God Hears: Stuart McAlpine

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This is a lengthy  quote from Stuart McAlpine’s excellent new book, “Just Asking: Restoring The Soul Of Prayer.” It’s a must read for those who want to grow in prayer. I would go so far to say that it should be a required field manual for the tribulate times we live in.

“All spiritual life is premised on the fact that God has ears to hear. You bank on it. There is no salvation, no prayer, if God does not hear. Scripture affirms that God hears. “Does He who implanted the ear not hear?” (Psalm 94:9). “His ear is not dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1). The deliverance of a future great nation was couched in the words, “God heard the boy crying” (Genesis 16:11). The whole story of the Exodus-deliverance was determined by one thing: “God heard their groaning, and remembered His covenant” (Exodus 2:24).

There are other kinds of cries that God hears: “ the cries of the workers reached God’s ears” (James 5:4). The conviction and relief that God hears is presented in so many ways as people talk about the “ears of the Lord” (1 Samuel 8:21), or testify with relief that “my cry came into His ears” (Psalm 18:6). Consider the ways this is presented: “Give ear O Lord” (2 Kings 19:16); “You hear O Lord” (Psalm 10:17); “May your ear be attentive” (2 Chronicles 6:40); “Incline your ear to me” (Psalm

17:6); “Listen to my cry” (Psalm 5:2); “Bow down your ear” (Psalm 31:2); “His ears are open” (Psalm 34:15); “Give ear to my words … to my prayer … to my voice” (Psalm 5:1, 17:1, 141:1); “Hear me when I call” (Psalm 4:1); “Hear me in the day of trouble … hear me speedily” (Psalm 20:1, 143:7). Assurance is given, not only that God hears, but what God hears, like the “desire of the afflicted” (Psalm 10:17) or “the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). One of the most quoted chapters on intercession in scripture contains the most quoted verse: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

There is no healing if there is no hearing. If God’s hearing is impaired, we remain impaired. God’s opening words to Solomon in this communication are, “I have heard your prayer” (7:12). This is the clear response to what was asked earlier: “Hear the asking of your servants … when they pray toward this place” (6:21). Any lack of assurance about this, any about His loving attentiveness to us, will undermine our confidence and our will to ask. God’s hearing invites our asking. Our asking is heard.

Without that confidence we will not ask. And even if we do, and go through the motions, it will not be with any faith at all. Nowhere is the assurance of God’s hearing more emphatic than in the repeated testimony of Jesus Himself at Lazarus’ tomb: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew you always hear me” (John 11:42). Do we catch the confidence, joy, relief, gratitude and love in this statement? The grounds of Jesus’s confidence are the same grounds as ours: God hears when we ask.”

McAlpine, Stuart. Just Asking: Restoring the Soul of Prayer (Kindle Locations 1231-1252). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition.

 

 

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Suffering And Intercession

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“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”  (II Corinthians 5:14 – 15 ESV)

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.  (Hebrews 7:25 ESV)

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4 ESV)

 

Often times we suffer because of bad choices we’ve made in life. And some of our pain is inflicted upon us as a result of satanic attack (see Job). While most of our hardships are just the result of living in a broken world.  God allows us to suffer to teach us to overcome in this “present evil age.” We normally learn to pray more consistently when we are facing adversity. God uses our pain to establish an intimate relationship with us, in times of deep need we tend to draw closer to the Father. God will “deliver us from evil” but not from a problem free life.

God brought his Kingdom to the earth through suffering. And suffering is an unavoidable part of living. Mary suffered ridicule and accusation during her supernatural pregnancy. She also suffered physically in giving birth to the Son of God. All suffering that is ordained by God is for the purpose of redemption and restoration. It is important as we walk this path of suffering in our broken world – not to waste our trials on self-pity.  We must let those hardships lead us to a place of intercession on behalf of others. All pain and suffering that God allows in our lives because of broken relationships, can be redeemed. Let us not waste our trials because God’s desire is to make us stronger as we learn to overcome adversity.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. – (1 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV)

The Holy Spirit comforts us during times of personal conflict so that we can comfort others during their time of need. Our own experience with God during trials qualifies us to minister to others.

