Ephesians 5 (MSG)

Ephesians 5The Message (MSG)

Wake Up from Your Sleep

1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

3-4 Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.

You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.

6-7 Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.

8-10 You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.

11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.

Relationships

21 Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.

22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

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Wives Submit to your Husbands…

Ephesians 5 verse 21-33 is a popular piece of scripture that’s almost ALWAYS used in Christian counseling or when giving advice to individuals getting serious about dating for marriage.

Wives submit yourselves to your husbands.

The majority of us tend to stop at there at verse 22 but no one really focuses on what follows in verses 23-25:

“For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.  As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” (NLT version)

This talks about SACRIFICE. Jesus gave His life up for the church.

So yes, a woman should submit herself to her husband BUT he should be making sacrifices for her.

How can a woman be expected to submit to a man that she can’t respect?! The answer is simple. You can’t respect a man who:

  • Cheats with other women
  • Doesn’t work and isn’t out looking for a job
  • Expects his wife to support the family
  • Abuses his wife

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If you’re a guy thinking about marriage or are currently married, you’re not the “man of the house” if you just boss everyone else around! That’s not the way it’s supposed to be! A godly man does SO much more than that! He protects, provides, and sacrifices for his wife and children.

As a man, you only command respect if you:

  • take care of things concerning your family
  • are responsible
  • do what needs to be done so your family is taken care of
  • get out and work (even if your wife makes more than you)
  • are a good parent
  • put your family first

 

Anything else will get a…….

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Ladies catch a lot of flack for their struggle to submit to their husbands (yes I’ll acknowledge by the time we get into relationships we’re used to doing things our way) but rarely are men challenged to adopt a lifestyle that truly reflects a lifestyle worthy of submission.

So if you’re a woman dating a man who constantly cheats on you or abuses you in any way — you need to get out NOW! It’s not going to get better. Marrying him will only bring it out.

If you’re a woman dating a man who is always bouncing from job-to-job because he simply doesn’t want to work or if you’re married to a man who ups and quits his job out of nowhere — get help now! True, women can do these things but shouldn’t be expected to keep the house, raise the kids, AND take care of things outside the house. If you’re a woman who insists on doing that then fine. But just know it shouldn’t be EXPECTED of you if you want your relationship to mirror what God calls it to be. There needs to be balance! A man is not living up to what a true man is if he expects YOU to be the only one holding a steady job and providing for the family as a woman. No ma’am. I’m not knocking him if he makes LESS money than you  — that’s doable — at least he’s showing that he’s willing to work to support his family. But if you’re dating or thinking about marrying a man who just simply refuses to do anything but spend money — GET OUT NOW! If you’re already married GET COUNSELING NOW!!!

If you’re a woman dating or married to a man who expects you to change the tires, mow the lawn, drive the broken down car when he drives the new one, fix the leaky faucet, pay for the meals, pick HIM up and take him to work because he doesn’t feel like driving — GET HELP NOW! This behavior is not worthy of respect. Yeah if you’re married it’s not as easy, but with prayer and ACTION it’s possible for your husband to see where he needs to step up.

If you don’t, then you just signed yourself up for a lifetime of unnecessary stress that you as a wife shouldn’t have to take on.

Please know that this is not to slander men or badmouth them but it’s just something I noticed I thought needed to be addressed.

Be blessed,

Joc

 

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Why Christian Dating/Marriage Is NOT 50/50

Today’s dating/marriage culture is 50/50 which comes from a selfish, faithless mindset. It says, “you have to meet me 50/50 one hundred percent of the time because I have to look out for me and be ready to go the moment you deviate from that.”

That’s fear. That’s lack of faith. Love is the epitome of faith. Two imperfect people CHOOSING to love one another through minor faults and quirks because they’re worth it.

