Thursday, July 12, 2018

blessed with every spiritual blessing

artwork by Tamara Peterson

When I saw Tamara Peterson’s beautiful work of art, I immediately thought of this inspiring video by the Gaither Vocal Band and the Gatlin Brothers Band filmed at the Gaither Homecoming Tent Revival outside the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC, in  2011, performing Greatly Blessed, Highly FavoredCounting my Blessings, Great things He has done, Fighting the good fight with the Blessed Assurance that the battle is already won, Greatly Blessed and Highly Favored, Imperfect but Forgiven Child of God.

These words led me to a word study of the word “blessed” found in
Matthew 5:3 , and Ephesians 1:3 , Scripture passages that I wrap around my heart, like the Loving Arms of my Savior Jesus Christ, when I feel discouraged. 

Matthew 5:3

NASB: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Amplified: Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

NLT: God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.

Philips: How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs!

Wuest: Spiritually prosperous are the destitute and helpless in the realm of the spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Young's Literal: `Happy the poor in spirit--because theirs is the reign of the heavens.

Blessed are the poor in spirit - In Scripture, there are two words translated "blessed", makarios and eulogetos (from eu = good, well + logos = word), the latter meaning that we speak well of someone (as when we hear a eulogy at a funeral, the eulogy speaking well of that person who has passed on from life to death). In contrast, makarios is not to speak well of someone, but defines a condition that exists. In other words, makarios describes something that is true about someone, not something that someone says is true about them. Makarios is a reality, an inward state of truth no matter how you actually feel. In other words, to be "blessed" as defined by makarios, one does not have to feel "happy" to be blessed. You can still be blessed and act as if you are not happy. Makarios defines one's state of being in relation to God, independent of how one feels about it at a given moment in time. There are many times I don't personally feel very "blessed" but the Bible nevertheless declares that regardless of my untoward circumstances, afflictions, and trials, I am still "blessed" by God.

Blessed: (makarios from root makar, but others say from mak = large or lengthy) means to be happy, but not in the usual sense of happiness based on positive circumstances. From the Biblical perspective, Makarios describes the person who is free from daily cares and worries because his every breath and circumstance is in the hands of His Maker Who gives him such an assurance (such a "blessing"). Makarios was used to describe the kind of happiness that comes from receiving divine favor.

Most people are interested in being happy. The pursuit of happiness is the driving force of our affluent western culture. However, when you look at the list of ingredients Jesus gives for happiness, there is a big shock in store. This is a strange list to say the least, and many of these qualities appear the very antithesis of what most of us are looking for. The major difference in this list is that Jesus is not talking of qualities in the physical realm (the area in which most people look for happiness), but in the realm of the spirit. The myth of our day is that happiness is found in satisfying our physical desires, comforts and appetites. Those desires may be entirely legitimate, but the engine room of each human being is the spirit which is designed to be inhabited and governed by God. Satisfying the body is never the source of true happiness for it is not the seat of our true appetites. Our true appetite is expressed in the famous prayer of Augustine,
"You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."

Ephesians 1:3

NASB: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Amplified: May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!

NLT: How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ.

Phillips: Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven!

Wuest: May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be eulogized, the One Who conferred benefactions upon us in the sphere of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Young's Literal: Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who did bless us in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Notice that in a single verse Paul uses the entire word family -- the adjective (eulogetos), the verb (eulogeo) and the noun (eulogia) and the sentence still makes supernatural sense.

Blessed: (eulogetos from eu = good + logos = word - English "eulogy" = a speech or writing that praises someone highly) is the adjective describing the One Who is worthy of praise.

Blessed: (eulogeo from eu = good + logos = word) is the verb form meaning to speak well of, to celebrate with praises, to praise. God blesses men (with favor), who in turn (because of amazing grace) can bless God, and others through prayer.

