Sunday, June 28, 2015

supernatural peace...it is well...

artwork by Amy Scott

When I saw Amy Scott’s delightful work of art on our Artful Story Journaling Facebook page, I was drawn to its color and charm, and even more so when I read this description that Amy included with her artwork, I started this in one of my favorite spots on our university campus in Korea. I finished it in bits and pieces in various places. I'm giving a copy to a friend today who's moving to a new location and situation. Please pray for her.

As I prayed peace for Amy’s friend, I was reminded of the wonderful new hymn, It Is Well, by Bethel Music… Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You; through it all, through it all it is well…So let go my soul and trust in Him…the waves and wind still know His name. It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul. Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You, Lord. Through it all, through it all, it is well with me.

Singing that hymn led me to a word study of the word peace from Ephesians 1:1-2

Amplified: Paul, an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), by the divine will (the purpose and the choice of God) to the saints (the consecrated, set-apart ones) at Ephesus who are also faithful and loyal and steadfast in Christ Jesus: May grace (God’s unmerited favor) and spiritual peace [which means peace with God and harmony, unity, and undisturbedness] be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

NLT: This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Phillips: Paul, messenger of Jesus Christ by God’s choice, to all faithful Christians at Ephesus (and other places where this letter is read): grace and peace be to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wuest: Paul, an ambassador of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints, the ones who are [in Ephesus], namely, believing ones in Christ Jesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Young’s Literal: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Peace (eirene from the verb eiro) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided; it conveys the idea of setting at one again. Eirene is the tranquility which results in the joining together again those who were separated, such as a sinner and a holy God through the blood of Christ..

Eirene also conveys the sense of an inner rest, well-being, and harmony. The ultimate peace is the state of reconciliation with God, effected by placing one's faith in the gospel.

Eirene is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies or inwardly, as in the current context, within the soul. Eirene implies health, well-being, and prosperity. Christ Jesus through the blood of His Cross binds together that which was separated by human sin when the sinner puts his or her faith in Christ Jesus the Lord.

Eirene is the root word for our English word "serene" (serenity) which means clear and free of storms or unpleasant change, stresses an unclouded and lofty tranquility. In secular Greek, eirene referred to cessation or absence of war. Eirene is also the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew shalom, a word which speaks of spiritual prosperity.

Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest states, "B
y His (Messiah's) death, (Jesus) satisfied the just demands of the law which we broke, thus making it possible for a righteous and holy God to bestow mercy upon a believing sinner and do so without violating His justice. Our Lord thus bound together again the believing sinner and God (in an indissoluble, living union), thus making peace. There is therefore a state of untroubled, undisturbed wellbeing for the sinner who places his faith in the Savior. The law of God has nothing against him, and he can look up into the Father’s face unafraid and unashamed. This is justifying peace."

Theologian Charles Spurgeon said, "
I find myself frequently depressed—perhaps more so than any other person here. And I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and His infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions."

Horatio Spafford had just been ruined financially by the great Chicago Fire of October, 1871. Shortly thereafter, while crossing the Atlantic, all four of Spafford’s daughters died in a collision with another ship. Spafford’s wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone.” Several weeks later, as Spafford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, the Holy Spirit suddenly overwhelmed him with what can only be described as an inrush of  supernatural peace, the peace of God. With tears streaming down his face, he picked up a pen to record his feelings and from his heart, filled with the peace of God, flowed the timeless words that speak of that peace God provides even though our world is falling apart...
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You; through it all, through it all, it is well with me.


Previous posts from Ephesians Chapter One…

Ephesians 1:3-4


Ephesians 1:5-6

Ephesians 1:7

Ephesians 1:8

Ephesians1:9-10

Ephesians 1:13-14

Ephesians1:15-17

Ephesians 1:18-19

Ephesians 1:20-21

Ephesians 1:22-23

Weekly LinkUps…

Sunday, June 21, 2015

trusting...filled up to the brim...

artwork by Cherry Ashen Fargo
My OneWord365 for this year is “trusting.” When I first saw this beautiful work of art by Cherry Ashen Fargo, my eyes were riveted on the word, “trust,” and the symbolism of the lighthouse. The structure itself, rising tall in the sky, lifts our eyes to the heavens and God—a towering signpost to guide the way and warn of danger. The beacon, shining out over the roughest and stormiest of seas, is a symbol of salvation and direction, leading those in danger to safety and security, whether it be physical danger or spiritual and moral trials and tribulation.

