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In an age when people depend on instant electronic communication, it may be hard for us to understand or remember what it’s like to get a hand-written letter in the mail. It can also be difficult to think of a book in the Bible as a personal letter, but that is what the book of Ephesians is—a letter from the apostle Paul to people he knew and loved. This week we’ll explore Paul’s letter to the Christians of ancient Ephesus to hear its message of grace and peace.  Letters can be of great personal encouragement, and the way a letter begins sets the tone for everything that follows. No matter what our personal circumstances may be, we all need encouragement.  Be Encouraged and know that we are who God says we are!

Ephesians 1 New International Version (NIV)

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
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. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 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, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

The main items that speak to me today, and what I hope you can read out loud and remind yourself is:

I am Redeemed:  The cost of my freedom has been paid in full, it’s nothing that I can earn… I have been given this gift.  I have been chosen and predestined to fulfill His purpose for my life.

I am Sealed:  by the promised Holy Spirit.  I am marked, authentic.  I cannot loose my salvation.  During this time in history, a seal made of wax with the King’s emblem was placed on official documents to ensure that they were not tampered with.  I know that I have been sealed, with the one true King’s symbol…and that I am official, and I will not be tampered with!

I am Adopted:  Adoption can create a total change of position/rights for a person.  Being adopted has given me a new identity.  I have gone from being a nobody to being a child of God.

A couple questions to ask yourself today:  Is it my intention to be adopted?  If so I must turn from my old sin and no longer chase after what this world holds.  Have I forgotten who I am?  It’s so easy to be caught up in the things of this world…and to be lost sometimes without even knowing it.  We certainly don’t intend to get lost.

Please be reassured by these words today that you are Redeemed, Sealed, and Adopted!