Morning Musing: Ephesians 2:8-10

“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I love stories of redemption. The greater and more profound the turnaround, the better. They are even better when the person who experiences the most dramatic turnaround is the one you least expected, the one who seemed to be the furthest gone. At the end of this incredible passage, Paul helps us see that the turnaround God has planned for us is just this dramatic. We’ve seen how we were totally lost to sin. We’ve seen how God nonetheless planned to save us in Christ anyway so that His glory might be revealed in us. Here, we see just how amazing is the gift we have in Him. Let’s explore it together.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 2:6-7

“He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever received a gift that wound up being even better than you imagined it would be? When you get married, you receive all kinds of different gifts. Some people are really good at picking out practical or meaningful gifts. Other folks…mean well. My parents still laugh at a wedding gift they received. It was a serving dish shaped like a Weiner dog and you could pull out its tail to find a little knife for spreading dips. On the other hand, we received a set of basic utility knives from a friend’s mom that we used for fifteen years before they were finally so dull (and had been sharpened so many times they wouldn’t maintain an edge anymore) that we had to replace them. The gift of salvation is a little like our knives (not so much like the Weiner dog serving dish). In our verses yesterday, Paul told us about the salvation we have available in Christ. Here, he invites us more fully into it to see the real riches our God has in store for us.

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Digging in Deeper: Daniel 9:4-5

“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: Ah, Lord – the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps his gracious covenant with those who love him and keep his commands – we have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled, and turned away from your commands and ordinances.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things I have encouraged you to do time and time again when it comes to the media content you consume, is to not watch it uncritically. I understand there are times you simply want to disengage and zone out in front of a screen, but media is intended to send a message. That’s why it exists. We absorb these messages whether we are conscious of that or not. For the sake of our souls, it is better if we engage with them aware of what we are consuming in the same way you don’t (or shouldn’t!) eat junk you can’t identify. If you are a follower of Jesus, this means you watch and read and listen with a Christian worldview lens in place. Well, this is not just something I preach. It’s something I practice. That’s why I do these reviews on Fridays. So today, I have another review for you. And because I’m a nerd, this one is another superhero show. This time we’re talking about HBO’s flagship superhero series, Titans. Let’s dig into it.

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Digging in Deeper: Genesis 1:28-31

“God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.’ God also said, ‘Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth – everything having the breath of life in it – I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When you start watching a particular television series, it sometimes takes a few episodes for the worldview of the writers to come out. In the first few episodes they are spending all their time introducing and establishing the main characters. They are revealing which characters are the protagonists and which are the antagonists. They are clarifying the various problems the characters are going to be facing together. And while you might get glimpses of the writers’ worldview in the midst of all of that, it is often difficult to tell which is the worldview they are promoting, and which are the worldviews they are simply presenting. This is all especially true for a traditional series that will run for 23 episodes. But as our television culture continues to shift in the direction of limited series of 8-13 episodes with higher production values (consider, for example, every single Disney+ original series), questions of worldview are being clarified much earlier. And so, as I recently watched the third episode of 1883, a major piece of its worldview was revealed, and I can’t help but to comment on it. I know we talked about the series earlier this week, but let’s come back to the series again this morning in more detail.

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Morning Musing: Genesis 3:15

“I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Jesus came to save sinners. That was His basic purpose in a nutshell. I mean, sure, there’s the whole thing about announcing the inauguration of the kingdom of God, but the growth of God’s kingdom happens as sinners are saved and enter into it. So, Jesus came to save sinners. What’s even better about this is that, as Paul wrote in Romans 5:8, He undertook this whole effort when we were still living in open rebellion against Him. That is, we weren’t particularly interested in being saved if it meant giving up our sin, but He came anyway because we didn’t really understand how bad off we were. His love for us was that great. This program of saving sinners, though, wasn’t something that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t like God finally got tired of our being separated from Him and suddenly threw a plan into action. It was the bringing to fruition of something He had been planning for a very long time. This morning, let’s take a quick look together at the first time that plan was announced.

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