Ephesians 1

Vs. 3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”  What a glorious opening of prayer (doxology) that Paul opens the letter with (vs. 3-14).  Paul was trying to elaborate on the reality of the wonders of the salvation that has been granted to us!  Throughout the section, we see an emphasis of being “in Christ” &“in him”.  To this day, we share that emphasis as many of us end our own prayers “in Jesus’ name, Amen”.  Here we are presented with the concept that God has chosen us (vs. 4-5, 11).  To put in layman’s term and in my humble understanding, I think there is combination of God choosing us and us choosing God.  I know there is much debate regarding Election (predestination) vs. Free will, but I will leave that for the experts.  But, another wonderful reminder is that we are forgiven through the blood of Christ (vs. 7).  It’s so evident that love that Paul has for the Ephesians and his prayer of the eyes of their open being opened to the Lord (vs. 18).  We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who is the head of the church (vs. 22).

Regarding application…Guaranteed!  Vs. 13, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”  Question: How do we know if something will be binding?  How do we know if something will last?  We seal it with a guarantee!  When I worked at the bank we had a “signature guarantee” stamp that only officers of the bank could use to seal (guarantee) a document was signed by the authentic person selling said investments.   The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that the investment that Jesus made for us is real!  Unlike product fresh guarantee’s don’t last forever, our guarantee is for eternity!  Brothers and sisters, let this reminder be a confident boost for you as the weekend unfolds.

Hosea 14

Vs. 9, “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”  God is going to allow the Assyrians and later the Babylonians to conquer their land.  But, the ways of the LORD are right.  God is calling Israel through His prophet Hosea to repent.  It is a message that is a common denominator throughout Scripture.  When we ask for forgiveness and repent, God hears us (vs. 2).  You see, there is miracle going on that is unseen.  The miracle of God’s grace to an undeserving people (vs. 4-8).  We are to be discerning and choose wisely the ways of the Lord (vs. 9)

Regarding application…Free to Choose.  Vs. 4, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.”  Setting aside the controversies of election vs. free will…I want us to focus on God is choosing to love us freely.  Jesus had a choice in the desert, throughout his ministry and in the garden to do the will of the Father.  God created and chose to give His love freely.  Question: What are you choosing in your life?  Repentance or sin?  Perhaps the reason we do not choose God is because we love our life on earth too much.  We think we can do a better job.  I think of all the critics out there.  We look at the mistakes of others and are quick to judge them.  Question: Why?  Because, perhaps we think we could do a better job.  We see the mistakes of Actors, celebrities, sports stars and shake our heads.  That is our pride and that is sometimes what we do with God.  We choose ourselves and think God has it all wrong.  Brothers & Sisters…Hosea is calling us to choose to walk in the ways of the righteous.  Don’t let others, the enemy or this world influence your heart.  Let us choose freely and wisely.