4255026872_5af2a626fb_zBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:3-10

Henry Ford is reported to have said, “History is one damn thing after another.”  For the secularist, Ebola, Isis, beheadings, pandemics, and plunging stock markets can be nothing more than absurd, purposeless, meaningless sequences of events.  Centuries ago Macbeth concluded that all of life adds up to “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Tragically, when God is left out of life’s equation we cannot help but come to the same despairing conclusion.  Sir George Norman Clark, in his inaugural lecture as Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, concluded: “There is no secret and no plan in history to be discovered. I do not believe that any future consummation could make sense of all the irrationalities of preceding ages. If it could not explain them, still less could it justify them.”

Sometimes life events and news headlines might lead even Christians to come to Henry Ford’s cynical, hopeless conclusion.  After all, we are immersed in a secular humanist culture that has lost any faith in God and His plan for the world.  That is why I frequently get my bearings by turning to Ephesians 1 in my Bible: here God reveals His breathtaking plan for the ages.  Here I am reminded that God has a plan, and He is working His plan to put right all things.

In today’s Scripture text we see that God’s plan goes back

“before the foundation of the world”.  Before God created the world he purposed to lavish us with His grace and to adopt us into His family.  We also see that God’s plan is certain because it is Jesus Christ who will carry forth and accomplish God’s plan for the world.  We learn that “in the fullness of time” God will “gather up all things” in Christ.

The Greek word translated as “gather up”, (anakephalaiomai), literally means “to bring under a head.”  It was used to describe adding up a column of numbers and placing the sum total under the head of the column.   Thus, God’s eternal purpose is, “in the fullness of time”, to ‘add up’ all things under the headship of Jesus Christ.

Right now many things we see in our world do not ‘add up’.  They don’t make any sense to us.  What we see is fragmentation and frustration.  But when time has run its course, all things will ‘add up’ in Christ.  Paradise lost in Adam will be Paradise regained in Him.  Henry Ford was wrong!

Part of what it means to be a Christian is to believe that in God’s time He will bring all things into one harmonious whole in Christ.  It will all ‘add up’, when “every knee shall bow, in heaven and earth and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11).   It will all be summed up in Him!

All of this reminds me of a wonderful line from the recent movie, “The Best Marigold Hotel”, starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.   The movie reminds us that we all have our ideas of how life should play out, but usually doesn’t.   The characters of the movie learn that in India there is a saying: “Everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

Today’s Scripture text leads me to tweak that a bit, and say:

“Everything will be too wonderful for words in the end.  If everything is not too wonderful for words, it’s not the end.”  Until then we keep praying and helping where we can!

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and Peace,
Tim

photo by Daniela Hartmann

 

I HEAR GOD GROANING

On October 13, 2014 By

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this [...]

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“The miracle of our Lord Jesus Christ in turning water into wine is no surprise to those who know that it was God’s doing.  At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee Jesus filled six water pots with wine; but He does the same thing every year in the vines.  In like manner [...]

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THE MANY WORDS AND THE WORD

On September 29, 2014 By

“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth: you shall meditate on it day and night; so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it.  For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful.”
Joshua [...]

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WAITING SILENTLY FOR GOD

On September 22, 2014 By

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2

It seems that life is filled with waiting.  There is waiting in the checkout line, doctor’s office, airport terminal, [...]

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MUSHROOM SPIRITUALITY

On September 15, 2014 By

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
II Peter 3:18

On recent walks through the woods of northern Minnesota, my wife Rita and I have contracted a virulent strain of phileomycelium.  As far as I know there is no cure for this “love [...]

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AUTUMN MEDITATIONS

On September 8, 2014 By

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.’”
Genesis 1:14

“For everything there is a season.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

“They yield their [...]

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THE PURPOSE-FULL LIFE

On September 1, 2014 By

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’”
Genesis 1:26

“Why daddy?” “Why?” “But why?”  It starts early, our quest for purpose and meaning, our longing to understand.  Perhaps it’s the philosopher in my little granddaughter in her daily litany of “why this?” and [...]

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HERE’S WHAT WE CAN DO!

On August 25, 2014 By

One of my brothers, Hanani, came with certain men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews that survived, those who had escaped the captivity, and about Jerusalem.  They replied, ‘The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, [...]

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Dear Friends,

In place of my weekly eVotional in which I reflect on Scripture and life, I am linking you to our conversation last week in The Living Room: Exploring the Mystery We Call God.  Each week Henry Rojas, Art Brooks and I talk on this Internet radio program about Christian [...]

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