Count Your Blessings - Ephesians 1:3-14 - Episode 66

Count Your Blessings - Ephesians 1:3-14 - Episode 66
Season 5 Sweet Selah Moments Podcas...

 
 
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How are you at remembering to be thankful? It's especially hard to rev up thankful thoughts when life is going terribly, isn't it? Join Sharon and Nicole as they admire Paul's counting of blessings in this passage of Ephesians, despite the fact that the Ephesians lived in hard times. Listen in as we share practical advice on how to handle rough times with a heavy dose of "noticing" what is still good. Join us for Episode 66, friend. We count you as one of our many blessings.

Read the transcript for Count Your Blessings-Ephesians 1:3-14 -Episode 66

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Is your world a little crazy and off kilter at the moment, feeling a bit frazzled? Well then, you’ve found the perfect place to regain some quiet today. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, where we study his Word and encourage one another. The Sweet Selah Moment Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.

Nicole (00:28):

Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. This is episode 66 in our new series on Ephesians. It’s called Count Your Blessings. Sharon, I remember singing that hymn ‘Count Your Blessings’ in church long ago. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) I know that there’s great value in doing that, but it isn’t always easy to count blessings.

Sharon (00:46):

It surely is not, but I remember singing it too. In fact, now I’ve got the tune in my head. It’s a very catchy little tune, but not all days are happy little ‘Oh, look at all my blessings’ days.

Nicole (00:58):

Right. The sun is shining and rainbows…

Sharon (00:59):

And rainbows everywhere. No, no, no. There are days when the gloom is so dark, that nothing feels like a blessing. In fact, I had a friend who really struggled with depression. Yeah. And I can remember taking a walk with her one day and she said to me, you know, Sharon, I’ve never been happy. And I looked at her and I thought two weeks ago, you were very happy. I remember it. I mean, she was laughing. She was joking. She really was genuinely happy. (Nicole: Right) And, and in her happy times, she knows she was happy. But when you’re stuck in that gloom, it is really hard to remember the times when you were happy. And the dark place, you can’t trust your feelings. (Nicole: Yeah) You know, and the way she felt, it felt like there’d never been happiness because that’s how dark it felt right now.

Nicole (01:47):

That’s so tough.

Sharon (01:48):

So, so when you’re in that kind of a dark place, the effort it takes to count a blessing can feel monumental. (Nicole: Yes) Everything is just heavy, heavy, heavy. I can remember the deep depression I went through during my second pregnancy. And, how, you know, we’d moved three times. I’d lost friendship after friendship. We were in a new place again. (Nicole: Yeah) And it was just so hard and I probably had, you know, the babies were only; eight months after Kathryn, there was Mary in my belly. Right?

Nicole (02:16):

Oh. That’s a lot of hormones still trying to figure out their place.

Sharon (02:17):

I had a lot hormonal issues. I really did. Even folding laundry felt like I was climbing Mount Everest. Just to fold laundry was this, like, it took me all day to do it. And I felt such relief when I got it done cause it was so hard.

Nicole (02:31):

Yeah. Oh!

Sharon (02:31):

Oh. So in times like that to force myself to find something good was essential. And I would do that. I would try to find something good, even in the midst of the hard and lighten my gloom a little bit with it. (Nicole: Yeah and laughs) I’d remind myself that I had beautiful Kathryn walking around, you know, and remind myself that I always wanted babies, even though my heart was dark. So sometimes you have to coach yourself, coach your soul. Right? (Nicole: Yeah, out of that) How about you? Have you ever had to do that sort of, in a funk, make yourself find a blessing?

Nicole (03:06):

Yeah. No, actually quite a few times. But each time it’s like you said, it’s kind of, it always starts with a recognition of the good that’s in our lives and then you just do the next thing and ask God for help with the simple little things first. Laundry, showering, whatever it is. (Sharon: Right) Just that one step at a time.

Sharon (03:23):

Do that one thing.

Sharon (03:24):

Yeah.

Nicole (03:24):

Yeah. And then I notice that when I start to reach out to him for each little thing, that seems so difficult. It starts to renew my relationship with him. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) And my fellowship, I’m starting to talk to him again. I’m starting to see, you know, the light, the good. And then I start to find joy in the little things again.

