Friday, September 30, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-30 [Ephesians] Horizontal Beam 3: Level Ground

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Ephesians2:17-18

When we stand at the foot of the cross, the ground is level.

Jesus preached peace to those "far away" and "near."
(I like the way Paul starts with "far" and then comes to "near.")
For Paul this meant "Gentile" and "Jew."
For us this could mean "Out" and "In."
Or "not like us" and "like us."
Or "those-we-thought-were-unworthy" and "those-we-thought-were-worthy."

Jesus brought us peace:
- Peace with God.
- Peace with ourselves.
- Peace with one-another.

Although Paul wrote in Greek, being a Jew I imagine he was thinking of the Hebrew word "Shalom" which was how Hebrews greeted and blessed one-another. "Shalom li cha" - "peace be with you." Peace in Hebrew culture meant harmony, wholeness, reconciliation, restoration in the most holistic sense of the word."

How does this peace work?
We have access to God.
We can become God's children.
And this is made real to us by the amazing work of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit re-assures us that we are God's children.
He fills us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.

I wanted to say that we were once "far" but now we are "near", but actually it is better than that: We were "far" but now we have peace.
Shalom li cha!!!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, September 29, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-29 [Ephesians] Horizontal Beam 2: Peacemaker

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Ephesians2:14-16

Adam blamed Eve...
Cain killed Abel...
Jacob cheated Isaac out of what was rightfully his...
Rachael and Leah fought over their husband...
Joseph's brothers plotted murder and sold him as a slave...
The disciples bickered about who was greatest...
Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss...

Since sin entered our world we have been in conflict - brother against brother, sister against sister, war, violence, vendettas and bitterness.

Jesus came to bring us peace.
How did He do it?
He abolished the law in His flesh i.e. He lived a perfect life, satisfying the law and then died to pay for our breaking of the same law - thus reconciling us with God.
This means that we can have peace within.
The French Mathematician, Blaise Pascal, said that there is a God-shaped vacuum in all of us.

When we try to fill the vacuum with anything else, we are filled with disharmony, greed and self-centeredness and we are in conflict with the world around us.

When Christ died on the cross, He made a way for us to be filled by God. The peace that results from our restored relationship with God has the power to enable us to love one another.

Jesus' supreme act of love also overcomes all hatred and hostility and enables us to embrace one another. This is where the vertical beam of the cross (our relationship with God) and the horizontal beam (our relationship with others) come together.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-28 [Ephesians] Horizontal Beam 1: Far, now near

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Ephesians2:11-13

According to traditional Jewish belief and practice, there was no way for a Gentile to be acceptable to God unless he became Jewish. By this I mean that he had to adopt Jewish faith, culture and lifestyle. A convert to Jewish faith would have to be "proselytised." This would involve circumcision for the men and then proselyte baptism (symbolising that the person was being "born into" Judaism.) They would be given a new name, a new set of clothes and be considered a Jew one day old.

But even then they were still considered Proselytes. Not the real deal...

Paul describes the fate of Non-Jews as follows:
- Separate from Christ (He was not in their genealogy)
- Excluded from citizenship (It wasn't in their genes!)
- Excluded from the covenants (They weren't descendants of Abraham)
- Without hope and without God (They weren't the "chosen" race)

The Jews misunderstood - they were not meant to be "chosen" while everyone else was "not chosen" - they were "chosen to be a light to the Gentiles," (Isa42:6) but they failed.

It was an issue of blood - They believed that if you did not have Jewish blood, you were really a second-class citizen.

Jesus changed all of that.
In a sense we could say that by laying down His life for us, Jesus has made us all His blood brothers.

We who were far have been brought near. It is still a blood issue, but not our blood. We are all saved by the blood of Jesus and not our own, and so we are all equal in the eyes of Christ.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-27 [Ephesians] Vertical Beam 4: A Future

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are not here by accident and our lives are not random or circumstantial: God has a plan for our lives - this is why He made us and this is why He saved us.

In the original Greek Paul uses an important word for "workmanship" ('poiema') It means we are the work of His hands. We are God's "handiwork." Some translations even translate "We are God's masterpieces."

Not only has God created us as His Masterpieces, but He has also prepared "good works" in advance for us to "do" (the Greek implies a pathway to walk along).

