Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pursuit of Proverbs 31 Book Give-Away

I've just entered this book give-away at The Encouraging Home .

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Paul's Urge to Be Eager

As I read this passage this week, two words jumped out at me:

Urge (verb) and Eager (adj).

I know I’m a dork for pointing out the parts of speech, but I’m a Home School mom; that’s what I do.

But there’s a reason I’m pointing it outJ

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph. 4: 1-3

To me, these words stir up some emotion, some passion. It tells me that what is being said is important and there needs to be some action taken toward some goal. There’s action here…he’s urging and we’re walking. But what’s the big deal? What is Paul urging us to do?

“To walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”


At first glance this sounds like an impossible task. Am I to behave in a certain way to gain God’s favor? How can I walk in a manner worthy, when I know I’m not worthy?

That’s precisely why I need a Savior!

I love the way John Piper puts it:

“This does not mean that we should try to deserve our place in God's favor. It means that we should recognize how much our place in God's favor deserves from us.

This helps me.

I’m a wife, a mom, a friend, and all the other “hats” that I wear might label me as something else. Each of these different areas of my life “call” for my very best because these are high callings indeed.

A wife, mother and friend are important jobs and are worthy of my full attention, commitment and heart. (though sometimes I may not give it my best, I am called to do so…Col 3:23)

I must strive to do my best with what He gives me to do, not to be loved by Him, but because I am already loved by Him and I desire what He desires.

How much greater is this call of God that Paul speaks of?

But what is this “calling” anyway? Back in Ephesians 1, Paul tells us:

1:4 - God chose us for himself before the world was created.

1:5 He predestined us to be his children -- and that means heirs of all our Father owns!

1:12 says, we are destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory."

And 3:10 speaks of the unity of the body as we walk this walk to which He has called us: He has given us the mission as a church to display his wisdom even to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.

In this particular scripture, what does this worthy walk look like?

“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Another word for “bearing” is “enduring”?

It seems all we can do sometimes is just endure each other! This is a wonderful truth, though, because what it causes me to do is realize that as much as I think I’m enduring others, they, in turn have to endure ME…and that’s no easy task.

The more I see clearly my own sin, the more I am able to bear with others… with all humility, gentleness, and patience.

But why do we need to bear with each other? Can’t we just live and let live?

Here comes the other word:


eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” Eager?

We are eager for what we desire aren’t we?

How eager I am for the things of this world! Material possessions to gain, places to go and people to see! I know that I place way too much value on things that are temporal and have no eternal value whatsoever. I wish it were not so.

Am I eager to maintain the unity of the body of Christ?

This is the calling!

· Do I edify and not tear down? Eph 4:29, Js 3

· Do I think of others before myself? Phil 2:3

· Do I gossip and slander? Js 4:11, Lev 19:6

· Do I sow seeds of Peace? Js 3:18, Mt 5:9

We are the Body of Christ. “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

We are called to love one another to advance the kingdom!

Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn 13:35

There’s the motivation!

There’s the Urgency

…the Eagerness

I am Eager for the day…

“that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to God.” Phil 2:10

Here are some great resources for deeper study through Ephesians:

John Piper

RC Sproul

Mark Driscoll

I'm "Linking Up" with:

Good Morning Girls Deep Roots at Home and A Holy Experience J

Still walking,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Christ may dwell

As I am reading through Ephesians with the Good Morning Girls, I am finding that in just a few verses, so many profound truths are revealed. I was drawn to this verse this week,
"so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." Ephesians 3:17

Ask any small child this question. "What is the church?" The answer you will most likely receive is, "It's a building." In fact, I would suppose many people would agree with that response.

Some would say that they go to church to be "closer to God" or to "feel God's presence" in their lives. Perhaps they feel that God is actually there at that building or that the structure itself has some supernatural power or holiness due to its historical significance in the world.

And they hope that this supernatural power and holiness would rub off on them.

But what if the question were, "Where does God dwell?" or "Where is His home?" I would guess that this would invoke an endless array of responses ranging from "Who cares?" to "God is everywhere."

This is such a fascinating topic and Paul addresses it in Ephesians chapter 3 as he prays for the church in Ephesus to understand these truths:

“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” v17


that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” v19

This is such deep, rich history and it would be impossible to delve completely into the subject in this little blog post, but let’s jump back in time for a moment to somewhere around 900 BC.

King Solomon had completed the building of the Temple in Jerusalem and then “he knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven” and prayed:

“LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like you...Read Solomon's complete prayer that he offered to the Lord.

Now see the awesome response from the Almighty God!

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord's house. 3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chron. 7:1-3)

In verse 18 Solomon acknowledges, “that even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you”. But God promised Israel, as He promises us, that they would experience

His presence, His fullness, His glory.

