The Household of God

Ephesians 2: 19. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God:”

Someone taught me years ago that whenever you see the word therefore in the Bible, you need to look back and see what it’s there for.

So I did.  In this verse, it refers to the previous teachings that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile.  His blood has made us all one family, with access to God through the Holy Spirit.  That middle wall of partition is gone.  We are all God’s children when we come to Him for salvation by grace through faith.

Paul is working very hard to drive this point home in these past several verses.  No difference.  One in Christ.  The Church encompasses Jew, Greek, male, female, bond, free.  Women are no longer excluded and restricted to their own section in the church.  Slaves don’t have to sit in the balcony.   We are one in Christ Jesus.

 

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Goodbye, Again

So I had to say goodbye to two of my sons and their families.  Again.

Ken and his family left on Saturday morning, after tearful hugs, assurances of love, wish you didn’t have to go. We did a repeat performance on Sunday morning with Mike’s family. As they filed out the door, I remembered all the times Terry and I said good bye to my mom and dad, or his,  after a visit.  Everyone tried to be cheerful.  No one wanted to make it any worse than it really was.  But I knew very well that when our car pulled out of their driveway and disappeared down their street, my mom would get very busy cleaning, and Dad would find a reason to go to his study.  Terry’s mom would also deal with her tears in a frenzy of cleaning.  His dad would most likely go down to his painting studio and putter, maybe working on a design for a new sign.

We hated the leaving, but we sure enjoyed the arriving. The trouble is, you make a trip like that with the knowledge that there will have to be a goodbye.

Sometimes I get very jealous of my friends whose families never moved out of the area.

That’s not the way it has turned out for us.  Only one of our four children lives about 30 minutes away.  I wish I knew my other grands as well as I know the ones we see regularly.

These wrenching goodbyes help me to understand my mom better, although I think I really did understand her pretty well.  It’s just that the generations pass away, and suddenly you find that you are the grandparent standing at the door waving, tears rolling down your cheeks, as a carload of precious family members pulls out for their long drive home.

It seems impossible.  I am the same age now as Mom was when Dad died.  That still startles me when I think of it.

I find I’m thinking about time a lot more than I used to. When your children’s children are adults, or nearing adulthood, you yearn for more little ones to balance things out—and I suspect it won’t be terribly long before we become great grandparents, if the Lord tarries.

I guess I don’t really have an ending point here.  Just sharing my thoughts and my heart as we wrap up this Christmas season.  It’s been a good one, one of the best.

Just too short.

 

Access to God

Ephesians  2:18. “For through Him we both have access  by one Spirit unto the Father.”

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The first thing that strikes me about this verse is the clear teaching of the Trinity.  Through Him (Jesus, the Son) we have access to God (the Father) through the Spirit (the Holy Spirit). Some people like to deny the Trinity, saying that it is never mentioned in the Bible. While the word itself is not used, the three  persons of the Godhead are often  mentioned throughout scripture. This is one example.

Through Jesus, we both have access. Who is the “both” in this verse?  Like the previous verse, it is  a reference to both the Jew and the Gentile.

The word access here is prosagogemeaning the privilege of entrance.

It is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Son, by the power of the Spirit, that Jew and Gentile alike have the privilege of entrance into the very presence of God.

He Preached Peace

It’s been several days, so let me start by reminding you of the last post in this Ephesians study, which you can find here.  Jesus has put to death the enmity between the Jew and the Gentile through His sacrifice on the cross.  He has brought us together into one body through the Church, when we come to Him in repentance.

Now, the next verse is Ephesians 2: 17. “And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”

Who were those who were far away from the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Those were the Gentiles.  Very few of them had access to scripture, and the vast majority were idolaters.  Of course there were exceptions, exampled by the Magi who followed the star to seek Jesus, of Whom they had read in the Jewish prophecies.

Those who were near were God’s chosen, the Jews.  But notice that they were only near. They had not yet acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, and though many Jews today have realized Who Jesus was, there are multitudes who do not yet acknowledge Him as the Messiah they so fervently wait for.

Jesus preached peace to both Jews and Gentiles. He rejected no one. His salvation is available to all who believe, who come to Him in repentance for sin, and who seek Him as Lord and Savior.

One More Day

One more day, I think, until I’m ready to resume my regular posting schedule.  Everyone is gone. Ken’s got back home to South Dakota yesterday in the late afternoon.   Mike’s family left yesterday to see friends in Virginia and then travel South to see Janan’s family.  So.  The house is really quiet, and it’s going to take some readjustment before I’m okay with all of them being gone again.

I slept until 8:30 this morning, which for me is most unusual.  I was up around six, but decided I could catch a few more zzzzzz’s.  I surely did  🙂

I need to go swimming today.  I missed three of my regular sessions.  Amazingly, I haven’t regained any of the weight I’ve lost so far.  I don’t go back to work until a week from tomorrow.  I’m going to need this week to recover from last week!

There have been so many blessings, I can’t even count them. Life is changing so fast.  The possibility of every grandchild being present at another gathering becomes less  now, as they’re reaching college age. It could be that some of the older ones will be starting their own families in the next few years, and of course that changes everything.

You know that old saying, “Life is short”?

Guess what?  It’s the truth.  Treasure every moment, especially the times you gather as a family.  As the Bible says, life is a vapor: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth.” (James 4:14).

Here’s another truth that I’m experiencing these days: With every day that passes, I understand more clearly that our experience here is just a prelude to the eternity that will follow. For those who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, it is an eternity to welcome with joy and anticipation.  I do not dread death itself, and even the process is becoming less awful as I approach my 70’s.  I’ve always feared dying of cancer or some other slow, painful disease. Not any more. God gives us  the strength to endure what we must, and even to make the process one of victory (Philippians 4: 13).

All right, I think I’m done for today.  One last thing.  Here’s a picture Janan took yesterday as we were leaving for church.  I like it a lot.

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The Day After

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It always goes way too fast.  We had a perfect day yesterday at my daughter’s house.  She is an amazing cook, and presented us with  a beautiful and delicious feast.

It was fun to hear the teens and younger kids at a table in another room, having so much fun together.  All nine of my grandchildren together for Christmas happens only once in maybe three or four years, but they all seem to enjoy reconnecting.

all our grands

Later, a family from our church joined us for dessert, and we enjoyed singing carols together.  Lots of musical talent in our family and theirs.

My South Dakota crew left around 8:30 this morning.  It’s always so hard to say goodbye.  The Germany family will be up soon.  They’re going to an Eagles game tonight, will come back here to sleep, and then journey through Virginia to South Carolina to see friends and then my daughter-in-law’s family.

I’ve done very little cooking this week. My South Dakota son is turning into quite a chef, and he treated us to some wonderful meals. I’ve been thoroughly spoiled.

It’s certainly been a Christmas to remember.  We are thankful.