Tag Archives: Blessing

Child of God

In chapter 1 Paul reminds us of our blessings we have in Christ. All the things we have because of Christ: chosen, every spiritual blessing, sonship, redemption, forgiveness, understanding, an inheritance, true hope, sealed by the Holy Spirit, eyes opened, and the truth of God’s power to raised Christ from the dead.

Chapter 2 reminds us of our past: Dead in sin, following the world, following Satan, living by our flesh and passion, children of wrath. But then he is quick to transition back to what God did for us and what He gave us. Explicitly showing us that it is nothing we have done, but because of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been saved to fulfill the good works that He has prepared for us to do to bring glory and praise to Him.

Again, he transitions back to what we were before Christ: Living in the flesh and for the flesh, separated, alienated, stranger, hopeless, and without (against) God. But quickly transitioning again to what Christ has done for us: Brought us near by His blood, provided peace, broke down the hostility, made us one with Hum through the cross, and access by Holy Spirit, in us, to the Father.

Paul continues to encourage us as believe the benefits that have been granted to us through Christ. We were once strangers but now we are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the house hold of God, heirs to the inheritance that is imperishable and everlasting! We are now part of a large family, not only in Heaven, but here on earth which has been built on the apostles and prophets of old, with Christ being the cornerstone and groom. This family or bride on earth is called the Church which includes anyone who has been brought close and has peace with God through Jesus Christ. This family is not only local, but internationally. Many times in my life I have interacted with people I just met who are part of this family and there is a very quick connection through the Spirit of God that is living in each one of us.

The Holy Spirit is actively working throughout the Church here on earth. We are all being built together to be a dwelling place for God. We are all being worked on as individuals, as we have the Spirit living in us and transforming us to be more like Him. Each day we struggle against the things of this world, yet we have been brought close to God through the death of Jesus Christ. The Spirit is actively working through us to transform us.

How devastating when local churches cannot get along that preach the same gospel? Do we really understand the power of a united local church or united local churches? Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives by fulfilling the good works in which God has prepared for us?

Ephesians 2:19-22

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Peace Established. Hostility Destroyed.

We need to remember previous verses:

1 v.3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

1 v.13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

2 v.1-12 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 11 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— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ,alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

When reading through Ephesians there are some important words that come up. Specifically in this case, the word “but”. This is now the second time it has come up and if we look back in vs.4 we will see how important it is. Imagine, if that “but” was not there. And that was it. What if there was no “But God” in Ephesians?

We have remember who we once were before Christ. We should never forget but now that we are in Christ, we have been brought near to Him. We were once separated, strangers, and alienated from the one who cares for us and is in control of all things. But for those who have received Christ, we have been brought close to him. Important thing to see is that the reason we have been brought near is not because of anything we have done or will do. It is not because of a priest, a prayer, communion, nothing. It was only because of Christ and His blood that was poured out on the cross. That’s it! Only the blood of Jesus can bring us close.

More specifically it says that Christ was our peace and is our peace. Those who are far from God are not at peace with God and will truly never have peace unless they are brought close to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ became man so that He would proved and be the peace between God and man. This also made those of us who are close to God, through the blood of Christ, one with God and broke down any barriers that were dividing us from God and creating hostility. So, when Christ provided peace between man and God, He also provided a way to become one with Him. When God looks at those who have come close, He sees the blood of His Son, which kills any hostility and brings true peace.

This peace that Jesus brought was not just for a certain people group, or a certain class of people. This peace is meant for all who are close and all who are far. People that could be close could be those who are under the preaching of the Word every week and active in their church but yet have never been brought close to God, through the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who are far off could be someone who knows nothing about God and has no interested in knowing about Him. Some could be far off who were once appeared close to God but yet as life moved on and trials came, they are now far from Him. Many of us could easily think of people in both these categories. Those who are close, yet are far off. Those who are far off, yet have know thought or knowledge of Him. And those who were once close, but yet are now very far, proving they were never truly close to begin with.

We have been brought close to God, through His Son, who provided peace and destroyed the hostility between God and man, and He is inviting those who are close and those who are far away to truly come near and receive peace.

My mind wanders and aches for those who I know that are far. Bring them to yourself O God of Peace!

