Leading from mail, ’email’, ‘snail mail’, ‘Royal mail’ or Power Letter…

Biblical LetterWhat a book, what a letter, what a pouring out of wisdom and revelation.

How can I best present the book of Ephesians to you, a book that was penned into a world where the evidences of powers behind politics, social challenges and finances were so evident. The signs of strength were openly displayed on the market streets of the day. History tells us even the world power of the day, ‘Roman Empire’ had claimed the eternal rights of power in having a divine Caesar, this was the world Paul wrote in to, this was the world in which the readers took hold of the truth that Paul unpacked.  Perhaps in truth, not 1,000,000 miles away from our own world where the powers still seek to capture the state, the politics, the finances, the world markets, therefore this letter introduces to us  how to live in such a world.

The writings are there to encourage the readers, you and I, a people who are “in Christ, women, men, children all that are and were being called to be obedient to the Creator of the Universe (Eph 1:4,3:9). The truth of being “In Christ” is this, God graciously included us into Gods eternal family (Eph 1:2,5; 2:18,5:20). What a thrilling narrative what an exciting reality for each one of us, we have been given a role in the eternal purpose of God (Eph 1:9-10). Which means we have a close relationship with Father Son and Spirit. This is not any relationship but one where God was so committed to being united with us that God was willing to humble God to achieve being united with is.

The reality must be sounded greatly in our and through our lives, we are to be bold and take hold to the truth sounded by Paul in this letter by engaging and embracing “seek first” the coming of the kingdom and the anointed King, Christ Jesus has already established the victory of God, the eschatology of our world, Christ is the end!    This victory for is declared to all the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”, we being united translates to that the very same power has become available to God’s family.

WOW, the earth shattering,  eternal impacting message of this book, Paul Longs that our eyes might be open, that spiritual blindness will be taken away by all who read this letter. Because of this we are called to live as one, encouraged to take on the overcoming fight with the forces around us.

We are reminded that if we are “in Christ” we are joined, United with him and each other.

Not only did Christ conquer but also took of himself on the heel of the victory, not only crushed the head of the evil one but made available all and gave himself away by Christ distributed himself, in giving gifts so that we might maintain our oneness and come to maturity (Eph 4:11 cf)

Paul wants us to grasp and hold in our foundation that God is in the process of restoring his creation to its original unity, the unity of peace between people’s, the unity of peace in creation.

I urge us to read these passages rightly, to grasp the reasons Paul is committing hand to pen and pen to paper, so that each one must grow up to maturity in all ways, that we might learn what it is to grasp “the breath and the length and the height and depth… of the love of Christ” in order that God’s eternal plan might come to full maturity in each individual and in the corporate life of the church of God.

The giving of gifts, distribution of Ascension gifts, the setting of good works, the grasping of the love of God, see that we have been arrested since before creation began,  all is our inheritance to enjoy.

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Kingdom has come and is coming…

What great changes we are seeing in practice and thought patterns, I firmly believe that we live in an age that the people of God are experiencing a new reformation at every level.    A massive transformation is happening around us, Dispensational practice and theology is in images-6the last shakes for survival as the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’ is growing and affecting the thinking of the church, the people of God.   Its onward advance is transforming our responsibility for creation rather than upholding a hoped escapism, it brings an accountability for transformation in our societies rather than doing away with a fallen world, it is the Kingdom of God at hand!

We are born to a very challenging yet exciting moment of advance as Father God makes known God’s purpose and will.   Today we are much more given to the language and practice of ‘mission,’ ‘transformation,’ bringing the rule of God to earth to see the coming of the Kingdom of God.    Jesus said the kingdom ‘…has come….and is coming…’, for some this means that over the years we have had to deal with the immediacy of the kingdom ‘…has come…’ being careful not to get lost into triumphalism with ‘Kingdom now’, only now having to deal with the onward transformation of ‘…the Kingdom is coming and will come…’, this is where our labour comes in, the travail until Jesus receives the ‘travail of his soul’ Isa 53:11

Church historians tell us that following every move of God approximately 30 to 35 years on, those affected in the move turn to transformation initiatives prior to another move of God.   Historically an example of this can be seen following the move of God in the UK with John and Charles Wesley in their education, health, etc, initiatives.   The UK experienced a move of God some 30/35 years ago commonly name the ‘house church movement’, this was a move, as it changed the structure of the church and theology.   Note it also was not isolated to the UK.   Similar move happened with a groups of men and women in South America, South Africa, USA and I am told Australia, they may have been under different names but there was a move of God afoot.

