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Paul spends much of Ephesians telling us how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. In Ephesians 4, he calls us to unity and holiness, and to the understanding that even though we are all different and have different purposes, we are all part of one body under Christ. Ephesians 5 continues the theme of holiness and living as children of light. In the last verses of Ephesians 5 (Ephesians 5:22-33) and the first verses of Ephesians 6, (Ephesians 6:1-9) Paul gives us advice for our family relationships, and for our work relationships. He also tells us what our attitude towards our jobs should be, including if we are the employer and not just the employee. But Paul knows that it is not as easy as all that! Paul understands very clearly that we are in a constant spiritual battle. Since creation, God has provided us with a choice, to choose Him or the world, and He has been very gentlemanly about letting us make that choice.(Revelation 3:20) Satan, on the other hand, is working very hard at winning us over to his side, and he will use any means available. (II Corinthians 11:14, I Peter 5:8) We need to realize that our struggles on this earth are not with things, or circumstances or with each other. They are all part of a battle in the spiritual realm. (Ephesians 6:12)

The good news is that we don’t have to fight this battle alone. Hallelujah! We can rely on the strength of God’s power and His armour. (Ephesians 6:10-18) Just as a Roman soldier was clothed in a suit of armour, we can be clothed with God’s spiritual armour. If we put on the full armour of God we will be able to stand against our enemy’s schemes and attacks, and to be left standing when all is said and done. What does God’s armour consist of?

1. The Belt of Truth: A Roman soldier used a belt to hold his garments together and to attach his armour. It made it easier for him to be able to move without tripping over his tunic. Wearing the belt of truth represents not only knowing and believing God’s truth, but also living a truthful life, thus allowing us easier movement without tripping over our words. Knowing and practicing the truth will give us protection against the father of lies. (John 8:44)

2. The Breastplate of Righteousness: We were declared righteous when we accepted Christ’s sacrifice as the substitution for our sins, (Romans 4:5, Romans 10:10) but again, Paul is referring here to the practical, daily actions of believers. We need to act in a way that no one can make an accusation against us, a way that protects our hearts.

3. Preparation That Comes From the Good News of Peace: You can be ready for whatever comes your way if you place your trust in the all-powerful God of peace. The Greek word translated as preparation here indicates to be on a firm footing. It refers to the stability that you get from the gospel of peace that allows you to stand steadfast in the face of battle.

4. The Shield of Faith: Roman soldiers had large shields that would interlock together so that they could advance with a wall of protection before them. They were coated in leather that was soaked in water so that flaming arrows would be extinguished. Satan is certainly attacking us with fiery arrows, and it is our faith that will protect us from them. Since we cannot know when or how these fiery arrows will come, constant faith is absolutely essential.

5. The Helmet of Salvation: The helmet of salvation is a gift from God that protects our heads and our minds. God does not require our faith to be blind. We are encouraged to question and to understand. We need to protect our minds from Satan’s schemes, by growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:18)

6. The Sword of the Spirit: The sword used by Roman soldiers was double-edged so that it could cut in both directions and sharp enough to pierce armour. But the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, and able to judge the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) It is by being very familiar with the Word of God that we will be able to discern what is right and defend ourselves from Satan’s attacks. Satan also knows the Word of God, and he uses it to his advantage–not fully and out of context. (Matthew 4:5-7) If we are to defend ourselves as Jesus did, we must know the Word of God as Jesus did.

Add to all of these prayer for all the saints. If we are praying for each other, we will be alert to the needs and struggles of our fellow warriors. This is not a battle that we can fight ourselves. Remember that Paul’s words here come at the end of a passage about unity, and being one body. Working together as one body, with God’s strength, we can win the battle in the spiritual realm.

I love to go to Christian conferences, partly because I love to learn and to see things from fresh perspectives, but I also love to meet new people who are already sisters and brothers in Christ. Even if our opinions on some matters differ, we are all on pretty much the same wavelength. Our beliefs are similar enough that even though we may have never met before, we are like family. Being with them gives me encouragement in my faith, knowing I am not alone. That is not true for us in every environment we enter, and it was not at all the reality for Jesus’ disciples. There were such a small number of people who were followers of Christ while He walked the earth, and so many more who followed the religious leaders of the day or who were heathens, that the disciples faced a lot of doubt, criticism and persecution.

