Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 February 2014 Ephesians 1:3

Ephesians 1:3.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.  

Well… ‘The party’s over my Friends. It’s time to call it a day…’ 

Chuhhh! How sad, that I will no longer be writing to you from the balcony of my little bungalow in the Sugar Mill Suites of Lowlands, overlooking the lush greenery, and the well kept golf course on God’s Little Acre.
 
Yes my people, the ole fella’s rather short sojourn in Paradise will end today. Steups! Ah Lord eh! The next time you hear from me, God willing, will most likely be from the cold, snowy North Country. And I just heard that there’s been a big, beautiful snowfall, just in time for my return. All praise and glory be to God Almighty! Well what else can a good Christian person say eh? (smile) 
 
But Friends, please note that my absence from Paradise will only be for a short period of time, obviously providing it’s the Lord’s will. And since we all know that where there’s life, there’s always hope, and since I still have some life left in me, I won’t give up, I won’t stop hoping and praying that I can return to sweet Tobago some time soon.
 
And if this just happens to be my swansong, then it was a great one. Mama Mia!
 
And as regards memories… Oh my people, I made a couple of dandy ones yesterday! Around lunch time, I visited one of my mother’s oldest and dearest friends living in Scarborough, Diana Plante.  And was I ever surprised to see how frail and weak she has become, for unfortunately she’s now sick with spinal problems and can’t get around much on her own.
 
She’s now a shadow of the tall, beautiful, buxom woman I once knew, who along with Mols, my mother, at one stage, were the hottest numbers in Scarborough. But as they so rightly say; after one time is certainly two. Now Mols has gone over to the other side, to the great palace in the sky, leaving Di here to suffer the painful afflictions of human existence. 
 
But thankfully, despite the physical ailments, Di’s mind, spirit and faith are all still strong, and that’s a wonderful thing! But nonetheless Friends, please, let’s remember her in our prayers. Let’s pray for her to be comforted in her time of need, for we never truly know what others are going through just from their outward demeanour and behaviour.
 
And there’s absolutely nothing in this world as powerful as prayer power!
 
I made one other good and significant memory yesterday; in the late afternoon, meeting, for the first time ever, one of my nieces, a doctor here on the island. And though we had a long and excellent visit, I was appalled by some of the negative things she recounted about the Health System in T&T in general, and in Tobago, in particular. Although Health Care is basically free, it seems that the level of service and professionalism is sadly lacking.
 
Ah mih people, what to say eh? Not much, because it’s a world-wide phenomenon; the standards in ALL areas of life have fallen to such low levels that it boggles the imagination. And the sad fact is that they are continuing to fall. Hopefully though, we staunch, strong and steadfast believers in Jesus Christ will soon wake up and begin correcting it, for no one else will do it.
 
And those are the most memorable memories I made yesterday… Oh, oh, I almost forgot. I also had my last constitutional at Store Bay, which, despite its total commercialism, is still my favourite beach! Amen!
 
And now, here’s our Bit. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’
 
Oh my brethren, have you noticed how, over the last few days, the Lord has adroitly manoeuvred me to this most appropriate Bit, one dealing with blessings? I guess He’s just making sure that I am fully cognisant of the many blessings He’s showered down on me over the last three weeks. It truly wasn’t necessary though, for the blessings have been so plentiful, that even an atheist would have been forced to say ‘Thanks!’ (smile)
 
And I’m saying that now Lord: ‘Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!’ I know it’s insufficient, but that’s the very best our inferior mortal vocabulary allows.
 
And now Friends and fellow believers, let’s continue with Bruh Paul’s explanation to the Ephesians, re the spiritual blessings received through Christ, from verse 13.
 
‘In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of (down payment or deposit on) our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.’ (Eph.1:13-14)
 
Oh Friends, what beautiful, sweet sounding terms – trust, truth, gospel, salvation, believed, sealed, holy spirit, promise – all in one sentence! Wow! Then you have down payment, deposit, inheritance, redemption, purchase, praise and glory in the next. How priceless!
 
Now let’s hear the scholars’ take on those scriptures. ‘1:13. In whom ye also (or, “by whom also you”): The first person plural (we, us) in verses 3-12 refers to Jewish Christians. The second person plural (you) refers to Gentile Christians. This seems evident from 2:11-12 where the second person is explicitly applied to non-Jews. “Ye being in time past Gentiles… ye were… aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.” Compare 3:1, where Paul calls his readers, “you Gentiles.”
 
The apostle’s point in this “we-you” distinction is that all those spiritual blessings God has bestowed upon “us” Jewish Christians, He has also granted “you” Gentile brethren. There is no difference.
 
In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise may be read, “By whom also, when you believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” The Christian receives the Spirit, not “after,” but when He believes in Christ as Saviour. The sealer is Jesus; the seal is the Holy Spirit. In biblical times a seal denoted both identification and ownership and protection provided by the owner.’ 
 
And re ‘1:14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance means “who is the guarantee of our salvation.” The Holy Spirit is here called “the earnest of our inheritance.” The word ‘earnest’ means “down payment”; as such the gift of the Spirit is viewed as an installment or as part of our salvation. God therefore assures the Christian that the realization of the rest of His salvation is forthcoming.
 
How long is the believer assured of his salvation? Until the redemption of the purchased possession may be read, “until God glorifies and perfects the believer (the purchased possession) whom He has bought by Christ’s blood.”
 
And that’s it for today, and for that message! Please Friends let’s, as always, ponder the words we’ve read, then let them stimulate our hearts, minds and souls as we go out today to do Christ’s work.
 
And now I’m going out on to my balcony and watch the sun rise up above the Eastern horizon for the last time. (smile) Much LOVE!
 
…oh what a friend…and saviour…we have in Jesus…our hopes and cares to bear…  

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