Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1 Thessalonians 3 - Keep Growing

by Katrina

LINK: 1 Thessalonians 3

From this chapter, we know some of the activity of Paul and Timothy that fills in some gaps in the account written in Acts. Paul, Silas, and Timothy traveled to Thessalonica on the second missionary journey as recorded in Acts 17:1-14. The Jews became jealous of the converts, gathered a mob, and set the city in an uproar. The missionaries were staying with a man named Jason, and the Jews charged him with going against Caesar. Paul and Silas escaped the city and traveled to Berea where Timothy soon joined them. But the Jews followed them there and stirred up the people in that city. So, some believers conducted Paul out of the city to Athens, and Timothy and Silas followed shortly. Then, according to our passage today, Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to encourage the believers and to assess the condition of the church there. Timothy rejoined Paul in Corinth and reported that the church in Thessalonica was doing well. While in Corinth, Paul wrote both of the Thessalonian letters.

Once again we see Paul's heart for his "children in the Lord" in his prayer for them. He prays God will allow him to visit them in Thessalonica, and "may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men . . . so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints."

We should be growing in our love for other believers as well as for all men. And we should be growing in holiness until the day Jesus returns for us. That should keep us busy! :-)

Lord, teach us to love one another and become more holy, continuously growing until you return for us. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

1 Thessalonians 2 - Paul's Love for the Thessalonians

by Katrina

LINK: 1 Thessalonians 2

In this chapter Paul defends himself and his ministry (vs 1-12) and expresses his loving concern for the Thessalonian believers (vs 13-20).

Paul's expression of his heart in this chapter demonstrates his great love for the believers at Thessalonica. He had worked among them with the gentleness of a mother with her baby. He had fond affection for them and poured out his life for them. He had exhorted, encouraged, and implored each one of them as a father would his own children. His great desire was to see them walk in the ways of God. His separation from them grieved Paul, and he tried repeatedly to visit them again.

Paul did not view these people as a "project" or an item on his check-list. His heart was very connected to them. They were like his children. He poured his life into them in order to see them come to God.

Verse 4 - "but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts."

Let's examine our own hearts and make sure our goal isn't our own glory and our motivation isn't self-centered. Especially in ministry, we must be seeking to please God not to get the praise of men.

Lord, examine my heart. Give me a pure heart of compassion and love for the lost as well as for other believers. May I seek to please You in all that I do and not pursue selfish desires or goals. Help me to love others by pouring my life into theirs and helping them to know You. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

1 Thessalonians 1 - Encouragement

by Becky

1 Thessalonians 1


Paul and Timothy and Silas (Silvanus) had spent about three weeks in Thessalonica, teaching as usual in the Jewish synagogue. A large number of people believed. That angered the Jews, who stirred up some mob violence. Paul and his friends had to get out of town quickly! You can reread the story in Acts 17.

A few years later Paul sent Timothy to check up on the believers in Thessolonica and this letter is a result of Timothy's report to Paul (1 Thess. 3: 5-8). It is one of the first letters of Paul, written in about 51 A.D., less than twenty years after Jesus' death and resurrection. So it gives us a good picture of the concerns of the very early church.

Timothy reported to Paul that the Thessalonians' faith and love were strong. But since Paul's visit several of them had died and they were confused. They had expected Jesus to return before that. What would happen to those who had already died when Jesus came back? Also, the persecution wasn't letting up. It was hard to be a Christ follower. How should they live?

Paul addresses these questions in this letter. The second coming of Christ is mentioned in every chapter. He tells them how to live in the meantime and in the midst of persecution. I hope you'll notice as you read this book the love and tenderness with which Paul speaks to these believers.


This first chapter is full of encouragement for the Thessalonians who are full of doubt and discouragement about themselves. They'd believed the gospel, but life was harder than ever. They were being persecuted. Paul here makes clear that the message he brought them was true and powerful. He reminds them that he saw evidence of their faith: they received the message with joy, in spite of severe suffering. He tells them that others talked about the Thessalonians' faith - how they turned away from idols to worship the "true and living God."

