Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Abundantly More

I (Kristin) have been studying Ephesians lately and I find myself getting hung up on this passage each time I read through:

(Ephesians 3:14-21)
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Its such a familiar passage that I can easily glaze over it and think, 'that was nice' when I finish reading the Amen.  When I pause to really process what Paul is conveying in this passage, however, it literally blows my mind.  I just can't grasp the fact that our Lord's Spirit is giving us strength in our inner beings so that we might understand the reaches of God's love for us more deeply.  What a God we serve!

To know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.  Isn't that a paradox? We've been given a great treasure our human minds just can't comprehend.  I love that towards the end of verse 19, where it says, 'that you may be filled with all the fullness of God', the Greek here actually indicates not just that we may be filled, but that we will be KEPT FULL...over time, God continually fills us with Himself.

Then stack verse 20 in there and try to grasp that God can do ABUNDANTLY more than we can ask or think.  That's more than we can ask or think even with His Spirit giving us knowledge in our inner being.  I'm so grateful that we serve such a great and incomprehensible God who loves us deeply and personally.

Praise God for His GREAT love and Jesus' sacrifice that paved the way for us to enter into this incredible love relationship with the Sovereign Creator of the universe.  May you have a blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Joys that come with spring!

Put away those winter coats because spring has arrived!  I (Matt) would not consider myself a winter person so I have been eagerly awaiting spring and all new opportunities to enjoy being outside.  Here are a few ways we have been enjoying the first warmer days of the new year...

We were able to get out our bikes out from storage and go for our first ride yesterday.  Our tires were flat and it took a little hunting to find a gas station with air that wasn't out of service.  After filling our tires we biked onto the Red Jacket Trail.  It really is a wonderful trail.  Kristin, with her great knowledge of various kinds of vegetation, pointed out all of the purple and white crocuses that are starting to bloom along it.  While biking, we try to guesstimate when the trees will grow their leaves.  I'm thinking between 2-3 weeks.

Unfortunately the flooding damaged one of the most beautiful parts of the trail, an old railroad bridge that has been converted to a trail bridge overlooking the Le Sueur River.  A whole section of the bridge has been removed.  We both hope that they will repair the bridge. 

Kristin and I have also been enjoying our walks on this same trail.  The trail is connected right next to the YMCA and is near to where we live.  We have recently been doing prayer walks together on the trail.  It is very peaceful and a great way to connect with each other and God.  Sometimes when it is hard to focus on prayer, I find a walk to be the perfect remedy.

We hung up a bird house in a tree in our back yard.  This is my first residence with a back yard.  We also look forward to grilling in the yard sometime soon.  Oh grilling how I've missed you!

Lastly, we have had our first opportunity of the year to continue our ritual of walking to a nearby Dairy Queen.  Funny thing, I believe it was after we ordered, the manager said that they and all of the other Dairy Queens in Mankato have run out of vanilla ice cream.  This was a week ago and it was still a little chilly.  I guess when you are anxious for spring a little Dairy Queen ice cream can help convince, if only a moment, that spring has actually arrived.

Well those are just a few of our experiences outdoors.  I hope you also get opportunities to enjoy the wonderful weather!