Reserved and Preserved

English was my favorite subject in school. I was fascinated with words, their meanings and how they fit together with other words to form sentences; from there to weave thoughts into paragraphs and articles to share with others. And so, after I came to love God’s Word, I continued to learn of the life that He gives us through His Son, and to find more and more words for sharing this life with my family and friends. Such is the case with what is reserved and preserved in this life with Christ.

In 1 Peter 3:3-5 we read:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

We learn from Peter’s letter that God our Father, by His abundant mercy has given us new life ~ a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

This new life is given here and now with the promise of an eternal  inheritance reserved in heaven for us.

This new life comes with a double promise: not only is the inheritance reserved in heaven for us, but we are kept here on earth by the power of God until we receive this inheritance revealed in the last time ~ when Jesus returns to claim us as His own.

The apostle Paul refers to this in 1Thessalonians 5:23-24.

 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

This is to fulfill what is spoken in Ephesians 1:3-6

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

It is His plan, having chosen, predestinated us unto the adoption of our inheritance, according to the good pleasure of His will, ~

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” ~ in Christ His Son.

The inheritance was reserved before the foundation of the world.

The writer of Hebrews makes reference to the calling that is ours in Christ.

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus ……. whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Hebrews 3: 2, 6

There are more, so many more references, from God’s Holy Word that can be woven together to share the wonderful life that is ours, now and forever, through Jesus Christ. We must take His Word as His covenant to us as His children ~ His everlasting covenant that cannot be broken. We claim His promises and the life of Christ by faith as He writes them on our hearts ~ what is reserved for us who are being preserved for Him for eternity.

Dear Gracious Father, what is exceeding abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine, you are reserving for your children, joint heirs with Christ. We praise you that we cannot be separated from our inheritance, preserved in Christ, made to sit in heavenly places with Him, sealed with the Holy Spirit until the redemption of the purchased possession when you will claim us as your own. Work your witness in us, as those who belong to you, that we may live as those who are rich in the life of Christ. Make it evident so that others will ask us what is our hope and joy in this life. Give us your own words that reveal this life to others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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The Reason and Season for Contentment

Jesus is the reason and the season for contentment. We cannot say this strongly enough.
We looked at the role of God, the Father, last week. We will look at the role of the Holy Spirit next week.

Why are we centering on Jesus, the second person of the Trinity? There are many reasons.
(I have to, at this point say as I remind myself, everything I write is something the Lord is teaching me. At this point in our writing about contentment, I am excited about what we are learning.)

Our last post on Jesus could not be enough. Remember John’s last statement of his gospel, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” So, if you want to be richer and content with what God has prepared for us as His children, don’t skim this article, but stay with me to hear what He wants us to know.

With a Christian worldview, we see through the eyes of the church, the body of Christ. He is the head and we are growing up into Him as we continue in His Word. We are set free from the bondage of ignorance, the power of death and sin, of fear and the world’s influence.

How is this possible without Jesus Christ? We would still be in our sin, and in the chaotic upheaval of the world. I doubt that the world would still be here. At the precise time that was planned, He was born into this world to fulfill the promises that had been made. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Why are Jesus’ followers not rioting, and complaining? Jesus makes the difference.

How the Trinue God Works His Plan and Power on Earth

Let’s look at how His plan is established in Jesus His Son. God, the Father sent His Son to make the difference ~ between the world and His kingdom ~ a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness under the law, fulfilling every jot and tittle.:) His life is the center point of God’s plan.
He is the Son, whose life we are given through his death and resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Since His ascension and ruling at the right hand of the Father on our behalf, He is calling those who are His to live in union with Him. This life is a new life, a supernatural life, in a new relationship with Him and the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit working all things according to His will and covenant with His people.

Let’s look more closely: God, the Father  + God, the Son + God, the Spirit = The Trinity.

Take away God, the Son ~ We would not know God the Father, nor would the Holy Spirit have been sent to us.

From all the Biblical references we see how the Father focuses all things on His Son. We understand that the whole of God’s Word, from beginning to end, is about Jesus Christ, the promised, living, dying, living, ruling and reigning Messiah. He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega.trinity

We do not have room or time to include all references to Christ, but only a few that relate to His role, His relationship to the Father, the Holy Spirit and to us. I would ask that you reply with the references that you know.