The part I want to focus on is in verses 2-3. "We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 ESV)

Paul reminds them of what he's seen in them. Look at how he makes clear that their work, labor, and steadfastness are the result of the faith, love, and hope they received in the Lord Jesus. It is because of their faith in the Lord that they work; it is because they love the Lord that they labor, and they are able to remain steadfast and faithful because they have hope in the Lord.

Paul goes on, "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you..." What an encouraging statement - one filled with love. Paul calls them his brothers. He tells them that they are loved by God, that they are chosen by Him. From the very beginning of this letter, Paul wants them to understand that suffering isn't a sign that they aren't loved. He points them to Jesus' return.

And the letter just gets better, so keep reading!


Is there someone that you can encourage in the Lord? Learn from Paul.

If you are discouraged , this book is a good one to read and ponder.


Father, I thank you for my brothers and sisters in Christ who continue to trust you in the midst of persecution. I ask that your Holy Spirit will encourage them. Give them steadfast hearts. Help them to know that you love them and enable them to keep on serving you in hope. In Jesus dear name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Colossians 2 - Guard Your Faith

by Katrina

LINK: Colossians 2

Here Paul addresses some of the issues that were threatening the young church. There were false teachings that were confusing some of them about their salvation.

First, Paul clarifies that the true gospel message on which their faith rests is centered completely on Jesus. He reminds them that their salvation is based on faith in Jesus and that He is the one who has made them complete. Jesus is the ultimate authority, not these other teachers.

Next, Paul addresses the specific teachings that threatened to lead them astray.
  • LEGALISM (Judiazers) - vs 11-17 - There were some who were teaching that salvation required keeping of the Jewish Law. Believers were pressured by Judaizers to be circumcise, keep the feasts, and keep the dietary laws of Judaism. Paul told them not to give in to that pressure and that when Jesus died on the cross, He removed our guilt from not keeping the Law. There is no reason to keep the Law when it was a picture foretelling the coming of Christ, and now Christ had come and fulfilled the Law.
  • MYSTICISM - vs 18-19 - Some were teaching false humility, in the form of self-abasement, and the worship of angels. Their teachings were based on visions they had seen and served to inflate their own egos. Paul counters their teaching with the reminder that Christ is the true head, not any human teachers.
  • ASCETICISM - vs 20-23 - Asceticism is the practice of rigorous self-denial or even self-mortification in order to become more spiritual. This makes one appear to be wise or religious, but in reality does nothing about the problem of sin. Paul counters this false teaching with the reminder that they already died to the world in Christ. There is no point in mistreating the body; it accomplishes nothing to make a person more spiritual. Paul just flat-out tells them not to submit to such decrees.
The beauty of the reconciliation offered through the blood of Jesus is that it's a totally free gift. There is nothing we can do to earn it or improve upon it. Yet there's a human tendency to try to do something to improve our standing before God. In reality, the standing of a believer before God is completely cleared, and he need do nothing more to secure it. Our attempts to do so are an offense to God because they infer that what Jesus did was not enough.

Legalism, mysticism, and asceticism are attempts to improve on the salvation offered through Jesus, and these teachings continue to lead people astray to this day. Examine your own life, looking for signs of these false teachings. As Paul says in verse eight, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according the the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." Put aside these practices and "as you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (vs 6). Stick to faith in Jesus, and don't add all these other things to it.

Lord, all we need for holiness is found in Jesus. You have reconciled us, redeemed us, purified us, and accomplished all that is necessary for our salvation. Don't let us allow others to take away the prize of our salvation by adding other requirements to it. Let us keep our focus on Jesus alone and continue to grow in Him. In His name and for Your glory, amen.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Colossians 1:15-29 - Who Jesus Is and What He Has Done