Greek Bible Scholar Spiros Zodhiates amplifies this noting that this means to bless, i.e., to distinguish with favor, to act in man’s life and accomplish His purposes instead of allowing men to have their own way. When the subject is God, His speaking is action, for God’s speech is energy released. When God is said to bless us (eulogize or speak well of us), He acts for our good as He sees our need and not necessarily our desire. Therefore, He blesses by intervening. Ephesians 1:3  referring to God who blessed us with all spiritual blessings, means the one who intervened and acted so that our spirits might be made conformable to His Spirit.

I remember reading years ago about an old Navajo Indian who had become rich because oil had been found on his property. He took all the money and put it in a bank. His banker became familiar with the habits of this old gentleman. Every once in a while the Indian would show up at the bank and say to the banker, "Grass all gone, sheep all sick, water holes dry." The banker wouldn't say a word—he knew what needed to be done. He'd bring the old man inside and seat him in the vault. Then he'd bring out several bags of silver dollars and say, "These are yours." The old man would spend about an hour in there looking at his money, stacking up the dollars and counting them. Then he'd come out and say, "Grass all green, sheep all well, water holes all full." He was simply reviewing his resources.

That is where encouragement is found—when you look at the resources in God’s Word which are yours, the riches, the facts which undergird your faith. Here are just a few of those treasures found in Ephesians 1:3-4:

Blessing: (eulogia - noun from eu = good, well + logos = word) is the act of speaking in favorable terms (praise) or the benefit of blessing. Here it speaks primarily of the spiritual benefits bestowed by God upon His family members. He confers every spiritual benefit upon His saints. He blesses because He is ready, willing and able to do so, not because we deserve His blessings or have earned them—it is all of grace. He is the source of all blessing, of every good thing. Goodness can only come from God because there is no source of goodness outside of God.

Paul is saying you may be as poor as a church mouse in the world's eyes but in the eyes of God, in terms of riches that will last forever, you are immeasurably wealthy. Even the national debt of America simply does not compare to your wealth for the former is material and temporal while the latter is spiritual and eternal.

Tennis superstar Arthur Ashe died of AIDS, which he contracted from a blood transfusion during heart surgery. More than a great athlete, Ashe was a gentleman who inspired and encouraged many with his exemplary behavior on and off the court. Ashe could have become embittered and self-pitying in the face of his disease, but he maintained a grateful attitude. He explained, "If I asked, 'Why me?' about my troubles, I would have to ask, 'Why me?' about my blessings. Why my winning Wimbledon? Why my marrying a beautiful, gifted woman and having a wonderful child?" Ashe's attitude rebukes those of us who often grumble, "Why me? Why is God allowing this to happen?" Even if we're suffering acutely, we must not forget the mercies God pours into our lives—such things as food, shelter, and friends—blessings of which many are deprived.

What about spiritual blessings? We can hold the very Word of God in our hands and read it. We have the knowledge of His saving grace, the comfort of His Spirit, and the joyful assurance of life everlasting with Jesus. Think about God's blessings and ask, "Why me?" Then your grumbling will give way to praise.

The Mount Morgan gold mine in Queensland, Australia, is one of the richest in the world. For many years, though, the original landowners lived in deep poverty on the mountain's barren surface. Even though the vast wealth was out-of-sight, it was beneath their feet all the time. Many Christians live in a similar situation. They plod along and struggle through their spiritual lives, laboring every step of the way. They are unaware of the vast riches God has promised them, and therefore they do not claim them.

Grace, forgiveness, strength, wisdom, direction, the power to resist temptation, reconciliation, protection, lightened burdens—all these riches and many more are ours. But how do we become aware of them and claim them? The answer is: Prayerfully read the Bible and pay close attention when the Word of God is preached or taught.

Whenever you read the Scriptures or hear them taught, look for the truths about "every spiritual blessing" God has given to you Ephesians 1:3   When you discover a truth or a promise that clearly applies to you, say to yourself, "That's for me!" As you do, you'll be tapping into the riches of God that lie right beneath your feet.