The first promise of the Messiah, Conqueror, and Savior ~ Genesis 3:15
Promise of a Son ~ Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

He is the image of the invisible God ~ “for by Him were all things created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:15-20

 “Making known to us the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose,
which he set forth in Christ

as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:9-10

John, the Baptist’s witness of the Son ~ Matthew 3:11
The Father’s witness of His Son ~ Matthew 3:17; 11:27; 17:5; 1 John 5:6-12;  John 17:1-7, 24;
The Holy Spirit’s witness of the Son ~ John 14:26; John 15;26; John 16:7, 12-15

“He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.

All that the Father has is mine;
therefore I said that he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
John 16:14-15

We have only begun to scratch the surface. There is layer and layer, precept upon precept of “the way, the truth, and the life” that is ours in Jesus Christ, our Lord. All that we need for life, godliness and contentment is all rolled up in this one “ball of wax” and beyond us, to discover what is ours in Him. He is the center and root of all things blessed and beautiful, filling and overflowing with the goodness and grace for all that we need. All that is precious, amazing, and fathomless is promised in Him, revealed and fulfilled in those who are His children.

The Season for Contentment

Because Jesus Christ holds the secret, the means and the power for all things for contentment, we must continue to keep our eyes, ears and all our senses on Him. He is the reason for our contentment. Therefore, the season for our contentment in Him is year-round, never ending, now and forever.8a98b22c4e447787d8764dd91bbbad54

Gracious Father, We thank you for your plan for true life, in and through Jesus Christ, who is to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, who upholds all things by the word of His power, who sits at your right ruling and reigning until you have put all things under His feet. We praise you that your greatness and power in Him is unsearchable. Thank you for this unspeakable gift of grace and life in Him, now and for eternity. Open our eyes to see and live in the wonder of who and what He is to us as your people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Laying Hold of Eternal Life

0001LALiving in a world of oblivion we see and experience life that is out of focus with true life. By reading God’s Word we see the life that God meant for us to live. At the same time we realize that it is more than man is able to do. His commands are not just requests, but what He expects from what He has made as His own. As humans created to bear His image He has proved that we are unable to be His image-bearers. Every creature, since the beginning, has failed the test. God’s righteousness is beyond the scale of any human being who walks the face of the earth and breathes the air that He created and sustains for us.

He knew this beforehand, and so did not leave us hopeless in our oblivion. Andrew Murray, in his book Waiting on God, states that God’s commands are what He promises to do.

With this in mind let us look at how He enables us to lay hold on eternal life, not just for the time to come, but for a clear vision of this life on earth now. We can understand this laying hold through four means; appropriation, procurement, apprehension, and approbation. This are relative to how we obtain and hold possession of the physical things that we own; and so we can apply them here.

Appropriation
Appropriation is “something set aside for a particular use.” Even as governments or businesses plan for certain projects, we lay aside money for what we want to purchase.  Before time began God made plans, in covenant with His Son, Jesus Christ, for our redemption. In the fullness of time, according to the Father’s will, Jesus was born, becoming one of us. The covenant was ratified when Jesus died. “It is finished” was His proclamation for the procurement of those to whom He would give new life. But, how would we know; and so lay hold?

 Procurement
To procure means to “obtain.” Synonyms are to “get” “lay hold of” “acquire” “secure” and “buy.”  Procurement is “the action of obtaining or procuring something.”  Eternal life is not only off our scale of experiencing, and understanding, because of our oblivious state; but beyond our obtaining. We can buy almost anything we want in this world, except another life. This life is the only one we have, and is daily wasting away. Without help we will eventually die, and then eternity will no longer be an oblivious state, but a reality of what life is without God, for those who did not “against the time to come, lay hold of eternal life.”  It is not that we are able to buy another life, but that the procurement is God’s deal, so to speak. He wants His people for Himself. He made provisions and plans for the purchase of His people. With the life and blood of Christ, without our knowing, or our consent He bought us, as His sons and daughters.