Jesus calls us to die daily to ourselves so that we can look out for the interest of others. But our human tendency is to be self-focused. Jesus our high priest lives to make intercession for his children, at the right hand of God.  The fact that we are “in Christ” qualifies us to pray for each other, also.

We must fight the good fight of faith – not only for ourselves but for those God has put on our heart to pray for. Our job is to pray the Kingdom into the lives of families, individuals, and nations.  Some feel the call to “watch and pray” and to stand in the gap between God and humanity. God is willing to give prophetic insight to those who are open to his Spirit. Now is the time to act on the call and pray for the physically and spiritually broken people all around us.

The Fire OF God’s Love

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“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” – (2 Peter 3:10 ESV)

The fire of God’s love will one day burn up all the impurity on earth in a moment. Jesus’ return to the earth will be much more spectacular than some second-rate Christian movie. There is a debate between believers on how and when Jesus’ visible return to the earth will happen. But, at some future date, God is going to literally bring into existence a new Heaven and a new Earth. It’s important to remember that all of God’s present and future judgements are right and good. God’s motives are pure and holy as, “Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side.” – (Psalm 97:6-9) We can be confident in the fact that; He will ultimately remove all evil from the earth.

While world leaders and their economic, military and political unions seek to eradicate all signs of Christian influence in the west, we must remember that God will have the final say on the matter. We live in a spiritually dark culture that is filled with moral pollution with no end to the madness in sight. Our society is becoming a people who the Apostle Paul describes in Romans chapter one, as those that “…worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator…(Romans 1:25.) This is self-worship which is idolatry, and much of the western world has been given over to a “debased mind” as we allow our sin to rule us and not God. ( See Romans chapter 1)

The Scripture is clear that: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) In reality there are only two Kingdoms – God’s and Satan’s. Each person on earth is either a member of the Kingdom of God, with Jesus as our King, or the Kingdom of Darkness which is aligned with the prince of darkness. As the days grow darker in the western world, followers of Jesus must “count the cost” of being rejected and persecuted for the sake of truth. Those of us who name the name of Christ, must learn to stand for righteousness without being mean-spirited or obnoxious. And we must always remember; that while we are called to share and live the Gospel, only the Holy Spirit can change human hearts. Prayer and personal holiness are vital in our quest to effectively reach our culture for Christ.

Jesus is calling those who are his to total allegiance.  He said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”(John 8:32.) And, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(John 14:6)

 

Joy And Peace

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” – Gal. 5:22 (ESV)

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” – Col. 3:15 (ESV)

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” – Colossians 1:9 ESV)

“Spiritual understanding primarily consists in this sense, or taste of the moral beauty of divine things.” –Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections

The biblical teaching on the fruit of the Spirit was meant to be experienced – not just studied. It’s important to pursue God until we experience joy. The Father desires to fill us with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Some well-intentioned Bible teachers warn us against subjective experiences. But, God created us in his image as emotional beings. And, if we are pursuing God with all our hearts, we should expect to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” I personally don’t fear subjective experiences – I trust God’s ability to lead me into all truth more than Satan’s  power to deceive me. We are called to live by faith and trust that feelings will follow.

Joy is a fruit of meditating on the Gospel. The Spirit uses the Word to cause our spiritual affections to be white-hot! The Gospel is good news that seems too good to be true – but it is! The fact God has granted me repentance and forgiven me of all my sins, overwhelms me. He takes my sin and gives me His righteousness. It’s called the great exchange. He poured out  his His grace and favor upon me, which is an unmerited gift.  His love is overwhelming and his salvation is free. We must acknowledge our sin and inability to change (without divine assistance) and offer ourselves to God. When we turn from our sin and trust Jesus – he will redeem us and restore us.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.
Joy is part of our inheritance.
Joy belongs to the children of God.
Joy can be experienced during really hard times.
Joy brings hope to the heart.

We have peace with God as the result of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This peace overrides our rational minds – it’s beyond our understanding.  Jesus paid our sin debt and removed the barrier that kept us from God’s presence. “In your presence there is fullness of joy.”  

Peace comes from the presence of God.
Peace can be experienced as we experience the truth of God’s word.
Peace comes from the knowledge that we stand justified in God’s sight.
Peace is the result of our security in Jesus.

