Thursday, March 3, 2016

According to the Purpose

These four words, according to the purpose, buried deep in the message of Ephesians 1:3-6 reflect God's heart, his plan, and his pleasure lifting up the grace we now live because of Jesus.

God, our purposeful God, created us in his image; he created us with purpose, on purpose, and for purpose.

With Purpose: "I know the plans I have for you ..." These well-known words from God recorded in Jeremiah 29:11 offer comfort, encouragement, and hope. We have a role in God's great story. We are needed!

It was the summer of 2008. Bill and I were part of a special service of affirming our friends who were selected for a significant ministry responsibility. As we prayed, they were anointed with oil. But we, their friends surrounding them, laying our hands on them, praying God's blessing for them were also anointed with oil. Our names were voiced and we too were blessed. It was a visible and vocal affirmation, God's plans included us as well.

On Purpose: Blessed with every spiritual blessing. We were chosen on purpose to receive those blessings. It wasn't a last minute decision. God shares his since the foundation of the world plan to Jeremiah in chapter 1, verse 5: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;" God continues with Jeremiah's specific on purpose plan. And I believe there is also a since the foundation of the world plan for us.

For Purpose: Our purpose is for the carrying out of God's vision, his heart. God promised to Abram, "I will make you ... and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." Genesis 12:2 and 3. That's me; that's you.

We are part of God's promise to Abram and an essential piece of that promise continuing.

Genesis 17 fleshes this reality out. "I will make you exceedingly fruitful ... I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations ..."
Verses 6 and 7.

Recently Bill and I experienced an Illinois week. We enjoyed two meals here in Colorado with friends from our Illinois days. And as it happens, later that week we returned to the University of Illinois, the place where we officially started our Navigator ministry. What a joy!! And I want to tell you more.
Note Champaign-Urbana in central Illinois.

Next week, Echoes is sharing a piece of that Illinois story, a piece of God's purpose displayed through many who are living their stories with purpose, on purpose, and for purpose.

So come back next Thursday for part 3 of this series ... you just might see your picture.

"How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son."
Ephesians 1 3-6, The Message


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