Lord God, let your continual pity cleanse and defend your Church we humbly pray; and because it cannot continue in safety without your aid, always preserve and protect it by your help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians 3 : 13 - 21
I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
DIVINE DIMENSIONS - IMMEASURABLE
Our minds are locked into dimensions. Everything is a matter of size, proportions, mass, extension, area. We are constitutionally compelled to observe all things, visible and invisible by measure. That which is infinite is beyond our grasp. Our perception inevitably balks at limits and boundaries, and even if we attempt in our minds to leap over these restrictions toward a notion of the infinite we can only think in terms of successive stages, portions, degrees. Extension is irrelevant to infinitude, to the concept of unceasing endlessness because it cannot be curbed, cut short. Infinity rolls on continuously - width, length, height, depth. We are out of breath and our minds are befuddled by a reality we cannot assess or contain. The immensity of God in his being and attributes is immeasurable. All our concepts concerning the deity are practically diminishing of his unspeakable dimensions. The Lord is indescribably great. No mental telescope can detect the margins of his substance or essence. It is salutary to admit that he is beyond calculation or confinement. What a wonder it is to enter the realm of prayer as Paul does for the saints. Prayer has the motivating incentive of pressing on to the farthest limits of possibility for the Lord we call upon is the God of the impossible.
But is it a wonder that Paul kneels before God? Surely not. Our God is beyond our human capacity to know him fully. We are constrained to bow before him - incomprehensible, but through Jesus Christ the Word, knowable, and increasingly so.
Paul points to a God of Personhood who relates to us intimately in his radiant glory and rich goodness as Triune. The Father who adopts his elect as family grants them identity as his children. Great earthly families traditionally exhibit pride in their remarkable exploits, status, accumulation of honors, traditions and, in consequence of these, they glory in their famous names emblazoned upon their escutcheon. Believers in Christ belong to the greatest family of all that encompasses the redeemed citizens of heaven and those who will join them from earth when their home going eventually occurs. Both segments of the people of God bear the most noble family crest of all through the privilege of special grace that links them with the Son of God with whom, in the mind of God, they have been associated before time was, “Chosen in Christ”.
Glorious and inestimable riches are available to this family; the wealth of God’s mercy and provision, wide and always, but particularly the wealth of the human spirit (inner being) as bestowed by the Holy Spirit. The bounty of God is liberally poured out upon us on earth prior to our gaining of our full inheritance in heaven, “the future state”. No benefit could be greater than the indwelling of Christ in our hearts. There are no quotas of blessing in the heavenly resident of our souls. He brings the fullness of God into our possession; He is the inexpressible favor granted to us by the Father. The Three-in-One closeting with us and caring for us.
Everything in this brief passage from the apostle proclaims boundlessness - the love of God that settles upon us and surges through us, that grounds us in the firm foundation of eternal affection and compassion; the mighty power that assures all the people of God that they are at the centre and surrounded by the love of Christ that cannot be gauged in its all-round, inexhaustible volume - experienced but never arriving at a point of expiration, a full supply that will never run dry, ever flowing, ever increasing, known in its beneficent nature and effects but surpassing our ability to sum up its length and strength. We are integrated into the sphere of divine love, an ocean of cherishing and endearment we do not have the means to survey.
And so grace is extolled to such an extreme extent to encourage us to request and expect great things in the cause of the kingdom, far beyond what we might ask or imagine. “Thou art coming to a king, large petitions with thee bring.”
I ask great things,
Expect great things,
Shall receive great things.
From The Valley of Vision, A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Arthur Bennett, Banner of Truth - a superb compilation of uplifting and invigorating meditations.
Luke 7 : 11 - 17
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out - the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
Jesus entered a village called Nain (Pleasantville). Even the most pleasant locale or happy, vibrant home cannot exclude the coming of death, and sadness cannot be prevented from touching any human life.
As Jesus approached the gate of the attractive little town with its aspect of pleasing countryside the grim reality of death was closely encountered. It invades every environment and disturbs every heart. It knows no barriers and penetrates every defense and attempt at denial. We cannot hide from it.
Every funeral is a sorrowful occasion, even if only as a reminder of our own tenuous grip on life and our certain mortality.
The grieving party that Jesus providentially met was especially piteous. A widow was weeping over her only son. A large crowd was with her to extend silent comfort, but a stricken heart feels cold, empty, and distant from surroundings and onlookers, enveloped in the void of deep personal loss.
The Savior of the world looked tenderly upon the distraught lady before him and “his heart went out to her”. The God-man expressed both human and divine tenderness together. His word of comfort availed. “Don’t cry.” It was followed by Jesus omnipotent command over the power of death. “Young man, I say to you, get up!”
The man sat up and was wonderfully restored to his mother.
In this poignant incident divine omnipotence was allied to gentle mercy. The sweet strength of God was so beautifully exhibited so that we might not hesitate to call upon him in trouble or distress.
His power is proven and our plight may be eased.