An elderly Scottish woman stood in the doorway of her cottage and basked in the light and warmth of the summer sun. According to author J. R. Caldwell, she shaded her eyes as she looked up and exclaimed, "I've got a whole sun to myself!" Caldwell commented, "I could say the same. This is just one of the beautiful things in nature that you have as much as I have. Likewise you and I and millions of the redeemed have individually the whole heart of Christ—There is room for all.

This truth is simple and self-evident, yet its implication is so profound that it almost overwhelms us. God's gracious gift of salvation can be experienced by all who believe, and we can fully enjoy its blessings without diminishing their enjoyment by others. We who know Christ and His limitless provisions are not deprived, even though other believers are drawing on them, too. In a sense, every child of God can say, "I've got the Son all to myself." Joy, assurance, peace, and the awareness of His presence are just a few of the many benefits that are given without measure for every believer to enjoy.

Remember, if you are born again, God has given you "every spiritual blessing in Christ"

Pastor Alexander Maclaren writes: “Notice that buoyant, joyous, emphatic reiteration: ‘Blessed,’ ‘blest,’ ‘blessings.’ That is more than the fascination exercised over a man’s mind by a word; it covers very deep thoughts and goes very far into the center of the Christian life. God blesses us by gifts; we bless Him by words. The aim of His act of blessing is to evoke in our hearts the love that praises. We receive first, and then, moved By His mercies, we give. Our highest response to His most precious gifts is that we shall ‘take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord,’ and in the depth of thankful and recipient hearts shall say, ‘Blessed be, God who hath blessed us.’

Pastor Steven Cole writes: “But, why does God lavish His blessings upon us? Is it all about us or is it about Him? One of the most important truths in Scripture to grasp is that God is passionate about His glory. So, why does God bless us with every spiritual blessing in Christ? It is so that we may in turn bless and glorify Him, the giver of every good and perfect gift. Blessed by God, we bless God. Because God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, we should bless God. To bless God as we should, we need to understand how He has blessed us. You may be thinking, “But isn’t this impractical? What good are spiritual blessings to me if I can’t live comfortably in this life? Isn’t this just ‘pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die’? Aren’t those who focus on heavenly blessings not much earthly good?” Hardly! In fact, precisely the opposite is true. C. S. Lewis saw this when he wrote:
The Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have begun thinking less of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you get neither.”
 
 
Paul uses the word “blessed” in two senses in this verse. When he says that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, he means that God has freely bestowed His good gifts on us in the person and work of His Son on our behalf. But when we bless God, we cannot give Him anything that He lacks, because He has no lack. So our blessing God means to speak well of Him, or to praise Him for His glorious attributes and for His gracious actions toward us in Christ. We thank Him for all that He is to us and for all that He has done for us and for all that He promises yet to do for us throughout eternity. We bless Him by joyfully giving back to Him what He has first given to us, namely, our time, our talent, and our treasure. So we bless God by offering up “a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” We bless God when we “do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:15). We bless God when our hearts overflow with joy in Him because of His abundant grace towards us in Christ.

Pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones states: “There is no more true test of our Christian profession than to discover how prominent this note of praise and thanksgiving is in our life.” To what extent do you find praise, adoration, thankfulness, and joy in God welling to the surface in your daily life? If it is not as frequent as it ought to be, spend time meditating on Scriptures such as Ephesians 1 or Romans 8, which tell of the spiritual riches that are ours in Christ. Meditate on the Psalms, which are filled with the praises of God in the midst of life’s difficult trials. Allow your trials to drive you to a deeper experience of the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ for your soul. Make it your life-long quest to “count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus [your] Lord” (Phil. 3:8).
Being blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, bless the God who has so blessed you.


Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe points out that “blessed” is “an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that does not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.” Those who are “blessed” have inner lives that are rightly aligned. The root idea is “approval.” When we bless God, we are approving and praising Him; when He blesses us, He is expressing approval of us. In the sight of heaven, those who live out what Jesus is spelling out are “superlatively blessed” because the Almighty is extending His endorsement.