However, I can only comment on the UK, I believe what we are seeing in the UK now is not a recycling of history but the impact of a Kingdom Gospel.   Time will only tell, if it is history recycling we are on the verge of another move, but I seeing it as the coming of the Kingdom along with our growing grasp of understanding relating to the Kingdom of God.   I write this as an introduction to a book review that I believe all should take time to read to ensure our Kingdom is foundationally correct in all the changes we are seeing.   Please note this book was written many years ago and does not contain all the advances made over the last 40 years however a good place to commence a journey from. It is imperative we establish continually our foundation as we advance and fresh revelation breaks in on us, it is necessary to be able to contain revelation.

I will introduce chapters for you, this blog will only deal with the initial chapters so you can think on them, then we will return in the next blog to further chapters continuing our thinking.

‘The Gospel of the Kingdom‘       George Eldon LaddUnknown

Chapter 1 – What is the Kingdom of God? – There are diverse interpretations of the Kingdom of God. This is the result of the many varying different interpretations that are found within the Bible. The Kingdom of God is seen as a present spiritual reality, (Rom 14:17) the Kingdom is also an inheritance which God will bestow upon His people. (Mat 25:34)  The Kingdom of God therefore holds two tensions closely; it is a present spiritual reality but at the same time the Kingdom has a future realm as well. The Kingdom of God is God’s rule, reign and sovereignty now. Gods rule is also an everlasting rule and reign. In order for one to enter the future realm of the Kingdom of God, one must submit himself in perfect trust to God’s rule here and now. The Kingdom of God is God’s rule, reign and sovereignty now. It is an everlasting rule and reign.

Chapter 2 – The Kingdom is Tomorrow – George Eldon Ladd explains how the Kingdom of God can be held in two different spheres as a present spiritual reality & a future hope by explaining that there are two different ages; this age and the age to come.

This age is dominated by wickedness, evil & rebellion against the will of God, whilst the age to come is the age of the Kingdom whereby God’s rule and reign will be at the centre. Ladd explains that the drive of ambition for wealth & success are all involved with the cares of this age. He suggests that the spirit of this age is hostile to the Gospel of Jesus. In Ephesians it talks about Satan being the prince of the air, this age is defined by Satan having the power of the air.

The age to come will witness the fullness of God’s Kingdom, the perfection of God’s reign. Ladd explains that we will never experience the full blessings of Gods Kingdom in this age as he argues that death will not be destroyed until the final judgment at the end of the rule of Christ talked about in Revelation.

Chapter 3 – Kingdom of God is TodayHeb 6:5, ‘who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the power of the age to come,’ displays that which belongs to the future has become a present reality.  By the power of the age to come may be delivered from the from this present evil age. Within this chapter Ladd goes onto explain that the Kingdom of God has invaded this age.

In the last chapter it was suggested that death will not completely be destroyed until the end of the millennial rule of Christ.  Although this is true it is important to note that through Jesus’ resurrection the triumph over death has begun and Satan has already been defeated. (Heb 2:14) Jesus life on earth broke the power of Satan. Satan is a defeated enemy and because of this we may be delivered from the power of this evil age into the Kingdom of God.  Therefore we can bring God’s rule and Kingdom, age to come into the present evil age.

Chapter 4 – The Mystery of the Kingdom – The Mystery of the Kingdom is that it has come amongst men, but yet men can reject it. God’s Kingdom is working among men, but it will not compel them to bow before it, they must receive it through a willing heart and a submissive will.  The Kingdom of God does not force itself upon men; it is not like a stone grinding an image to powder but the Kingdom requires a submissive heart & will.

The Kingdom of God has come to work among men, destroying human rule & abolishing all that stand against the Father will from the earth.  The Kingdom offers men blessings of God’s rule, delivering men from the power of Satan. However the Kingdom will not work with an ‘irresistible power,’ but will work within the hearts of men that have submitted to God’s rule & reign.

 

Effected by a child’s birth

images-4 The incarnation and its effect

He became that we might become the Ultimate Transformation, this season of celebration, the incarnation must be about this.   Ultimate Transformation when the process arrived in life, when Christ became flesh as a means of our transformation.  – life poured to life completed, one emptied the other filled.   One poured out that many might be filled.

The answered prayer of Jesus later spoken but a life lived as a prayer the desire of the Father accomplishes God’s Purposes in our lives, incarnation is about God’s purpose.     Consider the greatness of God as the move is towards purpose and Jehovah is the Highest of the high and the Greatest of the great, but He is also willing to become the Lowest of the low and stoop down to meet us where we are and humanities needs.