 

If you’re a Christian (a follower of Christ and His teachings, believing that He is the Son of the Living God) you should understand that this is worldly thinking. (See Romans 12:2) As Christians what and WHO we believe by faith won’t make “logical” sense to someone who hasn’t renewed their mind with the faith of God. This is why many out here find themselves bouncing from relationship to relationship; never really committing their heart, in fear of not being able to wholeheartedly trust anyone other than themselves. I admit, I’ve had struggles with that over the years career and relationship wise. I felt that if I — JOCELYN — couldn’t handle something on my own, it wasn’t worth going with that flow. I thought that if I could organize, plan, and execute EVERYTHING in my life EXACTLY the way I thought it should go (despite not having peace about things and having the Holy Spirit nearly rip my sleeve off trying to drag me in the other way) then it wasn’t right for me.

This is a TERRIBLE way of viewing ANYTHING…especially relationships and marriage! Every married couple I know who’s been married for more than 10 years have ALL said that a thriving, godly marriage will never always be 50/50 equally split. There will be times (at any given time) where one spouse will end up sacrificing more for the other. While everyone’s innate concept of sacrifice varies depending on our personal experiences — a sacrifice is made. That’s just one of the reasons why communication is important before and after getting married. It’s vitally important to be on the same page regarding how you expect a godly marriage to operate, how you define sacrifice, and how you receive love.

 

Say your significant other is finishing up school while you’re the only one working full time .. that’s not going to be 50/50. Say one of your parents takes ill or needs help bouncing back from a life upset; you’ll need to be there emotionally for them and may need to visit them for an extended period of time or spot them some money (which will be pulled form your household income) to help them out…..that’s not going to be 50/50.

 

As a Christian woman, I strive to obtain and enjoy God’s best for my life. Period. Over the years I’ve had to grow and renew my old way of thinking to adopt a mindset that some may view as “traditional” or “unfair”. You call it unfair, I call is wise. I don’t want to enter a marriage ignorantly believing that I can have my best life with my future husband while having everything split 50/50 all of the time. I’m learning now that healthy marriages don’t operate like that. Marriage (shoot courtships/relationships period) requires stepping out of your comfort zone and sacrificing some of your comfort to contribute to the relationship working. If that means sacrificing down time after working during the day so I can make sure my future husband has a listening ear or a meal (even if I pick it up on those busy days. lol) that’s something I’ll be willing to sacrifice. If we’re taking a long trip and it’s evident that I’m frazzled or worn down, I expect my future husband to take the wheel to give me some recovery time. There are SO many things that I’ve learned (and still am learning) about God’s intentions for a love that mirrors His. I’m far from perfect, but I thought I’d share a bit on what I’ve learned and what I’ve seen going on around the country and social media.

Blessing, Joc

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#MotivationMonday

FORBES QUOTE OFTHE DAY

We can do anything we want, the trick is, it’s usually waiting for us just beyond our comfort zone.

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…And I’m Thankful For… #MyFamily

I am thankful for my family. This week has veen tough for me. Tougher than many may realize actually — but neverthelss, it thrusted me into this ongoing reflection of my nuclear family of my parents.  I realized that I am blessed to have them. Sure I knew it, but this weeks I’m really understanding and grasping how truly blessed I am.

Growing up, I guess you can say is sort of …. Kind of …. took my parents for granted. They were a normal part of my routine and even though I learned EVERYONE’s family wasn’t like that – I still didn’t comprehend the depth of how much God had blessed me.

 

I remember looking at home videos and rummaging through old pictures not really noticing that in the background of every VHS gospel music was playing, or that every other photo was of me in my Sunday dress or my parents getting ready for some special occasion. I would laugh at scenes where my dad would catch my mom off guard while putting on her makeup or recording “Good Luck Charlie” videos for me even though I was too young to understand at the time he was recording them.

It somehow didn’t occur  to me how much of a stretch it was for my dad to coach 4-5 sports and still make it to my kindergarten graduation (even if he had to jet out of there and head back to his players). I didn’t stop to think that the seemingly effortless way my mom knew exactly what I needed those days I was sick – wasn’t effortless at all. Half of the time, I didn’t realize she put HER own health and energy at risk making sure her little one was fine.

