On the Tip of Our Tongues

To Fill All Things (6)

When [Barnabas] came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose…And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. Acts 11:23, 26

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The Hope Within Us
The Apostle Peter famously insisted that when people begin see the hope that is within us, they’ll be curious, and ask for an explanation (1 Pet. 3:15). The hope that is within us is the hope of glory, and the hope of glory is Jesus Christ in us (Col. 1:27), filling our souls with Himself, filling the spiritual air of our lives with prayers and praises, and overflowing through our loving words and deeds to touch others with the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Can you “see” that happening in your life? What do you expect your life to look like as Jesus fills your soul, prayers, and Personal Mission Field with Himself? If you’re not thinking about that – if you can’t “see” it with your mind’s eye – then you’re not likely to realize much of His presence in or through you. But the more you focus on Christ in you as your hope for glory, and begin to envision, plan, organize, and conduct your life accordingly, the more you will actually see Jesus coming to expression in your thoughts, affections, choices, words, and deeds.

And the more others will see the hope within you as well.

Think: Love

To Fill All Things (5)

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5

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The Lovingkindness of the Lord
The various writers of the book of Psalms struggle to help us understand a most fundamental truth about God:

He loves us more than we know.

David and the other psalmists want us to understand that God’s love brought the world into being and continues to sustain it. By His love God assigns the various creatures to their places and provides for their needs. His love endures forever, reaches as high as the heavens, sustains and stretches out throughout the earth, brings good things to every human being, and even takes care of those who despise the Lord and His ways (Matt. 5:43-45).

The Fragrance of Christ

To Fill All Things (4)

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14

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A Pervading Presence
This morning, as I headed downstairs to begin my day, the wholesome, earthy aroma of beef broth, wafting up the stairs, greeted and delighted me. With winter coming on soon, it will be good, I thought, to have those jars of beef broth in the freezer, ready to be heated up and savored.

It takes a while to cook beef broth just right – as many as 72 hours in the crock pot. As it sets up, that wonderful smell pervades the whole house, with its portent of cold days, warm hands, and fortified bodies. We know our little crock pot, no bigger than two footballs, is doing its job when the rich fragrance of its contents reaches us everywhere in the house, and delights us with the promise of warm, tasty nourishment.

Frequenting the Spiritual Air

To Fill All Things (3)

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for to you do I cry all the day. Psalm 86:3

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1s and 0s Everywhere, All the Time
The world which Jesus rules, and which He is filling with Himself, is a strange, wonderful, and sometimes spooky place.

The other day I downloaded the new operating system for Susie’s iPad. The longer the process took, the more I began to wonder about what in the world was going on during that 30 minutes or so. I had no idea. How was that new operating system getting to Susie’s iPad and then in her iPad working its wonders to transform the innards of that marvelous machine?

So I did what any sane person would do. I asked our son-in-law, David Durant.

Souls Overflowing

To Fill All Things (2)

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit… John 7:37-39

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Got it, Getting It
This morning, while we were registering for something or other, the woman taking our information asked us our preferred language. “English,” Susie said, obviously enough.

Of course, English. We were born in an English-speaking country, learned English as children, and have spoken it in a wide variety of contexts for over 60 years. I’ve written millions of words of English, even some which were sufficiently well-crafted and assembled to have been brought to publication for others to consider.

From Heaven through All Things

To Fill All Things (1)

(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth. He who descended is also the one who ascended far above the heavens, that he might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:9, 10

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The Purpose of the Ascension
Linger with me a bit over this text, will you?

First, let’s note the action: “ascended”, “descended”, “ascended.” From above to below to above again. It’s clear that Paul is referring to the incarnation and exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who “descended into the lower parts of the earth.” He came from the throne of God on high and was incarnated as a lowly servant among the lowliest of people in a strictly backwater sector of the Roman Empire. He was born in a lowly stable, lived a life of poverty, died a criminal’s death, and was buried low in the ground.

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