Trusting God always draws my heart back to a study of God’s Word. Today, it is a word study on fills or fullness from the last two verses in Ephesians Chapter One, accompanied by a new hymn by the Merchant Band, Come and Let Your Presence…Come and let Your presence fill our praise, fill our praise. Come and let Your presence fill this place. For You are the One we want to meet Jesus, shine through all the praises that we sing. We have come to give You Highest praise, highest praise, We have come to love You in this place. It's all for You, Here we are, here we are…


Ephesians 1:22-23…

Amplified Bible: And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church], which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].

New Living Translation: God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself.

Phillips: God has placed everything under the power of Christ and has set Him up as head of everything for the Church, for the Church is His body, and in that body lives fully the one who fills the whole wide universe.

Wuest: and all things He put in subjection under His feet, and Him He gave as Head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of Him Who is filling the all in all.

Young's Literal: and all things He did put under his feet, and did give him—head over all things to the assembly, which is his body, the fullness of Him who is filling the all in all.

Fills (pleroo) means to be completely filled (completed state—a net or a cup filled to the brim). It carries the idea of permeation, such as salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor preserve it. It also gives the idea of total control. The present tense means continuously fills. Pleroo means to be filled to the brim, to make complete in every particular, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to flood, to diffuse throughout, to pervade, to take possession of and so to ultimately to control.

Pleroo is in the passive voice (subject receives the action—in this context the "divine passive") which points out the fact that as believers, we do not fill ourselves, but permit the Spirit of God to fill us (and control us). In other words, God discloses a knowledge of Himself. One cannot simply learn to know God. God is not like secular truths which may be learned. Divine truth must be revealed!

Pleroo also means to fulfill, to complete, to carry out to the full. Pleroo indicates more than just pouring water in a glass up the brim and has at least three shades of meaning that are helpful in illustrating the meaning. (1) Pleroo was often used of the wind billowing the sails of a ship and providing impetus to move the ship across the water. To be filled with the Spirit then to is to be moved along in our Christian life by God Himself, by the same dynamic by which the writers of Scripture were “moved by the Holy Spirit.” In the spiritual realm, this concept depicts the Holy Spirit providing the thrust to move the believer down the pathway of obedience. A Spirit-filled Christian is not motivated by his own desires or will to progress. Instead, he allows the Holy Spirit to carry him in the proper directions. Another helpful example of this first meaning is a small stick floating in a stream. Sometime in our lives most of us have tossed a stick into a creek and then run downstream to see the twig come floating by, propelled only by the force of the water. To be filled with the Spirit means to be carried along by the gracious pressure of the Holy Spirit. (2) Pleroo also conveys the idea of permeation as of salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor and preserve it.  God wants the Holy Spirit to permeate and flavor our lives so that when we’re around others they will know for certain that we possess the pervasive savor of the Spirit. (3) Pleroo conveys the sense of domination or total control. It is used by the Gospel writers in various passages to indicate that people were dominated by a certain emotion.

Theologian Charles Spurgeon commenting on pleroo, says this involves an intimate, experiential type of knowledge, exhorting us to, “Let us try to know divine truth more and more intimately. You know a man, for you pass him in the streets with a nod; you know another man far better, for you lodge in the same house with him; you know him best of all when you have shared his trouble, partaken in his joy, and have, in fact, had fellowship with him by blending your two lives in one common stream of friendship. When you learn a spiritual truth endeavor to know it out and out; to know its foundation and up building; to know it by the application of the Spirit to your own soul so that you are filled with it.  You may have knowledge in the brain, but it may not run into your spirit, so as to penetrate, and permeate, and saturate your spirit, till you are filled therewith. Oh, to get the gospel into one’s entire nature, and to be like the water pots of Cana, filled up to the brim!”


Sunday, June 14, 2015

approaching His Throne of Grace

artwork by Tamara Peterson
As I pondered Tamara Peterson’s beautiful work of art posted on her Artful Story —Journaling Facebook page, this Scripture came to mind…Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16)…Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience... (Hebrews 10:22)...

A powerful image for a time of communion, singing along with the beautiful new hymn Seas of Crimson by Bethel Music…Where there was sin, Your love rushed in, Where sin runs deep, Your grace runs deeper, For all enslaved the ransom paid, Light of the world, Yours is the power… power...power in the blood of Jesus Christ... led me to a word study on the word power from Ephesians 1:20-21...

Amplified: which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.

NLT: that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come.

Phillips: that power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead and gave him the place of supreme honor in Heaven—a place that is infinitely superior to any conceivable command, authority, power or control, and which carries with it a name far beyond any name that could ever be used in this world or the world to come.

Wuest: which might was operative in the Christ when He raised Him from among the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places over and above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name that is constantly being named, not only in this age, but also in the one about to come.



Power: dunamis from dunamai means to be able, to have power, refers to power, especially achieving power. It refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way (power, might, strength, ability, capability), the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.