As I climbed my way to high school, I understood more, but still had a hard time understanding how blessed I was to have the family I did. By that time, I had broken curfew to hang out with friends – cringing every time my folks would call me to tell me I needed to get my tail home – not understanding that every moment I stayed away from the safety of the house, I was putting my life in danger.  I now think on the times my dad would pull out his old record player and dance in the middle of the living room with my mom to their favorite oldies.

 

All of that…. I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful to have parents who work hard on their marriage every day because they realize that #1 GOD is the glue that helps them through hard times, #2 you’ve gotta put in work to reap the rewards of a lasting marriage, and #3 marriage is work. Life is work. Kids are work.

 

For this I’m thankful.

Random thoughts — but nevertheless — thoughts of thanks.

— Joc

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Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible

Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible

by – Al Mohler, President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

(article originally posted http://www.christianity.com/bible/why-so-many-churches-hear-so-little-of-the-bible.html )

“It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out.” That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity: an impatience with the Word of God.

The sentence above comes from Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today in an essay entitled, “Yawning at the Word.” In just a few hundred words, he captures the tragedy of a church increasingly impatient with and resistant to the reading and preaching of the Bible. We may wince when we read him relate his recent experiences, but we also recognize the ring of truth.

Galli was told to cut down on the biblical references in his sermon. “You’ll lose people,” the staff member warned. In a Bible study session on creation, the teacher was requested to come back the next Sunday prepared to take questions at the expense of reading the relevant scriptural texts on the doctrine. Cutting down on the number of Bible verses “would save time and, it was strongly implied, would better hold people’s interest.”

As Galli reflected, “Anyone who’s been in the preaching and teaching business knows these are not isolated examples but represent the larger reality.”

Indeed, in many churches there is very little reading of the Bible in worship, and sermons are marked by attention to the congregation’s concerns, not by an adequate attention to the biblical text. The exposition of the Bible has given way to the concerns, real or perceived, of the listeners. The authority of the Bible is swallowed up in the imposed authority of congregational concerns.

As Mark Galli notes:

It has been said to the point of boredom that we live in a narcissistic age, where we are wont to fixate on our needs, our wants, our wishes, and our hopes—at the expense of others and certainly at the expense of God. We do not like it when a teacher uses up the whole class time presenting her material, even if it is material from the Word of God. We want to be able to ask our questions about our concerns, otherwise we feel talked down to, or we feel the class is not relevant to our lives.

And Galli continues:

It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out. Don’t spend a lot of time in the Bible, we tell our preachers, but be sure to get to personal illustrations, examples from daily life, and most importantly, an application that we can use.

The fixation on our own sense of need and interest looms as the most significant factor in this marginalization and silencing of the Word. Individually, each human being in the room is an amalgam of wants, needs, intuitions, interests, and distractions. Corporately, the congregation is a mass of expectations, desperate hopes, consuming fears, and impatient urges. All of this adds up, unless countered by the authentic reading and preaching of the Word of God, to a form of group therapy, entertainment, and wasted time—if not worse.

Galli has this situation clearly in his sights when he asserts that many congregations expect the preacher to start from some text in the Bible, but then quickly move on “to things that really interest us.” Like . . . ourselves?

One of the earliest examples of what we would call the preaching of the Bible may well be found in Nehemiah 8:1-8 (ESV):

And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

Ezra and his companions stood on a platform before the congregation. They read the scriptural text clearly, and then explained the meaning of the Scripture to the people. The congregation received the Word humbly, while standing. The pattern is profoundly easy to understand: the Bible was read and explained and received.

