Tag Archives: Blessings

Grace and Peace to You

Ephesians 1:1-6

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

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

Paul opens up his letter in familiar fashion. He says grace and peace from God and from the Lord Jesus Christ. He addresses his letter to the saints which are in Ephesus, and to all those who are faithful in Christ Jesus. This letter was not meant for those outside the church. It is meant for those who have already accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. It is important to remember that as we go through the text. Today we know that there are many verses in Ephesians that we use as entrance verses to the kingdom of God. This was not the case in Paul’s day.

 Sending grace and peace to them, as Paul always did at the beginning of his letters, is a way of saying hello in our language today. Sometimes I wish we’d be more formal. Can you imagine the reaction if you walked into a business or walked down the street and used that greeting?   Grace and peace be to you from God!  It might be just  the encouragement they need that day. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to adopt that!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love

God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places. Notice that he adds the fact that these spiritual blessings are in Heavenly places. If we want to stay in those spiritual blessings it’s important that we stay in the Heavenly places. How often do I walk contrary to the law of God and hope that his blessing will be upon me?  I don’t see any where in scripture that will back that thinking up.  If you desire the spiritual blessings of God,   you  need to stay in the Heavenly places in Christ. Don’t get sidetracked. If you’ve read through the wanderings of Israel in the wilderness,  God kept telling them not to turn to the right or to the left. This same admonition that he gives us today. Don’t turn off the path to eternal life.
And here Paul talks about the fact that before the earth was even formed God had made the decision that Christ would need to be sacrificed and that we could come to Him and be made holy and blameless in love. God chose us in Him. That is the only way that we can appear holy and without blame before God. To be in Christ Jesus

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Now we get into a difficult portion of scripture. Talking about predestination. All of us have probably heard of the fact that we have free will. We have the ability to choose whether we will serve God or not. We have the ability to turn from sin or walk in sin.  We have the ability to turn away from God, even if we have accepted Him as Savior. God will never turn from us. But we can’t turn away from Him.  When Paul says here that God has predestined us into the adoption of children by Christ Jesus according to the pleasure of his will, what does that mean? Well to me it means that by Jesus Christ we can be adopted as children. That determination was made long before we were born. And we can decide whether we will walk into it or not. God wants us to but we have a choice.
If we decide to walk into that predestination and be adopted as children by Jesus Christ then we need to give the glory to God for the grace that He showed us. He has accepted us into the fellowship of the beloved. We did not deserve it.  We did not earn it,  We did absolutely nothing to gain it. Jesus Christ did it all on the cross.  He make it possible for us to be heirs together with Him in Heavenly places. We will never be able to earn a thing from God. He gives it to us by His grace and His mercy.

The Attitude of Gratitude.

Philippians 4:8 Part 8

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 

 

How thankful are you?  Are you someone who rarely says thank you to those around you?  Do you tend to find fault everywhere you turn?  I bet if you’re not that person you know someone who is.  There are plenty of people who fit that description.

 

I bet there were the same type of people back in Paul’s day.  Ungrateful, not responsible, not accountable.  They refuse to acknowledge the good deeds of others, preferring instead to find the one thing that wasn’t done right.  The scribes and Pharisees in Jesus day are a perfect example.  Look at all the good Jesus was doing, yet all they could see was the people following Him instead of them.

 

If there be any praise, think on these things.  Now we start out by giving praise to God, of course.  And there is NEVER a time that He is not worthy of our praise – NEVER.  No matter what is going wrong in your life, there are a million things going right that you can praise Him for unless you are dead, and then hopefully you will be praising Him in heaven.  There is always reason to give Him praise!  Are you breathing?  Praise Him for the sair He supplies.  Can you see? Praise Him for the sunlight, even on the cloudy days it’s still there!  Are you sick?  Praise Him that your blood is still flowing through your body.  Do you have cancer (Yes, I do)?  Praise Him that your breathing, that He gave the doctors amazing knowledge, that you still have sight, hearing, taste, touch, the list is endless of things I can praise Him for, not matter what my situation.  Give Him praise.

 

But this verse goes beyond that.  If there be any praise!  What about that janitor in your church who does such a good job – doesn’t he deserve some praise?  How about the grocery clerk who helped you out with your groceries?  Or the bank teller who helps you with a transaction?  Or the convenience store clerk who assisted you today?  Don; these people deserved praise – in the way of a thank you?  A simple thank you is praise in it’s simplest form. And we as a church need to be doing more of it.  An attitude of gratitude is what it is often called.

 

Our world today has lost a lot in this area, and we need to show the way.  We as a church should be the most grateful people alive.  We should never have reason to gripe and complain.  So many blessings have been lavished upon us by our Heavenly Father.  Let’s let the world know that gratitude is he way to go!