by Katrina

LINK: Colossians 1:15-29


Who is this Jesus?
  • the image of the invisible God - We can't see the spirit being of God, but Jesus came in flesh and could be seen, heard, touched, etc. He is not only like God; He is God.
  • the firstborn of all creation - refers to His rank as of first importance
  • the creator of all things - not created, but the creator - Notice the purpose of all creation is for Him, not for us.
  • He comes first and holds everything together - Scientists can't explain what holds matter together, but Jesus, the Creator, holds all of creation together. And one day He will destroy it all. No one else has such power over creation! He demonstrated this power multiple times as recorded in the gospels.
  • the head of the church - Jesus himself is the ultimate authority for the church. No one else is the head. No pastor is the head. Billy Graham is not the head. The pope is not the head. Paul was not claiming that authority, and neither did Peter. No other person is the head. The church belongs to Jesus, and He is the head of it.
  • firstborn from the dead -Jesus is the first to have been raised from the dead with an incorruptible form. God raised others from the dead, even before Jesus, but all of them had to die again. They did not receive an eternal body at that time. Jesus was raised with a glorified body. And one day all believers will be raised and receive new bodies as well.
 What does Jesus do?
  • reconciles - Through the blood Jesus shed on the cross, man can be reconciled to God and have peace with God.
  • makes us holy and blameless - Through Jesus and his death on the cross, we can be forgiven and are seen by God as clean.
 What does that mean to me as a believer?
  • I used to be God's enemy but am now reconciled and no longer hostile to God or engaging in evil deeds.
  • God makes known to me the riches of the glory of Christ.
  • Applying the wisdom of God to our lives makes us grow to maturity in Christ.
  • We serve God by the power He gives us; and what a mighty power that is!
Additional note on verse 27.
I have had to read this verse repeatedly and study it to figure out what it means, so I thought I'd clarify it here.
(His saints) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Basically what Paul is saying is that as Gentile believers, they receive the same riches of glory as Jewish believers. The mystery is that God would unite Jews and Gentiles by offering the same salvation to the Gentiles as to the Jews. God chose to include Gentiles in His plan. All believers, whether Jew or Gentile, have Christ in them as a mark of the glory they will one day receive, and are in the process of gaining that glory even while living this life.

No matter how "good" I thought I was before I was reconciled to God, the fact is that I was His enemy. In reality I was hostile toward God. But through the cross of Jesus, He made the way for peace between me and Himself. Now I can be presented before God as holy and blameless and beyond reproach. . . . if I continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and don't move away from the gospel. I must keep the faith!

It amazes me the changes God performed at that point of reconciliation! He now considers me as holy, set apart for His purpose. He sees me as blameless, without sin. I am without reproach, so nobody else, even Satan, can accuse me of anything. For my part, God's great desire is that I keep strong in my faith in Him. I must continue in it. God's not after a one-time event but is after the ever-increasing faith of my heart trusting in Him.

What are you doing to be firmly established and steadfast in your faith? How are you growing toward maturity in Christ? First, you must spend time with God, both in His word and in prayer. If you need help in this, seek out a godly "mentor," one who can disciple you, encouraging you and holding you accountable to growing in your faith. I have a "growth partner," and it is one of the biggest blessings in my life to know that she and I can spur one another on to growth.

Father, thank you for the reconciliation you provide through Jesus and his blood shed on the cross. May I continue to grow in faith daily and to love and serve you with all my heart. Amen.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Colossians 1:1-14 - Prayer for Believers

by Becky

Colossians 1


Are you connected to the LORD Jesus Christ? Colossians is about being connected to Jesus and to other believers through Him. The church at Colossae (located in what is now Turkey) was troubled with teachings that led away from Jesus' death and resurrection and tried to mix in pagan and legalistic beliefs. Paul and Timothy stress here that it is ONLY through Jesus' sacrifice that we have eternal life. Jesus is God in the flesh (incarnate) and He is the only way to peace and forgiveness. He is the source of all life.

Paul had never visited Colossae. The Colossian church was started by Epaphras and other converts, probably around the same time that Paul was in Ephesus. Paul loved this church nonetheless, and he and Timothy show that concern in this letter. This is another of Paul's prison letters, written from Rome. He wanted them (and us) to understand that in Christ we have all we need for life. Jesus is supreme and all sufficient. We don't need angels or ceremonies or secret knowledge for a full life in Him. We only need Him. He alone is to be worshiped.