We need to remember 1 v. 13-14 when reading 2 v. 18. Because being drawn close, the peace, being one with Christ, we now have access by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Son and what He did for us, to worship and praise God for what He has done, for who He is, and for what He is going to do for rest of our human lives and also the rest of eternity!

Ephesians 2:13-18 ESV

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Remember my past…

We need to remember the verses before:

2 v.1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. ButGod, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I don’t like dwelling on the past when it comes to my life. Even though there was a lot of great things that happened and majority of my life was good and pleasurable. But for some reason I am easily reminded of the hurt and pain that happened to me and the hurt and pain I caused in others. The moments of deceit and and evil things I did when no was around. Out of all that was “bad”, the worst is the broken relationships with people I knew throughout life. Not all of what went wrong in the different friendships I had was 100% my fault, but for some reason it’s hard not to think like that. The question, what if?, always resonates through my head.

As a follower of Christ, we are called to remember and not forget our past and where we came from. Ultimately, for the purpose of pushing and making us rely more on Christ. This remembering should bring us to the time before Christ or times where we were wandering from Him. Before Christ we were alienated from the promises of God. We were strangers in God’s land. We had no direction, no hope, and even if we thought we did, we did not have God, thus life was artificial and the sustenance of life, left us empty.

I have felt like a stranger before. Mostly in the hockey arena, walking into a dressing room full of guys that I did not know and they did not know me. Even better, was when it was a smaller dressing room and not a lot of space left for me to put my stuff down and change. Everyone forgets how to speak and they all just look at me and I am looking at them. Ultimately, this is reminding me to remember life without Christ. Alienated, a stranger, having no hope, and totally without God while living and satisfying the flesh by the desires of this world.

If we look back over what we have already read, we can see another glimpse of what we were like before Christ. We were alienated, a stranger, had no hope, without God, against God, orphaned, un-forgiven, un-redeemed, Satan’s, headed for destruction, blind, poor, dead and a child of wrath.

O how lost we were before we gained Christ! O how lost we would be if we gained the world and all that is in it! A slave of sin we once were, now a slave of God!

Ephesians 2:11-13

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God the giver…

We need to remember past verses:

1 v. 3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

v. 7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

v. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

v. 13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

v. 20-21  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

2 v.1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

We have to realize how sinful we are as a human. Even though we try to understand, I do not think we can fully understand how sinful we really are, compared to a holy and righteous God. But even then, God stills shows up! He is the one that works in us and for us. Without “But God” where would we be today? Where would the human race be if God did not step in and act for us? What if God gave up on us? What if there was not flood that took place and God just let us go? In light of those questions, it should develop a deeper sense of awe and silence. God stepped in with His mercy and love, even when we wanted nothing to do with Him….What? Even when we were walking in sin and wanted nothing to do with Him, He actively worked His mercy and love, to the point of His only Son, nailed to a cross and killed?

How can our minds make sense of that? How radically different then our human sinful thinking! God actively shows mercy and love to the point of death, even though we do not deserve it, but actually deserve death. Humans may show mercy and love only if the other human deserves it and never to the point of death. Humans are  not even close to giving oneself up for another out of love or mercy. How glorious and praiseworthy is the King of Kings!

Why would God show us love and mercy? So that we could be made alive through His Son, who is the ultimate expression of true mercy and love. So that we could be raised up with Him and seat in heaven for the purpose of being able to show us His “immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness in Christ Jesus.” My mind is melting and the logic does not compute.

How is this all going to happen? By God’s grace through faith, which is also from God. This not anything we do, as it says “it is not my own doing.” It’s a gift, given by God! We did not do anything or give anything to get this! Because of this, we can not brag or boast in what we have done or will do, but we can only brag and boast in who He is and what He is doing in us!

What do we do now? God is still the one giving and has created and setup good works that will come our way, which we can do as a worship and to bring glory to Him, who is the giver of all. In all of this, we bring nothing to the table. We give nothing. We are the receiver of all these unfathomable gifts from God, while not wanting anything to do with Him in the beginning!

O may we be reminded of this every moment! Help us to fully understand how sinful we are so that we can begin to understand who You are, what You are doing and what You will do in our life! Let our life be of obedience, worship and humility to bring glory and honor to You, our God and King!

