February 2015 - LPNI

Lutheran Parish Nursing International
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February 2015

LPNI Devotion - February, 2015
Salty Christians

“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, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 1:15-23)
          
Here we have some remarkable thoughts presented to us so we can live our lives with confidence and certainty.  The death and resurrection of Jesus has surely given us the wonderful assurance that the forgiveness of sins and eternal life has been extended to us. But the difficulties, hardships and distractions of life in a sinful world can often leave us uncertain about our lives day by day.
On the one hand it seems to us that if only we could have Jesus physically here with us, that would make all the difference.  So why did he have to ascend back into heaven?  If we think about it, we can understand that it just wouldn’t work if he hadn’t ascended, for he can only be physically in one place at one time.  However with his ascension he can now be with everyone, all the time. Through his Spirit he can be at work for us all no matter where we are or what our situation might be.
The other issue in this regard, is the one that continually vexes us as Christians. If we are Christians and God is good, why do we experience so much that is bad?  Where is this good and powerful God in the midst of the difficulties and tragedies of life?
Paul reminds us of God’s incomparably great power for us who believe.  This power is at work in our lives even now, working for our good and for the good of his kingdom.  Despite our sinfulness and that of the world around us, God is now at work using everything that is happening in our lives for good.  Now we struggle to see how many of these things can be for good, as they are bad and often seemingly destructive.
However, we know that when all is going well for us, we all too often forget about God and the things that are important in life.  We know that tough times often bring the best out in people.  But mostly we are reminded that the bad that is happening in and around us is a result of our selfishness and sin.  So it surely should turn us back to God to seek his forgiveness and help to live in ways that are good and appropriate for us as his people.
At the same time we are reminded that the ascended Jesus has the power over everything for the benefit of his church — all of us.  He is at work for our good!  We all are his body; he in us and we in him, all joined together through our baptism into him.  He is now with us: everything that is Jesus is now with us and in us, for good in every way.  Now that is truly amazing!
This is the assurance we receive as we consider our Lord’s ascension to heaven. He has not left us all alone.  It was his physical, human presence that departed from this earth.  But it was for our good, so he and his Spirit could be with us all, as we face the rough and tumble of living in a sinful world.  We are not alone.  Our Lord Jesus is with us with all his power at work for our good and the good of his kingdom.
Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish, Adelaide, South Australia
rogeratze@bigpond.com
 
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