Sharon (03:39):

Yeah. Yeah. Have you heard Brandon Lake’s new song ‘Gratitude’?

Nicole (03:42):

I just heard it last week. It’s so beautiful. I’ve been playing on repeat.

Sharon (03:46):

It is stunning. (Nicole: Yeah) Because that’s what the song is. It’s a coaching of the soul, especially the bridge. When he goes to that bridge, he’s like, do it.

Nicole (03:55):

Don’t give up on me.

Sharon (03:55):

Do it. Don’t give up, praise him. (Nicole: Oh, I love that.) Dig deep and praise him. And I wept the first time. I mean, I saw it in a theater; it was part of ‘The Chosen Christmas Special’.

Nicole (04:05):

Oh neat.

Sharon (04:06):

And watching him demand that his soul praise, whether he felt like it or not. Oh my word. It was just so good. It gave me goosebumps.

Nicole (04:17):

Yeah!

Sharon (04:18):

David would do that in the Psalms. When you read the Psalms David’s despondent, he feels abandoned by God and everyone. And then he starts to coach his soul (Nicole: Mm-hmm) and see the blessings and make himself see the good in God. (Nicole: Yes) And get himself to a better place. So.

Nicole (04:34):

Oh, I love that about David. He was really good at that.

Sharon (04:37):

He was so good at that. (Nicole: Yeah) And guess what? We’re gonna do it right now.

Nicole (04:40):

Okay.

Sharon (04:41):

We’re gonna count some blessings. (Nicole: Okay) Spontaneously, no notes. I’ll start (Nicole: All right) seeing I’m the one that invented this. It’ll give you time to think of a blessing. All right. The blessing, one of my blessings is actually my dog, my little Bella who this morning, while I was laying in bed, trying to get the energy to get outta bed was licking my hand and helping me wake up.

Nicole (05:06):

Oh, she’s so sweet.

Sharon (05:06):

So there’s a blessing.

Nicole (05:07):

I love it. I’m gonna say, the blessing of our pellet stove. It’s been really cold lately.

Sharon (05:14):

Yes it has.

Nicole (05:14):

And it’s been so nice to have that warm little stove busting away and warming up the lower half of our house.

Sharon (05:20):

Oh! My parents have a pellet stove.

Nicole (05:22):

It’s been so nice. I’ve been sitting by it and I’m like, oh, I’m so thankful for the warmth. (Sharon: Yes. Yes) It’s been freezing.

Sharon (05:27):

Oh, speaking of that, I have another blessing.

Nicole (05:29):

Okay.

Sharon (05:29):

I bought my Honda and it was new, but it was like last year’s model. And it was the cheapest. I’m like, no, no frills. Guess what one of the no frills are?

Nicole (05:40):

What?

Sharon (05:40):

Heated seats.

Nicole (05:42):

Oh, those are nice.

Sharon (05:42):

That’s a blessing. I can’t even stand it. I didn’t ask for one. I thought that was like, if you got the fancy model, you know? (Nicole: Yeah) So that’s a huge blessing to me. Every time I push the button for heated seats, I’m like, I have heated seats.

Nicole (05:55):

It’s like pure luxury (Sharon: It is) and it’s really good for your back if you have like back pain. I used to go sit out there when back hurt.

Sharon (06:00):

Oh, man alive! So there’s another one. Your turn.

Nicole (06:02):

That’s nice. Oh, speaking of heat, I’m just really cold today, I got a heated blanket for Christmas and it’s my new favorite thing. It’s a throw blanket so I get to sit in different places throughout the house with my heated blanket.

Sharon (06:12):

(Laughing) I love it.

Nicole (06:13):

I’m so happy. I’ve just been really cold lately.

Sharon (06:16):

Yes, well, continuing that theme, several Christmases ago, Ray bought me lavender scented, microwavable slippers.

Nicole (06:23):

What!?

Sharon (06:23):

Have you ever heard of those?

Nicole (06:25):

No, I need those.