Apprehension
The word apprehension has two meanings, “anxiety” is not the one we refer to, but the second, which is “capture.” Like sheep we continue in oblivion until the Holy Spirit shines the light into our hearts of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We will never find our way to God, but by His drawing us to Christ (John 6:44-45) or finding us in our sin and misery reveals our condition and need for Him. From the beginning He always knows where we are and will pursue until He lays hold of us. jesus_rescues_sheep3_301x500

The Shepherd looks for His sheep until He finds them and brings them into His fold. Can we refuse His care? Not in the condition that He finds us. He apprehends in exactly the time of His choosing, when we are helpless and hopeless, seeing ourselves as we are, in need of a shepherd. He then opens our eyes to see Him as He is, the giver of life.

Approbation
Approbation means, “approval.” Synonymns are “consent” and “praise,” Our redemption has been since before the foundation of the world, and revealed when God comes to us, gives us a new heart and spirit and a new life in Christ, and brings us in Christ to Himself,. By faith and repentance we turn and respond in praise to His calling and living, laying hold of eternal life in Him. A new foundation is laid up in heaven for that time to come. A new home is being built for those who are in Christ. He continues to hold onto us and we hold onto Him in obedience of faith, seeing and seeking His kingdom and His righteousness throughout this life, separated and continuing in the state of sanctification, as He prepares us for that day when He will say, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:23)

Dear Father, having nothing of our own, but what you planned for us before time began, we praise you.  By the same power that you apprehended us, let us live with thankful hearts in obedience of faith.  Let that light that you shined into our hearts shine through us that others may see what is true life.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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HUMILITY: Chapter 2 The Secret of Redemption

Consumer advocates continue to report the dangers of a polluted world. We are told how to avoid certain toxins and how to overcome others.  Our mind-set changes as we gain new knowledge of what affects us physically and personally.

The same is true as we consider what affects us spiritually. For though we need not be ignorant about our physical welfare; and should do what we can to care for this body that is the temple of God’s Spirit, we remember that it is only temporary.  Our spirit with His Spirit returns to Him with all that He has given and grown in us through the power of His grace.  He is here preparing us for His glory by His Spirit, which He has given us.

In the second chapter of his book, Humility, Andrew Murray hones in on the secret and reality of the work of Christ; His power that was in God at the beginning of creation, His continued power throughout history, and now in the lives of His people. (PDF)

In the following chapters of this book we shall see the mystery, the power, and the beauty of God’s grace for mankind revealed in Jesus Christ, His Son.  But first, we must come face to face with the problem and the need of all mankind; the real reason that we all come into this world with a death sentence over our heads.

Along with the prophets, the apostles, and the early church fathers, other believers and advocates for life in Christ continue to seek God’s word and to alert us to their findings of the dangers of a corrupt world.

Murray points out the stark truth that man’s problems come not from the air we breathe or the food that we eat.  These may be toxic, but the poison that is destroying us is within each of us.  We were born with it.

  “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”
John 2:24-25

The Deception
“When Satan spoke his words of temptation into the ear of Eve his words carried with them the very poison of hell.”  She believed the lie and the true knowledge of life was hidden from all men.

Her yielding to Satan’s temptation “destroyed forever that blessed humility and dependence on God, which would have been our everlasting happiness.  Instead of this, her life, and the life of the race that sprang from her, became corrupted to its very root with that most terrible of all sins and all curses —the poison of Satan’s own pride.”

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The Need for Redemption
“Wars, selfishness and suffering, ambitions and jealousies, broken hearts and embittered lives, and daily unhappiness are a result of this same wicked pride.  These are the historical and ongoing danger signals of this toxin in man.

“Our insight into the need of redemption will largely depend on our knowledge of the terrible nature of the power that has entered our being; that is working daily—hourly—with mighty power throughout the world.”

No one can escape this pride. We may try in our own power to defy it, but to no avail. No food, medication, or vitamin supplement will overcome the sin of pride within us.  There is nothing in the knowledge of man that will produce an antioxidant for this threatening power.

The only means of detoxification is through Christ.  The only antioxidant is the humility of Christ.  The blood of Christ covers and cleanses all our sin.