 

A Spirit – Controlled Imagination

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“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8  (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  – 2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)

“A purified and Spirit-controlled imagination is the sacred gift of seeing, the ability to peer beyond the veil. And gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal. – A. W. Tozer, Born After Midnight, page 92.

We all need illumination from the Holy Spirit to understand the deep truths of God’s Word. Christian spirituality is lived out through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, many of the Christians that I’ve talked with over the years have had very little understanding of what it means to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. God created us with the capacity to communicate with him, Spirit to spirit. Our imaginations were meant to be God centered – and focused on things above, so that our thought life remains pure. When our minds are “thinking on things above” we tend to talk with God more.

Taking up our crosses to follow Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean selling everything we own and moving to a foreign land, to serve on the mission field. Taking up the cross requires a God – filled imagination. Those who start out believing, and ‘fall away’ from the faith, usually have never experienced the reality of God’s Presence. While the Reformed and various Evangelical groups have focused on knowledge of the Bible (which is good) we’ve often failed to teach people to expect the presence of God in their lives. And that God reveals himself to those who earnestly seek after him – through his Word and his Spirit.

The goal of theological study is to help us grow and enter into the fullness and knowledge of Christ. True spiritual transformation occurs when we are awed by the beauty of Jesus. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit become more than a concept in our lives when we learn to fellowship with God’s Spirit.  Jesus reveals the Father to us and the Spirit points us to Jesus. We must use our minds to focus on the fact that Jesus dwells in us by the Holy Spirit, and has made his power available to us. This relationship (if maintained) requires God’s grace, and some discipline on our part.

Spending time with God is worth the effort, but sadly many times we stop pursuing him before we have a spiritual breakthrough. It takes time in prayer and solitude to build a relationship with God, and that is difficult for most of us. It also requires us to walk out our faith daily with others who are pursuing God.

Prayer: Father help us to turn our thoughts continually towards you. Give use a desire to spend time with You in prayer. And teach us how to fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Amen

Spiritual Freedom

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“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” –  (John 19:30 ESV)

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – (Ephesians 6:12 KJV)

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” – (Luke 10:19 ESV)

When the allies invaded Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 – it was the beginning of the end for Adolph Hitler’s reign of terror, in Europe. The Nazi threat of world domination would soon come to an end. But, many fierce battles were yet ahead for the allied forces to fight, and there would be many more casualties of war. When America declared its’ independence on July 4, 1776 it was a declaration of freedom, but only the beginning of a  long costly war. On the cross, Jesus’ declaration of Satan’s defeat was final – “it is finished.” But, as the New Testament clearly teaches’ the powers of darkness continue to wreak havoc on our planet.

We are presently wrestling with principalities and powers in heavenly realms. This is close hand to hand spiritual combat with a desperate and defeated foe. Satan can no longer enslave anyone spiritually, unless we allow him to through un-repented sin.  Jesus crushed Satan’s head on the cross to free us so that we can fight the good fight of faith. Our Savior gave us power and authority in his name to combat evil through the proclamation of the Gospel, and prayer, which transforms the human heart. God the Father sent his Son Jesus on a rescue mission to save humanity. And we have been sent out as sheep among wolves to rescue those who are perishing.

Lost In A Strange Land

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“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Last Summer while visiting Germany, I had the stressful experience of being lost in a foreign country. I took the wrong bus ( there were buses everywhere) and I was dropped off in the wrong part of the city that I was staying in. It was a strange feeling that I hadn’t experienced since the second grade, when I got on the wrong bus at my new elementary school. Even as a second grader I was able to communicate with the bus driver, and after a couple of minutes I was aware that I had gotten on the wrong bus. Needless to say I was glad to find an elderly German lady who actually spoke English at that bus stop.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of relief to find a friendly person in a foreign land who spoke my language.  That stranger (I wonder if she was an angel?) helped me to find my bearings and to get to my intended destination. I think that it’s important for followers of Jesus to reflect back on the time in our lives when we were lost and didn’t know God.  And, to rehearse the same awe and wonder in our minds that we once felt in our new-found relationship with Jesus. He was that friendly person who found us when we were lost. And, Jesus didn’t just point us in the right direction –  he is “the way, the truth and the life.”

