I remember there was a year or two as a child that I used to sit in church and think about sin and death. I would ask forgiveness for all the unnamed sins I’d committed without knowing it and sometimes I would accidently think something wrong or even utter a bad word in my head and immediately ask forgiveness and wonder if I would be condemned by God if I said one of those bad words right before dying in a car crash. I think I understood forgiveness but I didn’t understand grace very well. Look at Ephesians 1:3-14. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing, chosen before creation to be holy and blameless. We have been adopted by God as sons and daughters, given complete access to His glorious grace, redemption through his blood, forgiveness, and even wisdom and understanding. We have been given the Holy Spirit God promised us which GUARANTEES our inheritance. The grace of God is HUGE! Way bigger than my worries and fears and concerns. Way bigger than my legalistic attempts to earn forgiveness. God has made incredible promises to those who believe and accept Christ as their Savior.
Paul wrote a ton of incredible letters that helped form and disciple the early church. It’s incredible to me how in tune Paul was with the Holy Spirit that the knowledge he shared continues to be so relevant, practical, and impossibly wise today. I guess that’s why we revere it as part of the God-breathed Holy Scriptures we use today to form our faith. One of my favorite letters is Ephesians and we’ll be exploring it over the coming weeks. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus which he helped plant. He begins his letter by sharing the incredible grace of God that unifies us all as the family of Christ. This incredible message fulfills the promise God made to Abraham way back in Genesis 12! How awesome is that? After encouraging us Paul moves on to give us a few specific challenges in relation to this unity we have under Christ that inspires us to become more like Christ and to uphold our commitments and responsibilities. He ends the letter with the incredible metaphor we know so well as “The Armor of God” I’m looking forward to exploring this book with you and seeing how Paul describes and shares the Gospel and shows how it should change our lives!
I remember being introduced to the book of Ecclesiastes the summer after my Freshman year in college and I fell in love with it. I was in a time of transition in my life, leaving my old college and degree plan behind and venturing into the unknown purely based on a calling I received from God. I was preparing to go into ministry and leaving behind what may have been a lucrative career as a Civil Engineer. A lot of people were unsure of my decision but I was confident, secure, and full of peace. As I opened the book of Ecclesiastes and began reading I found that my thoughts and feelings had been written out for me in a very poetic and beautiful way. I found a description of life that turned to God in the most peaceful and most chaotic times. I chose to listen to God’s call on my life knowing it wouldn’t be easy and may not have made sense but I had full confidence that God would bring me through any challenges I might face in the future. Take a look at Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 this week. What season or time of life are you in? Do you feel burdened by God right now? Are you enjoying a season of beauty and prosperity? What will God be doing in your life this year? Give Him full control and complete honor and glory. He deserves it and He is with you!