A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Monday, November 9, 2020
A beautiful, warm and sunny Sunday afternoon on the Old Windmill Farm.
"No Matter What"
Message summary: Today's text is a powerful reminder of considering our greatest blessings no matter what circumstances we face.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:3-8).
Our church is in the midst of a sermon series titled, "No Matter What". It is based on a verse by verse exposition through the book of Philippians; a powerful series of truths so fitting during this Covid and election period with so much uncertainty. Yesterday's service reminded us of our heavenly citizenship and no matter what happens let us press on in our walk with Christ based on chapter three.
Today let us consider that we who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ have the greatest blessing in the heavenly realms, “the riches of God’s grace lavished on us”. His grace prevails no matter what happens on the earthly sphere. The word “lavish” means to “superabound.” His grace always abounds and is more than sufficient no matter what.
After I write these messages each morning Brooksyne edits and sharpens my writing. She often includes additional reflection that compliments the theme of the message and writes the prayer. One thing she frequently does is break down my long run-on sentences to make them more reader friendly.
In the original Greek, in which the Apostle Paul wrote, Ephesians 1:3-14 is one single sentence; that's 12 verses! English translations typically break this down since grammatically it is very difficult to read as a single sentence.* Jim Gambini, a pastor friend, likened this powerful portion of Scripture to a multifaceted gem such as the Hope diamond, with the facets summed up in a single powerful phrase, "God’s glorious grace".
This is a powerful reminder of our blessings in Christ no matter what circumstances we face. Paul is writing here from a Roman prison. He could have used his time and energy being anxious or angry about his confinement. He could have strategized a plan for escaping when the guards were distracted. He could have made a list of grievances of the prison food or the inhumane treatment he received.
But instead he focused on God’s matchless grace and powerfully expressed this truth to others. By God’s matchless grace he rose above his dire visible circumstances and set his mind on glorious eternal truths, giving selflessly of himself as he wrote of the grace and blessing which God poured into Him right in the midst of his external troubles.
The authorities thought they were rendering Paul powerless by keeping him in confinement, but God had much bigger plans. In the midst of his captivity he was inspired to write life-changing truths that could only be revealed by the Holy Spirit that would release the prison doors for those held captive by the prince of darkness during his lifetime, for the generations to follow, and now nearly 2,000 years later as a part of the Holy Scriptures.
As we consider the deplorable, cramped surroundings from which these life changing words were written it is further testimony to God’s unleashed power when a transformed life is sensitive and obedient to God’s leading. God’s power is not limited by our lack of finances, a physical affliction, limited education, the political situation in our country or any other external circumstance. Nothing is lacking when we fully depend upon God’s grace.
Today let us consider but one phrase in the daily Scripture text, "the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us". I want to personally and deeply appropriate this truth in my life today. “The riches of God’s grace.” What greater type of riches can there possibly be?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your grace exceeds our greatest sin and reaches our deepest need. When we read the first chapter of Ephesians we are taken back by just how privileged we are to be chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, to be predestined and adopted as Your child through Him. Some of the richest and most tender portions of Scripture that disclose the extent of Your love are revealed to us from deplorable and unjust situations. What a wonderful reminder that Your work is not limited to ideal circumstances but You do an inner work within our heart no matter what difficulty we face. Because You lavish Your love on us we cannot contain it but must share it with those around us. Help us to do so freely and generously through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
* The American Standard Version of the Bible translates Ephesians 1:3-14 as one sentence, although it used many colons and semi-colons!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me" Video (includes pastor's closing prayer) Yesterday we concluded our service with this song which has really been "hitting the spot" in our lives since we first heard it several months ago and seemed especially appropriate for this season.
"There Is A King" Video Calvary Church worship team This is a recent song we heard for the first time yesterday in our church service. It really ministered to us and reminded us of the one true king.
It won't be long, we will behold Him
And every tear He'll wipe away
We'll be at home, the war will be over
Soon we will meet our Savior face to face
"Wonderful Grace Of Jesus" Video Gospel Music Hymn Sing
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, for even me.
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus.
Praise His Name!
“Wonderful, the Matchless Grace of Jesus” is a hymn that attempts to quantify the magnificent grace of Jesus by using depth and dimension to describe the countless riches of His grace. We might do that as well when we try to describe to others how wealthy a person might be, either through what they own, their prosperous lifestyle or their associations with powerful people. But the words of this hymn makes the description of one’s accumulations and associations on earth pale in significance to the wealth of God’s grace given to us through Christ Jesus!
Yesterday after church we headed over to the Old Windmill Farm where Jesse, Anna and the children prepared a sumptuous belated birthday meal for us. Anna Ruth had been planning this surprise event with Ester over the past couple weeks. We were simply told, "Plan to arrive at the Lapps following church services on the 8th." We complied and had such a great afternoon. Fifteen gathered around the extended farm table (including ten children - three young cousins visiting). We enjoyed the bumpy hay rides and of course we visited with the new animals. There's nothing quite like visiting a working farm - much easier to visit than it is to build and maintain a farm. The Lapps are very hard workers as is everyone who takes on farm duties.
Brooksyne drove the tractor for a round. Growing up on a farm in Tulsa she learned to drive a tractor at 12 or 13 years of age which sure helped her in learning to drive her first car.
Hay ride in the alfalfa field as I drove the tractor.
This bunny in Brooksyne's purse is one of the youngest animals now on the farm. Perhaps she thought she could sneak it home by tucking it into her purse, but it just wasn't big enough to cover up the live evidence.
This was a very old Deutz tractor made in West Germany and previously used in the rice fields in Arkansas.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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