Sealed Eph. 1:13

If the Sean’s Picks section of my weekly blogs hasn’t given this away already, I want to let you in on a little not-so-secret. I love books. I like reading and I love receiving them as gifts. Often, when someone gives me a book, I ask them to write a note in it. This serves a couple purposes. First, it reminds me of the context and relationship within which I received that book. Second, it marks that book as mine. If ever I lend it out to someone else, there’s a reminder of who the book really belongs to.

According to the Story of God Bible Commentary on Ephesians, people in the ancient world undertook a similar practice. In the same way that a rancher might brand his cattle, people would mark their possessions by stamping them with a distinctive wax seal. This is the idea that Paul has in mind when he writes, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13).

When you come to faith in Christ and enter into a relationship with him, he marks you as his own. This seal is a reminder, primarily to you, of whom you belong to, who it is that calls you his own precious son or daughter. What’s even more incredible is that God doesn’t brand you with a hot iron or mark you with a big wax “G” (for God). No, the mark of ownership on you is much more than that. It’s the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that seals you as God’s own.

Let’s think about this for a moment. In order to make sure that you have a constant reminder of your identity in Christ, God marked you and filled you with himself. He is an ever-present companion deep within you to remind you of your place in the universe. And the Holy Spirit Is not a passive presence, like some knickknack on the shelf of your soul, but an active force working to sanctify you through and through.

If you’re ever doubting who you are or whose you are, reflect on the work of the Spirit in your life. Just as I might read through a personalized note in a book to remind me of the story of a friendship. Remind yourself of the story of God at work in and around you. Get on your knees and seek a fresh outpouring of the Spirit. You have 24/7 access to God the Father through the indwelling presence of the Spirit. Don’t be indifferent to that reality. Instead lean into the awe-inspiring gift that is.

God’s presence with you always means that even if you’ve been doubting, he’s still there. Even if you’ve felt far from him (emotionally or perhaps because of your own sin), he hasn’t abandoned you. As Paul writes in Romans, there is simply nothing at all that can separate you, as a disciple, from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes guilt and shame keep us from entering into his presence. For example, you might feel like God must be disappointed in you because you haven’t read your Bible or prayed enough lately, but the seal upon you is also a reminder that he has already born your guilt and shame. He did all that was necessary to remove any barrier between him and you. Now all you need to do is to turn to him, to open the door, to step into his presence. Seek him and he will be found. He loves his children, and he calls them his own.

Sean's Picks

Jon Foreman, frontman for the band Switchfoot, has long been my favorite songwriter. Somehow in his lyrics he always manages to capture much of the wrestling in my own heart. Switchfoot's newest album, Interrobang does that in spades. It's no secret that 2020 has been a year of wrestling for many. I've found myself weighed down by much of what I see around me, and especially the divisiveness within Christ's own body. The first track on the album wrestles with the realization that despite so many differences, we need each other if we're to live as light for Christ in a dark world. Check out Beloved below (and click here for the lyrics). Check out the full album wherever you listen to music. 

Missions Spotlight:
Jennifer Marmolejos (YoungLife)

"This past week has been an absolute blast and the Lord has taught me so much! Not only did we go cliff jumping, kayaking and white water rafting with all my friends but the Lord also showed me how to be obedient to his call."- Alexia, rising bridgewater high school senior.

Wild Ridge discipleship camp for juniors and seniors was quite exhilarating, hardcore (ask me how and I'll share all the stories) and deep in conversations. White water rafting was EPIC (proof provided above). Yes, I was a little terrified but I didn't let them know that. Kayaking was the best arm/back workout. Sleeping inside a yurt was truly peaceful on the stormy nights and club talks each night set us up to have fruitful conversations. We were able to grow so much closer together and they were challenged to live set a part and bold in their faith by abiding in Christ and sharing Him with their friends.

I'm thankful for all the support and prayers, more than you know.

Lots of love,
Jen Marmolejos

God is doing something NEW and we want you to be a part of it!
Somerville high school students need Jesus. The Lord has been stirring in local adults, teachers and pastors hearts' to reach lost kids in this community and we want to invite you to be a part of it! Do you know any local potential adult leaders? committee members who want to be a part of this Kingdom work?

Join our next 30 minute night of prayer at the high schools' parking lot! Let's dream and pray for a local team of adults who we can train to become YL leaders! If you love God and kids', we can show you the rest on how to walk alongside and mentor young people through YL. 

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