Ephesians 2:4-10

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In Christ…

In Christ, I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.

In Christ, I was chosen before the foundation of the world to be made holy and blameless before God.

In Christ, I was adopted as a son for the purposed of doing His will.

In Christ, I have been redeemed through His blood, which forgives my sin, by His grace, so that in the fullness of time, all things in Him will be united.

In Christ, I have an inheritance, which was predestined by Him, so that, I who hope in Him with praise His glory.

In Christ, I am sealed by the Holy Spirit when I believed in the Truth, the Gospel, to which guarantees our inheritance.

Ephesians 1:3-14

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NEW PARENTS READ THIS: To the lady ashamed of being pregnant with her fourth

I met you in the elevator on my way back from the pediatrician’s office. It was just me and Wren, and you looked at her fondly in her stroller. When the elevator doors opened, you very kindly held the doors open for me. As I clumsily maneuvered the stroller past you, I accidentally ran over your foot. “Don’t worry about it,” you assured me over my profuse apologies. “I have three children myself,” you revealed to me. My eyes traveled to your big belly. There was an awkward pause as I wondered if I could assume she was pregnant. “And I’m expecting my fourth,” you admitted. “Congratulations!,” I tell her. “That is wonderful!” I see the relief spread across her face. “Thank you!” she says, and I could tell she meant it. “You have no idea how many people offer their condolences when they find out this is my fourth. Or they ask me if this was planned.” “How rude of them,” I reply. “All children are a blessing.”

As we parted ways, I felt an immense sorrow for what our society has become. When did having a large family become equivalent to a tragic event? Why do people think that seeing a mother with lots of children automatically entitle them to make rude comments concerning her family planning? Countless strangers in grocery stores have seen me with my three little ones and impertinently asked me how many children I was planning on having. I don’t know, person I have never met before. Tell you what, how about next week I will bring my husband here and all three of us will discuss our family planning and come up with a number you find suitable. Or figure out which ones to eliminate if you feel I have too many already. But honestly, the only answer for the impertinent question of how many children I am going to have is: all of them.

And why are people so obsessed with whether a pregnancy is “planned” or not? Does the child from a “planned” pregnancy have more value than the child of an “unplanned” pregnancy? As to the answer to this other impertinent question, my only answer is: yes, God planned for this child from time immemorial, and I will do my best with this life that is entrusted to me.

There seems to be some unspoken rule that you are only allowed to have two children: one girl and one boy, about 2-5 years apart. If you mess up and fail to meet the gender quota of one of each, you are permitted to go out on a limb and have a third. However, you will risk endless ridicule from strangers if you really mess up and end up with (God forbid ) THREE of the same gender. I have never understood this stock portfolio approach to child bearing. If you are looking for variety, you get plenty of that within the same gender, trust me. Besides, I hate to point out the obvious, but no matter what you plan on having, you get what you get. As much as we want to, we can’t control everything. Especially when it comes to child bearing. I’m ok with that mostly because I’m religious, but I’m digressing from the point of this post.

I have three girls who are each about a year apart. This, for some reason, makes people feel uncomfortable. They are constantly trying to rationalize my unconscionable decision to have that many children so close in age with either: 1) that we kept unsuccessfully trying for a boy, or 2) we are “getting it out of the way quickly”. To be honest, I don’t even know what # 2 means. We’re having children, not going in for a root canal. I have stopped even trying to explain to people that no, we just like having children. That just doesn’t compute. Who would have three children close together ON PURPOSE? Because, I mean, isn’t it difficult? And so not worth it? Maybe if I told them I am a rebel who is swimming against the stream I will garner more support. Being rebellious is always cool, right?

Benjamin Franklin was one of ten children, Beethoven was one of seven, and JFK was one of nine! Every child has the potential to do something great in the world. So please, give the mother of these children the support and encouragement she needs whether it is her first child or her ninth. Because your last child deserves just as much excitement as your first.

And to the lady in the elevator, a thousand times congrats. You are truly blessed.

http://sylcell.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/to-the-lady-ashamed-of-being-pregnant-with-her-fourth/

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Baby on the Way!

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Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

                                                               ~Psalm 127:3-5~

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