Have you ever just lived with something because that’s “just the way it is” and then when you did something that improved your situation, wonder, “why did I wait so long?”
July 4th was a restful day at our house. My husband got to be home from camp. He helped me by changing curtain rods in our room so that I could hang a different type of curtain. We’ve lived with the ones that came with the house the past 5 years, but I’m so thankful for his help to change the set-up. I have more wall space so I can hang a picture I’ve been hanging on to, and I like the “new” curtains a lot more. WHY did we wait so long to make this small change??
God is always calling us to change for the better. He wants us to be one with Him. He’s always calling the lost to Come Home… and He’s always inviting the saved into a more intimate relationship with Him and a more mature life.
One of the concepts I’ve been processing in my heart is how I look at grace. Christian-ese understands that grace is unmerited favor… it’s receiving something we don’t deserve. Usually we use it to talk about God’s forgiveness of our sins. We can receive unearned favor in all kinds of ways, but the thing I’ve been staring at is that in order for one person to receive unearned favor someone else has to give. The giving of grace is a sacrifice. In terms of our salvation, God sacrificed, and he calls all of us to sacrifice for others.
Our son, Corban, at Cub Camp 🙂
I’ve started watching, when I read scripture, to see how many ways I can recognize grace. Who sacrificed, and who benefited? Did they know their sacrifice would benefit others, or did God alone understand this? How can I teach my children to show grace, understanding the sacrifice involved is something God asks us to give? Can I give more without giving a thought to the cost?
In Ephesians, chapter 3, I see Paul’s sacrifice. Yet, he tells the Ephesians not to worry about him because it is, he says, for their glory… for their favor with God and maturity in the church.
2019 Camp JIM Summer Staff
My journal of Ephesians, Chapter 3, verses 1-13 in the New American Standard Version.
PT= personal thought
Ephesians 2:22 “We are all being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
Chapter 3:1 Therefore… (Paul is writing the Ephesians from prison).
vs. 2– God gave Paul the responsibility to share the gospel with the Gentiles. PT: Paul called it “stewardship of God’s grace for them.” The church today has been given stewardship of the gospel of God’s grace for the world. Do we see ourselves as stewards of the Word? (stewardship=management)
vs. 3–“the mystery” that God was revealing was God’s will through Christ for the Gentiles. (And remember, chapter 2, verse 11 that God upholds His will!) Paul tells them that the mystery was made known to Paul by revelation
vs. 4– “just so you know,” Paul basically said, so that when he refers to the mystery, we know God revealed it. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Revelation.
vs.5– God also revealed the mystery through other apostles and prophets
vs.6–that the Gentiles are included in the promise in Christ Jesus and are fellow heirs and members of Christ’s Spiritual Body (the Church).
vs.7– Paul was made a minister
vs.8– to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable Riches of Christ
vs.9–and bring to light the administration (secret/mystery) which before had been previously hidden in God.
vs.10– Now the manifold (manifesting in great variety) wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers (angels and demons) and authorities in the heavenly places
vs.11– in accordance with the eternal purpose carried out in Christ (remember God upholds His will)
vs.12–in whom we have boldness and confident access thru faith in Him (the act of bringing to access [to God–whereby we are acceptable to Him and have assurance that he is favorably disposed toward us]).
vs.13– Paul says not to lose heart at his tribulations on their behalf for they are their glory. This leads into verse 14.
My personal summary is that it was always God’s intention to send Jesus to save the world, not just Israel. He just didn’t make it clear until after Christ returned to heaven, and Paul was one of God’s primary apostles for carrying the gospel to the Gentile nations.
In Acts 9:15-16 Jesus had appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus and Paul went blind. God sent Ananias to remove the scales from Paul’s eyes so he could see again. “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
It sounds like God showed Paul, when he called him, that Paul would suffer to preach Christ, but Paul was willing to sacrifice to carry God’s grace to others.
I am stopped by verse 10 which says God used the church to reveal His plan to the principalities and powers… 1 Peter 1:12 says that prophets who had predicted the suffering of Christ and the glories to follow had been serving those who later received the gospel of salvation…that these were things into which angels longed to look. It sounds like, when scripture says the mystery had been hidden in God, that even the angels and demons did not fully understand God’s redemptive plan until the time was at hand. I picture Satan, when he would have seen the Holy Spirit go out into all men of Faith, recognizing through this demonstration of the administration of God’s church how big and perfect God’s wisdom is.
And I am in awe of God.
Thank you for your manifold wisdom. Thank you that you love people so much that you were willing to do what it would take to bring each of us into unity with you. That we can be your children and you want to be our Father. That you are good enough to call us to understand what grace is, and give it, so we can better understand the gift we have received. Thank you for men and women who love you so much that they are willing to sacrifice for others to hear of your love.
In Jesus name, Amen