour of God, so that you may be able to stand your ground in the evil day, and having accomplished everything, to stand.Ephesians 6:10–13







    Do you notice the word “finally”? This spiritual call to arms here is not some new topic. Rather, Paul is here concluding his letter, summing up what he’s said so far, and showing its spiritual significance. He’s reminding his readers of the cosmic dimension of God’s multidimensional wisdom (see Ephesians 3:10). And he’s motivating and inspiring us to live our lives confidently and boldly, knowing our struggles matter to God.







    Alexander Mosaic, House of the Faun, Pompeii







    God’s power







    Living as a Christian can be very hard.

    • 17 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

blshuffs ,

Awesome

Thanks Lionel! Loving that this is short, sharp, clear and encouraging to listen to :)

Webbekah ,

👍

Simple and refreshing. Thanks Lionel!

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