So, each of us is born a masterpiece and God has offered us a pathway to walk along - a destiny. Our choice to sin marred the masterpiece and caused us to lose the path. Jesus offers us GRACE (forgiveness and restoration at His expense) so that we can find the pathway again and become masterpieces again as we follow Christ.

I am not only saved from my past, but I have been saved for a future. There is a life of purpose and meaning that is part of my created DNA. Through Christ, I once again have access to the plans God has for me.

Ultimate joy is doing what I was created to do! When I am forgiven by Christ and draw near to Him, I can reconnect to the big picture purpose for my life. For me personally, I know that the work I do brings a smile to the face of God and contentment to my soul.

YOU are not only saved from your past - YOU are saved for your future! Drawing near to Jesus will allow you to "walk in the pathway" of that great plan. Will you do it?

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, September 23, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-23 [Ephesians] Vertical Beam 3: ...where credit is due

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians2:6-9

Yesterday we defined GRACE as God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
In today's passage Paul gives us another way of seeing grace: It is UNMERITED FAVOUR. God has shown His incredible "kindness" and the "incomparable riches" of His grace. This grace is the "gift of God" - it cannot be earned and none of us can claim to have deserved it.

This idea that our salvation is unearned, undeserved and unmerited is vitally important:

1. It means that we are completely dependent on God.

2. It highlights His goodness!

3. It prepares the way for the next section that deals with the Horizontal Beam of the cross - our human relationships. Unmerited grace means that we are all equal before God, all of us are saved by His goodness alone and none of us deserved to be saved more than another.

Somebody described it like this: "Sharing our faith is one beggar telling another where he found bread!"

In 2Corinthians10:17 Paul says "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Let's lift our hearts in praise to the God who saved us even though He didn't have to! Let's boast about a God who gave us everything even when we had nothing!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-22 [Ephesians] Vertical Beam 2: BUT

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus Ephesians2:4-6

There are two pictures in this passage: Of God and what He has done for us.

Here's what we learn about God.
"But because of His great love for us..."
This is the turning point in the story. The world was broken and infected by the "me, me, me" philosophy but is rescued for no other reason than that God is love.

We have no "right" to be saved - we've blown all our chances!
We have no "claim" on God - we've broken all our promises!

"But ... God who is rich in mercy..."
Mercy is to be spared the consequences we deserve. Mercy means that the one offering it walks away from the justice or vengeance that is rightfully theirs.

This God has great love and rich mercy.

And here's what He did:
"He made us alive with Christ _and_ raised us up in the heavenly realms."
We were spiritually dead because of our guilt and failure.
- Jesus entered into our death on the cross.
- He defeated death by the resurrection.
- He ascended into heaven, opening up eternal life.

So Jesus represented us on the cross, He represented us when He rose from the dead and He represents us in heaven.
He did this all "because of His great love for us!"
"It is by GRACE you have been saved."

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-21 [Ephesians] Vertical Beam 1: Dead

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. Ephesians2:1-3

Ephesians 2 really boils down to being a summary of the gospel. The first ten verses describe what I call the "vertical beam" of the cross: the relationship between us and God. The next eight verses describe the "horizontal beam" of the cross: our relationships with one another. The remaining four verses describe the "building" on which the cross is mounted: the church.

Paul starts off the summary of the gospel by describing the basic state that every human being finds themselves in:
- Spiritually Dead,
- Following the ways of Satan (the ruler of the kingdom of the air)
- Slaves to satisfying the desires of our brokenness
- and Destined for Judgement.

The Matrix Movie Trilogy, illustrates this quite powerfully. The Matrix is a virtual world where humans and computer programs reside as entities in a system. One of the programs "Agent Smith" goes rogue and begins to infect all the entities in the matrix with his basic philosophy which is "me, me, me!" In the closing scene the hero character, Neo, returns to the matrix which was once a nicely functioning 1980's American City with parks and sunrises but now is a ruined slum with pouring rain and dirty slosh in the streets and Agent Smith gloats "Do you like what I have done to the place?"

When we look at the world around us, we can see the effects of the rogue angel, Satan, and what his philosophy of "me, me, me" has done to us and to the world...

The only hope we have is to stop following Satan but we find it hard. We need a Saviour and Paul shows us that it is Christ alone who can save us!
More tomorrow...

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-20 [Ephesians] Best Prayers 3 - DOXOLOGY

... and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians1:20-23

Ephesians is a letter where we will see Paul's "train of thought" being frequently "hijacked" by his sense of the greatness and glory of God.