Before Jesus was arrested and crucified, He prayed for His disciples. Jesus knew that because His disciples had believed in Him, the world would hate them. So Jesus prayed that the Heavenly Father would protect them. John 17:15 tells us that Jesus did not ask God to protect them by taking them out of the world, but that He would protect them while they stayed in the world. That did not mean that the disciples would not face physical harm or discomfort. We know that they did, but Jesus' prayer was that their souls would be protected from Satan for eternity. Jesus had a purpose for His disciples to be in the world and not isolated from it. He wanted them to represent Him and His Word to those around them. He wanted them to spread His love, joy, grace and truth to others. That purpose and Jesus’ prayer still apply to us today. John 17:20 includes us if we believe in Him.

I think sometimes we expect that if we follow Christ our lives should be comfortable and full of blessings, and so we are always disappointed or frustrated when the opposite happens. We should not expect life to be easy, but we can expect God to give us the strength we need to face it. Are you being criticized by others for your beliefs? Do those people represent Jesus or the world? If they represent the world, do not try to win their approval. Instead, represent Jesus in a way that will glorify God, and trust Him to protect you from the evil one.

Today's post was written by Rusty Wright with Meg Korpi.
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I laughed so hard, I ached.

A while back, a friend e-mailed me a list of “Worst analogies written by high school students.” I began using them when presenting at writers and editors conferences. They were genuine side splitters, an English teacher’s nightmare.

Here are some:

Laugh Lines

“Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.”

“From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and ‘Jeopardy!’ comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.”

“The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.”

“He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.”

“Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.”

“Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.”

“John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.”

“The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.”

“His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.”

Source Check

Recently, I decided to track down these shaky analogies’ original source. Turns out they weren’t culled from high school classrooms, but rather were published entries from The Style Invitational, a Washington Post humor writing contest. Apparently, Internet rumors morphed them into high school bloopers.

Oops.

And ouch.

You see, not only am I a stickler for accuracy, but people who spread Internet rumors without checking the facts really irk me. Countless times, I’ve encouraged correspondents to fact check on Snopes.com or TruthOrFiction.com, valuable, if imperfect, resources. I should have checked these analogies before repeating them.

“Physician, heal yourself!” you might say. Guilty as charged. “Any story sounds true,” notes a Jewish proverb, “until someone sets the record straight.” Lesson learned.

The Internet can be a 21st-Century backyard fence or office water cooler. One click can spread interesting, funny, engaging, or juicy gems. Problem is, too often the dispatches contain cyberfactoids—my wife Meg’s coinage for unsubstantiated or inaccurate information, propagated as fact via the Internet. And many will believe these tidbits. After all, they came from a trusted friend.

Does Truth Matter?

So where’s the harm in conveying a little imperfect information? These analogies are just for fun—and they do seem funnier coming from unwitting high-schoolers, rather than contestants intentionally writing “good” bad analogies. Shouldn’t we just lighten up?

If you’re the “trusted friend,” it may depend on whether you want to be, in fact, trustworthy.

If you’re the receiver, you might find wisdom in the old saw: “One who can’t be trusted in small things, shouldn’t be trusted in large ones.” (Luke 16:10)

In fact, carelessness with the truth can blow up on you. Just ask those who ignored problems at BP’s Macondo oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

A few years after publishing the above analogies, the Post ran another collection of bad analogies, including two by Joseph Romm, who had several entries published in the first batch. One of his entries on the second list:

“Joe was frustrated, like a man who thought his claim to fame was occasional appearances in a weekly humor contest, but in fact is known to millions as a stupid high school student who writes unintentionally humorous bad analogies.”

Sorry, Joe. I really am. Hope this helps set the record straight.
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Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com

Meg Korpi is a senior research scientist who studies character development and ethical decision-making through the Character Research Institute in Northern California. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from, and formerly taught at, Stanford University.

Today's post was written by Rusty Wright.
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At Easter, some might wonder what all the fuss is about. Who cares? What difference does it make if Jesus rose from the dead?

It makes all the difference in the world. If Christ did not rise, then thousands of believers have died as martyrs for a hoax.

If he did rise, then he is still alive and can offer peace to troubled, hurting lives.

