Taking Stock

Meditation

As another year is quickly drawing to a close, we often use this time to take stock of our lives. We look back at where we have been and evaluate where we are now. We also tend to look forward to the new year and what might lie ahead, thinking about what we ought to do in order to get to where we want to be.

It is certainly a good exercise for us to consider where we are in contrast to where we have been and where we are going. While we are doing this, let us not forget our spiritual lives. It would be good for us to be taking stock of where we have been, where we are, and where we are headed.
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All Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Ephesians 1:3

Paul began his letter to the Ephesians by offering praise to God: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). There are many reasons why God is worthy of all praise and honor; but in this passage, Paul directed our attention to the spiritual blessings we have from Him. We give glory to God because he has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

As Paul continued, he listed some of the spiritual blessings available to us:
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Spirit of Faith

Sunrise

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13).

Paul wrote this verse as he told the Corinthians of the ministry he had been given, the hardships he faced for it, and the hope he had for eternal life. He quoted from Psalm 116 – a psalm of deliverance – in which the psalmist expressed his faith and trust in God even in the face of severe trials.

We are to have the same spirit of faith that Paul had. Having this spirit of faith, we will do certain things.
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Forgetting the Past

Hand Reaching

In writing to the church in Philippi, Paul spoke of the pursuit of his goal – the resurrection of the dead to the hope of eternal life. This should be our goal as well.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

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A Better Country

Following an election like we have had in this country, it is expected that some will be pleased with the outcome and some will not. As Christians, whatever side on which we fall, in this and every election, it is important to keep things in perspective.

Those of us who live in the United States of America have the blessing of being able to live in what is arguably the greatest country on earth. We have the freedom to worship God and teach the gospel. We have the opportunity to work and provide for our families. We live without fear of persecution or harassment from the government. Many around the world cannot ever expect to experience these blessings in their lifetime.

However, as great as this country is, we seek a better country. This better country is not contained in campaign promises and political rhetoric. It is not obtained through congressional legislation or presidential policy. It is not preserved and maintained by law enforcement and military might. The better country we desire is one we will never see here on earth.

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Will We Recognize One Another in Heaven?

Woman at sunset

This is a question that many people have. Nowhere does the Bible specifically say we will recognize in heaven those we knew on earth. On the other hand, it does not specifically say we will not, either. So if we want to answer this question, we need to see if there are any implications in Scripture that suggest whether or not we will recognize one another in heaven.
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Instruments in Heaven

Harp

Many attempts have been made to justify the use of instruments of music in worship to God. Though we do not see any mention of instruments being used in the first century church or instructions regarding their use, some will turn to the book of Revelation and point out the instruments in heaven. The argument is that since there will be instruments in heaven, we can use instruments today in the church.
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