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Devotion - January 3, 2021

Ephesians 1:3–14

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Devotion by Chris Shiver

I know now that God wants to be in a loving relationship with me, and with every other person, though for the first 34 years of my life I resisted this idea. But through the love of Christ as expressed by others I found that the Spirit of God is real and life changing. I also found that though God’s love and Spirit are powerful they can easily be rendered ineffective in my life through neglect or by acting against what I know is right. When that happens I must realize that I am missing out on what is most important and turn back to God.

This is even more important than ever for me now in this time when many of our fellowship practices have been turned upside down, making it easy for me to lose touch with the Spirit and love provided by our church community. I thank God that we have a church that is hard at work to overcome those obstacles and reaching out through the physical isolation.

My Prayer:

Jesus, I pray that your love and Spirit will continue to overcome all barriers, not only during this time of crisis, but in the future when there are other challenges. Please be with all those who are feeling cut off from you and their communities, and push me to be one of those that helps to ease that isolation for others. Amen.

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