Scripture

Ephesians 1:3-14

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Reflection

We are all adopted. None of us actually deserve the family we have received with God as our heavenly parent. Verse 5 above tells us, “In love God predestined us for adoption.” It was part of God’s plan all along because he loved us. It doesn’t really make sense to most of us. We feel unworthy of such a gift, but God chose us. God chose to make us part of the eternal family, and for that, I am grateful. In the same way, I am grateful for all of the stepparents and adoptive and foster parents in the world. They don’t have to take on the responsibility of parenting, but they choose to do so, out of love. I have not been a stepparent, but I have had a few. I imagine for the new parent, the task seems daunting and scary. It is the same for the kids. But, if everyone chooses to love, chooses to do the hard stuff, and offer the sort of patience required in raising any child, it can be a beautiful experience. In my journey, I have found that sometimes the best sorts of families are families not by blood, but by choice. 

Listen to one of our church members story of having and being a stepparent.

By Skyler Reid

My dad, who is actually my stepdad, taught me how to step up and be a stepmom. He is the real father figure in my life. He raised me, and he didn't necessarily have to. Step-parenting is a choice, and he could've easily said "no" to it. But he loves my sister and me as if we are his own. (No one really knows he's not my biological dad until I tell them.) I think he is the reason I was so open to loving my stepson, Joshua, as my own. I learned through my dad's example that family is more than blood or DNA. It's unconditional love. I realize now all of the challenges my dad faced by becoming our dad. Heck, I'm living those challenges as a stepmom. And it gives me that much more love and respect for him.

My goal is that someday, Joshua will also understand that family is more than shared DNA. I honestly think this kid already gets it - he's wise beyond his years! Stepparents are often overlooked in this season (Mother's/Father's day). But for so many, the stepparents are the ones who stepped up, knowing the challenges they signed up for, and still took on those challenges, by choice.

Today, thank God for adopting you. And thank a stepparent or adoptive/foster parent for making the choice to love.

Prayer

God, make me an instrument of your grace in the world. Show me how to be a servant to others in big and small ways. Bring people into my life who will love me unconditionally and help guide me with your wisdom. Give me a community where I may grow deeper in love with you and others. Show me the areas where I need to adapt, grow and mature, and let your Holy Spirit guide me on the path toward a deeper faith. Thank you for your daily grace and mercy. In the name of the Creator, the Savior and the Guide, Amen.