Countless scholars--among them the apostle Paul, Augustine, Sir Isaac Newton and C.S. Lewis--believed in the resurrection. We need not fear committing intellectual suicide by believing it also. Where do the facts lead?

Paul, a first-century skeptic-turned believer, wrote that "Christ died for our sins...he was buried...he was raised on the third day...he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve (Disciples). After that, he appeared to more than five hundred...at the same time, most of whom are still living." (I Corinthians 15:3-6) Consider four pieces of evidence:

1. The explosive growth of the Christian movement. Within a few weeks after Jesus was crucified, a movement arose which, by the later admission of its enemies, "upset the world." What happened to ignite this movement shortly after its leader had been executed?

2. The Disciples' changed lives. After Jesus' arrest and crucifixion, most of the Disciples fled in fear. Peter denied three times that he was a follower of Jesus. (The women were braver and stayed to the end.) Yet ten out of the eleven Disciples (Judas committed suicide) were martyred for their faith. According to traditions, Peter was crucified upside down; Thomas was skewered; John was boiled in oil but survived. What turned these cowards into heroes? Each believed he had seen Jesus alive again.

3. The empty tomb. Jesus' corpse was removed from the cross, wrapped like a mummy and placed in a solid-rock tomb. A one-and-a-half to two-ton stone was rolled into a slightly depressed groove to seal the tomb's entrance.

A "Green Beret"-like unit of Roman soldiers guarded the grave. Sunday morning, the stone was found rolled away, the body was gone but the graveclothes were still in place. What happened?

Did Christ's friends steal the body? Perhaps one of the women sweet-talked (karate-chopped?) the guards while the others moved the stone and tiptoed off with the body. Or maybe Peter (remember his bravery) or Thomas (Doubting Thomas) overpowered the guards, stole the body, then fabricated--and died for--a resurrection myth.

These theories hardly seem plausible. The guard was too powerful, the stone too heavy and the disciples too spineless to attempt such a feat.

Did Christ's enemies steal the body? If Romans or Jewish religious leaders had the body, surely they would have exposed it publicly and Christianity would have died out. They didn't, and it didn't.

The "Swoon Theory" supposes that Jesus didn't really die but was only unconscious. The expert Roman executioners merely thought he was dead. After a few days in the tomb without food or medicine, the cool air revived him.

He burst from the 100 pounds of graveclothes, rolled away the stone with his nail-pierced hands, scared the daylights out of the Roman soldiers, walked miles on wounded feet and convinced his Disciples he'd been raised from the dead. This one is harder to believe than the resurrection itself.

4. The appearances of the risen Christ. For 40 days after his death, many different people said they saw Jesus alive. Witnesses included a woman, a shrewd tax collector, several fishermen and over 500 people at once. These claims provide further eyewitness testimony for the resurrection.

As a skeptic, I realized that attempts to explain away the evidences run into a brick wall of facts that point to one conclusion: Christ is risen.

The above does not constitute an exhaustive proof, rather a reasoned examination of the evidence. Each interested person should evaluate the evidence and decide if it makes sense. Of course, the truth or falsity of the resurrection is a matter of historical fact and is not dependent on anyone's belief. If the facts support the claim, one can conclude that he arose. In any case, mere intellectual assent to the facts does little for one's life.

A major evidence comes experientially, in personally receiving Jesus' free gift of forgiveness. He said, "I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him (or her)." (Revelation 3:20)

Worth considering?
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Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com

2

In my last post I discussed how sometimes Christians can be judgemental, but Christians are judged a lot too. One judgement that is often made is that we must be mindless to believe in a God we cannot see. Yet there are people who have suffered persecution, even given their lives rather than deny their belief in God. Why would the disciples have kept the faith when their lives were at risk? Why would people today? They would have to be pretty certain that what they believe is true to be willing to give up their lives for it.

One of the verses that I mentioned in my last post was I Peter 3:15-16. Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have. Be ready to explain why you believe as you do. In order to do that you have to know for yourself, and the fact that your parents or your friends believe that way won’t hold up as a reason for long.

