Encouragement from a prison cell

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:9,10

The whole book of Ephesians reads like a prayer of Thanksgiving. Paul is writing from a prison cell, yet this book is enfused with so much joy and hope it is impossible to read it without your spirits lifting. No longer going from place to place putting out fires and encouraging the church, he has endless time in which to write about a future filled with hope in Christ.

It’s all about knocking down the barriers that once separated us from God and each other. Jews and Gentiles, once the most segregated and divided of peoples, now are brought together as one in Christ Jesus……

“But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” Ephesians 2: 13,14

Sometimes our circumstances can lead us to feel like we are in a prison cell of our own. And we see no end to it. My best friend sees no end to her caretaking responsibilities right now. She feels as if she has been robbed of her life. She told me yesterday all she keeps hearing is my Aunt’s voice saying, “The caretakers end up dying”……and now it haunts her like a refrain she can’t get rid of……..The caretakers die……the caretakers die, the caretakers die. I do my best to comfort her, encourage her.

The truth is, the hope Paul holds out is real. Present circumstances are just that. They will not last forever. We must grab every scrap of joy we can, and yesterday we had a good day. With Christ, each day is enfused with hope. Without Him, we have no hope at all.

So I am thankful for the good moments we had yesterday, and looking forward to more today, holding each one up to the light and giving thanks to Our Father, who has given His Holy Spirit in generous measure, to do above all we can ask or think.

Going to see the movie Puss in Boots yesterday, it was truly delightful. I was surprised at the amount of adults in the theater without kids, and everyone was laughing. Sorting through old slides of camping days, I volunteered to do this for my Dad…such wonderful memories. Being able to gather with the Body of Believers yesterday, to remember what it all means and celebrate what Jesus did for us. Being able to take our neighbor, who turned 88 to lunch yesterday, and then gathering later for cake and enjoying some laughs. Being able to enjoy some rain, and getting back into my exercise routine…….#726-731

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