Sharon (06:26):

Twenty dollars on Amazon.

Nicole (06:29):

That’s so cute.

Sharon (06:29):

I mean, not expensive, but you stick them in the microwave and then you put your feet in them and lavender comes up at you and your feet are warm.

Nicole (06:36):

Oh, my word. I love it. Cause it’s the little things, you know?

Sharon (06:39):

Yes. So that’s a blessing too. Okay, but I’m gonna do,

Nicole (06:41):

A serious one, but those are good ones.

Sharon (06:41):

I’m gonna do a blessing that is more in line with something I should really be grateful for because lavender scented slippers are kind of luxurious. Well maybe, maybe I need to just be blessed that I live in a time and place where I can get that.

Nicole (06:56):

Oh, that they’re invented. Yeah.

Sharon (06:57):

So, all right, your turn.

Nicole (06:57):

I’m really happy to be healthy right now. <laugh>.

Sharon (07:01):

Oh, my word. Yes!

Nicole (07:03):

It’s been quite a battle. And there’s so much sickness going around. I’m really thankful at this present moment to feel well.

Sharon (07:07):

Yes. And you know what? Sometimes we are only thankful for health when we lose it and we’re like, oh, I remember what it was like to breathe (Nicole: Yep) freely through my nose so when we can breathe freely through our noses and I can at the moment. (Nicole: Yes) We should be grateful for that.

Nicole (07:21):

Such a wonderful miracle.

Sharon (07:23):

Yeah. And I’m grateful for water. I’m often grateful for water, I have to say, because I’ve heard too many descriptions from people that have visited third world countries where there’s no potable water.

Nicole (07:34):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (07:34):

There just isn’t. You have to walk to a river and then you have to boil it or you die from the little bacteria, wormy, things that are in it. (Nicole: Right) And I just turn a faucet, Nicole. You just turn a faucet. (Nicole: Yep) There it is, water.

Nicole (07:46):

It’s hot and cold.

Sharon (07:48):

Yeah. And there’s heat too.

Nicole (07:49):

Kinda magical. Yes.

Sharon (07:50):

We’re still on the warm theme. (Laughing) So, okay. Well that’s, I mean, we could do it all day long. We could look at every finger and thank God for them because not everybody has all their fingers.

Nicole (08:03):

That’s true. We can start from the top of our head and work our way down and then work our way out to like family and friends and the little things around us.

Sharon (08:09):

Yes. Yes.

Nicole (08:09):

We could spend all day.

Sharon (08:10):

Yeah. And sometimes one needs to, in order to remember the good things.

Nicole (08:13):

It’s true.

Sharon (08:14):

Yes. Well, today we’re gonna look at some spiritual blessings in our Ephesians passage. Paul’s actually going to get a wee bit harsh with them because of their choice to go backwards a bit instead of living in grace. But notice how first he shares blessings before he gets beyond that. And I think it’s very wise. I’ve heard it called a ‘honey sandwich’ by someone in the past. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that term.

Nicole (08:41):

No.

Sharon (08:41):

It’s when you share something a bit, when you have to share something a bit unpalatable or bitter with someone you love, you wanna sandwich the difficult subject with honey. (Nicole: Oh, yeah) with love. Right? People can hear an unpleasant truth better if first they have been assured that they’re loved and valued.

Nicole (08:59):

That’s very true. Yep.

Sharon (09:00):

Right, right? So you start with the honey and you end with the honey, and you share the hard in the middle. Right. So twice the love and then the hard truth in the middle. So it’s a great approach.

Nicole (09:11):

That is good.

Sharon (09:11):

It’s one that we should remember with those closest to us. For example, am I saying love words to Ray twice as much as I’m saying hard truths like, every light in the house is on again. (Nicole laughs) Right? So, we should definitely honey sandwich our stuff.

Nicole (09:26):

Yeah.

Sharon (09:26):

And Paul does that. He starts with this wonderful flow.

