I've been redeemed!!!
I was back in the Word of God last night - to study it. It's been a while since I've really taken the time to sit down and study it and not just read it. I have had so much stress lately that I clench my teeth when I sleep. I don't exhibit stress during the day so far as I know. I save it for when I'm supposed to be relaxing. Go figure! I thought if I got back into the Word on a regular basis and learned how to unload my stress while studying Scripture that I would spare my jaw and teeth some trouble down the road. I am fully aware that there are many other reasons to be in the Word on a regular basis.
So, anyhow, I laid down on my floor and opened up the Bible to Ephesians. I used a Bible that I've had for probably 15 years. At some point in the past I started to underline everything I read in hopes that one day it would all be underlined. Since I had used other Bibles besides that one throughout the years, I had stopped underlining everything I read. I decided to take up that challenge again last night. As I was reading and underlining, there were some things that really jumped up off the page. I took out a notebook and wrote things down as I read. Here are a few thoughts.
Paul wrote Ephesians to the saints in Ephesus. He said to them, "God blessed us with every spiritual blessing." It occurred to me that He has blessed all Christians with every spiritual blessing. We, truly, need nothing else. It made me wonder why I stress. Good grief, if I have everything I need, what is it that I worry about or feel like I need, etc., etc.
Then I started to read about some things God did for us, for me. He chose me before creation - to be holy and blameless in HIS sight. I am not perfect. I do still sin, as does everybody, but I am his child; and in HIS sight I am blameless. He decided long ago to adopt me as his child in accordance with his pleasure and will. I am so very thankful!!
Made me realize how trivial I make this gift out to be because I am not in his Word daily and I worry and concern myself with future things over which I have no control. How horrible would it be if a child you adopted only rarely spoke to you?
He redeemed me through Jesus' blood. He forgave my sins - "in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." These riches are immeasurable. There is no price tag that can be put on what he did for me. That is an amazing picture of love. He lavishes things on us. Have you ever really thought about that?
He lets me know the mystery of his will - according to his good pleasure.
He included me in Christ. This phrase stood out to me more than any other, I think. He included me. What peace this phrase gives me. If there is a time in life when you don't feel like you belong, if you are a child of God, you are INCLUDED. There is no greater place you can be than in the family of God. No matter what you are going through, good or bad, you ALWAYS have a place where you belong, where you can go, because God INCLUDED YOU!!
I shared this with my family last night. I told them that because God included us we need to make sure we don't make others feel like they are excluded. It is our duty to reflect God to others around us. If we don't include people, then we are not reflecting very well.
Well, that was only the first 15 verses of chapter one. I know I will gain greater insight as I keep reading. I hope you don't mind if I post every now and again what I am learning. It fills me with such great joy and excitement that I just have to share.