Paul and Timothy begin by greeting these believers they've never met and telling them that they've heard from Epaphras of the Colossians' faith in the Lord and their love for God's people. Paul and Timothy thank God for them! The letter zeroes in on just how the believers at Colossae are able to continue in faith and love. It's because of their hope of heaven! This is not a wishful kind of hope, but a hope that is objective and sure and that gives grounding and stability to believers.

Not only have Paul and Timothy heard of the believers' faith and love, but they pray for them! Look at that prayer! How rich it is. If you are ever unsure how to pray for other believers, here is your answer. I have frequently prayed this prayer for my children and my husband and others that I love who know the Lord.

...We ... pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14 ESV)


For those of you who belong to the LORD Jesus: How do you pray? Do you concentrate on circumstances or do you pray like this - for spiritual wisdom and understanding in order to know and do God's will, for God's power and strength, for "endurance and patience with joy"? I love that last phrase, because it recognizes that pleasing God is not necessarily easy. It requires endurance to keep on and patience to wait. I'm also glad that word "joy" is there! Having a thankful heart for all we have in Christ helps produce that joy. We are redeemed and forgiven and are no longer ruled by darkness, but sharers in the light. The rest of this chapter details exactly who Christ is and what He has done. Stay tuned for that tomorrow!

I notice that the prayer doesn't ask for happiness or an easy life. Is the prayer your heart's desire for those you love who have trusted in Jesus' death, for yourself? If not, rethink your priorities.


Pray this prayer in Colossians 1:9-14 for someone.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Philippians 1:1-11 - Paul Loves the Philippian Believers

by Katrina

Paul had been to Philippi on his second missionary journey and had established a church there. You might remember from Acts 16 that God had called him to go to Macedonia, a Roman colony, and Philippi was the city in Macedonia where Paul stationed himself first. So Philippi was the first church planted in Europe.

Paul wrote this letter to the church at Philippi while he was in prison at Rome. Of all the letters Paul wrote to churches, this is the most personal one. The church had helped Paul financially at least three times, and this letter was partially a "thank you" for the most recent gift, which Epaphroditus had personally delivered to Paul. While Epaphroditus was with Paul in Rome, he had become ill and almost died. Once he recovered, Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter.

LINK: Philippians 1:1-11

Paul had a close relationship with the believers in Philippi. He greets them in today's passage and communicates to them that (1) he is thinking of them, (2) he loves them, and (3) he is praying for them.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." God will always continue to work in our lives, so we will keep growing until the day that Jesus comes back. Isn't that great!

Paul also prays for the Philippian believers beginning in verse nine. I'm sure you know of someone you could pray this prayer for today, maybe even yourself.

Father, I pray that we will grow in love more and more each day, and that, through your word, we will grow in real knowledge. May we grow in discernment so that we can tell what is excellent. Make us sincere in our faith and able to turn away from sin, because you have filled us with righteousness. May we always continue to grow until the day Jesus returns, all to your glory, amen.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ephesians 6 - Keep Walking

by Katrina

LINK: Ephesians 6

Here Paul continues his instructions on walking rightly. We ended chapter five in the middle of his discussion on how that looks in the family setting. Yesterday we saw how husbands and wives are to treat one another. Today we start with children and parents.

Children are to obey and honor their parents, and fathers are to teach their children of the Lord and not exasperate them. My children like to quote the exasperation part to their father (teasingly). :-)

Then Paul continues the "walking" instructions as it applies to slaves and masters. We can apply this today in our employer-employee relationship. Once again, the one in charge is not to lord his position over those under his authority, neither is he to abuse those under his authority. Those under authority must serve as they would serve the Lord.

Paul concludes his letter by urging his readers to be strong in the Lord, using His strength. And although we live out our faith by our walk in this world, Paul reminds us that our real battles are in the spiritual realm. He also reminds us that we have been fully armed by God to fight these battles if we'll only use what He has given us. Paul uses an illustration of the Roman soldier's armor with the following pieces.

(1) Girdle of Truth - Our primary defense is knowing the truth of God. The girdle held the armor together. Likewise, the truth holds our defense together.

