Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
What if your real estate agent’s only description of a house she has found for you is this: “You’re going to love it! It’s got everything you need!” Would you sign on the dotted line based only on that description? Because the agent knows your family’s needs and desires, her description of the house is probably accurate. But there’s something about knowing the details that gives you assurance that this house really will meet your needs going forward.
The apostle Paul wrote a statement in Ephesians 1 similar to the real estate agent’s general description. He wrote that we have been “blessed … with every spiritual blessing …in Christ” (verse 3). That covers it, right? What more do we need to know? Thankfully, Paul went on to enumerate eight of those spiritual blessings for our comfort: We are chosen (verse 4), adopted (verse 5), accepted (verse 6), redeemed (verse 7), enlightened (verses 8-9), given an inheritance (verses 11), sealed (verse 13), and secured (verse 14).
Are you blessed today? Yes, in at least eight different ways—blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Every blessing God has for man is in and through Jesus Christ. A. Lindsay Glegg
Ephesians 1:3-4 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 5:13–14
There’s a home-improvement store near me that has a big green button in one of its departments. If no assistant is present, you push the button, which starts a timer. If you’re not served within a minute, you get a discount on your purchase.
We like being the customer in this scenario who enjoys the speedy service. But the demand for fast service often takes a toll when we’re the one expected to deliver it. So many of us today feel rushed doing our jobs, working long hours, checking email multiple times a day, and feeling pressured to meet tighter and tighter deadlines. The customer service tactics of the home-improvement store have seeped into all our lives, creating a culture of rush.
When God told the Israelites to keep a Sabbath, He added an important reason: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt” (Deuteronomy 5:15). There they’d been forced to work ceaselessly under Pharaoh’s excessive time constraints (Exodus 5:6–9). Now freed, they were to give themselves a whole day each week to ensure they and those who served them could rest (Deuteronomy 5:14). Under God’s rule, there were to be no flush-faced, out-of-breath people.
How often do you work to the point of exhaustion or get impatient with people who keep you waiting? Let’s give ourselves and each other a break. A culture of rush is Pharaoh’s doing, not God’s.
By: Sheridan Voysey
Reflect & Pray
How can you resist the urge to overwork? How will you be patient this week with people who keep you waiting?
God of the Sabbath, thank You for commanding me to rest so I can be whole.
The Bible is an amazing book because it is God’s words given to mankind in written form. Yet many people misinterpret it. Instead of diligently studying Scripture to discover what God means and how He wants us to live, some people search the Bible to find passages to support their preconceived ideas or preferred lifestyles.
Today’s passage was written to a young pastor named Timothy. Of all the duties a pastor has, the central one is to present the Word of God accurately to the church. But that doesn’t mean nobody else can—knowing how to properly interpret the Bible is a skill every believer should develop. Consider the diligence of the Bereans, who were commended for examining Scripture regularly to gauge the truth of messages preached to them (Acts 17:10-11).
We aren’t free to interpret the Bible any way we want. The goal is to discover what God meant rather than to find a meaning we like. Remember, it’s our Father’s approval we are seeking—not our own or that of others. Therefore, let’s devote time to studying Scripture, use our resources to learn about context, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to the truth.
“And [David] said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22-23)
The death of a loved one is always a time of great sorrow, but the death of a beloved child is perhaps the keenest sorrow of all. Nevertheless, for the Christian believer, we “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Our text verse makes it clear that when a child dies (even one born of a sinful relationship such as this child of David and Bathsheba), that child goes to be with the Lord in heaven. Jesus said: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Heaven is thus a place where there are many “little children.” Their inherited sin-nature never yet had generated acts of willful sin, and their Maker is Himself “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), so they are safe in Him. Although there are few specific Scriptures on this subject, what we do know, both from the love of God and the Word of God, suggests that the souls of all deceased little children are with the Lord in heaven, but also those who died in early childhood (and even before birth) from every time and place since the world began. There they, along with all those who were saved by personal faith in Christ and are now awaiting the resurrection, will receive new bodies when Christ returns to Earth. The old and lame will be young and strong again, and the children will grow to perfect maturity, for all will become “like him” (1 John 3:2). “God shall wipe away all tears” (Revelation 21:4), and all will say: “As for God, his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). HMM
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. —1 Timothy 5:20
I cannot believe in the spirituality of any Christian man who keeps an eye open for the approval of others, whoever they may be. The man after God’s own heart must be dead to the opinion of his friends as well as his enemies. He must be as willing to cross important persons as obscure ones. He must be ready to rebuke his superior as quickly as those who may be beneath him on the ecclesiastical ladder. To reprove one man in order to gain the favor of another is no evidence of moral courage. It is done in the world all the time.