In Acts 17:10, Luke is in the process of recounting the travels and activities of Paul and Silas among others. They had been in Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9) but had to leave because the Jews there didn’t want to consider anything different than what they already believed, so they were not willing to hear that Jesus was the Messiah that they had been waiting for. They opposed Paul and Silas and accused them of stirring up trouble and opposing Caesar. These were pretty serious charges, so after paying their fine, the believers sent Paul and Silas to the town of Berea. As usual Paul went to the synagogue to share the good news that Jesus was the Messiah. The Bereans heard the message, but instead of opposing it, they listened with open minds to hear what Paul had to say. They also took the next step. They didn’t just take what Paul said at face value; they searched the Scriptures and studied them every day to see if what Paul was saying was true. (Acts 17:11) Many translations describe the Bereans as being noble or fair-minded. Essentially, they were more willing to learn, by listening to Paul and then checking the facts for themselves.

Are you unsure what to believe? Don’t believe anything just because someone else tells you to. Think for yourselves. Do your research. The Bible can withstand your scrutiny. Do a little bit of studying. One example of a person who did this is Josh McDowell. He was a skeptic that set out to prove Christianity was a joke. He couldn’t do it because there was far too much evidence to prove that Jesus is who He says He is. You can read Josh’s account of his own journey in the third section of Skeptics Who Demanded a Verdict, available as a PDF here. Other resources he has available may help you in your own search for the truth.

1

I’ve spent a lot of time on university campuses, three campuses as a student and one as faculty. Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of talk about truth. Generally speaking, the consensus is that truth is individual—what is true for you may not be true for me, and what is true for me may not be true for you. And the truth could change. As we gain new knowledge, we may alter our views. For me, that doesn’t define truth at all. For me, that defines opinion. That is not to say that we can’t learn more about truth as we go through life, but truth doesn’t change, only our knowledge of it does.

In French, there are two ways to express the verb to know. Savoir is used when the meaning is to know a fact or to know how to do something. Connaître is used for being familiar with a place or for knowing people. In English, we don’t have those distinctions, but Jesus told us in John 14:6 that He is the Truth. So in John 8:32 when He speaks of knowing the truth and being set free by the truth, He is referring to Himself. In this case, there is no question of what that truth might be depending on who perceives it. John 8:31 makes it clear. “If you continue to follow my teaching,” Jesus says, “then you will be true disciples...” John 8:32 continues the sentence, “…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” So often people take John 8:32 out of context, and use it alone to encourage the pursuit of knowledge. But that is not the point of this verse. Jesus is encouraging new believers to know Him. He is telling them how to truly be disciples, and He gives them a promise, that abiding in Him will give them freedom. He didn’t mean political freedom as the speakers of John 8:33 must have assumed, but spiritual freedom, freedom from bondage to sin. (John 8:34-36)

Being somewhat academically inclined, and also somewhat idealistic, I like to know the truth for the sake of knowing the truth. But if knowing that truth, also brings freedom, that’s a bonus that I don’t want to miss out on. So I will choose to abide in the teaching of Jesus who is the Truth. Will you?

7

I often read other people’s blogs and comments. One comment I read recently was on the topic of food laws of the Old Testament, and if we weren’t willing to obey them, should we just ignore all the other laws of the Old Testament, such as the ten commandments, as well? I’ve heard comments similar to this before. If this was a cultural issue and doesn’t apply to us today, then does any of the Old Testament apply? I find it interesting that (a) people think that it has to be all or nothing and (b) people are willing to follow the rules without understanding the underlying principles. This is what the Pharisees did.

The Pharisees were very religious, and they were so strict about following the Law that they made up more rules to add to it. Before long it was more about the rules than it was about pleasing God. Jesus had offended the Pharisees by not observing their Sabbath laws, (Mark 2:23-3:6) so they began to watch for any reason to accuse Him. An opportunity came when the disciples didn’t follow the rules for ceremonial washing before a meal. (Mark 7:1-5) This ritual was not intended for physical cleanliness, but for moral cleanliness. So when Jesus responded to them, (Mark 7:15) He also was talking about moral cleanliness. In doing so, according to Mark, He declared the end to food restrictions. (Take note that Jesus did not speak those exact words, but Mark came to that conclusion from what he had learned through Peter in this passage and in Acts 11:1-10.)