(2) Breastplate of Righteousness - A soldiers breastplate covered his body from the neck to the waist in the front and back. We are covered in the righteousness of Christ. Satan has no grounds on which to accuse us, because our forgiveness provides us with the righteousness of Christ.

(3) Shoes of the Gospel of Peace - A Roman soldier wasn't prepared to fight without his sandals on. His sandals had spikes in the soles to give him better footing, much like our sports players today wear cleats. They allow quick movement without slipping. We should be prepared to share the gospel of peace wherever we go, in a sure-footed way.

(4) Shield of Faith - This isn't referring to saving faith, but to the faith of daily living. We must trust in the power of God and that He will keep His promises. The soldier's shield must be held in place to be effective. Likewise, we must hold our faith, never putting it down. With our shield, we will stop Satan's fiery missiles from harming us. (That doesn't mean he'll quit throwing them.) Satan's missiles (darts) are such things as lies, evil thoughts, hateful thoughts, doubts, desire for sin, blasphemous thoughts. If we allow those to take hold in our minds and hearts, they will become flames of sin.

(5) Helmet of Salvation - The helmet protects the head. We must protect our minds and never let Satan have control over them. Satan played with Eve's mind (Genesis 3), and that resulted in Adam and Eve's sin. It is imperative that we study God's word and always be learning the truth.

(6) Sword of the Spirit - AKA The Word of God - The Roman soldier had a short sword for hand-to-hand combat. God's Word is like that sword because it is sharp and is able to pierce a man. The physical sword pierces the physical man, while the word of God pierces his heart. When we allow God to use His word in our lives, He can affect real change in our hearts through it. God's word was what Jesus used to combat Satan's temptations, and we should do likewise.

Paul's final instruction is to pray. Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Be alert when you pray (know what to pray for). Persevere in prayer (don't stop). Pray for other believers. Pray for the spread of the gospel.

There are many things to reflect on in this chapter, and the reflections lead to many applications.

If you are a parent of children still at home, remember that it is the father's (and mother's) responsibility to teach children about the Lord and His ways. Don't leave that job to Sunday school teachers or a Christian school. Are you teaching your children to obey you, and likewise to obey God? Are you teaching them to honor you, and likewise to honor God? Do you discipline them and instruct them in such a way that they can understand who God is and the salvation He offers them?

If you are employed, do you do your work as if you were doing it for Jesus Himself? If you are an employer, how do you treat your employees? Remember that you must answer to the same Master they do. Do not wield your authority like a weapon.

Everyone - Reflect on the pieces of armor and look for ways to make application to your own life.

Lord, help us learn to walk as You have instructed us in this book. Help us to live the holy and blameless lives You call us to live, that we may bring praise and glory to You. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ephesians 5 - Walking Instructions

by Becky

LINK: Ephesians 5


If I were asked to pick out a sentence from the chapter that sums it up, I'd pick this one: "And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:2 ESV) That pretty much sums up the rest of the chapter, which is full of practical instruction on what it means to live in love.

But there are two other times in Chapter 5 where we are told how to walk. So here is the list:

v. 2 - Walk in love
v. 8 - Walk as children of light
v. 15 - Walk wisely

Paul begins with what seems to me to be a summary - we are to imitate God and walk in love, just as the LORD Jesus did. He gave Himself up for us. That's what love is. Love doesn't seek its own way. The LORD Jesus submitted to the will of the Father as he walked on this earth. He didn't pursue power or self-interest, but offered Himself for us. He is our example.

Then the chapter delves into what it means to walk in the light. We are given a list of behavior that isn't characterized by light. Coveting, impurity, and sexual immorality characterize darkness. Read the passage again for more specifics on what is defined as behaviors of the darkness. Once we have placed our trust and hope in Jesus' death and resurrection, we become light. That is a fact. It doesn't say that we can become light or that we hold light. We ARE light. The fruit of light is found in what is good, right, and true.

We are also told, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV) How do we walk wisely, making the best use of time? We know how to use our time when we understand the will of the Lord. God's will isn't a mystery. He tells us all through His Word what His will for us is. He tells us in this chapter!