Nicole (09:29):

He does. Oh, I love that. I am familiar with that concept and I do use it though I’ve never heard it called a honey sandwich. But I like that. I’m gonna use that now. But yes, it’s really, it’s really very effective. I’ve tried the other way and that doesn’t seem to work as well. So.(Sharon, laughing) Especially with my kiddos, Sharon, if I start out with a sweet thing first, and then a difficult thing and then end with kindness, they are so much more receptive. And honestly it puts me in a much better mindset to correct to them. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) because I have to stop and think of something kind to say to them first. So it changes my attitude of frustration. You know, like, you, you… It’s like, oh, okay. Remember the good. It does help a lot, diffuse the situation.

Sharon (10:09):

Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole (10:10):

But you know, it changes my attitude of frustration and then someone is seeing the good in them. So it really does soften the hard truth that comes next. And then we end on a sweet note. We leave with the relationship still in good shape.

Sharon (10:21):

Yes. And that’s important.

Nicole (10:22):

And a kiddo that feels loved and a mama that doesn’t feel so mean.

Sharon (10:26):

That’s true. And kids are little humans. All of us don’t like criticism. That’s not just unique to children. (Nicole: Right) I prefer never to be criticized.

Nicole (10:35):

No, thank you.

Sharon (10:36):

Yes. But if I’m going to be, it’s easier when someone says, I value you, I love you. (Nicole: Right) This is just something I see in you that needs help. Right?

Nicole (10:46):

Because I love you. I’m going to tell you.

Sharon (10:47):

Because I love you. Right. One of my friends says that she and her husband have a phrase. I might have said this before in the podcast, they say, are you feeling teachable?

Nicole (10:56):

Oh, that’s good.

Sharon (10:57):

I know. And the spouse can say, ‘not particularly’ (laughing) but I’ll work on getting to a teachable point, cause clearly you have something you want to tell me.

Nicole (11:06):

Right. Like give me like three days and I’ll get back to you on that.

Sharon (11:09):

Yeah, back to you on that. So, but it kind of, you know, prepares the soil. And then in the teachable moment, it’s like, you know, I love this about you, this about you, and this about you. One thing where I feel hurt by you is.

Nicole (11:21):

That’s really good cause it gives us a chance to not be blindsided by it either.

Sharon (11:25):

Exactly.

Nicole (11:26):

We can kind of go, okay, they’re gonna tell me a hard truth. Don’t be reactive and defensive.

Sharon (11:30):

Exactly.

Nicole (11:31):

That’s really smart.

Sharon (11:32):

I kinda love that phrase.

Nicole (11:33):

Yeah. I might have to write that down and remember it with Josh.

Sharon (11:35):

Yeah, it’s a good one. It’s a good one. So, well perhaps we should actually turn to Ephesians and read the passage. What do you think?

Nicole (11:42):

Maybe we should dive in.

Sharon (11:43):

Because this is all about Paul blessing. I mean, he starts with that grace and peace we talked about last week, but he, I mean he has a lot of honey. He has a lot of love to pour out on them and we’re gonna read it in this passage. So we’re gonna read Ephesians 1:3-14 but I just wanna remind me and you and everybody listening, our words, Nicole’s and my words, are just words. God’s Word is always true. So when we read a passage of scripture, nestle down and listen deep, because we’ll make mistakes. We will say things that we wish we hadn’t said or phrased differently, but God’s word is true. It’s all true. And it’s living and it’s active. So when we are reading words from God, this is a pay attention, this is what we call a Sweet Selah Moment when we’re listening to the word.

Nicole (12:37):

Absolutely.

Sharon (12:37):

So Nicole, why don’t you start with verse three.

Nicole (12:40):

All right. “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, because we are united with Christ.”

Sharon (12:49):

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

Nicole (12:58):

“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.”

Sharon (13:07):

“So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear son.”

Nicole (13:14):

“He is so rich in kindness and grace, that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his son and forgave our sins.”

Sharon (13:20):

“He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.”

Nicole (13:26):

“God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ, which is to fulfill his own good plan.”

Sharon (13:32):

“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.”

Nicole (13:42):

“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.”

Sharon (13:52):

“God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ, would bring praise and glory to God.”

Nicole (13:59):

“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.”

Sharon (14:10):

“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.” Man, what a list, huh?

