VIDEO Burst Balloon – Three Scenes of Ephesians 3

The unsearchable riches of Christ.  Ephesians 3:8

One day last winter when Ruth Balloon got off work, she decided to check her bank account balance on her smartphone. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She had over $37 million. She knew it must be an error; but like all of us, Ruth began thinking about what she would do with the money. “First I was going to do 10% tithing. Then I was going to donate some money and then I would have invested in real estate.” Alas! It was indeed a banking blunder, and the bank took it all back. Ruth has nothing more than a screen shot of her balance to remind her of the day when she was momentarily a multi-millionaire. [1]

When we receive Jesus Christ, He erases our debt, and He deposits into our account the unsearchable riches of Christ. On this planet, Jesus lavishes His grace on us, and He places the Holy Spirit in our heart as a down payment and guarantee of the eternal wealth we’ll enjoy in heaven.

We can be confident God will do what He says. The heavenly bank makes no mistakes, the treasuries of heaven are inexhaustive, and our Heavenly Father is faithful to fulfill His promissory notes.

The kingdom of heaven is worth infinitely more than the cost of discipleship.

D. A. Carson

  1. Ken Molestina, “Dallas Woman Discovers $37M Deposited in Her Personal Bank Account: ‘I Was a Millionaire’ for a Day,” CBS DFW, December 12, 2019.

John Piper’s Three Scenes of Ephesians 3

Cheerful Givers

God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

 

Years ago, my wife received a small rebate from something she’d purchased. It wasn’t something she’d expected, it just showed up in the mail. About the same time, a good friend shared with her the immense needs of women in another country, entrepreneurial-minded women trying to better themselves by way of education and business. As is often the case, however, their first barrier was financial.

My wife took that rebate and made a micro-loan to a ministry devoted to helping these women. When the loan was repaid, she simply loaned again, and again, and so far has made twenty-seven such investments. My wife enjoys many things, but there’s rarely a smile as big on her face as when she receives an update on the flourishing taking place in the lives of women she’s never met.

We often hear emphasis on the last word in this phrase—“God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)—and rightly so. But our giving has a specific quality about it—it shouldn’t be done “reluctantly or under compulsion,” and we’re called not to sow “sparingly” (vv. 6–7). In a word, our giving is to be “cheerful.” And while each of us will give a little differently, our faces are places for telling evidence of our cheer.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

When did you last “cheerfully” give? Why do you believe God loves a cheerful giver?

Generous Father God, thank You for the joy that comes in giving from a cheer-filled heart. And thank You for the ways in which You provide abundantly for our needs.

How Do We Seek God?

Deuteronomy 4:21-31We will find God when we seek Him with all our heart. That is a biblical promise we can depend on. But how do we go about seeking Him?

First, we must exhibit certain attitudes. Scripture implores us to pursue wholeheartedly, diligently, continually, confidently, and humbly. These qualities are essential for learning and spiritual growth.

Then we get into God’s Word, studying and meditating upon it with a receptive heart. We also take up the discipline of prayer, because it’s the primary way we communicate with Him, and He with us.

The next step is to consider how God is operating in our circumstances. Think back on His patterns of faithfulness to you in the past, and you’ll see glimpses of how He worked, even during times of adversity in your life. You may even be able to recognize His involvement in the lives of other believers, and that awareness can also enrich your growth.

When we seek God, we find the capacity to love and serve Him. If you’ve been feeling apathetic towards the Father, consider pursuing Him in one of the ways described above, and pray that it ignites your passion.

The One Son of God

“[God] hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:2)

The unique divine Sonship of Jesus Christ is emphasized here in Hebrews 1. The above text, for example, introduces the Son as the Creator, then as the revealing Word, and finally as the appointed heir of all things.

This chapter also demonstrates that God’s Son was recognized even in the Old Testament. Verse 5 quotes Psalm 2:7: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,” and 1 Chronicles 17:13: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” That this Son is none other than God Himself is confirmed in verse 8, quoting Psalm 45:6: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” That He is the Creator is asserted in verse 10 referring to Psalm 102:25: “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth.” That He is now at God’s own throne is stressed in verse 13, citing Psalm 110:1: “Sit on my right hand.” Thus, He is to be worshipped as God. “Let all the angels of God worship him” (verse 6, taken from Psalm 97:7).