Finally, we get back to how love is exhibited. Love is exhibited in submission. The church should be characterized by each of us living, not for her own glory, but for Christ's. As we live for the LORD Jesus, we will serve each other and look out for each others' interests.

Specific examples of what it means to submit in specific relationships are given next, but only the first example is in this chapter. We are told what the relationship of husband and wife is to look like. Wives are told to submit to and respect their husbands as the church submits to Christ. Husbands are told to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.


It is very easy to find examples of people misusing the instructions of this chapter. We are light and are to live that way, full of thanksgiving to God and doing what is right and true and good. That doesn't mean that we are constantly pointing out to people the darkness (their wrong doing)! Light exposes darkness simply by being present and being light. My husband has this saying written in calligraphy: "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." There's a lot wrapped up in that!

Many people have taken the instructions on submission for the husband/wife relationship and excused sin because of it.

So reread this chapter! Try to read it with new eyes and an open heart. See how it points to the LORD Jesus. We live for Him, not ourselves. Are your words characterized by thanksgiving to Him? Are you living as light? Are you offering yourself to Him by living sacrificially for other believers? Do you respect your husband? Do you love your wife? Are you walking wisely?


Help us to walk in love, as fragrant offerings to you, dear Lord.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ephesians 1:1-14 - Rich Blessings

by Katrina

LINK: Ephesians 1:1-14

I love the book of Ephesians! It has so many very important things to teach us! No matter how many times I study it, it never gets old. It helps us understand our salvation and the work that Christ did and does for us.

The book of Ephesians was written by Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome (as were Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon), around the year 61 or 62. It is likely the book was written as a circular letter to be passed around to all the churches in Asia Minor. It is a doctrinal treatise, lacking personal references, and does not address issues of any specific church. Paul was on trial and could soon lose his life, but he was very concerned that the churches understand some important doctrinal truths. He sent this letter to teach them and to build them up in their faith.

Paul had first visited Ephesus briefly on his second missionary journey (Acts 18). On Paul's third journey, he stayed in Ephesus for more than two years, using it as home base to reach all of Asia Minor (Acts 19).

The city of Ephesus was known as the home of the temple of Artemis (Diana). It was a major commercial, political, and religious center in the Roman Empire. It was a wealthy city with much influence on the surrounding area.

Paul greeted his recipients, calling them "the saints who are at Ephesus" and used the term "saints" to refer to these believers repeatedly throughout this book. Our modern use of the word "saint" has changed in meaning since then. The Greek word translated "saint" simply means "one who is set apart" or "holy one." Paul often used it to refer to believers. As believers we are all set apart for God's purpose. The idea of using "saint" as a special title of canonization of a deceased person is not a scriptural one. In scripture, all believers are considered by God to be saints! We are all set apart from the world and given a position with Christ.

In today's reading, you'll also encounter the word "predestined." Don't let that word scare you. It simply means "determined beforehand." God predetermined our salvation. Notice that His purpose is ultimately for His glory (vs 12). It's hard for us to fully grasp how it all works, but in the end God gets all the glory for our salvation.

Verse five tells us that we have received adoption as sons. This means we are given a position of an adult son, one who has full privileges of a son. We have access to the inheritance and can enjoy the spiritual wealth of a son of God!

Another important teaching in this passage is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. A seal indicates possession and security. One who believes in Jesus receives the Holy Spirit as a seal. This means he now belongs to God and is secure in that position. No one can take it away from him.

The Holy Spirit is also given as a pledge (vs 14). It's like a down payment, assuring that God will one day complete our salvation.

Choose a reflection/application:

(1) As a believer, you are called a "saint." How does that change the way you view yourself? Does it change the way you want to live?

(2) How does it affect you to know that God chose you that you should be holy and blameless before Him (vs 4)?

(3) Make a list of all the blessings you have received that are listed in today's passage. Spend some time meditating on those things and thanking God for them.

Lord, you have chosen me to be your own adopted child! You purchased me with your own blood and lavish riches on me. You have sealed me with your Holy Spirit and will keep me always as your own! I praise and thank you! Amen.