Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In an effort to consolidate my writing a little bit, I’m going to switch things around – at least in experimental fashion – beginning tomorrow.  I am going to move Ann’s Challenge posts over to my thoughts blog (www.annhibbard.com).  When I get back into the discipline of writing a challenge every day, it will mean quite a few weekly blog posts in one spot, but I will try to make sure that the challenges are easy to separate out. 

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you on Ann’s Thoughts!

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Benefit or His Glory?

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were seal in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.  Eph 1:13-14

Over the past few days, I have been processing through the “spiritual blessings” that Paul introduces in Eph 1:3 and then outlines in Eph 1:4-14.  And, what a contemplation that has been!  If I were to walk daily in the fullness of even one of these spiritual blessings – oh what greater fullness I would experience!  And yet I barely scratch the surface of any of them.  So, naturally the challenge has been before me to actually walk in these blessings.

But, as I reread verses 13 and 14 this morning, something else struck me.  Do I live such that all the spiritual blessings I received are accepted with an attitude of glorifying the Giver?

I am rather selfish when it comes to blessings.  I want them.  For me.  Yes, when there is a tangible “extra” blessing – a powerfully answered prayer, a surprising material gift, etc – I can’t wait to share the news.  But, those aren’t the blessings listed in these eleven verses.  The blessings listed here are the foundational blessings of our lives as children of God.  Do I live out each of those for His glory?  Or do I simply take for granted the truth that I am His child?

I’m afraid I have a tendency toward the latter.  My challenge, therefore, is to change that tendency.  To not live from one excess material blessing to another, but to live the reality that these foundational blessings are far more incredible than I could ever truly discover in a lifetime.  And to live them out for the glory of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and Him alone. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Faithful Daughter, Given Grace & Peace

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus; grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Eph 1:1-2 NASB

I intended to write yesterday and didn’t, so I’m going to share two thoughts today.

1. To those “who are faithful.”  Do we ever really stop to ponder that?  Do I?  God speaks to His children, but sometimes I think I desire a good and encouraging message from the Lord more when I’m stubbornly clinging to sinful behavior than when I’m actively seeking to walk in righteousness.  The things God says to me when I am walking in a sinful attitude are pretty straightforward, and they are not intended to encourage me to continue in that path.

I am His child for eternity, and my faithfulness or lack thereof will not change that fact.  Nor will it change the fact that He speaks to me where I am.  But, what He has to say to me is most definitely affected by my faithfulness.  Oh, that I may be counted among those who are faithful, for how I hunger to hear the words given to the faithful!

2. “Grace to you and peace…”  When I stop and think about those two words, I realize how frequently I do not live as if they apply to me.  God’s grace is given freely to me – to one who deserves it so little yet receives it so abundantly.  But, more often than not I live as if, since I don’t deserve it, I shouldn’t receive it.  And peace!  Oh, how amazing it is when I rest in it!  Yet so regularly I believe the lie that if I’m at peace then I can’t be praying enough or concerned enough about the seriousness of whatever situation it may be.   

Grace and peace are mine, without any doubt or question.  As a beloved child of the Almighty God, they have been given to me “simply” because of my adoption.  Will I scorn my place as a child of God by living as if I have no grace and peace?  Or will I walk in the grace and peace given to me, learning more each day what it truly means to be God’s beloved daughter?