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[thoughts] Accepted in the Beloved (April 27 - May 3, 2009)

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  • Mark Roth
    Thoughts for the Week Mark Roth http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/ ... This edition goes out today to 4243 subscribers. Thank you! ... ACCEPTED IN THE
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2009
      Thoughts for the Week
      Mark Roth

      This edition goes out today to 4243 subscribers. Thank you!

      (Ephesians 1:1-14)


      "To the saints...and to the faithful in Christ Jesus" -- is this letter for me?

      Am I grateful for and pleased with "all spiritual blessings" I have received?

      Does "holy and without blame" describe my status before God?

      To "be to the praise of his glory" -- shall I pursue a lesser life goal?

      ME? CHOSEN? WHY?
      (originally written mid-1999)

      The team captains had one question before they started taking turns
      selecting their softball players: "Mark, are you playin'?" Ah, such a warm
      glow in my head to realize they each hoped to have first choice if I were
      playing. (That was over two decades ago; now others get chosen first.)
      But why did they want to choose me? They had experienced history.
      They hoped that history would repeat itself. (Now they know better!)

      Praise the Lord, He chooses differently! When He chose me for Himself,
      He did not first consider my history. He did not make His selection
      fervently hoping that the good I had done I would somehow be able to
      replicate. Nor did He figure that if I were that good then, I would
      certainly be an improved version of myself by now. No!

      God chose me long before I existed. He chose me before Creation. Why?
      Because in His eternal state He saw that at some point I would accept
      His redemption when given the opportunity. He didn't make the decision
      for me, but He knew what my decision would be. So He chose me.

      Does that make His choice easier to understand? Only a bit. But I do not
      have a problem with my limited comprehension of His choices and His
      ways. On the basis of His Word, I believe He *has* chosen me. That is
      enough for me.

      (originally written mid-1999)

      When I listened to team captains making their choices, I knew that their
      expectations were directly related to the order of their choices. Those
      times I was chosen first, I knew my captain expected a great deal from
      me. If, however, the captain waited to pick three or four (or eight) others
      first, I knew that my contributions to the team really weren't all that
      critical. Oh, I knew that any contribution I could make would be valuable,
      but I couldn't kid myself about this fact: I generated low expectations.

      Not so with God!

      Regardless who joined His band before us, He still chose us "that we
      should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Ephesians 1:4).
      He chose us "to the praise of the glory of his grace" (Ephesians 1:6). Do
      you get it?! The Everlasting God, the Almighty Father, chose you and
      me with some very specific purposes in mind!

      When the captain chose me for his softball team, he usually knew the
      position he wanted me to play. So did I. Whatever position I ended up
      in, the essential job description was the same: Do it faithfully to the best
      of your ability; don't fail your captain nor your team.

      Shall I do worse for God? No! You see, my softball abilities and history
      made me acceptable (or otherwise) to the captains. But there is nothing
      in my abilities and history to recommend me to God! *He* is the One
      that brought me into favor with Himself. *He* made me "accepted in the
      beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). So by His grace I shall be "holy and without
      blame...to the praise of the glory of his grace."

      Now we need to be reminded of something else. All of this can be no
      more than glorious, uplifting rhetoric. Sure it's true, but until it is both
      liveable and lived, it is not enough.

      Have you been chosen? Praise the Lord! Now go in the grace of the
      Lord and strive to meet His expectations. Be faithful (Revelation 17:14)!


      Thanks again for subscribing!
      Mark Roth

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