Pastor John MacArthur writes: “I think Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives the best illustration I’ve ever read. This is what he says. “Take, for example, the realm of music. A man may play a piece of great music quite accurately. He may make no mistakes at all, and yet it may be true to say of him that he did not really play Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata.’ He played the notes correctly, but it was not the sonata. What was he doing?   He was mechanically striking the right notes, but missing the soul and the real interpretation. He wasn’t doing what Beethoven intended and meant.” That, I think, is the relationship between the whole and the parts. The artist, the true artist is always correct. Even the greatest artist cannot afford to neglect rules and regulations, but that is not what makes him the great artist. It is this something extra, the expression. It is the spirit. It is the life. It is the whole that he is able to convey.” 

We are recipients of every spiritual blessing, great favor, and a great inheritance. We are the righteous—those in right standing with the Father by virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection—the Lord’s own inheritance. Because we belong to Him and are His heirs, God blesses our lives with deliverance, direction, and continual access into His presence. Because of His unfailing love for us, we can enter His throne room and receive His grace. When we ask Him to tell us what to do, He will show us which way to turn and will always lead us on the right path. To top it all off, He encompasses, or encircles, us with the shield of His love, which means that He covers us with His favor and with the approval that He bestows on the righteous. This is a wonderful thing to petition the Lord for, on behalf of your loved ones and for your own life.

Heavenly Father, thank You that in Christ I am blessed with every spiritual blessing. I know that I know that I know that because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by His precious blood, He has crowned me, surrounded me, encircled me with His glory and blessing. Jesus is alive, He has come and is coming again! Thank you for surrounding me with the shield of your love and favor. Thank you for how Your favor is operating and functioning in my life. It surrounds me and encircles me like a shield. Your favor goes before me and prepares my way. Your favor opens doors of blessing and opportunity in my life. Wherever I go and whatever I do, Your favor is with me, surrounding me, encircling me. Your favor fills my life with overflowing blessing, peace, joy, fulfillment, and abundance. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.


Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 1:3 …pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:3 …pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:3 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

14 comments:

  1. Yes,we definitely receive His spiritual blessings & access to His throne of grace when we know Him.

    You're welcome to drop by for a cup of inspiration,
    Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer, thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  2. I thank God for His spiritual and physical blessings daily. Oh what a Savior we serve! Thanks for sharing your insights. Have a wonderful weekend and God bless.

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    1. Amen, Horace! I so agree with you...thankful for every breath, every heart beat until we see Christ face-to-face. Many blessings to you 😇

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  3. So much blessing in this post! Thank you

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    1. Christine, thank you for stopping by. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  4. Ephesians 1 is one of my favourite chapters! I love your point about blessing being a state that is true, that it is the reality regardless of how we feel. Visiting from LMM.

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    1. Lesley, I so agree with you about Ephesians chapter one, it is one of my favorites also! Sometimes I just have to interrupt my negative thoughts by saying out loud, “In Christ, I am blessed with every spiritual blessing...” it really does help to keep my focus on Christ and His finished work on the cross. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  5. I love the way you've connected the dots between this verse in Ephesians and Jesus' words in the Beatitudes! There's so much we need to clarify in our understanding of blessing.

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    1. Michele, you are so right about how much we need to clarify in our understanding of blessing--it affects how we feel about ourselves, our relationship with Jesus, and others. Thanks so much for stopping by, you are a wonderful encourager to me and so many others. Many blessings to you!

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  6. I love your word study on the Beatitudes. I'm blessed to be known by a God who blesses me. I love the connection to Eph. 1:3. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. That is truth I can wrap my head around. I love seeing you at #TellHisStory.

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    1. Mary, it is a joy to link up with sweet sisters in Christ at #TellHisStory. Sharing with others what Jesus has used to encourage me is what motivates me to write. Praying many blessings for you ❤️

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  7. Thank you good read fortoday,will share with a friend who really needs to hear this:-)

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    1. Bronwyn, thank you so much for sharing this post with you friend, how thoughtful of you! Many blessings to you ❤️

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