Even if you were too young to remember your salvation experience very well – many of us have strayed off the path at some point in our lives. In fact, I’ve had the good Shepherd seek me out and find me many times over the years, as I attempted to ‘do my own thing.’ This doesn’t mean that after we come to really know God, that if we stray away for a season in our lives, that we are eternally lost. It just means that we’ve temporarily lost our way because of disillusionment with life, and our spiritual rebellion.

We see the Father heart of God in the parable of the prodigal son. When his lost son returned from his rebellious journey he had to explain to the prodigal’s older and very religious elder brother that: “He was lost, but now he is found!” (Luke 15:32 NIV)

The point is: we need to know that we are lost in order to be found. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to reveal to us that we are lost and need a Friend (Jesus) to lead us back to the Father. And, that my friends is the beauty of the Trinity. The one God who is made up of three Persons in a divine community of love, that works on our behalf, to take us to our eternal destination, which is ultimately, the new heavens, and the new earth. God is guiding, leading and calling us to co-labor and fellowship with him on our journey (in this foreign land) until we meet him, face to face.

 

 

The Fourth Quarter Of My Life

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us… ” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Today is a significant day in my life, I turned 60 years old. Recently, while I was praying I felt compelled to raise up 4 fingers and declare that, “it’s the beginning of the 4th quarter.”  That thought is sobering to me. And, I’ve been asking myself some hard questions, like:  Am I still experiencing spiritual growth? Or, will I ever grow up to become a spiritually mature man? I like to be brutally honest with God and with myself, so, I realize that I’m not the man that I desire to be, yet.

My favorite football team, The Alabama Crimson Tide, emphasizes finishing each game and each season, strong. It doesn’t matter according to their philosophy whether or not they are ahead or behind, just – FINNISH STRONG! The Apostle Paul used sports analogies in his teachings to the Church. And, while Bama’s understanding of finishing strong may be somewhat different than Paul’s – I believe this is a biblical concept.

As I was writing this article, I realized that this will be my 200th post on my Word Press Blog, which I started about 3 years ago.  I first began blogging on a Blogger account in 2005. Strangely enough many years earlier while someone was praying over me, he ask me if I was a writer. He said (spiritually speaking) that he saw me writing.  As I thought about his spiritual perception about me,  I said to myself, “He’s wrong about that!”  Frankly, I wouldn’t identify myself as a  skilled writer, but I came to use writing as part of  my ministry to encourage others, about a decade later.

During the month of December in 2005 a spiritual mentor of mine said, ” just go home and start a blog.”  And I did! He had  encouraged  me often to write the things  down that I was learning, and my spiritual experiences.  So, over an 11 year period I enjoyed interacting with bloggers all over the world, and surprisingly it did well.  This was not mainly a result of my own insights or writing ability,  but, the fact that I posted so many articles by prominent Bible teachers.

In the early days and in my first attempts to encourage people as a personal ministry, I gathered  lots of  resources. I used tracks from Keith Greens’ “Last Days Ministries,” and David Wilkerson. From there I went on to become a distributor of Fullness Magazine and their materials. This was a group of Baptist ministers that had re-discovered spiritual gift’s (Healing, spiritual warfare, prophecy etc.) and embraced the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Around this time is when I started a tape sharing ministry. Over time I began to gather and distribute tapes and literature from  various other ministries, also.

As a result of different ministry opportunities over the years I have attempted to help others make disciples. It’s important that each one of us know our role and ministry as part of the body of Christ. In the 80’s, my friends began to call me “a Barnabas” – which means “son of encouragement.” And during the mid 90’s I had a very detailed dream, and in one part of the dream I was handing out water and encouraging  runners during a race. And that was my confirmation to continue what I was already doing. In fact that sealed the deal so to speak for me.

The Apostle Paul was clear – we each have spiritual gifts, so there is nothing to boast in except “the cross of Christ.” Each member of Christs’ body (his Church) should operate in our various  gifts that God has so graciously given to us, to build up others. We operate in our gifts  and callings according to the level of faith we have. Even thought I’ve had major setbacks in my life – mostly as a result of my own sin – by the grace of God – I’m still standing.  May God help me and you to run our races and finish well.