 The Power of Pride
Murray uses the word “power” at least ten times in this chapter, comparing two different seeds and roots, two trees, different fruit; imagestwo men  — the first and Second Adam, and the power and nature in each.

 “Pride has its root and strength in a terrible spiritual power, outside of us as well as within us.”

How are we to respond to this truth, this reality?  The knowledge from God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit is meant to bring us to the end of ourselves.  In Note B we read that “our salvation consists wholly in being saved from ourselves, or that which we are by nature.

Hence the first unalterable term of the Savior to fallen man:  Except a man denies himself, he cannot be My disciple (Matthew 16:24).  Self is the whole evil of fallen nature; self-denial is our capacity of being saved.  Self-denial is the work of humility in us, so that we may “confess out pride, deplore it, and be aware of its Satanic origin.  This may lead us to despair of every conquering it or casting it out.

But it will also lead us all the sooner to that supernatural power in which alone our deliverance is to be found  — the redemption of the Lamb of God.

All the evils of fallen angels and men have their birth in the pride of self.  On the other hand, all the virtues of the heavenly life are the virtues of humility.”

It is humility alone that makes the unpassable gulf between heaven and hell.”

“We must honestly fix our hearts on our own lack of the humility revealed in Christ’s life.  Only then will we begin to feel what Christ and His salvation truly are.”

The Power of Christ’s Redemption
“Even as we need to look to the first Adam and his fall to know the power of the sin within us, we need to know well the Second Adam and His power to give within us a life of humility as real and abiding and overmastering as has been that of pride.  We have our life from and in Christ, as truly, even more truly, than from and in Adam.”

 How are we to respond to this truth, this reality?  The knowledge from God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit is meant to bring us to Christ, our Redeemer, that we may properly comprehend who He is — His chief characteristic — the root and essence of all His character as our Redeemer — His humility. 

Scan 140590000“Jesus said, If ye continue in my word then are ye
my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.” 

John 8:31-32

Pride Free
As we continue in the following chapters we will learn to study the life and work of Christ, and His humility.  He will enable us to remember the original intent of our Creator: that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  (Matthew 4:4)  We will look more diligently at this heavenly attribute of humility in God, who condescended to reveal and share His glory with His creatures; who, has maintained and cared for a people even during our ignorance and rebellion against Him; who, in His timing came to reconcile a people to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ; who, living and dying has saved His people; who continues in His humility to save us, and to sanctify us for His own glory; who lives now at the right hand of the Father, humbly interceding for us, and by His Holy Spirit working His humility in us.

Have this mind… that is in Christ Jesuswho humbled himself…”
Philippians 2:

Humility is the rock-bottom place where we begin to experience re-creation — new life; and it is not without a struggle between the spirit and the flesh that we live daily; in the strife between pride and humility, the two master powersthe two kingdoms at war for the eternal possession of man.

“The life of God, which in the incarnation entered human nature, is the root in which we are to stand and grow.  It is the same almighty power that worked there, and from then on to the resurrection, which works daily in us.  Our one need (now) is to study and know and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ as the life that is now ours.”

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

John 6:63

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself:”
“He that hath the Son hath life;”
1 John 5:10, 12

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue
:”
2 Peter 1:3

“..we have the mind of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 2:16

Dear Father, open our minds and hearts to see that it is not what goes into us that defiles us, but what is in us and comes from us.  Please work in our hearts to believe that Christ  —whom You have given us — will work in us, overcoming our sin of pride; making us what You want us to be.  Return us to that place of humility, of full dependence on You, for the life that You planned for us.  Bring us to look beyond this world to Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, our Redeemer and life eternal.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.”  In Jesus name, we pray. Amen

There is much more that could be said about this chapter.   Your comments are welcome.
Fran

Related Posts
A Year for Humility: Preface
HUMILITY: Chapter 1  The Glory of the Creature

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 4)

To sum up our meditation of Jesus’ revelation of the Father—“our Father” of grace and glory—John’s recollections are used last. John was “the disciple that Jesus loved.” Being closer to John than any other man on earth Jesus perhaps made more of an impact on him than on any of the other disciples.  John is the writer of the fourth gospel, which is more personal than the other three; also, he wrote three letters, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.  He quotes Jesus’ words in his gospel and in the book of Revelation.