In this prayer, Paul has been thinking of the power of the Spirit that is at work in believers and he identifies it as the "power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in at God's right hand in the heavenly realms."

Today there are many who are sceptical about the resurrection. But for Paul, the resurrection is a non-negotiable and it is the trigger that sets off an explosion of praise in him. The moment Paul thinks of the resurrection he thinks of the glorious and exalted position of Christ! Here's what he sees:

1. Jesus is above all powers, dominions and titles - past, present and future!

2. EVERYTHING has been placed beneath His feet. Even death and suffering because He has been to the cross and has triumphed.

3. Jesus is the head of the church. The church can never exist without Christ, just as the body cannot exist without a head.

4. The church is "His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way." The best analogy I can think of is when my son Caleb started walking, he used to love putting his feet into my sheepskin slippers and "plopping" around the house. For Brenda and I there was an awareness that one day he would grow into those slippers (he's more than halfway there!!!) As the church we growing into all that Christ has done for us!

Paul was easily brought back from the sidetracks of life to the "maintrack" of praise... shouldn't we be the same?

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, September 16, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-16 [Ephesians] Best Prayers 2

18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead... Ephesians1:18-20

We saw yesterday that Paul's heart's desire is that the Ephesians may know God better. We realised that this is the best prayer that we can pray for anyone! But Paul helps us further by explaining that nature of the "knowing God" that he is praying for:

Paul is praying that the "eyes of the heart" are enlightened. In Hebrew culture (and the Greek culture to a certain extent) the heart was not the seat of emotions, but the control centre of the soul. The heart was the foundation of one's values and principles.

Paul prays for three key values to be clearly seen and understood:

1. The hope to which we have been called. Hope is the fuel of life. It gives us the "chutzpah" to get us out of bed in the mornings. It keeps us going through adversity and provides purpose for life. Our hope is in Christ.

2. The riches of our glorious inheritance in the saints. Understanding what Christ has done for us and that we are inheritors of eternal life means that we serve God out of incredible gratitude. Because of His goodness to us it is easy for us to offer ourselves as an _oblation_ (a solemn offering of our lives to the glory of God.)

3. His incomparably great power for us who believe. His power is at work in us to guide us, teach us, empower and transform us. This power is resurrection power - it raised Christ from the dead and raises us from our deadness. We become resurrection agents - called and empowered to bring life wherever we go.

So Paul wants us to know God and to know that we have hope in Him, an inheritance that is _glorious_ and that there is phenomenal power lurking to be unleashed in our lives.

Wow! Imagine praying this for those you love!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, September 15, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-15 [Ephesians] Best Prayers 1

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better Ephesians1:15-17

What is the best thing we can possibly pray for others?
Paul really cared about and loved the Ephesian church elders - we saw this in Acts when Paul made a special stop to say goodbye to them when he was headed for Jerusalem.

Before we look at what he prayed for them, lets also note that he prayed for them often!

So what did he pray for them? For health, wealth and prosperity?
No! He prayed fervently and urgently that they may know God better. This was Paul's hungry heart's desire. (He will pray this prayer again in ch.3.)

And, once again, Paul is aware that the only way for us to know God better is if we have the help of the Holy Spirit. We need God's Spirit working in us, through us, inspiring us and waking us up to the enormity and beauty of God's everlasting love for us!

This is Paul's greatest desire: That through heartache or joy, sorrow or blessing, bad times or good they would know and experience more of God's great love!!!

This is a cage rattler for me. How often do I pray this simple prayer for the the people I love? "Dear Lord, please help Brenda and Caleb know you better!"

This is the very best and most important thing that could EVER happen to them!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-14 [Ephesians] Blessing 7: Sealed

Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory. Ephesians1:13-14

The last of the seven blessings also has a present and future flavour: Not only did God give us His Son, but He has also given us His Spirit!

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, Counsellor, Conscience (He convicts us of sin), and Guide. He empowers us with spiritual gifts and produces fruit in us. He reminds us of the words of Jesus and He is the power of the resurrection working in us.

The Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to be Renewed, Regenerated and Reborn - it is by His prompting that we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

But Paul tells us more! The Spirit's presence in our lives marks us with a seal: we belong to God - we are His! We are His sons and daughters. We confidently pray "Our Father" because of the Spirit!

