Loved, No Matter What
The young adults group at the church I am currently interning at is going through the book of Ephesians alongside our pastor, Nat.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:1-2).
Last night at the service, Nat preached on these few lines by commenting on the changed person of Paul, and the significance of his greeting the people at Ephesus in this way. Paul, previously Saul, had been a Jewish leader persecuting Christ followers, and was now exalting and praising God for His clear will to deliver Jesus’ message to the world, addressing each one as “God’s holy people.”
“Grace and peace to you.”
Paul was convinced through Jesus that grace and peace were the messages He desired to share and greet with. Paul had had His eyes opened, Nat pointed out.
And last night, as our ministry team has been praying for a promotions coordinator to oversee promotions and social media for the youth group, a dear young lady named Ani was brought into my life, and the Spirit in her has already encouraged my heart in the past 24 hours in such Divine ways.
God has used Ani to show us His plans for fulfillment for the good of His Kingdom.
Greetings in grace and peace.
I had the privilege of having coffee with Ani and her friend Alicia today, both of whom are now on board with the ministries on this team, eager and called by the Lord to serve by their gifting. Women of prayer, I learned all about these beautiful womens’ testimonies of Jesus’ work in their lives, their struggles that have brought them only closer to their Father.
Thank-you, Lord, for Ani and Alicia, and for your Spirit within them that is full of grace and peace.
And later tonight, when I was simply studying at a coffee shop, I experienced the Spirit’s provision when a man next to me sought out conversation with me that turned into multiple questions in curiosity about “why I was a Christian. Don’t most Christians just fight and try to convince people they are right?”
“Christianity isn’t about me, or my ‘being right.’ It’s simply about what is right. Of course I desire to believe what’s true and to submit my life to what it is meant to be submitted. Jesus has revealed Himself to me as Lord of everything, and I believe His Spirit shows each of us the beauty of His Lordship, Friendship, Selflessness.”
He was curious about this Jesus. So curious about how He had revealed Himself to me. Told me he had tried praying, but hadn’t had clarity on who to pray to.
I prayed as I told him Jesus’ working in my life, but that I didn’t live solely based on my own life experiences, but that the Holy Spirit provides the ability to discern the experiences that are of Him, and those that are of the world or the enemy.
Grace and peace. “Jesus is a God of grace and peace.” Simply uttering these words, I thought of Paul, whose life was submitted entirely to Jesus and who knew His calling to share His gifts of grace and peace. Accepting His active Spirit would lead to relationship with this God, who also convicts, empowers, equips, and humbles us. Who casts out illness and evil, heals, and sets free.