Nicole (14:26):

I love that opening.

Sharon (14:27):

Paul doesn’t hit hard at them immediately with any frustrations he might have.

Nicole (14:32):

No.

Sharon (14:32):

Instead he reminds them of their rich inheritance, found in Christ, simply because they were saved. (Nicole: Mm-hmm) That’s it. Not a result of what they did at all. Hmm. Nicole, I can so frequently try to find my worth in what I do instead of whose I am.

Nicole (14:50):

Yes.

Sharon (14:51):

It helps me so much to remember that I am loved by God because he made me and he likes what he made.

Nicole (14:56):

Hmm. I love that.

Sharon (14:57):

Just that. He likes, he loves his Sharon. Because he made me this way on purpose with my mouth and everything. (Laughing) So I’m his Sharon when I’m doing well, and I am still God’s Sharon, when I’ve messed up and I’m feeling defeated. I am always his. Always, always his, and this is such a happy thing.

Nicole (15:19):

Oh, it’s so true. I need to remember that more cause it is such an easy trap for me to fall into as well, you know, that trying to find our worth in what we do instead of whose we are.

Sharon (15:29):

Yeah, whose we are, right.

Nicole (15:30):

Yeah, and I think I hit my peak of that right before Sweet Selah Ministries, you know? (Sharon: Yeah) I’d just stopped working as a dental assistant where, you know, you find your value in your paychecks and the raises and the reviews telling you how good or bad you’re doing. So you have like some way to measure your value.

Sharon (15:43):

Something concrete. Yeah.

Nicole (15:44):

Yeah. But switching to be a homemaker. I didn’t get any of that. And I was taking on way too much besides, you know, the daunting task of housework and baby raising and all that. And it just exhausted me. It’s just too much. So, I found the value in rest now. Thank you, Lord. (Sharon: Yay!) I found my worth in Christ and how it’s not based on how good I do or what I accomplish, but it certainly is a pitfall that my heart falls into more easily than others. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) So, maybe that’s why Ephesians was such a wonderful book for me to study. God knew I needed that reminder that he accomplishes all the good things in my life and that I can stop trying so hard to find my worth in anything besides what he says I am.

Sharon (16:24):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, we’re gonna walk through this beautiful blessings passage and discover the treasures there. None of them have to do with what we can accomplish. All of them are gifts by a gracious God. And I just love them and I wanna linger on them. So I’m gonna start with verse three and we’ll go back and forth. So verse three says “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.” How wise of Paul to start out by pointing to God? Mm. You know, our board chair, we just had our board meeting a couple of weeks ago. And she started our board meeting with like 25 minutes of praise and worship and prayer and oh wow. Nicole, it was, it was phenomenal. (Nicole: Yeah) We had to be on zoom and it’s even harder on zoom to pray.

Nicole (17:14):

Yes.

Sharon (17:14):

And yet it worked, it worked, it worked. She had a praise attribute just like you do in Mom’s in Prayer. (Nicole: Right) And there’s nine on the board plus me. So there were 10 of us there, men and women. And we, we started by giving honor to the Lord.

Nicole (17:28):

Oh, I love that.

Sharon (17:29):

It just, I tell ya, it just warmed my heart to hear these wonderful people that are working on our board, giving praise to God and it kind of centered us. It reminded us of why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Nicole (17:42):

Right.

Sharon (17:42):

You know, ministry can feel like a business and it is not.

Nicole (17:45):

Right.

Sharon (17:46):

It is not a business. It is ministry under the Headship and Kingship of Jesus Christ.

Nicole (17:53):

Right.

Sharon (17:54):

And by giving him first place like that, it really showed up big. And so yay, board chair! I love her.

Nicole (17:59):

That’s wonderful. Oh, that’s great.

Sharon (18:01):

Deneane, if you’re listening, I love you. (Laughing) So anyways, that’s how Paul started out and more of us should do that, all the time. (Nicole: Yeah) He’s like, ‘All praise to God’. It just doesn’t get better than that. And then he goes on to state that one of our blessings is that we are united with Christ. (Nicole: Hmm) That’s a stunning thought.

