Feeling poor?

BeFunky_Ephesians.jpg“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

It sounds like just another generic entry to another one of Paul’s letters, doesn’t it? “Dear Mom & Dad, How are you. Things here are good. I’m doing fine.”

Well, let’s see:

Romans: “Paul…to all who are in Rome…grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1-7)

Corinthians: “Paul…to the church of God which is at Corinth…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:1-3)“Paul…to the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:1-2)

Galatians: “Paul…to the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:1-3)

Philippians: “Paul and Timothy…to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus christ.” (Philippians 1:1-2)

Colossians: “Paul…to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Colossians 1:1-2)

Thessalonians: “Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:1)“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:1-2) I almost said “ditto” on this one but it didn’t seem very respectful.

Timothy: “Paul…to Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Timothy 1:1-2)“Paul…to Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1:1-2)

Titus: “Paul…to Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 1:1-4)

Philemon: “Paul…to Philemon, our beloved friend and fellow laborer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philemon 1:1-3)

Hmmm…notice anything?Paul to Ephesians

The second verse in Ephesians is Paul’s standard greeting of “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” To keep things short I did not include the follow-up verse for each book. However, in most of the other letters, he follows that part of his greeting by letting them know how thankful he is for them. A couple of times he just launches right into the purpose of the letter.

When writing to the Ephesians, he begins by giving God praise and then by reminding them that God has caused them to prosper with all the blessings of Christianity.

The believers in Ephesus weren’t very different from many of us today. I don’t know if they were financially rich or poor but Ephesus was a happening place full of wealthy, hip people. There were bound to be times these folks felt out-of-place.

Most of them weren’t Jews, they were Greek. They didn’t worship at any of the beautiful temples there that people came from everywhere to see. No, they had to walk past all of the stalls selling beautiful statues of Diana on their way to someone’s house to meet with a few other people who probably also felt very uncool.

Paul knew. He’d been there. He spent three years with them in the middle of a city where temple prostitutes were the norm and these very Christians had given up sorcery and burnt their magic books. He knew the pressures of living and working in that society where everything was god but God.

So he greeted them and he told them they were blessed. Not just a little. Not just “Have a happy day” kind of blessed. Not just a good day in the tent-making business kind of blessed.

Blessed – the given every spiritual benefit available in heaven kind of blessed.

And he spends the rest of three chapters telling them what those benefits are.

Feeling poor? A little left out? Like your Facebook pictures aren’t as cool as everyone else’s?

Read Ephesians. Paul will tell you how blessed you really are.

Thank you Lord, so very much, for all of Your many blessings. Not just for a house to live in, food to eat, and a car to drive – although I don’t want to ever take those for granted. Thank You for choosing me to be Your daughter, for adopting me into Your family, and for giving me all of the riches that come with being Your child.

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Angela

A recovered prodigal and expert breeder of dustbunnies, I'm a wife and a mother who just wants to live all-out, whole-heartedly, full-tilt boogie for Jesus. Living life with abandon combined with the daily regimens of life can be hard - that's where grace comes in. Oh, I love the balance of grace.
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Angela

A recovered prodigal and expert breeder of dustbunnies, I’m a wife and a mother who just wants to live all-out, whole-heartedly, full-tilt boogie for Jesus. Living life with abandon combined with the daily regimens of life can be hard – that’s where grace comes in. Oh, I love the balance of grace.

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