The Rescue

“I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.””
Romans 11:25-27 NLT

Paul writes that there will be a time of salvation for the Jews. We don’t know when that will be but we do know that one day it will happen. Paul loosely quoted two verses from the Old Testament Scriptures, ““The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” says the Lord. “And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Isaiah 59:20-21). We have to visit this section of Scripture to determine the context. These verses in Isaiah are at the end of a chapter where the prophet provides warnings about sin and wickedness. And the Redeemer is none other than Jesus Himself. Of course, we know that He died just outside the city walls at Jerusalem for the redemption of all sins, an act with eternal consequences, and Isaiah continues to reveal that the Lord’s Spirit will remain forever, never leaving His redeemed people. 

But Paul was perhaps also writing about a day when the people of Israel finally turn to their Redeemer. Their hearts will soften from the current hardness, and “all Israel will be saved”. If the Jews rejected their Redeemer when He came to this earth, what would make them change their collective minds? We mustn’t forget that Jesus has an appointment, marked in His Heavenly calendar, to return to earth a second time. We read in Acts 1:9-11, “After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”” We don’t know when “someday” will be of course, but we know that it will happen, as the angels foretold. We also know where He will return to, because He ascended from the Mount of Olives, as we read in Acts 1:12, “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile.” We also know what the weather will be like on the day He returns because it will be cloudy. But even though we know something about how Jesus will return, we don’t know when, other than Paul’s assertion that first, the “full number” of Gentiles must convert to believing in Christ. 

We also know from other Scriptures that Jesus will not return as a baby child, but very visibly with great power and glory. “For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. … And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:27,30). Perhaps this will be the time when the Jews will finally be saved. Matthew 24:31, “And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

But whatever we pilgrims believe, God’s plans for His human creation will come together one day. All will make sense then, in case we are puzzled about how it is all going to happen. God has the eternity view. Time is no problem to Him. Unlike us, He is not constrained by calendars and human events. God gave a prophetic message of the salvation of the Jews through Paul’s pen, and one day there will be a huge crowd of Jews and Gentiles in Heaven, united in praise and worship to our wonderful Heavenly Father.

Dear Father. We look forward to that day when You will be worshipped by all Your people. What can we say, other than echo that phrase from the last chapter of Revelation – “Come Lord Jesus”. Amen.

The Full Number

“I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ.”
Romans 11:25 NLT

Paul unfurls a mystery before his readers. He said that while the people of Israel, the Jews, refuse the Gospel, the gentiles will benefit from God’s grace. But this won’t last forever, because there is a limit on the number of Gentiles who will come to Christ. The obvious question, of course, is – how many is the “full number”? Is God close to achieving that number? We don’t know – only God does. But there is coming a day when God will decree enough! And then we will see the hearts of the Jews responding at last to their Messiah. 

Jesus said, as recorded in Matthew 24:14, “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” The implication is that the “full number of Gentiles” won’t be achieved until the whole world, including all nations and people groups, have heard the “Good News about the Kingdom”. One statement that people who try to find fault with God suggest is that He isn’t fair, because there is always the possibility that someone, somewhere, will never hear the Gospel, implying that they will be denied the opportunity to respond to God. A good answer is perhaps the suggestion that if this concerns them then they should sign up to be a missionary just in case, and go and search out remote peoples and nations tucked away in some inaccessible corner of the globe. But, almost as a catch all, Paul wrote in Romans 1:20, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God”. Jesus said that the Gospel will be preached everywhere, but Paul follows that up by the thought that people don’t really have an excuse if they fail to respond to God. One day, we will all stand before God but secure in the knowledge that He will certainly always be fair. People will only ever be judged on what they know, not what they don’t know. And we can rest assured that everyone will be judged by what they know, not what they don’t know.

We currently live in a season of grace. The full number of Gentiles as not yet been reached – we know that, because we do not yet see the wholesale softening of the hearts of the Jews. But it won’t be long. The number of different translations of the Bible is staggering. The extent and reach of the Gospel is as never before. There is a feeling of urgency in spiritual realms, and we can see the end time story unfolding and aligning itself to world events, just as the old Apostle John wrote in the book of Revelation. So how prepared are we? And how are we communicating that feeling of urgency within our families and communities? Do we pray everyday for God to wake up those around us and soften their hearts so that they will feel the gentle wind of the Spirit flowing around them and through them?