Nicole (18:19):

Yeah it is.

Sharon (18:19):

Christ lives within us. We abide in him and him in us. We work with him in a gentle yoke to do the work he called us to do, never alone. We are companion-ed by the greatest of Kings. And yet he calls us friends. Okay. So that’s a blessing.

Nicole (18:34):

I don’t think I could ever get sick of hearing that. That’s so cool.

Sharon (18:37):

It is. We’re united in Christ. So that’s my blessing.

Nicole (18:40):

Oh, that’s a good one.

Sharon (18:41):

Move on with verse four.

Nicole (18:43):

All right. So verse four says, I’ll read it again. “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” Oh, I love this one too.

Sharon (18:54):

Yes!

Nicole (18:55):

So here I see God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy. Even before he made the world, Sharon.

Sharon (19:01):

I know.

Nicole (19:02):

I mean, he already chose us and knew us then. I just think that’s so amazing.

Sharon (19:05):

Isn’t it?

Nicole (19:07):

That he had Sharon and Nicole are gonna be down there. Oh, then I’ll make the world too. He, he knew us. Like he knew, I just can’t wrap my head around that.

Sharon (19:13):

I can’t either.

Nicole (19:13):

It’s such a beautiful thing.

Sharon (19:14):

Yeah. And, and it’s just, how big can God be, that billions and billions and billions of people have lived on this planet. (Nicole: Right) And before the world began, he knew us.

Nicole (19:22):

Every single one of us. And he loved every single one of us.

Sharon (19:25):

No matter how big I think God is, he’s bigger.

Nicole (19:27):

Oh yeah. Every time you think you might get a little bit. It’s like, oh no, he bigger than that possibly.

Sharon (19:31):

He’s bigger than that. Yeah. My brain is just too small, so cool.

Nicole (19:34):

That’s so cool.

Sharon (19:35):

Okay, verse five, “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.” I see two blessings. I can’t just do one for verse five. First of all, he adopted us. We’re chosen and wanted babies, right? Isn’t that the sweetest. (Nicole: Yeah) He chose us. And second of all, it gave him pleasure. He’s actually glad he adopted us. Which considering how rotten we can be at times.

Nicole (20:05):

Yes (laughing).

Sharon (20:06):

That’s a stretch, but he does. So he adopted us and he’s glad he did. (Nicole: Hmm) Even though he knows us.

Nicole (20:13):

I know. That’s, it’s good to hear that he’s glad he adopted us. (Laughing) Because, who had these kids?

Sharon (20:19):

I know.

Nicole (20:20):

Oh, so verse six says, “So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” The blessing here I see is, we have glorious grace poured on us by God, just, wow. And we belong to Jesus. We are his and no one and nothing can take us away.

Sharon (20:38):

I love that too. I even like the alliteration ‘glorious grace’.

Nicole (20:42):

Yeah.

Sharon (20:42):

It’s just so beautiful. So, okay, verse seven. “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave, our sins.” Oh man. We were slaves to sin before Christ. Totally chained to habits we couldn’t break and mindsets that hurt us. And when Jesus came, he purchased our freedom with his blood. That’s a blessing.

Nicole (21:07):

Yeah, it is.

Sharon (21:09):

And we no longer have to feel the weight of condemnation and failure because of it. We’re free and we’re forgiven. (Nicole: Mmm) Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. We should never tire of hearing that. Never, ever.

Nicole (21:19):

No, that’s so crazy. All right, verse eight. “He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” God has showered us with his kindness, wisdom and understanding. So not just a stingy sprinkle. (Laughs) He showered us in these blessings.

Sharon (21:36):

I love it. Think of a shower. The water just pours down,

Nicole (21:39):

Just saturates you!

Sharon (21:40):

Well in a good shower.

Nicole (21:41):

Right!

Sharon (21:42):

I’ve been in some hotels where I wouldn’t say that, but my shower.

Nicole (21:46):

And those really good waterfall showers!

Sharon (21:46):

Yes, yes, yes! And it just keeps coming. That’s the other thing, the water just keeps coming.