We see in his writings four different facets of Jesus’ words, as He proceeds to unfold the work of the Father’s grace and glory: 1.  His relationship and unity with the Father. 2. Their purpose and work of grace for our redemption. 3. The relationship of disciples to the Father and the Son. 4. The end result—legacy, inheritance, and glory of His children with the Father and the Son.

1. Jesus’ relationship and unity with the Father is revealed in John 8:54-“the Father honoreth me;” John 10:30-“I and the Father are one;” John 14:9- “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” John 14:10-“I am in the Father, and the Father in me. The Father that dwelleth  in me, he doeth the work;”  John 14:13- “the Father is glorified in the Son;” John 15:23-“He that hateth me hatheth the Father, also;” “John 16;28-“I came forth from the Father, and I go to the Father.

2. Their purpose and work of grace for our redemption is seen in John 6:27-“everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed;” John 12:49-“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave what I should speak;”  14:28-“I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I;” John 15:1-“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman;”  John 16:15- “All that the Father hath are mine;” John 18:11-“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

3. The relationship of disciples to the Father and the Son is revealed in John 6:37-“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;” John 6:44-“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him;” John 6:45-” Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me;” John 14:16-“And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 14:26 “whom the Father shall send in my name, He shall teach you all things;” John 14:21-“he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him;” John 14:23-“If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him;”  John 15:8-“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples;” John 16:23-“Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you;” 17:11 “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are;” John 17:26-” I have declared unto them thy name and will declare it;” John 20:17-“I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God;” John 21:21-“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you;”   Luke quotes Jesus in Acts 1:4, speaking of “the promise of the Father”—that they would “receive power when the Holy Ghost had come upon them” (in the Father’s timing) to be witnesses of the gospel of the Father’s grace.

4. The end result—legacy, inheritance, worship, and glory of the children with the Father and the Son is seen in John 4:24-“true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him;”John 17:24-“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou has given me;” Revelation 2:26-27-“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; even as I received of my Father;” Revelation 3:5- “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life; but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels;”  Revelation 3:21-“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

WHO BUT A FATHER CAN SIRE CHILDREN OF HIS OWN?

Dear Father, make us to know who you are, that we may know whose we are, for your glory and our joy

The Riches of God’s Grace

ALL THAT CHRIST IS

IS

FOR THOSE WHO ARE HIS

 “In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”                   Ephesians 1:7

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with Him freely give us all things.”  Romans 8:32

“Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32

 

King Ahasuerus offered Esther half his kingdom.  King Herod also, promised Herodias’ daughter  half of his kingdom.  Our heavenly Father has prepared His kingdom for all His children—in Christ.

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, in Christ, has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.”  Ephesians 1:3

“CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY.”  Colossians 1:27

                  O Father, gather us around your throne, that we may see Christ—and Christ alone. 

GOD’S GLORY ~ Not Ours

If God had created us for our own glory wouldn’t He have made life easier?  Why does starting, and getting through, a normal day require so much?  And why are we not satisfied and content with all that we do?  Is it not because God, our Creator, planned more for His creation than we are able to understand or to live up to, on our own.

He proved this, by leaving our first parents to themselves.  A day without the constant companionship of the Father left them open to their own imaginations and the temptations of this world, and they failed to live up to the standard by, and for which, they were created.

GOD is His own standard of excellence, a standard that no one can reach.  He must, through His own plan of redemption, bring us into this relationship of Father and child; and in His own timing and means of grace conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Without this we will continue to work for our own success and glory, hoping and trying to “be like God,” and failing miserably.

Only as He does a continual work in our hearts and lives by the authority of His Word and the supernatural power of His Holy Spirit, daily leading, teaching, and bringing us up in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord  Jesus Christ” can we ever know the true purpose for our creation and redemption—His glory and our joy.

“God is faithful, by whom you  were called  into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.”                     1 Corinthians 1:9

Now to him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, world without end. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20, 21