Paul wrote about the mystery of how God made the Gospel available to the Gentiles. Our gratitude can know no limits. God’s love for His family, regardless of their origin, is mixed with His grace to reach everyone who is open to Him. It is a mystery no more. It is reality.

Dear Father God. Once again we thank You for Your grace and love. Please lead us to anyone who has not yet responded positively to Your Good News. Over our lives we have planted many Gospel seeds. Please bring on a time of harvest before the final click of Your salvation clock. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jealous Jews

“I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead!”
Romans 11:13-15 NLT

Paul himself was a Jew. And even though he had been sent as a missionary to the Gentiles, he never passed an opportunity to share God’s message with his fellow Jews so that he “might save some of them“. In that well-documented encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus made a profound and eternal statement, “You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews” (John 4:22). A prophetic word from God’s Son, who knew His mission, that, as a Jew, He would be the Source of salvation for all. And we know what happened at Calvary. A Jew was crucified at the instigation of His fellow Jews. Such a tragedy. 

We read in Acts 10 how Peter shared the Gospel with Cornelius and his household, but when he returned to Jerusalem we read that his fellow Jews were not happy at all. After he had given his report about what had happened, we read, “When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life“” (Acts 11:18). There was no doubt. God made salvation available to the “rest of the world“, and even appointed Paul as the “Apostle to the Gentiles“. Paul was sure about his mandate. We read in Ephesians 3:6-8, “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ“. But Paul was very much aware of God’s heart, that His grace would extend across national and tribal boundaries.

Christians today are ethnically diverse. We don’t claim a common ancestor other than God Himself and His Son, Jesus. But in that diversity, we celebrate together with the praise and worship of our wonderful Heavenly Father. One day we will be joined by God’s chosen people,. No-one will be left out. We read in Revelation 19:1, “After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting, “Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God”. It will be an amazing experience being a part of that “vast crowd”.

Would the Jews have been jealous of the Gentile believers, especially when they could see how the Holy Spirit had been poured out on them as well? Possibly, but not those who understood God’s heart and His amazing grace. More of a problem was the people with hard hearts when Jesus was preaching and teaching His fellow Jews, those who failed to recognise their Messiah. The Pharisees were certainly jealous of the miracles, signs and wonders that Jesus performed in their midst. But that’s another story.

We pilgrims all stand alone in God’s presence. We are each unique, with our own spiritual DNA, and our own God-ordained mission. However, it is always a temptation to look jealously at other Christians, perhaps those with gifts that we wish we had. Thoughts like I wish I could preach, or lead worship, or pray or … whatever, like another Christian, can become a hurdle and cause unnecessary resentment. In John 21:21-22, Peter looked at another disciple, John, perhaps to take Jesus’ penetrating gaze off himself. But Jesus was having none of it. We read, “Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me“”. That’s all that matters. We must all focus on following Jesus. We’re not responsible for another’s relationship with God. There is no place for jealousy in God’s Kingdom.

Dear Heavenly Father. We know that the only thing that matters is You. We thank You for the love and grace You have individually for each one of Your children. Thank You. Amen.

Gentiles Included

“And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.”
Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬-‭7‬ ‭NLT

There is much encouragement in these two verses. The word “called” occurs twice and it infers something special. Paul assures the Roman congregation that they are in a special place in God’s eyes. He knows them all. And this all the more remarkable because they were “Gentiles”, non-Jews who were feared and despised by a race who claimed the exclusive rights of a relationship with God. But through Jesus’s last instructions, as recorded in Matthew 28:19, God’s grace was extended to everyone. He said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” 

But what is it like, being “called”? In a natural sense, it happens all the time. We call someone using a phone. A child calls out for their parents in the night. It is all part of the human interactions that we all take for granted. To facilitate the process of calling, we are each given a name, so that we can be identified, one from another. In a different sense, we sometimes observe that someone who is doing a certain type of work must be responding to a calling. Perhaps a nurse, or missionary. Doing work we couldn’t do, or wouldn’t want to, and we then assume that they were making a personal sacrifice to do something for the benefit of their fellow human beings. 