Musings From The Book Of Ephesians: Paul’s Prayer In Chapter One

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” For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,  I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” – (Ephesians 1:15-17 ESV)

 

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The Spirits’ ministry is supernatural. And He gives us understanding that we cannot obtain by our own study and  natural effort, alone. Our spirits are enlightened by God’s Spirit in our heart’s – which is our innermost being. That’s where all spiritual transformation takes place. Which ultimately results in a change of our outward behavior.

As believers we must ask God to reveal himself to us, so that as the NIV translates it: “you may know him better.” We first come to know him through our initial salvation experience, but that’s only the beginning of our spiritual journey. The knowledge of God is a never ending process for those who pursue him. And, God desires to make the debts of his love, wisdom and power known in ever increasing ways. He’s a holy but very personal God.

We have been set apart by God as his holy people, so that our behavior will be in harmony with his will for our lives.  We are His inheritance. And his will is that we will become  more like Jesus (over time) through the transformation of our character. The theological word for this is sanctification.

As Disciples of Jesus  we are God’s inheritance and we have his resurrection power living inside of us. We must ask (pray) for understanding of the “immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might,” which is what God has given us in Christ.  For the most part the full extent of this power is untapped in our lives. We overcome the evil impulses of the world, the flesh, and the Devil by allowing the resurrection power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to dominate our thinking. As we discover God’s power in us, we are more effective in supernatural ministry.

The Ephesians understood that the spiritual atmosphere was evil and they were up against dark powers – that controlled unbelievers. Those same dark forces still operate in our world today. The Churches during biblical times understood what they were up against spiritual darkness. But, sadly many in the modern Church don’t have even a basic understanding of spiritual warfare. Paul was reassuring Christians that all these evil entities are under Christ’ feet. We desperately need more understanding of the resurrection power that God has given  us access to today. And this comes to us, in response to our prayers. So let’s keep asking.

Note: The point of the knowledge of him has nothing to do with what God knows, but with what believers are to know (hence, “your…knowledge”). Further, the author’s prayer is that this knowledge of God would increase, not simply be initiated, since he is writing to believers who already know God (hence, “your growing knowledge of him”). NET Bible, bible.org

Musings From The Book Of Ephesians: Blessed In Christ

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Spiritual Blessings in Christ

” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” – (Ephesians 1:3-10 ESV)

Over the last several months I have found myself returning again and again to the book of Ephesians. The book has always fascinated me. It tells us who we are in Christ and who he is in us, and that we are blessed in Him.  It clearly teaches us that our redemption comes through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  It also reveals God’s plan of grace to conform us into his image. We see that God chose us and set us apart for himself before the creation of the world. And, that God reveals his master plan to unite all things in his Son. Everything and everyone which was made by Jesus (which is literally everything and everyone) will be summed up and have it’s meaning in Him.

I’m not really into the whole predestination debate anymore. I’m satisfied that God is both sovereign and that humans can make free choices. The ultimate goal of the Apostle Paul’s instruction here; is that we be conformed into the image of Jesus – not to argue how God chooses his elect.

We have been chosen to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be spiritually seated with him in the heavenly realms. We know that only those who are “in Christ” will experience eternal life with Jesus now,  and in his coming Kingdom. God has marked us out and called us as sons and daughters. We are Christ’ inheritance and he has a lot invested in us.

Jesus is the source of our blessing and he delights in his children. The fact that we are seated in “heavenly places” with him should lead us to pursue his heart for all people. Some say we can be “so heavenly minded, that we’re no earthly good.” But, I don’t see that as my problem, or,  an issue with the western Church as a whole. If we would access the “mind of Christ” we would have his perspective on life in this present evil age.  We live in between what theologians call, ‘the now and the not yet of the age to come.’ Our quest should be to discover all that God has for us in this age  “in Christ” as we experience his great grace and the power of the age to come, to some degree now. And, how we can impact people with the love of Christ that we ourselves have experienced.

As I delve more and more into the book of Ephesians, I find a hunger in my heart for a deeper intimacy with God.