united to be united

The book of Ephesians has, as a themes, the concept of unity. That Christ came to bring everything back together.

There was harmony in the universe when God first created it. Every note different yet moving in unity. Then sin entered in – sin: the very breach of the harmonious flow of life.

You see, harmony requires order. And God’s law is that order. So to transgress His law is to break the harmony.

Discord. Disorder. Disunity. Chaos. Brokenness.

Now we are broken people. And we are a broken people. Our individual brokenness fueling our corporate disunity. Anything can be a reason to divide between us.

Skin color. Accent. Gender. Wallet-size. Aesthetic preference.

Ephesians 4 begins with 5 injunctions. Here they are in my own words:

1. Live up to God’s dreams for you (v.1)

2. Realize your own brokenness (v.2 – humble)

3. Depend on God (v.2 – meek)

4. Endure the suffering that comes with relationships (v.2 – longsuffering)

5. Be loving towards those you don’t agree with (v.2 – forbearing)

This is how it is possible to live in unity with others. There must be a realization of our mutual brokenness and a decision to live together in spite of it.

But that is not the end of the unity God wants for His children!

Then God gives a diversity of gifts for the purpose of healing our individual brokenness to facilitate an even closer unity. And the gifts mentioned here have to do with the doctrinal ministry of the church (v.11). As we gain a correct understanding of Truth we attain to the wholeness of Christ’s perfect life. And as that happens at an individual level, we can grow closer in unity with those on the same journey.

So there is that unity we must work to maintain in spite of our brokenness. And this type of unity is an essential part of our journey to a closer unity – that unity we find within ourselves then with others as we see Jesus through a correct understanding of His Word.

Jesus prayed that we would be one. And so I pray.

32 Things I’m Thankful For

For my devotions, this morning, I decided to meditate on the Psalm for the Sabbath (since it is Sabbath today) and I couldn’t get past the first phrase:

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” Psalm 92:1

In the midst of thanking God for one thing, I found myself complaining about how that thing was nice but inadequate. A good friend once called me an ingrate (faithful are the wounds of a friend!)…and for the first time today I understood what she was referring to all those years ago.

So, in honor of my 32nd birthday this past week and to battle the spirit of ungratefulness I didn’t even realize I had, here are 32 things I’m thankful for today – in no particular order (for the most part) and without the murmurer’s qualifications (that’s the hard part for me!). I’m thankful for:

1. God’s faithfulness to me – He’s just always been there for me whenever I turn to Him!

2. God’s forgiveness – He never drags up the past to make me feel bad about it.

3. God’s patience with me – Case in point is how long it took me to realize I even had a problem with gratitude!

4. God’s provision – I’ve never gone a day in my life without at least one meal, except by choice.

5. A place to call home – I have a fully and beautifully furnished apartment that I couldn’t have afforded to furnish as such.

6. My landfolk – They go beyond the call of duty and look out for my wellbeing.

7. A wardrobe full of clothes – Which means I have more clothes than I need.

8. My seminary education – which is teaching me more than the course material.

9. Two student jobs – without which I could not meet my expenses.

10. Awesome co-workers – Going into work is never an unpleasant experience.

11. Bosses who pray with me- they care about my spiritual welfare too!

12. Friends who pray for me – Some days, I know I’m surviving on their prayers.

13. Friends who encourage me- and remind you to focus on Christ.

14. The Bible.

15. Friends who give me the opportunity to love selflessly.

16. My fiancé – He’s an unexpected blessing in so many ways (just don’t want him to dominate this list, haha. I’ll elaborate in my personal journal on this one!).

17. Family.

18. Victory over sin – God has given me so many victories during the lifespan of our relationship! Praise His name!

19. Warmer weather! – It means I can start my outdoor running now!

20. My church family – They have come through for me so many times over the past two years

21. Music – It’s just therapeutic, you know.

22. Nature – It’s therapeutic too!

23. Sleep – Restful sleep. No nightmares. Just sweet, sweet sleep. That’s therapeutic too, hehe.

24. My plants – that have survived with less sunshine than optimal in my basement apartment.

25. Controversy – It teaches me to be firm to principle.

26. Good health

27. A fast metabolism – I know it won’t always be like this so I’m thankful for it now

28. Another year of life

29. A car

30. Technology – that allows me stay in touch with my family who are so far away

31. Opportunities for ministry – God has given me the privilege to testify of His goodness before thousands

32. The Sabbath