But in our relationship with God, the calling is something special. I don’t know about you, but I fall into the “Gentile” category. I do not have Jewish heritage. But I do know that God’s grace has extended even to me, because I know that I am one of His children. If anyone has any doubts about their eligibility to be a child of God, start with reading John 3:16-17, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him”. That is where we start our journey, with the thought, a glimmer of hope, that God’s grace extends to everyone, the whole world. That journey continues with the assurance that through repentance we gain salvation from the consequences of our sins. We read in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent”. I John 2:2 reads, referring to Jesus, “He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world”. And then we read Ephesians 1:4, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes”. In some timeless and eternal way, God sees all His creation, past, present and future, and yearns for each person to turn to Him during their lives here on Planet Earth. Everyone is called.

But are we listening? Do we hear His voice calling us? If not, perhaps we need to find a quiet place away from the clamour and noise of the world in which we live and just sit and listen. Quieten our thoughts before Him. Ask God to speak to us. And He will.

Dear Lord Jesus. We hear Your call today. And I pray for all those who will respond, that Your Holy Spirit will touch them deeply, securing their future relationship with You. In Your precious name. Amen.

Privilege and Authority

“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His name.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Paul is making a bold statement here. Because of his position as an Apostle he claims to have a God-given authority “through Christ”. Is that an assumption on his part or does he really have a mandate? The answer is that he received a clear mandate from Jesus at their encounter on the Damascus Road (Acts 9), an encounter that was so dramatic that it totally changed his life. To the extent that in Galatians 1:1, Paul said of himself, ” …I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.” That’s a mandate that nobody will mess with or deny him!

In today’s verse, Paul also used the word “us” rather than “me”. Paul therefore must have been writing this letter as part of an apostolic team, but the exact nature of who was in the team is lost in the mists of time. Regarding who originally established the early church in Rome, tradition has it that the foundations were laid by Christians, probably new believers, travelling there, perhaps on business, or on returning home – we do know that some Jewish visitors from Rome heard Peter’s Acts 2 sermon. (Acts 2:10). The Apostle Peter also is credited with having an influence on the nascent Roman church.

In his letter, Paul said it was a privilege to share his message, his Good News, with the Gentiles, the non-Jews, wherever he went. And he did so with every opportunity that he had at his disposal. By all accounts he was a confident and persuasive preacher, and won many an argument with the Jews he found in places he visited. But his real heart, his real mission, was to see the Gentiles converted to be followers of Jesus. And that to him was a privilege. Notice that his message wasn’t to tell the Gentiles what God had done for him, but what God had done for them. A difference in emphasis, but one we should note because it makes the sharing of the Good News more personal and relevant.

This verse finishes with the goal of Paul’s message to the Gentiles – “that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His name.” Paul’s aim was not to have a cosy chat about theology with a few like-minded people. He was fired up with an urgency to get people into God’s Kingdom, and in the process, giving God the glory.

As we read this verse, we note that Paul said he was an Apostle. But surely the job description he wrote was more that of an Evangelist. The two roles can overlap but, as we see in many places throughout Paul’s letters, his heart was in establishing and nurturing churches, an Apostle’s goal.

We pilgrims too, in a sense, are Apostles and Evangelists in that we are tasked with serving our Master, Jesus, in sharing the message of the Good News of what God has done for us. It is important that we follow up our testimonies with encouraging new believers to become part of a Bible-believing, God-fearing, local church. And if there’s not one, then perhaps we should start one. That was how the early church was established. We read in Acts 2:46, “They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity”. Jesus confirmed such an approach when He said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them”. If Jesus is with us, we cannot fail! Today, we call such Christian gatherings house churches. Not a modern phenomenon at all – the concept was well established before our ornate and vast church buildings and cathedrals were built.

