Rev. Dr. Howard McFarland Administrator – Bishop Emeritus
FROM THE DESK OF THE BISHOP;
From the Office of UACCCI Ministries, We want to say that we APPRECIATE all of our Pastors, Ministers, Chaplains, & Counselors, for what you are doing for KINGDOM BUSINESS.
Thank You to everyone you has sent in your Renewals for 2023, If you have not sent in your Yearly Renewals please do so, so we can send you LGS to you.
You can send in through the Website www.uaccci.net via Pay Pal, Cash App or FB Pymts
BISHOP'S BLOG November-December 2023
HAPPY THANKSGIVING & MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of our Colleagues with UACCCI Ministries
We've been through some challenges this year, however we are now coming to the end of another year serving God, & each
other. I hope that as we end this year & look forward to this next year that we will continue to do what God has appointed,
called & anointed us to do.
As we end 2023 I want to focus on Ephesians 1 'SIT,WALK, STAND'.
Unlike many of the other epistles, Ephesians wasn't written to correct errors within the Church so Paul had a free hand to declare the greatness of the Gospel and the worth, without peer, of the One who makes the gospel great - Jesus Christ. And that is what draws me to it! It has been called "Paul's third-heaven epistle" because it often takes the believer into 'the heavenly realms' revealing heavenly truth from God's perspective and even from before the foundation of the world.
The letter itself is split right down the middle. There are three chapters declaring our heavenly calling followed by three chapters declaring our earthly conduct. In other words, the first three chapters speak of our position 'in Christ'. The last three speak of our practice of this position. The first three speak of our standing in the Lord while the last three speak of our state in this life. If I had to write the theme of Ephesians in three words or less (why use more words that we have to right?) then I'd go with the title of Watchman Nee's book on this letter which sums it up well - 'SIT, WALK, STAND'. The epistle starts with sitting. We are to see ourselves as seated in the heavenlies with Christ.
Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is a reversal of the true order. Our natural reason says, If we do not walk, how can we ever reach the goal? What can we attain without effort? How can we get anywhere if we do not move? If at the outset we try to do anything, we miss everything. For Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE. Ephesians opens with the statement that God has 'blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ' and we are invited at the outset to sit down and enjoy what God has done for us; not to set out to try and attain it for ourselves.
The last three chapters are about the importance of our 'walk' and our 'stand' against the enemy.
These three overall themes are what drew me to this letter,
Firstly, Ephesians it's about your position - With many things in this world being upside down, back to front, and inside out... with fears and doubts arising and dark clouds overhead, it is fantastic to be sure of your position in Christ and the importance of eternal matters.
Secondly it is about your walk - It is really important to be able to walk in the Lord's strength and in His ways... ways that are diametrically opposed to those in this world, and are only going to stand out more in these last days!
And finally it is about our stand - Because of the increased and blatant attacks that are coming from the enemy, we need to be reminded again how to stand strong in the Lord and not be bowled over by the strong and contrary winds of change sweeping this planet.
This, you could say, is the starting position for every believer. It isn't the goal to be earned. It is the starting line. Like I said before, it starts not with a 'do' but with a 'done'. The starting line for the believer begins with the words 'It is finished... come, sit and enter into my rest!' That is the great foundation for every believer.
Now straight away you will see that all the spiritual blessings are, well oddly enough, spiritual. That is, it isn't talking about physical and temporal blessings but heavenly and spiritual ones. It isn't talking about you getting a new car, a great wife, a job promotion, winning the lottery or the like. Nope... it is speaking about loftier themes that matter for eternity.
The simplest way to explain this is to contrast them with the blessings of Israel under the law. In the OT, a faithful, obedient Jew was rewarded with long life, a large family, abundant crops, and protection from his enemies (Deut. 28:2-8). The blessings of Christianity, in contrast, are Spiritual, that is, they deal with treasures that are nonmaterial, invisible, and imperishable. It is true that the OT saints also enjoyed some spiritual blessings, the Christian today enjoys blessings that were unknown in previous times.
Now that's the theology, what's the application? At this point it is good to examine your own heart just to see what blessing mean the most to you. God has blessed all believers with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Does that push your buttons? Or do you spend most of your time and prayers seeking physical temporal blessings? As an example, remember Esau in the Bible? He lost two things - the birthright and the blessing. The birthright was essentially spiritual blessings. It meant that he, as the firstborn, would take the role of the spiritual priest and head within the family. It also meant, because of God's promises to his fathers, that he would be in the line of the Messiah! How much did Esau care about such things? Somewhere on the same level as a bowl of stew! He gave it up (and thus 'despised' his birthright) as though it was nothing.
But what of the blessing? Oh that was a different story! The blessing was predominantly physical and earthly as can be seen in Isaac's blessing of Jacob in Genesis 27:28-29. When Esau found that he had missed this blessing (through the trickery of Jacob and Rebekah) oh how he wept! 'He burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me--me too, my father!" (Gen 27:34). Giving up the spiritual blessings of the birthright didn't seem to phase Esau but losing the physical blessing... oh boy... that he wanted!
So which do you desire? Which do you pray about? The spiritual blessings may not pay the bills but they do make you far richer beyond comparison! Don't be like Esau. It pleases the heart of God when our desire is for that which He places as the highest of all blessings.
Ephesians speaks of a lavishing of God's grace and spiritual blessings that has been poured out upon all believers. He bids us, as we have seen, to first come and rest in Him. Rest in all that He is, secure in your position in Christ. And what does He ask in return? Well, He desires first of all that we who hope in Christ 'might be for the praise of His glory'. Christ's glory is the ultimate purpose in this vast plan of God. And we each play a part in that. Each believer will stand as a testimony to His incredible grace, wisdom and glory.
Rev. Dr. Howard McFarland
Bishop Emeritus UACCCI Ministries