Ephesians


Ephesians 4-6 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: He is our example of how to love one another 

@ Ephesians 5
This is the time of year we celebrate fathers. Sermons are preached, and articles are written that honor, encourage and challenge them.  Not to be outdone, Paul wrote a little on the subject, especially in the area of husbands and wives. “As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” (24)  Words to brighten just about any husband’s day! Of course, through closer scrutiny, we find that this discussion begins with “Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ.

For a wife, this submission means following her husband’s leadership role, and this thought troubles some women, needlessly I think.  If something should go wrong in the home, I find it comforting to know that it has happened through no fault of my own.  This makes me happy. “For husbands, this [submission] means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.  He gave up His life for her…” (25)  As I see it according to scripture, wives must be willing to submit, and husbands must be willing to submit and die.  I’m OK with this.

When we add together all the New Testament scriptures regarding the husband/wife relationship found in Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19, I Peter 3:3-7 and I Corinthians 7:3, the true, unadulterated breakdown is as follows:

Wives are challenged to:
1) Submit to him as head of the home
2) Respect him
3) Not withhold affection
4) Bring holiness to her marriage.

Husbands are challenged to:
1)  Love her as much as he loves himself
2)  Love her to the point of dying for her
3)  Pray for her
4)  Protect her
5)  Please her
6)  Honor her
7)  Treat with understanding
8)  Never treat harshly
9)  Treat as an equal
10) Not withhold affection
11) Bring holiness to his marriage.
12) And if he does not treat her as he should, God will not hear his prayers.  Wow! 

@ Ephesians 6
While all this sounds very fair and balanced to me, she says with tongue in cheek, I can’t help but think of the tremendous responsibility this brings to the husband as the head of the home, not only concerning his wife, but also his children.  “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.  Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord,” (4) and “do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21)

By His gentleness and compassion for children, Jesus modeled for fathers throughout the gospels how children should be treated, but what an overwhelming task for a father. No wonder our husbands and fathers are targeted by the enemy for destruction, leaving our many homes without fathers struggling to survive.  Destroy the king and the country soon follows.

Dads will open lots of ties, books, tools and other gifts at this time of the year, but without a doubt, the greatest gift we can offer them, dads and husbands alike, is our prayers for God to strengthen and protect them and give them the wisdom to handle the enormous responsibilities He has given them. 

Moving Forward: With a thankful heart, I pray today and every day for the wonderful father of my children and the fathers of my grandchildren.  I pray that God will provide all they need to carry out the great responsibilities before them. 

Tomorrow @ Leviticus 4-6

Ephesians 1-3 (NLT Link)

Discover His heart: He lavishes His unfathomable love on His creation

The Louvre was closing in 30 minutes, and after a full day of exploring this mammoth museum, I was ready to call it a day when suddenly I realized that I had missed the prize of the Louvre!  In all our exploration of unbelievable paintings and artifacts, including ruins from Babylon, we had missed the masterpiece of the Museum, the pièce de résistance, The Mona Lisa!  However, it’s amazing what can happen when adrenaline kicks in.

Energy renewed, we flew through the vast exhibits and galleries and breathlessly arrived to view The Masterpiece, a rather smallish, glass-enclosed painting.  At first glance, I wondered what in this painting took Da Vinci seven years to paint!  But as I studied it, I, too, saw all the things that made it memorable – the eyes that seemed to follow me as I moved across the room, the mystery of the unmatched background, its subtle coloring and that enigmatic smile. What was she smiling about?!  Although many believe it was painted over a self-portrait, a makeover if you please, the end result is indeed a masterpiece. 

@ Ephesians 2
“God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”(8,10)  God took the old canvas of what I was and created a masterpiece.  Talk about the ultimate makeover!

Just as the one who posed for the Mona Lisa, I can’t take credit for His workmanship because it was His gift to me for simply believing in His grace. Unlike the Mona Lisa, we do not hang on a wall to be admired by all.  No, we are living masterpieces, possessing a greater purpose – to do good works. 

@ Ephesians 3
As His living masterpiece, and yes, we are a work in progress, our Creator paints into our lives from His unlimited palette all that is needed to complete us. “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust Him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (16,18-19)

How wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is!  His love is wide enough to reach around our entire world. His love is long enough to reach from here to eternity.  His love is high enough to reach every mountaintop experience.  And His love is deep enough to reach into the lowest valley we face. Through our relationship with Christ living in us, we come to understand in part this otherwise unfathomable love.  When others look at us and see the smile His love brings to us, His masterpiece, they may wonder what we are smiling about.  And of course, we will feel obliged to tell them. 

Moving Forward: Sometimes hard to believe yet true, I am His masterpiece, the creation of His workmanship.  When others in the traffic of life see my smile today, may it cause them to ask, “Now, just what is she smiling about?” 

Tomorrow @ Leviticus 1-3 (More than meets the eye!)