AND the Spirit is the "deposit" or "down payment." He is our guarantee that there is more to this life - we are certain of the resurrection and the life hereafter.

What an awesome blessing! The Holy Spirit who aids us, equips us, marks us as God's children and assures us of our long-term future with God.

Thank You Lord for your indescribable goodness!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-13 [Ephesians] Blessing 6: INcluded

...for the praise of His glory 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Ephesians1:13

We have come to another "to the praise" phrase in the text (v.12) which takes us to the last two blessings and these have a present-future focus.

When we respond to the "gospel of our salvation" and give our lives to Christ ("hear the word truth") we are "included" in Christ. This becomes one of Paul's favourite concepts - that we are _IN_ Christ.

Being IN Christ means that when God looks at us, He sees what Christ has done for us. Our past, present and future is "in Christ"! This is wonderful good news. When we pray, when we work, when we do anything God sees us IN Christ.

Our future is already taken care of when we are "in Christ."
To use the same language that Jesus used:
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)

"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:28)

But this came at great cost: Christ came INto our world and died OUTside the city (the book of Hebrews (13:11-12) sees this as a symbol of His being cut off from God in our place) so that we could be saved.

We are _included_ in Christ - our present and future are not bound up to who we are and how we might succeed or fail. We are IN Christ. When God sees us, we are clothed IN His righteousness.

Thank You Lord for INcluding me!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, September 9, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-09 [Ephesians] Blessing 5: Chosen to Shine

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. Ephesians1:11-12

If you have been counting the blessings with me, then you might remember that the first blessing was that we were "chosen in Christ before the creation of the world to be Holy and Blameless in His sight."

Now Paul uses the word chosen again (Although the original Greek word is not the same as in verse 4.) There is a different nuance in this second "chosen"...

Being "chosen" in Blessing 1 had to do with our purpose and the idea that God choosing us had implications for Jesus (He would be crucified in the mind of God even before God made us.) Blessing 1 has to do with our past: "Before the creation of the world..."

Blessing 5 is "chosen" in a more contemporary sense: Paul is talking to the Ephesians who were the "first to hope" in Christ. From our background studies of Ephesus in Acts, we know that the Gospel spread from Ephesus all over Asia Minor. We saw how God's plan was that for Paul, a quick visit to a synagogue while he was passing through and a promise to return, worked out, in the economy of God, to spread the gospel throughout the province.

Blessing 5 is that God chooses people like you and me, like Esther and Paul and the Ephesians for "such a time as this." (Esther4:14)

God chooses us to bring praise to His glory by being those who "hope in Christ" and live for Him..

Do you realise that you have been born and born again for such a time as this? Do you realise that your life and the the people you influence can be for the praise of His glory? Do you realise that God has called and chosen you as you are and where you are to be agents working out His plan?

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-08 [Ephesians] Blessing 4: Fellow-workers

9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. Ephesians1:9-10

This one is a mouthful!
It boils down to this: God is planning to bring everything under the Lordship of Jesus and it gives Him pleasure to include us in this plan!

But let's look in a little more detail:
While God's ways are very much beyond our grasp and ken, He chooses to make this mystery made known to us. And although we only scratch the surface of it, He wants us to begin to know and understand it all.
Paul says "No eye has seen,no ear has heard,no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him -- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit." (1Cor2:9-10)

And in the Old Testament we read: "He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." (Ecc3:11)

Including us in His plan is God's good pleasure. Elsewhere Paul notes that we are God's fellow-workers(1Cor3:9).

And we are in a process, the world is not there yet, times have not yet reached fulfilment yet, but there will be a great and glorious day when every knee will bow and tongue confess that Christ is Lord, and all tears are wiped away!

But in the meantime, God has placed Eternity in our hearts!
Although we don't fully understand, we have His message and the hope of His coming that burns in us. He has entrusted His message into our hands and we are His Fellow-Workers whose greatest reward and longing is to see Jesus crowned over all!

What a blessed privilege!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

EMMDEV 2011-09-07 [Ephesians] Blessing 3: Redeemed and Forgiven

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians1:7-8

We have moved from the two blessings of the past into the three blessings of the present...

To be redeemed is to be bought back or ransomed. We were lost and unable to save ourselves. But we have been rescued by Christ. He has forgiven our sin, paid the debt and cancelled the penalty.