So, pilgrims everywhere, go for it! “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Who indeed! In Acts 2 there was a day when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the early disciples caused absolute mayhem. People came running to find out what was going on. And at the end of Peter’s sermon we read, “Those who believed what Peter said were baptised and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all“. But before we talk down such events, we must remember that Peter was just a fisherman. Not a learned Bishop, or professor of theology. He was nobody special except for one thing – he had met Jesus. We pilgrims have met Jesus too. Haven’t we?

Dear Father God. We thank You for all You have done. We thank You for extending Your grace and love to all mankind. We reach out to You today, in praise and worship. Amen.


“My dear friends, I pray that you will remain strong and not be discouraged or ashamed by all that I suffer on your behalf, for it is for your glory.”
Ephesians 3:13 TPT

Why did Paul make this extraordinary statement? He made it after describing his part in the dissemination of God’s mysterious plan, at the end of a section of verses which he started by declaring his incarceration “for the sake of you Gentiles“. It was almost as though Paul briefly emerged from some wonderful place full of the love and grace of God, a place full of Heavenly thoughts and then cast his eyes around at his circumstances, and consequently had a bit of a “wobbly”. But then he realised why he was where he was – a prisoner “for the sake of you Gentiles“. In a dark, cold and filthy cell, miles from home in a foreign land. And as we read, he was suffering. We don’t know from what, but I can imagine he was cold (in 2 Timothy 4:13 he asked Timothy to bring his cloak when he visited next). He was uncomfortable. Probably hungry. I’m guessing, but one thing was for sure, he was suffering because while he was in prison he wasn’t out there on the road, preaching the Gospel “for the sake of you Gentiles“. 

But the least he could do while imprisoned was to write to his friends back in Ephesus. We don’t know who was writing down what he said, though there are a few suggestions – a scribe called Tertius was mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans. But Paul never let grass grow under his feet. He never wasted a moment, always praying, writing or witnessing. In this verse, Paul couldn’t stop himself from being an encouragement. Most of us in similar circumstances would have wasted our ink in whingeing about our lot, complaining about the food, the cold, the …. But not Paul. He was so concerned about his friends that he forgot about himself. He encouraged them to be strong in their faith, not held back with feelings of guilt. Not to be discouraged because of his sufferings. What a selfless man Paul was.

But Paul said he suffered for the glory of his readers, the Ephesians. How come? How does being in prison glorify someone else? Perhaps it was because Paul felt he was suffering so that this group of believers could enter into God’s glory through their new-found faith. That thought must have been encouraging for him, helping him through the seemingly unending dark and cold days and nights in his prison cell. Perhaps he thought it was well worth the sacrifice he made. But one day we will hopefully have the opportunity to have a chat with Paul.

In our pilgrimage through life, we pray that we will never be imprisoned for our faith, as many are in other parts of the world. Our fellow pilgrims in countries such as North Korea and Afghanistan know what suffering for their faith is all about. How do we feel about that? Saddened? Angry? Perhaps even thinking thoughts like, “Why is God letting them suffer in this way”? But Jesus was clear – He warned His disciples in Matthew 10 about the cost of presenting a counter-cultural message to a hostile world. Paul was paying the price. And perhaps we do as well, in a lower-key way. Through whispered comments in our work places. Losing our jobs, perhaps, as some have for wearing a cross. Through a lack of acceptance into certain social circles. Being ostracised by our neighbours. But whatever God has asked us to do in our service for Him, we know that He will never leave us, never stop loving us. I’m sure Paul heard Jesus say, “Well done”, when he entered Heaven. Something we too will hear, at the end of our life-journey, as we continue to do what Paul did, “for the sake of us Gentiles“. 

God’s House

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:19-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Can we imagine what it must have felt like? Knowing that there was a God in Heaven but being excluded from being able to know Him. It was like a religious apartheid, with signs saying “No Gentiles” plastered everywhere. Life would have been much like those racially segregated times in South Africa and the US. The Jews claimed that God was exclusively their God. No-one else’s. But an amazing thing happened. God had a plan, as we read earlier in this Epistle. Through the wonderful act of mercy of Jesus’ sacrifice at the Cross, all of a sudden, God was accessible to everyone. No exceptions. But Paul was now saying to the Gentiles, the “strangers and foreigners“, that they were citizens of the Kingdom of God. However, we know that this new and wonderful status comes with some responsibilities. 