As Hughes Oliphant Old comments, “This account of the reading of the Law indicates that already at the time of the writing of this text there was a considerable amount of ceremonial framing of the public reading of Scripture. This ceremonial framing is a witness to the authority of the Bible.” The reading and exposition took place in a context of worship as the people listened to the Word of God. The point of the sermon was simple: “to make clear the reading of the Scriptures.”

In many churches, there is almost no public reading of the Word of God. Worship is filled with music, but congregations seem disinterested in listening to the reading of the Bible. We are called to sing in worship, but the congregation cannot live only on the portions of Scripture that are woven into songs and hymns. Christians need the ministry of the Word as the Bible is read before the congregation such that God’s people—young and old, rich and poor, married and unmarried, sick and well—hear it together. The sermon is to consist of the exposition of the Word of God, powerfully and faithfully read, explained, and applied. It is not enough that the sermon take a biblical text as its starting point.

How can so many of today’s churches demonstrate what can only be described as an impatience with the Word of God? The biblical formula is clear: the neglect of the Word can only lead to disaster, disobedience, and death. God rescues his church from error, preserves his church in truth, and propels his church in witness only by his Word—not by congregational self-study.

In the end, an impatience with the Word of God can be explained only by an impatience with God. We all, both individually and congregationally, neglect God’s Word to our own ruin.

As Jesus himself declared, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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When God Opens The Eyes of Your Heart

This year has been a doozy.

Never before have I wanted to see truly see God and His countless attributes, and never before have I experienced Him in such an intimate way.

Many folk question [Elohim] God’s existence DESPITE the fact that there is no other way to explain the function of the very brain they use to come up with these these internal questions. Despite the fact that their body is created to flow in a specific cadence and rhythm. Despite that when there is so much killing around, THEIR family is spared.

There are many things I can’t explain as a Christian [follower of Father God, Christ and His teachings] but those things are beyond our finite minds and to think it’s not is arrogance in the most blasphemous degree. With all of the turmoil mounting in the world: wars, famine, disease, killings, natural disasters; our prayer….our DESIRE…should be to ask God to open the eyes of our hearts. Not so we can unlock “life’s secrets” and rule the world, but so we can DISCERN His will, our purpose, and so we can see His goodness in the midst of what we experience as tragedy. Anything worth having is worth waiting/working for right? If we can apply that to relationships, jobs, and every day matters; WHY is it so hard to apply that to God’s revelation?

It’s easy to write off these recent world events, or job layoff, or family issues as being cruel and question God. But that’s not really going to help anything. Why not apply that same work/wait ethic to EVERY facet of life and when things happen we can’t explain, be willing to WAIT on God and WORK on humbling ourselves and seeking His face so He can reveal to us the understanding comfort that we so desperately seek. In Matthew 7:7-8 ESV Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” The answer given may not be one we want to hear, but if we press in and truly ask God for direction and wisdom, He will give it to us — if we believe and trust Him. 

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Again, this year has been a doozy.

Never before have I wanted to see truly see God and His countless attributes, and never before have I experienced Him in such an intimate way. He has opened my spiritual eyes in ways I could never imagine and it hasn’t been comfortable, but necessary. I asked questions. I recieved my answers. Now it’s up to me to rest in the knowledge and TRUTH that GOD IS IN CONTROL. Regardless of what we think or how we feel at any given moment, God is in control. It’s up to us to make the CHOICE to go with HIS will and trust that His plans for our lives are to prosper us, to help us fulfill our purpose and make a difference in this world — for His glory!

Watch/listen to the video below and really let it sink in that though this little boy is singing a song, it goes deeper than that! While he can’t physically see, His little spiritual eyes are being opened with every verse. I can’t help but believe that revelation and understanding like none other has saturated his life as he navigates the world.

Today, pray for the Lord to open the eyes of your heart. Ask Him to enlighten you and reveal to you the glory in your struggles, trials, and downfalls. Ask Him to help you hold on and keep your eye on the prize as you endure this unstable society that we live in. Ask Him to remind you of His faithfulness, protection, and guidance.

— Joc 

 

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