Dunamis is the implied ability or capacity to perform. It conveys the idea of effective, productive energy, rather than that which is raw and unbridled. Note that words derived from the stem duna—all have the basic meaning of “being able,” of “capacity” in virtue of an ability.

Theologian F.B. Meyer has said, “It is power. It is His power. It is great power; nothing less would suffice. It is exceeding great power, beyond the furthest cast of thought. This is the power which God used in our redemption, which He uses in our preservation, and which He will yet use in our glorification.”
 

Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest explains, “It is the good news of salvation energized by the Holy Spirit. Our word “dynamite” is the transliteration of this Greek word, but not its translation. Dunamis does not refer to an explosive powder. The Greeks knew nothing about gunpowder. The gospel is not the dynamite of God. It is a sweet and loving message of mercy and grace which the Holy Spirit in sovereign grace makes operative in the heart of the sinner elected to salvation before the foundation of the universe. God is able to do for us and answer our prayers according to the efficiency, richness, and power of the working of the Spirit in our lives. This latter is determined by the yieldedness of the believer to the Holy Spirit. Thus, the saint determines what God is able to do for him. In His inherent ability, there is no limit to what God can do in and through the saint. But the saint limits the working of God in and through him by the degree of his yieldedness to the Spirit."

During the bomb raids of World War Two, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But, many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, "Today I ate, and I will eat again tomorrow." In much the same way, I hold the bread and the cup of communion with the same trust. By His stripes, I am healed; as He is, so am I in this world; I am the righteousness of God in Christ...approaching His Throne of Grace with confidence...my heart sprinkled by the precious blood of Jesus Christ...with full assurance, I am trusting Him with my eternity, and I am trusting Him for my next piece of bread...


Previous posts from Ephesians Chapter One…
Ephesians 1:3-4

Ephesians 1:5-6

Ephesians 1:7

Ephesians 1:8

Ephesians1:9-10

Ephesians 1:13-14

Ephesians1:15-17

Ephesians 1:18-19


Weekly LinkUps…






Monday, June 8, 2015

superabounding love...

artwork by Tamara Peterson

Something about Tamara Peterson’s beautiful work of art posted on our Artful Story—Journaling Facebook page, came to my heart when I first heard this anointed new hymn, Good, Good Father, by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown of Housefires, a group of musicians from Atlanta, Georgia…I've heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like, but I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night, You tell me that You’re pleased and that I’m never alone. You’re a Good, Good Father. It’s who You are, It’s who You are, It’s who You are and I’m loved by You, It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am. I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide, but I know we’re all searching for answers only You provide, because You know just what we need before we say a word. Love so undeniable I can hardly speak. Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think, as You call me deeper still...into love, love, love. You’re a Good, Good Father. It’s who You are. It’s who You are, It’s who You are, and I’m loved by You. It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am. You are perfect in all of Your ways, You are perfect in all of Your ways, You are perfect in all of Your ways to us...

I was stunned (wrecked, in Tamara’s words) by the simple beauty and authenticity of this hymn, which speaks literally of God’s goodness, and paints a simple picture of His identity, even as it underscores our own identity in Him. Any person who’s ever felt lonely or unloved will be ministered to by this hymn, because it declares something we’ve always wanted: identity and purpose. We are loved with a superabounding love by our heavenly Father...drawing my heart back to Ephesians 1:18-19…

Amplified:
  By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), and [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength.

NLT:  I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power.

Phillips: That you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realize how great is the hope to which he is calling you—the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to Christians—and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God.

Wuest:  The eyes of your heart being in an enlightened state with a view to your knowing what is the hope of His calling, what is the wealth of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and what is the superabounding greatness of His inherent power to us who are believing ones as measured by the operative energy of the manifested strength of His might.

Young’s Literal: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, for your knowing what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us who are believing, according to the working of the power of His might.

A word study of surpassing or superabounding [huperballo from hupér (above) bállo (cast)] which literally means throwing beyond the usual mark and figuratively referring to a degree which exceeds extraordinary, a point on an implied or overt scale of extent. Expressing a degree beyond comparison. Extraordinary, extreme, supreme, far more, much greater, to a far greater degree. To transcend. Immeasurable. To overshoot, outdo, surpass, prevail over, to go beyond, exceed, absolutely to exceed all bounds, to go on further and further.

God's power goes far beyond all other power. The power of Christ applied in the believer’s behalf can't be defeated because the Creator's power exceeds all. Huperballo is in the present tense (present-active-participle) indicating that this is a power which is continually surpassing or excels all other power. There will never be a day when it is not sufficient to accomplish what God purposes in us and through us to the praise of His glory. What He does in and through us will be seen by others ,who give Him praise and glory because they realize that it is a supernatural, not natural, work. Join me in praying daily that we surrender to the authority of the Spirit of Christ, Who dwells in the innermost part of us, energizing our walk, elevating it from a natural to a supernatural walk.

