Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 1 of 30 Days to Growth

Day 1 of 30 Days to Growth

Today, read Ephesians 1:1-14. Ask these questions.
Who wrote this book? Paul the apostle. Paul was originally called Saul and was a Jewish leader who was very active in the persecution of the early Christians. Acts 9 tells of his conversion.
Who was he writing it to? God's holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
Why did he write it? To make Christians more aware of their heavenly wealth in Christ and to motivate them to draw upon those resources in their earthly walk.
Is there a theme in this passage? God's love, divine purpose, and provision.
What was the author trying to say? That before the creation of the world God laid into action a way for us to be brought into His family. Providing the way for us to be a part of His family (the sacrifice of Christ) gives Him great pleasure. It was through unimaginable kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom from our sin and the sins of this world through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. And for those of us who believe in this miraculous, loving act of Redemption and in the person of Christ, who He is and what He has done... He has showered on us not only the grace of the forgiveness of our sins, but also all wisdom and understanding. Our receipt, our guarantee of this purchase of freedom, is in the gift of the Holy Spirit. And our ultimate purpose is to praise and glorify Him.
What scriptures in this passage spoke to me today, and why?
vs 3 - That being saved and becoming a Christian didn't only redeem me from my sins, or give me power to overcome the temptations of the sins in this world, but  it is like a gift pack, I also have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. Its not just life after death. Its a life FULL of EVERY SPRITUAL BLESSING in the heavenly realms.
vs 9 - So much of the old testament pointed to the Messiah. God has opened our eyes and ears to understand these things and once you go back and see all the ways Christ fulfilled those Scriptures... its just mind blowing! And, in my opinion, if there is any way for you to study Hebrew, there is just even more there than what most of us learn in Sunday School or during the morning Sermon. My favorite place to learn the culture of our LORD is from John J. Parsons the author of Hebrew for Christians.

Are there scriptures I don’t understand? I used to be very defensive and close-minded about questions that unbelievers or even doubtful believers had. I mostly wouldn't even listen to their questions. I took them as accusations against my God and some of them, where earnestly asking questions. I've come to finally understand that. Some of these questions I don't have an answer for. I wish I did if it would ease their minds and fortify their faith. One such question arises from verses like 4-5. A person close to me once said, If God knew beforehand the stew (His creation) was going to be bad (sin would be a part of His creation), why does He keep adding to it? Why didn't He throw out the stew? Why didn't He wipe out ALL of creation with the flood? I think because not all of the stew is ruined eternally with no hope... He has a secret ingredient (Christ) that can make some of the stew enjoyable. And God LOVES His stew. For now, we're all swimming in this pot of stew with some unsavory ingredients (maybe the juice/broth?) and Christ is the slotted spoon? He fishes the good stuff out while all the other stuff remains in the pot until God chooses to throw it out. Maybe??? I don't know. And I can't exactly explain the depth of my faith. Sometimes it holds on to me instead of me holding onto it. And I know that's God's saving Grace. Its one of the things I am most grateful for. And I don't know why not everyone feels that way.... but I wish they did. I hate that some struggle so much with doubt and faith.

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