Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
I have been chosen before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless before God. Obviously I was not indiscriminately chosen, but God chose those of us who would believe the gospel. I believe it, and are therefore chosen. Anyone can be "chosen", they just have to believe (and of course obey) the gospel.
When I say that "I believe in you" that mean more than just knowing of you, or knowing a little about you, like maybe you name and where you live. When I tell someone that I believe in them, I am saying that I trust them. To say that you believe in Jesus is to say that you believe what he said, about himself, about mankind, about me. And I trust that he is who he says he is and that he will do what he says he will do.
He predestined us, those following Christ, those who believe in Jesus. There is a school of thought that we have no role in this predestination. However, my personal view is that God predestined the "plan" and not the "man" (or "woman") [Eph 1:11]. If we answer His call as He outlines we are to answer, which is in the scriptures, His "plan", then He adopts us. We do play a role, we do get to decide, we do have free will. Many are called, yet few are chosen [Matt 22:14]. Do I desire to be with the many or with the few? To be with the majority brings a certain comfort, but is it the right place to be?
Now, because my sins were washed away in baptism [Acts 22:16], I am holy (separated from the world) and blameless (he does not count my sins against me) before my father in heaven. When I believed (and obeyed and repented and was baptized for the forgiveness of my sins [Acts 2:38]) I was marked with the Holy Spirit. He put his "stamp of approval" on me, or rather, in me. It is a guarantee. God has come to live in me until the final fulfillment on the last day. I did not do this myself. I did not come to believe on my own. It was God who sent people to me, who influenced Jane to ask me to come to church, it was God, through the Holy Spirit, who prompted Dale to ask me to study the bible, it was the fellowship and the preaching that drew me in, and the relationships that sustained me during the hurtles and obstacles I had to work through in my heart before I truly made Jesus Lord, or rather acknowledged and submitted to that fact. It truly is an act of submission of one's self, of one's soul to Jesus. It was God alone, when I received my baptism into Christ, who saved me, who made me holy and blameless. He literally saved my soul, and I need to stay and grow in my gratefulness and in my obedience to His will. Without the Lord, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, I am defenseless before Satan and those he influences, whether they are fallen angels or other spiritual entities, or just plain everyday people. I have no power to say no to my sinful nature, to the sinful desires that are in me and will be in me until I die and leave the flesh and its sinful nature behind. Without my faith I am destined to destruction because of my own folly and pride. Without God there is no hope, no salvation, no permanent home. Only guilt and dread and death. Now that I am in the light, the other side is darkness and destruction and confusion and pain. God is my all. Everything good in my life has and will come from Him. Susan, Jonathan, Aliya, Lily, my gifts from Him! My treasures!
Thanksgiving and Prayer
The Spirit of wisdom and revelation is a gift given by God to know Him better. I need to know better the hope to which I have been called, the glorious inheritance I have, eternal life with God. I also need to know better Gods incredible power, the same power which raised Jesus to life, and will raise all the dead to life in the last day. That power will also appoint the unrighteous to hell, to perish, to die both physically and spiritually (annihilation), and the righteous to be with Him forever (eternal life). That death itself will die and that sin will no longer be possible. He also raised Jesus to the highest position possible, now and forever more.
The church, the believers who have made Jesus Lord, is the body of Christ in its fullness. What does this mean?
The world, the media in all its forms, peer pressure, Satan working through all of it to pull me away from my Father in Heaven. To fool me, to tempt me with empty promises of comfort, of glory, of enjoyment or distraction, to constantly fill my eyes and ears with worldly things. It is on God's promises that I must rely on. Jesus is the Rock, all other land is sinking sand: unreliable, untrustworthy, lacking integrity, and will fail given time and time keeps running towards that inevitability.
The power that raised Jesus from the dead is in me. I can, through that power, say no to my sinful nature. I can deny myself and pick up my cross. Death is at my doorstep, but I can overcome it (as God counseled Cain in Gen 4:7). I can have victory over my nature and do right. I want to live in this victory and help others to have the same.