We’ll never be where we should be in our spiritual lives until we are so devoted to Christ that we ask no other approbation than His smile. When we are wholly lost in Him the frantic effort to please men will come to an end. The circle of persons we struggle to please will be narrowed to One. Then we will know true freedom, but not a moment before. PON141
Lord, does anyone ever really get over the desire to seek the approval of others? That is a battle for which we are totally dependent on You for victory. Help me today to be content with only the smile of Your approval. Amen.
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. —Acts 10:44
The Holy Spirit is…among us to confirm to the consciences of men the works of Jesus.
There [is] no denying that in His earthly ministry, Jesus was a mighty worker of miracles. He did raise the dead. He did cleanse the leper. He did turn the water into wine. He did feed the multitude with a few pieces of bread.
The Pharisees did not try to deny the miracles He wrought. They could not deny them….You cannot deny a fact that stands and stares you in the face—a fact that you can touch and feel and push around and investigate! The Pharisees simply said: “He does his work in the power of the devil.”
The Holy Spirit came that He might confirm and verify the divine quality of those mighty works of Jesus and prove Him indeed to be the very God who had made the world and who could make it do what He pleased for it to do. EFE028
Let us bear in mind…that the Holy Spirit identifies Himself with the Lord Jesus and that the coming of the Comforter is just the coming of Jesus Himself to the heart. WCC007
Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10). To “adorn the doctrine” means that by his daily living the believer will seek to beautify that which is already inherently beautiful.
There are arts which make their own direct appeal to the beholder. The visual arts come under this heading. There are other arts, however, which demand an interpreter. Their beauty cannot be appreciated without one—music, for example. To the musically illiterate, a page of music is a collection of black blobs scattered indiscriminately over rulings of five lines and four spaces, and joined without seeming rhyme or reason to other short upright lines, a jumble of unintelligible markings. If these musical symbols are to live for me as they did in the mind of the composer before he committed them to paper, someone has to bring them to life.
This is the function of the performer. By virtue of his skill he can make the otherwise incomprehensible light up with meaning. When a genuine artist plays the passage in question he recreates it as a thing of beauty and joy. He has adorned the doctrine. By contrast, were I to try to play the same passage you might well tear out your hair and say I was murdering it. We will be agreed that by his capacity or lack of it, a player can enhance or diminish the beauty of a composer’s work.
We have to accept the unwelcome fact that the Christian gospel is to some as meaningless as a page of music to the man who cannot read music. He hasn’t a clue! The Christian faith needs interpreters, and this is where we come in. We can adorn the gospel or disfigure it. By our lifestyle we can make the “doctrine of God our Savior” positively appealing or utterly unlikeable. We can make it or mar it.
The Army Founder, in welcoming the Revised Version of Scripture in 1885, said: “If this revision throws any new light upon the precious volume, I accept it very gratefully. I am interested just now in a further translation. I want to see a new translation of the Bible in the conduct of men and women.”
The character of our witness must be appealingly attractive. Not without reason do the Scriptures speak of “the beauty of holiness.” The beauty of holiness is not a kind of external cosmetic, which is, as the saying goes, only skin deep. But Christian doctrine is adorned by the development of Christ’s own character in the life of the believer.