Ephesians 4-6 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: He is our example of how to love one another 

@ Ephesians 5
This is the time of year we celebrate fathers. Sermons are preached and articles written that honor, encourage and challenge them.  Not to be outdone, Paul wrote a little on the subject, especially in the area of husbands and wives. “As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” (24)  Words to brighten just about any husband’s day! Of course, through closer scrutiny, we find that this discussion begins with “Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ.

For a wife, this submission means following her husband’s leadership role, and this thought troubles some women, needlessly I think.  If something should go wrong in the home, I find it comforting to know that it has happened through no fault of my own.  This makes me happy. “For husbands, this [submission] means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.  He gave up His life for her…” (25)  As I see it according to scripture, wives must be willing to submit and husbands must be willing to submit and die.  I’m OK with this.

When we add together all the New Testament scriptures regarding the husband/wife relationship found in Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19, I Peter 3:3-7 and I Corinthians 7:3, the true, unadulterated breakdown is as follows:

Wives are challenged to:
1) Submit to him as head of the home
2) Respect him
3) Not withhold affection
4) Bring holiness to her marriage.

Husbands are challenged to:
1)  Love her as much as he loves himself
2)  Love her to the point of dying for her
3)  Pray for her
4)  Protect her
5)  Please her
6)  Honor her
7)  Treat with understanding
8)  Never treat harshly
9)  Treat as an equal
10) Not withhold affection
11) Bring holiness to his marriage.
12) And if he does not treat her as he should, God will not hear his prayers.  Wow! 

@ Ephesians 6
While all this sounds very fair and balanced to me, she says with tongue in cheek, I can’t help but think of the tremendous responsibility this brings to the husband as the head of the home, not only concerning his wife, but also his children.  “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.  Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord,” (4) and “do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21)

By His gentleness and compassion for children, Jesus modeled for fathers throughout the gospels how children should be treated, but what an overwhelming task for a father. No wonder our husbands and fathers are targeted by the enemy for destruction, leaving our many homes without fathers struggling to survive.  Destroy the king and the country soon follows.

Dads will open lots of ties, books, tools and other gifts at this time of the year, but without a doubt, the greatest gift we can offer them, dads and husbands alike, is our prayers for God to strengthen and protect them and give them wisdom to handle the great responsibilities He has given them. 

Moving Forward: With a thankful heart, I pray today and everyday for the wonderful father of my children and the fathers of my grandchildren.  I pray that God will provide all they need to carry out the great responsibilities before them. 

Tomorrow @ Leviticus 4-6

Ephesians 1-3 (NLT Link)

Discover His heart: He lavishes His unfathomable love on His creation

The Louvre was closing in 30 minutes, and after a full day of exploring this mammoth museum, I was ready to call it a day when suddenly I realized that I had missed the prize of the Louvre!  In all our exploration of unbelievable paintings and artifacts, including ruins from Babylon, we had missed the masterpiece of the Museum, the pièce de résistance, The Mona Lisa!  However, it’s amazing what can happen when adrenaline kicks in.

Energy renewed, we flew through the vast exhibits and galleries and breathlessly arrived to view The Masterpiece, a rather smallish, glass-enclosed painting.  At first glance, I wondered what in this painting took Da Vinci seven years to paint!  But as I studied it, I, too, saw all the things that made it memorable – the eyes that seemed to follow me as I moved across the room, the mystery of the unmatched background, its subtle coloring and that enigmatic smile. What was she smiling about?!  Although many believe it was painted over a self portrait, a makeover if you please, the end result is truly a masterpiece. 

@ Ephesians 2
“God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”(8,10)  God took the old canvas of what I was and created a masterpiece.  Talk about the ultimate makeover!

Just as the one who posed for the Mona Lisa, I can’t take credit for His workmanship because it was His gift to me for simply believing in His grace. Unlike the Mona Lisa, we do not hang on a wall to be admired by all.  No, we are living masterpieces, possessing a greater purpose – to do good works. 

@ Ephesians 3
As His living masterpiece, and yes, we are a work in progress, our Creator paints into our lives from His unlimited palette all that is needed to complete us. “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust Him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (16,18-19)

How wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is!  His love is wide enough to reach around our entire world. His love is long enough to reach from here to eternity.  His love is high enough to reach every mountaintop experience.  And His love is deep enough to reach into the lowest valley we face. Through our relationship with Christ living in us, we come to understand in part this otherwise unfathomable love.  When others look at us and see the smile His love brings to us, His masterpiece, they may wonder what we are smiling about.  And of course, we will feel obliged to tell them. 

Moving Forward: Sometimes hard to believe yet true, I am His masterpiece, the creation of His workmanship.  When others in the traffic of life see my smile today, may it cause them to ask, “Now just what is she smiling about?” 

Tomorrow @ Leviticus 1-3 (More than meets the eye!)