Paul said that as members of the same family, God’s family, we become His house. And we get this foundational picture of Jesus being the main support, the “cornerstone” with the apostles and prophets completing the substratum, the bedrock. Solid stuff, certainly. And Paul completes the house building analogy by saying that God’s people are carefully and exactly joined together forming the house. A house which then, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, becomes “a holy temple for the Lord”. And Paul couldn’t resist pointing out the Gentiles forming the Ephesian church were also made part of it.

But coming back to the responsibilities. A bit scary really. Any member of a house and family, has responsibilities. We all know what it must be like to have a rebellious and aggressive person in our houses. My wife and I fostered difficult children with challenging behaviour for many years. When everyone of them was following the house rules and were doing and behaving as they should, peace reigned and all was well. But when one of them decided to smash up his or her bedroom, all mayhem broke loose. It’s the same with God’s Temple. We are each “bricks” that dovetail into the next “bricks”. A brick that decides to be something else will cause some difficulties for the house. In today’s verses, we see that “we are carefully joined together in Him”.  And that is the secret of being part of God’s Temple. Our relationship with Jesus. Our constant referral to, and our relationship with, the master builder, who is carefully joining us together in Him, will ensure a Holy Temple. And God lives with us by His Spirit. 

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul wrote,  “Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.” So God is using “bricks” that are in themselves places where the Holy Spirit lives. 

At this point, we would be forgiven for thinking that we can never measure up to these standards. And in our own strength that is right. But we serve a loving and gracious Heavenly Father who understands our human frailties, and who has given us the means to become suitable building material. As we read earlier in this Epistle, through Jesus we are made anew. So in humble thankfulness we praise and worship Him. There is no alternative.


“Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.”
‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Jews considered themselves, and still do, a race set apart. God’s own people. And the Jewish opinion of non-Jews was the derogatory phrase used by Paul, “uncircumcised heathens“. Sadly, the act of circumcision became a symbol of great pride to the Jews. What was originally designed to set them apart as God’s special people became pointless – God desired circumcised hearts, devoted and obedient to Him. But Jesus changed all of that. He set the scene in the famous Scripture, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…“. This “world” set out an all-encompassing , all-inclusive description of the nations that populated the planet at the time when Jesus was having his chat with Nicodemus. And by further analysis of Scripture, the “world” is inclusive of all people, then and now. But Jesus focused His ministry on His own people, the Jews. And after His death and resurrection His master plan kicked in – where better to start a new God-world order than with God’s chosen people. And His chosen disciples. 

Cornelius, the Centurion, had the distinction of being the first Gentile person converted, though did the Samaritan women in John 4 come into the “Gentile” category? But come what may, Jesus gave us a commission  – Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8. The Samaritans and the people called “Gentiles” saw the fruit of it. The Ephesian church was in the main populated by Gentiles and Paul reminded them that they used to be “outsiders“. They were “living apart from Christ” and “excluded from citizenship among the people if Israel“. Not a lot going for them until, that is, they embraced the Gospel in all its fullness. 

The “covenant promises” Paul referred to was the Old Testament covenant, that was exclusively claimed by the Jews. Unless they converted to Judaism, Gentiles, the “outsiders” and “uncircumcised heathens“, had no Old Covenant blessing. But the Jews and Gentiles together, those who believed in Jesus, were the first fruits of the New Covenant of God’s love and grace.

In our pilgrimage through life can you imagine what it must be like “without God and without hope“? What a dark, depressing place that must be. And yet so many people in today’s societies are in that place. Forced to rely on their own resources – pilgrims without God neither know where they are going or what life holds in the future. Living in the “now” is ok as far as it goes, but sooner or later the “now” comes to an abrupt halt and suddenly becomes that place Paul mentioned – a place “without God and without hope“. We must continually look for opportunities where we can open the door wide enough for the “outsiders” to become “insiders”. And never lose sight of the fact that it is through God’s grace we are “citizens” in His kingdom.