The disciples had grown up with these Pharisaical traditions, and didn’t know any other way. So when Jesus said that people could not be defiled by what they ate, the disciples were confused and asked for an explanation. (Mark 7:17-23) I’m sure that Jesus did not intend for us to never wash or to eat anything we wanted without regard to our health. But He was more concerned with our spiritual health than with our physical health. He was more concerned with the condition of our hearts, because that is the source of sin in our lives. If we will concentrate on keeping our hearts pure, our hands and mouths will not do anything to defile us.

3

Paul spends much of Ephesians telling us how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. In Ephesians 4, he calls us to unity and holiness, and to the understanding that even though we are all different and have different purposes, we are all part of one body under Christ. Ephesians 5 continues the theme of holiness and living as children of light. In the last verses of Ephesians 5 (Ephesians 5:22-33) and the first verses of Ephesians 6, (Ephesians 6:1-9) Paul gives us advice for our family relationships, and for our work relationships. He also tells us what our attitude towards our jobs should be, including if we are the employer and not just the employee. But Paul knows that it is not as easy as all that! Paul understands very clearly that we are in a constant spiritual battle. Since creation, God has provided us with a choice, to choose Him or the world, and He has been very gentlemanly about letting us make that choice.(Revelation 3:20) Satan, on the other hand, is working very hard at winning us over to his side, and he will use any means available. (II Corinthians 11:14, I Peter 5:8) We need to realize that our struggles on this earth are not with things, or circumstances or with each other. They are all part of a battle in the spiritual realm. (Ephesians 6:12)

The good news is that we don’t have to fight this battle alone. Hallelujah! We can rely on the strength of God’s power and His armour. Just as a Roman soldier was clothed in a suit of armour, we can be clothed with God’s spiritual armour. If we put on the full armour of God we will be able to stand against our enemy’s schemes and attacks, and to be left standing when all is said and done. What does God’s armour consist of?

1. The Belt of Truth: A Roman soldier used a belt to hold his garments together and to attach his armour. It made it easier for him to be able to move without tripping over his tunic. Wearing the belt of truth represents not only knowing and believing God’s truth, but also living a truthful life, thus allowing us easier movement without tripping over our words. Knowing and practicing the truth will give us protection against the father of lies. (John 8:44)

2. The Breastplate of Righteousness: We were declared righteous when we accepted Christ’s sacrifice as the substitution for our sins, (Romans 4:5, Romans 10:10) but again, Paul is referring here to the practical, daily actions of believers. We need to act in a way that no one can make an accusation against us, a way that protects our hearts.

3. Preparation That Comes From the Good News of Peace: You can be ready for whatever comes your way if you place your trust in the all-powerful God of peace. The Greek word translated as preparation here indicates to be on a firm footing. It refers to the stability that you get from the gospel of peace that allows you to stand steadfast in the face of battle.

4. The Shield of Faith: Roman soldiers had large shields that would interlock together so that they could advance with a wall of protection before them. They were coated in leather that was soaked in water so that flaming arrows would be extinguished. Satan is certainly attacking us with fiery arrows, and it is our faith that will protect us from them. Since we cannot know when or how these fiery arrows will come, constant faith is absolutely essential.

5. The Helmet of Salvation: The helmet of salvation is a gift from God that protects our heads and our minds. God does not require our faith to be blind. We are encouraged to question and to understand. We need to protect our minds from Satan’s schemes, by growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:18)

6. The Sword of the Spirit: The sword used by Roman soldiers was double-edged so that it could cut in both directions and sharp enough to pierce armour. But the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, and able to judge the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) It is by being very familiar with the Word of God that we will be able to discern what is right and defend ourselves from Satan’s attacks. Satan also knows the Word of God, and he uses it to his advantage--not fully and out of context. (Matthew 4:5-7) If we are to defend ourselves as Jesus did, we must know the Word of God as Jesus did.

Add to all of these prayer for all the saints. If we are praying for each other, we will be alert to the needs and struggles of our fellow warriors. This is not a battle that we can fight ourselves. Remember that Paul’s words here come at the end of a passage about unity, and being one body. Working together as one body, with God’s strength, we can win the battle in the spiritual realm.

4

In honour of Ephesians week, I am reposting an entry that I shared with you a couple of months ago.  Some of you may have missed it, and some of you may be encouraged by reading this again.