As Greek scholar, Dr. Kenneth Wuest translates, the superabounding greatness of His inherent power to us who are believing ones as measured by the operative energy of the manifested strength of His might. It is difficult to give a clear distinction between the three Greek words that expand on the meaning of the surpassing greatness of His power, but in simple terms it pictures the piling up of similar terms in an attempt to convey the magnitude and capability of God's incomprehensible, infinite power. God's surpassing, superabounding power is available to believers because we are in Christ and He is in us, these positions picturing a union, a oneness, a solemn and binding covenant relationship. Commentators tell us that they can distinguish differences of meaning between the words, in that the first of them is the more active and outward, and the last of them is the more inward, comparing them to fruit and branch and root. The surpassing power which God uses in ministering to our spiritual needs is in accordance with, commensurate with, His infinite, immeasurable divine energy. Praise His Holy Name!

Pastor Adrian Rogers is quoted as saying, “Now, I want to ask you a question: Are you sitting in this auditorium, this morning, or are you sitting in heavenly places? The answer is yes, yes, yes. Physically, we are here; but, in Christ, we have been raised. When He died, we died. His death had our name on it. When He was raised from the grave, we were raised from the grave. When He ascended, we ascended. When He is seated at the right hand of God, so are we, in Christ. If I were to put you in a barrel and put that barrel in the Mississippi River, where would you be? In the Mississippi River, right? Well, if you're in Christ, and Christ is at the right hand of God, where are you? Seated with Him…as the Apostle Paul wrote, I am praying that your eyes will be opened, that you will be enlightened, that you will understand this (Ephesians 1:18)… surpassing, superabounding, exceeding greatness of His inherent power in and for us who believe (Ephesians 1:19)"…

He’s a Good, Good Father…it’s Who He is, and we’re loved with a superabounding love by Him…it’s who we are…it's Whose we are…in Christ...

Previous posts from Ephesians Chapter One…

Ephesians 1:3-4

Ephesians 1:5-6

Ephesians 1:7

Ephesians 1:8


Ephesians1:9-10

Ephesians 1:13-14

Ephesians 1:15-17

Weekly LinkUps…  

Sunday, May 31, 2015

You are the One our hearts adore...

artwork by Kimberly Simmons
Kimberly Simmons' beautiful work of art, which exudes such colorful expressions of love, reminds me of the way we love and adore our Savior and our Lord Jesus Christ, from Ephesians 1:15-17…


Amplified: For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints (the people of God), I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,

NLT: Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

Phillips: Since, then, I heard of this faith of yours in the Lord Jesus and the practical way in which you are expressing it towards fellow-Christians, I thank God continually for you and I never give up praying for you; and this is my prayer. That God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of him: that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realize how great is the hope to which he is calling you—the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to Christians—and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God.

Wuest: On account of this, I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you and of your love to all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you as I constantly make mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory, might give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the sphere of a full knowledge of Him.

Young’s Literal: Because of this I also, having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love to all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the recognition of him.

Such love, expressed so passionately in this new hymn by Bethel Music, Jesus, We Love You, Old things have passed away,Your love has stayed the same, Your constant grace remains the cornerstone, Things that we thought were dead, Are breathing in life again, You cause your Son to shine on darkest nights, For all that you’ve done we will pour out our love, This will be our anthem song, Jesus we love you, Oh how we love You, You are the One our hearts adore, Our hearts adore, We adore You, The hopeless have found their hope, The orphans now have a home, All that was lost has found its place in You, You lift our weary head, You make us strong instead, You took these rags and made us beautiful, Our affection, our devotion poured out on the feet of Jesus...

A word study of love from Ephesians 1:15...love (agape) in the Greek classics spoke of a love called out of one's heart by the preciousness of the object loved. This is the idea inherent in the Father's proclamation, "This is My beloved Son..." Agape is the love that was shown at Calvary. Agape is God's love and is the love that God is. It is not human affection, but is a divine love, self-sacrificial in nature, seeking the benefit of the one who is loved. The degree of the preciousness is measured by the infinite sacrifice which God made. The love in John 3:16 is a love whose essence is that of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved, this love based upon an evaluation of the preciousness of the one loved...Oh Jesus, We Love You, Oh how we love You, You are the One our hearts adore, Our hearts adore...

Previous posts from Ephesians Chapter One...

Ephesians 1:3-4

Ephesians 1:5-6

Ephesians 1:7


Ephesians1:9-10

Ephesians 1:13-14
Weekly LinkUps…
 
 

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