New Speaker (21:53):

That’s awesome.

Sharon (21:54):

So cool. So cool. Okay, verse nine. “God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ, which is to fulfill his own good plan.” Okay. So the blessing here is there’s a plan, you know, sometimes look at the chaos in the world and you’re like, what is going on? (Nicole: Yeah) Everything just hits you. And it seems random and horrible. And if I thought there was no purpose or plan Nicole, I would be in despair.

Nicole (22:22):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (22:22):

Because you’d never see any meaning to life. It would just be worthless. So,. But life is not chaos and chance and random, there is a plan and oh, it’s good. This is a good plan.

Nicole (22:36):

What a comfort.

Sharon (22:36):

Hallelujah! It makes the hard things so much more bearable.

Nicole (22:40):

It really does. Oh. Oh. And to kind of continue on that. “And this is the plan.”

Sharon (22:45):

Oh, good, verse ten.

Nicole (22:46):

Yeah. “At the right time, he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ, everything in heaven and on earth.” So even all that chaos and craziness. (Sharon: Yeah) So to further add to this plan, “He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ at the right time.” So at some point everything and everyone in heaven and earth are going to obey and follow God. This is a beautiful blessing and a promise for sure.

Sharon (23:08):

It sure is. And it means the ending is good.

Nicole (23:11):

Yes.

Sharon (23:12):

And that’s a blessing to know. (Nicole: Yes) I like, I sometimes peek at the end of books.

Nicole (23:17):

I used to do that too.

Sharon (23:18):

Confession. Not always, but sometimes. You know, we know the end of the story.

Nicole (23:23):

Yeah, we do.

Sharon (23:24):

We do. God, let us peek.

Nicole (23:25):

He did.

Sharon (23:25):

It was nice of him. So verse 11, “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.” You know, I love that word, ‘furthermore’. It reminds me of the selling shows on TV, where you get the very sharp knife for only $25. But then wait, there’s more, you get three paring knives and a spoon too. (Nicole, laughing: Right) Right. All that stuff.

Nicole (23:52):

That’s awesome.

Sharon (23:52):

So Paul’s like on a roll about blessings, but then he is like, furthermore.

Nicole (23:57):

Right.

Sharon (23:57):

But wait, there’s more. It’s like, he’s on this roll. I mean, there he is sitting in house arrest. Right?

Nicole (24:04):

Right.

Sharon (24:06):

You know, and he’s got time on his hands, so he’s like, oh, and there’s more.

Nicole (24:09):

And this, and God is this; and he’s really great in this.

Sharon (24:12):

Yeah. So we’re not only forgiven and chosen and part of the plan and la da, da, da. We also have an inheritance waiting for us.

Nicole (24:20):

Wow.

Sharon (24:20):

You know, I can’t imagine what it is.

Nicole (24:22):

I know.

Sharon (24:22):

What is the inheritance? (Nicole: Right) I mean, is it like he’s (Jesus) said he was going to prepare a place for us; in my house are many mansions, you know, all that? So is part of the inheritance, a place uniquely suited for Sharon and another one for Nicole? I don’t know. Is it the crown? You know, we get a crown, (Nicole: It’s true, yeah) that we end up laying at his feet because we know we don’t, it’s really his.

Nicole (24:43):

Right.

Sharon (24:44):

You know, I have no clue, but I have a lot of fun thinking about it.

Nicole (24:48):

What is our inheritance?

Sharon (24:49):

What is our inheritance?

Nicole (24:50):

And that’s fun. It’s something to look forward to, you know?

Sharon (24:52):

Yeah. Yeah. It’s kinda like the reading of the will. What? Aunt Joan left me, her pearls. What? (Nicole: Right) You know, so, so God let us peek at the end of the book, but there’s still mystery.

Nicole (25:02):

Right.

Sharon (25:03):

I don’t know what the inheritance is.

Nicole (25:04):

I don’t know what you’re going to get but you’re getting something.

Sharon (25:05):

It’s kind of like Paul’s saying, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Nicole (25:08):

Right.

Sharon (25:09):

And, it’s kind of exciting,

Nicole (25:10):

But wait, there’s more.