A ransom is paid when an innocent party is kidnapped and those who love the victim pay a price to have them returned. But we were not innocent - we got ourselves into trouble. Jesus came to save (redeem) us with his life (His blood) even though we did not deserve it. This is grace.

Paul says that our first blessing of the present is that we are the objects of Christ's lavish grace. (The Greek implies "poured out in huge bucketfuls!)

And this was not done on a whim. This grace has been lavished on us with all of God's wisdom and understanding - this is a very deliberate act. God has a plan and a purpose and He is executing His plan with attention to detail and crystal clear focus.

So this blessing tells us that we are valuable to God, that He dotes on us and ponders over us, that He paid a massive price for us.

Thank you Lord for Your rich and lavish grace!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-06 [Ephesians] Interlude 1 - Doxology.

6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians1:6

A doxology is a short hymn or phrase of praise repeated in services.

There are three very similar phrases that appear in this long sentence of our blessings in Christ. They appear after the first two blessings, after the next three and then after the final two.

The phrases (i call them doxologies) are "To the praise of His glorious grace" and "to the praise of His glory" (which appears twice). The first time the phrase appears it is in its fullest form, the other two repetitions are shorter, because they act as abbreviations of the first. They bring the full impact of the first doxology to mind.

What these phrases do is to divide the seven blessings into our past, our present and our future. The first doxology is a response to the blessings of our past.

According to Paul, our past looks like this:
1. Before the creation of the world, God knew that it would cost the blood of Christ to make us holy and blameless, but He made us and chose us anyway!

2. It was His pleasure and will to predestine us to be adopted as His children - in other words He loved us even though we have done nothing to deserve it.

What does this lead Paul to do?
He spontaneously praises God because there is one word that dominates our past: GRACE.
And grace is best defined as _G_od's _R_iches _A_t _C_hrist's _E_xpense.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, September 2, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-02 [Ephesians] Blessing 2: Adopted in spite of...

In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will. Ephesians1:5

God created us in His image and gave us the freedom to choose...
... and we chose WRONG!
Why would God even want any more to do with us?

Christian Band, NewSong, put it very eloquently:
"Sometimes I wonder: how You could ever love us?
We're never satisfied no matter what You do
You send the rain and we complain there's no sunshine
Yet every breath we take is all because of You

Sometimes I wonder: will things get any better?
Looks like we haven't changed since the dawn of time
You light the way - still we stay in darkness
And we try to tell ourselves that we will be just fine

Only heaven knows the pain we put You through
I don't know what You're thinking Lord
But I know what I would do

I'd start all over on Mars
Create a world that is far away from our ungratefulness
If I were the God that You are, I would be tempted to walk away
Wash my hands of this crazy mess
Make a world that would follow Your heart
I'd start all over on Mars!"
God did not "start all over on Mars" instead he decided to get us back. He decided to "adopt" us (after we had rejected Him as our Father.)
This adoption would cost a great deal...
Here's the heavy irony: For you and I to be adopted as sons and daughters of God, His only Son would have to die.

This gives us a reason to worship Him on Sunday!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, September 1, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-01 [Ephesians] Blessing 1: Chosen

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians1:4

Our universe is not here by accident. WE are not here by accident.

When God created the world it was with us in mind. He created us to be holy and blameless in His sight. Some people say that God made us because He was lonely - but this is not true. The Trinity: Father, Son and Spirit share a love so perfect that they are one.

God created us for His glory and pleasure so that we could see and understand His awesomeness and respond in worship. He gave us free will so that we could choose to be holy and blameless in His sight.

But free will means that we can also choose NOT to be holy and blameless. Did God consider this? What would He do if we made the wrong decision?? From the very outset, the Scriptures make it clear that it was God's plan to send His Son to redeem fallen humankind.

A friend of ours, James Greaves, put it like this: "When God was creating the world and He used his pinkie to make the Grand Canyon and heaped up the rocks to make Everest, did He pause when He made Golgotha?"

Our first blessing is that we are twice-chosen by God: Before He created the world, He thought about us - He chose us to be made in His image to reflect His holiness and glory. But because we had the potential to reject Him, He chose us again in view of the redeeming work that Christ would do.

So there is a sense that Christ was already crucified in the mind of God when He created us. God knew what creating us might cost and yet He made us anyway!

Amazing love! We are twice chosen in Christ!

Theo Groeneveld
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