To “look upon the lowly” means to pay attention to them and regard them with favor (11:4; 113:5–9; Isa. 57:15 and 66:2; Luke 1:47–55).      The ultimate proof of this is the incarnation of Jesus Christ, for He became poor that we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9) and became a servant that we might be set free (Phil. 2:1–12).

He was lowly in His life and in His death, for He who is perfect was treated like a criminal and nailed to a cross, and on that cross, He became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).

King David gave thanks that the Lord knew his need and came to his aid.    In His covenant with David (2 Sam. 7), God revealed that He had a great purpose to fulfill through David’s life, and He would not allow the enemy to thwart that purpose.     This is true for you and I that might believe today (Phil. 1:6 and 2:13; Eph. 2:10 and 3:20; Col. 1:29), and He will not forsake us.

It has well been said that the purpose of prayer is not to get man’s will done in heaven but to get God’s will done on earth, let us set 2013 to demonstrate this and be actively involved in bring Gods purpose to earth

 

Where is your home?

Settlement Life

As another journey looms near following an 8-week placement in Africa there comes with it all the necessary packing arrangements, packing the house away so its ready for the next people to arrive, the travel details are now starting to come, needing attention “I hope now can I get an upgrade once again?”    O yes who can I ask to collect us?     While considering these details we are looking back on what we have seen, what we have learned about God, his will and ourselves along with what we have been allowed to put our hands with while being in Africa, thoughts and considerations rush through my mind.

One question we have often been asked as we live life whilst trying to keep obedient to the mind and will of God for our lives.   We trust that every step, action, involvement, every major decision such as a home in Cape Town has a direction of God that we are trying to be obedient to,  so that our lives actually live in worship to him – obedience which is worship our “sacrifice of worship”.

Back to the question “where is your home, Cape Town, Coventry, UK, South Africa?”    My reply is often spoken firstly with a smile “where the heart is followed then by my body and I trust my body is with my heart”.     Yet where is home for each of us? what makes our home?  is it the environment or even the place where I was born and grew up or just where family and people are.   I think we would find differences of definition and places for many on where  your home is.

Try this never mind what age you are having left your parents house to get married or move to university and never return, or even moved out for work, whether you left recently or years ago, do you still “go home” to visit mum and dad? Yet following your visit do you then “go home” again?    I wonder what we do to language with “going home” does the context give us an indication of where home is?  So where is your home?     Having my parents both now passed on did my language change?   or did it change when my mother finally sold our family home several years ago, did home disappear then?

Home, what is your home?  Where is your home?  Are we always traveling towards home, I wonder?

Home opens up a whole view in my mind on dwelling and being at rest and “at home” a place where there is a security, a place of retreat where you find peace and stillness, however I know for some it may not be like this.    My heart and prayer cries on God for those who cannot find this, a place to call home what ever the home looks like and where ever it is placed in this world.

I Know this as well its a place where you have built characteristics into where we call hoe mot find that stillness that pace of being able to retreat to safety and solace where love might be found it does not just happen fully but we have to invest to see it and experience it.

I was reading Psalm 91 that commenced this thought pattern in me Verse 1 & 9 of the Psalm it says “You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow…Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home…” we are presented with God the Father being our “…very own home…” I respond to that, I make him my abode.   He becomes the place where I kick off my shoes and put my feet up, put on my PJs’ early when no one else will call, where I can just  be me, chilled out.    Perhaps for some this is too easy-going language while relating to the a dwelling place of God the abode of God, the in him,  then the pace I find my rest, security, peace to be off guard.

The Psalm sounds more familiar for us in a traditional translation here its is again “…He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty…For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place…

Still the question remains where is your home, dwelling place and what is the environment you have in this home, my encouragement to you is to find and make your home in Him, find a way to be in him as  a constant living way of life,  not as a holiday, or as a visitor or a need for council, but t make home in him as a consistent living way never to depart.   He will not remove it from you, he made it possible, so why do we not occupy his possibility.

We are encouraged in the scripture to take on a pilgrim attitude to this world looking for a place; Abraham called it a city, where the foundation and maker is the Father.   As we bring the dimensions of his Kingdom or bring the Fathers home to the cosmos and we are actively involved in transforming this world we have the merging of Heaven and Earth and  he becomes our home.    Pilgrim towards our ultimate goal and his intention making Him our home.    We are living an ever emergent life from him being our home, with discovery and revelation, more and more of his Kingdom, the taste of the age to come is with us as we enjoy him as our home.

SO WHERE is home?WHY is that home?WHAT makes it home?WHO is at your home?

GOD YOUR VERY OWN HOME!