Sharon (25:11):

Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole (25:12):

Verse 12, “God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.” So all these blessings kinda add up to one beautiful result, to bring praise and glory to God who, of course, is the one who gave us all these amazing promises and blessings and, by the glory, going to him and not to us, more people will see how wonderful God is and choose to follow him.

Sharon (25:35):

Which is also a blessing.

Nicole (25:36):

It’s also a blessing.

Sharon (25:37):

There we go. (Nicole: Yes) All right. (Nicole: It’s a good one) Verse 13, “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.” Well, we are the Gentiles with the Holy Spirit within us, the proof and seal that we are God’s. It’s a stunning thing to be a walking around temple housing the Holy Spirit (Nicole: Yeah) within me who helps, and guides, and advocates. So the blessing here is that the Spirit within us is actually the proof of our salvation.

Nicole (26:12):

Hmm. That’s so cool. And then verse 14 “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.” Sharon, this is amazing. After all these fantastic blessings, God then guarantees all of these things by giving us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that he will give us the inheritance that he promised. And we have the Holy Spirit to show that he has purchased us to be his own people. It’s like his little seal on us.

Sharon (26:43):

I love it.

Nicole (26:44):

That’s so cool.

Sharon (26:45):

It is. It is. Well, Okie dokey. There we go. Let me list all our blessings in order now. And let’s just bask. Let’s just bask. No matter how dark life appears, these are blessings that don’t go away, right? (Nicole: Yes) I mean, my house can go away. My little car heater from the seats could break.

Nicole (27:07):

Bella could chew your slippers.

Sharon (27:10):

(Laughing) Oh, I know it. Bella could chew my lavender scented slippers. But these blessings stay forever. So on the bad days we need to hold onto them. So here we go. Number one, we are united with Christ. Number two, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy. Three, God adopted us. We are chosen and wanted. And he’s glad he did it. Number four, we have glorious grace poured on us by God. Five, when Jesus came, he purchased our freedom with his blood. Six, God has showered us with his kindness, wisdom and understanding. Seven we’re forgiven. Eight, there is a plan and it is good. Nine, He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ at the right time. Ten, we have an inheritance waiting for us. Eleven, we will bring praise and glory to God. Twelve, the Spirit within us is the proof of our salvation. And last one, God gave us the Holy Spirit as guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised. And this shows that he has purchased us to be his very own people. No matter what goes wrong in my life, I’m still his.

Nicole (28:33):

Yes.

Sharon (28:34):

And I’ve said this before, but my little special, it’s not really a secret name if I’m saying it on a podcast. My secret name is Forever Abba’s. (Nicole: Oh!) I’ve always just, I’ve just known that’s who I am. (Nicole: Yeah) That’s my name.

Nicole (28:47):

I love that.

Sharon (28:48):

I’m Forever Abba’s. (Nicole: Yep) I love it. So let’s pray. Oh, heavenly Father, we thank you for blessings and treasures that nothing in this world can take from us. Father, if we end up in house arrest or beheaded like Paul, these stand, these blessings that you give us stand. We are always yours. We were always chosen by you. You always want us. And we look forward to an inheritance and a life forever with you. Thank you, thank you for eternal blessings. We adore you Lord God. Help us. Help us. Help us to be more like Paul and look to you often and remember all you have given us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Nicole (29:36):

Amen. Thank you so much for joining us today as we studied Spiritual Blessings. We hope you enjoyed counting with us. How are you doing? Are you in a season where counting blessings is easy or hard? Wherever you are in that journey we are glad you joined us today. Want to become a Podcast Partner? Go on over to Sweetselah.org/donations and donate any amount to join our Podcast Partner Team. If you are able, we’d love a good review or two of this podcast, and we always enjoy seeing your comments @Sweetselah.org/podcast. Episode 67 is up next week. It’s called Soul Care Prayer. Hmm. Can’t wait to figure out what that’s all about. Until then count your blessings friend, we have many in Jesus.

Speaker 1 (30:22):

We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word, Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found at SweetSelah.org. Thank you for joining us.

 

You can print and download the transcript here.

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