Furthermore, Hebrews 1 notes a manifold description of the meaning of the divine Sonship. He is Son of God by eternal generation, as the “brightness [or ‘out-radiating’] of his glory, and the express image of his person” (v. 3). He is Son of God by miraculous conception (v. 5), also quoted in Acts 13:33 (note Romans 1:4) as referring to His Sonship by bodily resurrection. Verse 6 refers to the divine proclamation of the Sonship (also Matthew 3:17; 17:5). Verses 8 and 9 stress the testimony of His uniquely holy nature. “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” Finally, as the Son, He is promised universal inheritance from His Father (vv. 9, 13). From eternity to eternity, Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son! And yet God “gave his only begotten Son” that we might have everlasting life (John 3:16)! HMM

At Home in Your Prayer Chamber

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

—Daniel 6:10

 

Thomas à Kempis says that the man of God ought to be more at home in his prayer chamber than before the public….

No man should stand before an audience who has not first stood before God. Many hours of communion should precede one hour in the pulpit. The prayer chamber should be more familiar than the public platform. Prayer should be continuous, preaching but intermittent.

It is significant that the schools teach everything about preaching except the important part, praying. For this weakness the schools are not to be blamed, for the reason that prayer cannot be taught; it can only be done. The best any school or any book (or any article) can do is to recommend prayer and exhort to its practice. Praying itself must be the work of the individual. That it is the one religious work which gets done with the least enthusiasm cannot but be one of the tragedies of our times.   GTM070-071

Lord, I pray today that I might more and more be at home in my prayer chamber. Help me to pray with deeper commitment and greater enthusiasm. Amen.

 

Fire in the Bush

But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare…to Israel his sin.

—Micah 3:8

 

The greatest proof of our weakness these days is that there is no longer anything terrible or mysterious about us….We now have little that cannot be accounted for by psychology and statistics.

In that early Church they met together on Solomon’s porch, and so great was the sense of God’s presence that “durst no man join himself to them” (Acts 5:13). The world saw fire in that bush and stood back in fear; but no one is afraid of ashes.

Today they…even slap the professed bride of Christ on the back and get coarsely familiar. If we ever again impress unsaved men with a wholesome fear of the supernatural we must have once more the dignity of the Holy Spirit; we must know again that awe-inspiring mystery which comes upon men and churches when they are full of the power of God. PTP011

The Holy Spirit is pure, for He is the Holy Spirit. He is wise, for He is the Spirit of wisdom. He is true, for He is the Spirit of truth. He is like Jesus, for He is the Spirit of Christ. He is like the Father, for He is the Spirit of the Father. He wants to be Lord of your life. COU075

 

He Is Not Here!

Matthew 28:6

The empty tomb, its vacancy, shook the people who made their way through the garden to the place where Christ had been buried—and it shakes us still. It all seems too good to be true.

The biblical account tells us that the angel rolled back the stone and sat upon it with a kind of cheerful insolence. “He’s not here!” said the divine messenger. “Have a look!” It seemed important that the world should see just how empty the place was.

The message must have become crystal clear to His staggered disciples. The Master whom they thought was done for was up and about again—as ready as ever to comfort, to guide, to direct and correct, to help and to heal. Love was liberated. The rocky walls of His “container” could not contain Him. What can one say but “Whoopee!” or, perhaps more appropriately, “Hallelujah!”

Our world needs to know about this. Every Christian ought to stand by the door of Christ’s empty tomb and whisper or shout as may be appropriate: “He is not here!”

Ever since Christ moved out of His grave, people have been trying to get Him back inside. They have attempted to imprison Him afresh—in history, in literature, in tradition—but in each case the cry rings out: “He isn’t here!” They try to wrap Him up in the shroud of regimented religion and the angels must laugh as they sing out, “He isn’t here, either!” Regular attempts have been made to bury him in the past, but He is more modern than the latest revelation or man’s way-out technology. Don’t look for Him among dead things. You won’t find Him there.

“Then where is He?” you ask. The simple answer is, “Everywhere!” His presence is totally unrestricted, as His disciples soon found out. He seemed to be everywhere at once and He still is. He is here with the fellow setting out for college and the girl going to her first job. He is here with the new mother cuddling her contented child. He is at the bedside of the seriously ill and on the road beside the recently unemployed. He is here with the laughing crowd at the Super Bowl and at the Olympic Games. He is here with the lonely and the depressed and especially the bereaved, and a simple prayer will make His living, powerful presence felt.

He is the Christ of the human road.

John Gowans, The War Cry