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Some people are insensitive. I’d like to believe that they aren’t that way intentionally, but on the other hand, it would be nice if they intentionally tried not to be. Unfortunately, sometimes, because of their own expectations of how things should be, they say hurtful things to people who aren’t meeting their expectations. Now, I’m not talking about reproving someone in love because they have done something unbiblical; I’m talking about things like criticizing people for being single or not having children. Somehow we are all expected to grow up, get a job, get married and have a family, in that order. It doesn’t happen that way for everyone, and so, hurtful, insensitive comments make us think that we’re doing something wrong or that we are in some way not good enough. Satan loves to plant the seed of worthlessness in us and then water and fertilize it to make it grow. This is far from the way God sees us.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and that His purpose for us is to become holy. The larger context (Ephesians 1:3-14) tells us that in Christ we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3) We are predestined and adopted according to the pleasure of His will. (Ephesians 1:5) He has freely bestowed His grace on us. (Ephesians 1:6) We have been redeemed and forgiven through Christ’s willing sacrifice for us. (Ephesians 1:7) Because of this we belong to God. (Ephesians 1:11) We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit who gives us the assurance of our redemption and inheritance and will be with us until the time when all of this is completely fulfilled.

There are many other places in scripture that tell us of the value we have in Christ.

We are:
- the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-14)
- more valuable than the birds that God cares for. (Luke 12:24)
- heirs of the prophets and of the covenant. (Acts 3:25)
- called. (Romans 1:6-7)
- co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8: 17)
- God’s co-workers. (I Corinthians 3:9)
- God’s temple and bought at a price. (I Corinthians 3:16-17, I Corinthians 6:19-20)
- part of the body of Christ. (I Corinthians 12:27)
- a letter from Christ. (II Corinthians 5:20)
- children of God. (Galatians 3:26)
- heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:28-29, Galatians 4:6-7)
- children of promise. (Galatians 4:28)
- members of God’s household. (Ephesians 2:19-20)
- children of light. (Ephesians 5:8-10)
- chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, and we are called out of darkness into His wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

Don’t let Satan keep you in the darkness. The next time someone says something hurtful to you, focus on what God thinks of you instead.

Some people are insensitive. I’d like to believe that they aren’t that way intentionally, but on the other hand, it would be nice if they intentionally tried not to be. Unfortunately, sometimes, because of their own expectations of how things should be, they say hurtful things to people who aren’t meeting their expectations. Now, I’m not talking about reproving someone in love because they have done something unbiblical; I’m talking about things like criticizing people for being single or not having children. Somehow we are all expected to grow up, get a job, get married and have a family, in that order. It doesn’t happen that way for everyone, and so, hurtful, insensitive comments make us think that we’re doing something wrong or that we are in some way not good enough. Satan loves to plant the seed of worthlessness in us and then water and fertilize it to make it grow. This is far from the way God sees us.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and that His purpose for us is to become holy. The larger context (Ephesians 1:3-14) tells us that in Christ we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3) We are predestined and adopted according to the pleasure of His will. (Ephesians 1:5) He has freely bestowed His grace on us. (Ephesians 1:6) We have been redeemed and forgiven through Christ’s willing sacrifice for us. (Ephesians 1:7) Because of this we belong to God. (Ephesians 1:11) We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit who gives us the assurance of our redemption and inheritance and will be with us until the time when all of this is completely fulfilled.

There are many other places in scripture that tell us of the value we have in Christ.

We are:
- the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-14)
- more valuable than the birds that God cares for. (Luke 12:24)
- heirs of the prophets and of the covenant. (Acts 3:25)
- called. (Romans 1:6-7)
- co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8: 17)
- God’s co-workers. (I Corinthians 3:9)
- God’s temple and bought at a price. (I Corinthians 3:16-17, I Corinthians 6:19-20)
- part of the body of Christ. (I Corinthians 12:27)
- a letter from Christ. (II Corinthians 5:20)
- children of God. (Galatians 3:26)
- heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:28-29, Galatians 4:6-7)
- children of promise. (Galatians 4:28)
- members of God’s household. (Ephesians 2:19-20)
- children of light. (Ephesians 5:8-10)
- chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, and we are called out of darkness into His wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

Don’t let Satan keep you in the darkness. The next time someone says something hurtful to you, focus on what God thinks of you instead.