As we get ready for the start of a new week, we do so knowing that God has made us alive and raised us up with Christ "so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:7) Already now we enjoy the grace and kindness of our God and in the coming ages we will enjoy it even more!
There are many reasons why we need this encouragement with each passing day. I'm not sure about you, but I've felt that there has been a shocking stream of horrible news stories coming to us from all parts of the globe, both near and far, with reports of devastation, crime, brutality, and unchecked violence. Some of this is due, certainly, to the reality that our news streams are constantly focused in on violent acts in society while ignoring the widespread practices of ordinary people who are going about their days without violence or gross injustice. Still, though, we can be very discouraged by the things that are happening. It's in these times that we grieve at the injustices we witness around us, we plead for healing and restoration for those affected by the violence, and we commit to loving the neighbours that we know and see on a daily basis as servants of Jesus Christ. We aren't able to change the streets of Damascus or Istanbul but we can touch our neighbourhoods while praying for all who are suffering in other parts of our world.
In Ephesians 2, Paul speaks of "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2) and we will be examining the conduct of one of those sons of disobedience in our morning sermon, as Pharaoh declares to Moses, "I am Pharaoh, and I will not". In turn, we'll examine God's response in our afternoon sermon as God declares to Moses and the people, "I AM and I will". There is an awesome parallellism on display in our texts and I would encourage you to read through Exodus 5 & 6 in preparation along with Hebrews 11:23-29.
May the Lord bless us with His Word and Spirit!