Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Expect Great Things

Meditation for the week of October 26, 2008

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

In the collection of stories called Arabian Nights, there is a story about Aladdin. He manages to find an oil lamp which when rubbed releases a powerful genie who is ready to do anything for Aladdin. Of course, this is a story that all of us could fantasize about. While this story is a myth, we have a story that is true and that is better.

Paul prays for the Christians in Ephesus in this letter that was written from prison. He prays that their inner person or mind would be strengthened. He also wants them to enjoy the love of God which is beyond comprehension. He wants them to be controlled or filled with all that God is and offers, not just with part of the blessings available to them. Then he tells them about something better than a genie in a bottle. They have a God, that is the mighty One, who is able to do exceedingly abundantly about all that we ask or think.

Now, I don’t mean to be a spoil sport, but wasn’t Paul sitting in prison when he prayed this prayer for them? Did Paul enjoy prison? Probably not! So some would say that God was able to do what Paul and the Ephesians wanted but that He didn’t always do it. However, if we are filled with all the fullness of God, then we will want what He wants and we will expect our miracles to be in keeping with His plans and objectives. We might not pray for release from prison but perhaps for a fruitful prison ministry while we are there.

Do we have confidence that our creator God really did send His only son to reveal God to us? John tells us that the Word was made flesh and we beheld His glory, the glory of the unique Son of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Do we really believe and trust in the truth that this unique Son of God was also the Son of Man and that He had the right and the power to die for our sins? If we do, we have already been recipients of blessings that far exceed the blessing of any religion man has ever devised. We have peace of mind, we have hope for the future, we have a God who bears our burdens instead of asking us to bear His. He saves those who trust Him.

If we are saved by grace through faith, we can expect blessings that far exceed our measly expectations. Oh, we can’t pray for God to harm our enemies, because that is not His way (See Matthew 6:44). But we can pray for Him to change them so that they are no longer our enemies. We can’t pray for him to remove death from our lives because that is not the way things work since Adam sinned. But we can pray for him to use death to help the unsaved to see the importance of the decisions that they make concerning the Lord. We do know that those who die “in the Lord” go to a place where there is no more sin, no more death or sorrow or pain, and no more night. I suspect that there are many more things that He wants to do for us that are in keeping with His will and that are in keeping with His love.

Is there a burden about unsaved loved ones on your heart today? He is able. Is there a burden about sickness? He may not heal the sickness but he will certainly not forsake you during the illness. And He just may cure you as well because He is able! Is there concern about financial situations now that the financial markets are in turmoil? The Lord has said with regard to our needs that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Believe it, because He is able. We may have great concerns about the future when we consider war and man’s inhumanity to man, but just as the Lord was with David when he went down into a valley and fought the giant Goliath, He has promised to be with us. I take his promise to David personally when he says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me (Psalm 23:4).”

Aladdin’s lamp is a myth but the Lord is real and available. He is able to exceed our expectations.

Bruce Collins

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