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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 1:3’

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On my right hand I wear a ring–just a small ruby solitaire, set in a narrow gold band with a bit of delicate embellishment on either side.

I’ve owned the ring since I was a young teen—a long time ago! Yet the ring is even older than I am, passing its one hundredth birthday back in 2004.

The original owner was my grandmother. Great Grandpa and Grandma gave her the ring in 1904, on her fourteenth birthday. On my fourteenth birthday, she surprised me by passing the ring on to me.

All these decades since, the presence of that little band continually reminds me of her—a kind, soft-spoken woman of deep strength and enduring faith. (I wrote about her a couple of years ago. You can access that post–“The God of Rachel, Clara, and Henry, Part 1”– here.)

Perhaps you, too, own a cherished possession that may not appear significant to others, but is highly valuable to you. In fact, you treasure it.

On a much grander scale, God treasures you. You are dearly beloved and precious to him.

Oh, no, some will say. Not me. I’m not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough to be highly valued.

That’s not what scripture says:

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(“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.  And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ,the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

God paid a very high price with the precious blood of his own Son, in order to make you his treasured possession. Evidently goodness, smarts, and talent have nothing to with it (Ephesians 2:8-9)!

And God doesn’t view you as ordinary, anymore than I consider my ruby ring ordinary.

Here are several indicators of the high value he places on you:

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  • You are precious and honored in God’s sight simply because he loves you (Isaiah 43:4). Just as God went to great lengths to bring his precious children of Israel out of captivity, so he has gone to great lengths to bring you into his family.
  • He is constantly thinking about you (Psalm 139:17)–preparing for your welfare, providing for your needs, guiding and guarding until it is time for your final journey to heaven.
  • He blesses you with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). It is not the material stuff of the outer life that satisfies; it is the wealth of spiritual blessings of the inner life. God offers: forgiveness of sin, freedom from guilt, peace of mind, joy of heart, wisdom, comfort and strength—to name a few.
  • God has prepared for you an eternity of absolute bliss (1 Corinthians 2:9).

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Think of it. God Almighty sees and appreciates your value, your beauty.

He speaks affirmation and restoration to your soul through his Word (Psalm 19:7).

He listens with wrapt attention when you call to him (Psalm 145:18).

He enfolds you in his wings of protection and comfort (Psalm 36:7).

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He is with you, for you, and in you.

Accept it, embrace it. Send your roots down deep into the truth:

You. Are. Highly. Cherished.

(Photo and art credits:  Nancy Ruegg; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.winterpastfinally.blogspot.com; http://www.faithgateway.com; http://www.thelovelyscribe.com.

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“The land is lit with autumn blaze.”

–Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

I’ve been anticipating these few weeks of October ever since we moved back to the Midwest in June—the gilding on tree-covered hillsides, the crimson coats on sumac trees, and, of course, the swaths of gold and vermilion among the maples.

The trees appear dressed for a grand party!

Indeed, autumn was the season I missed most during our forty years in Florida.

So Friday afternoon I sat on our second-story deck, to observe more closely the magnificent display in our back yard. You see, a shallow woods stands sentry between the houses on our street and the houses behind us. Among the tree-fellows, chestnut, elm, oak, and others stretch their colorful arms heavenward.

But already the trees are beginning to lose their leaves.

Elm leaves somersault while they plummet, flashing sparks of sunlight from their luminous topsides.

Oak leaves drift downward, gracefully zigzagging side to side.

But whether they tumble or drift, the leaves of all deciduous trees will eventually fall, having fulfilled their purpose: photosynthesizing light, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

As human beings, we, too, have purpose to our existence: to live for the praise of God’s glory (Ephesians 1:11).  What an honor is ours, to inspire others to give praise to the King of the universe.

And how might we do that?

  1. Reflect God’s character, like the elm leaves flashing in the sunlight. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, we can shine as lights (Matthew 5:14)–offering assistance or a listening ear, being a positive voice and example, exercising self-control and patience.
  1. Give praise to God at every opportunity. As tree leaves fall, the lacey branches are exposed, all reaching upward toward the sunlight. Our hearts should be raised toward the Light of Life, the Son of God.

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(“My lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live,  and in your name I will lift up my hands” — Psalm 63:3-4)

We can:

  • Praise him in the morning for the opportunities of the day ahead.
  • Praise him in the afternoon for the blessings and accomplishments already enjoyed.
  • Praise him in the evening for his guidance and care throughout the day, his strength for the challenges, and the blessing of rest yet to come.
  1. Be content (Philippians 4:11).  God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).  Begin to name those blessings and note how your heart begins to swell with elation–blessings like:
  • relief of forgiveness
  • liberation from guilt
  • assurance of hope
  • confidence of access to his presence
  • certainty of eternal life.

(How long might the list grow if we continued?)

Just as autumn blazes around us, may our hearts blaze to live for the praise of God’s glory!

(Photo credits:  www.galleryhip.com; http://www.media-cache-akO.pinimg.com.)

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