Do you see it?

Under the Old Covenant, as a means to be close to His people, God dwelt in the Temple. The glory of God literally resided in this structure that Solomon built. He appeared as a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. God promised that He would come close and be with his people, that they would have access to Him and that He would hear their prayers.

Is God still there in the Temple in Jerusalem? Well, no. In fact, the temple is no longer there at all. It was destroyed in 70AD as prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24. See what is in its place today.

So, what is the church? Where does God dwell? The answers are one and the same.

Traveling back to Ephesians 3…Paul tells us that Christ (God Himself) dwells within His people, the church. To those whom God has given the faith to believe, He has supernaturally indwelled with His Spirit.

The human heart is now the dwelling place of God.

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” v17


that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” v19

We, the church, are compared to a building, a dwelling place, a structure made of “living stones” of which Christ is the cornerstone.

“you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house(1 Peter 2:5)

I can’t help but jump back to Eph. 2: 19-22 to see the building metaphors!

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

So, whether you "go" to a church looks like this

or this

or this

We are the Body of Christ,

the Church,

His Holy Temple!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9

Take "virtual tour" of the Old Testament Temple.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Get along??

As I'm reading through the book of Ephesians at the moment, the opening paragraph in this post by RC Sproul, Jr. struck me as quite hilarious, yet sad and true. Paul speaks of all believers as being one in Christ, but we sinners keep getting in our own way!

The story is told of the man who was rescued from a desert island twenty years after being shipwrecked. As he proudly showed his rescuers around the island they came to three grass huts. Our Robinson Crusoe pointed out that one of the huts was his home, and the other his church. When asked what the third hut was he replied, with a note of disdain, "That's where I used to go church." Read on...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Great Mystery

One gospel-One body
Ephesians 3:1 -13
"It is because of the gospel that Paul had been imprisoned. He was willing to suffer much hardship for the sake of those who were once his enemy but now, through Jesus, they have become family. Likewise, we should expect to suffer some if we are going to be willing to share the gospel with others." Mark Driscoll

Let's just admit it.
No matter how much we think we understand about God, the Bible, and Christianity, it is all a big mystery.

I can try to
explain the Trinity.
share my knowledge about how God can be everywhere at once.
enlighten you on what God was thinking when He put that tree in the garden.
But I will not.

Paul knows about mysteries.

Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries of all time was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit after his conversion on the road to Damascus. It was there that God called Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles. (Acts 9:15) It was htere that Paul would begin a long journey of suffering and imprisonment for the Gospel of Christ.
I, Paul, "the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you Gentiles."
Paul writes to the Ephesians from a house in Rome where he was under house arrest.
This is an apartment in Rome which serves as an accurate
example of the type of house in which Paul would have been staying during his house arrest.

He writes, "...assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ," (3:2-4)

The mystery that Paul was speaking of was the unity of the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. Having full revelation of God's word in our hands today, we have the benefit of seeing clearly that the Old Testament prophets were pointing to the day when the Gentile nations would serve Yahweh, the One True God. (Is. 60:1-3)

But the Jews did not completely grasp the mystery that the prophets foretold. They could not comprehend that ,from God's perspective, Jews and Gentiles would one day be on equal footing before Him.

"that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body,
and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel." (v6)

In total humility, Paul describes himself as being the least of all believers, yet God used him to share this eternal truth that was:
"hidden for ages in God who created all things."(v9)
"was according to the eternal purpose that he realized in Christ Jesus our Lord."(v11)

What an incredible, miraculous, joyous fulfillment of God's plan! Paul, a humble servant, declaring to the world that Jews, Gentiles, male, female, black, white, young and old can:

"have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him."(v12)

Let us also be reminded by Peter:

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind."

For further study in Ephesians:
RC Sproul -Ephesians

Only through His grace,

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Wall and Veil

Can you imagine being a part of the early church in Ephesus? Receiving letters from the Apostle Paul himself? Realizing that the Savior of the world lived among us only decades earlier?

Reality so clear; History so alive; Truth so near.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached to all men far and near; Jews and Gentiles alike. Many Jews believed...many did not. Jesus told the disciples to
"go and make disciples of all nations"
...and they did.

Jesus prayed to His Father "that they would be one as we are one."

But the believers needed reminding of what God had intended. They were very aware of the division between the Jews and Gentiles. The temple in Jerusalem had a dividing wall to keep the Gentiles from entering into the inner courts where the sacrifices were performed.

There was even a sign in place, so there was no mistake.
In 1871, a temple wall was discovered with the inscription:
“Let no foreigner enter within the partition and enclosure surrounding the temple.
Whoever is arrested will himself be responsible for his death which will follow."

Paul urged the Ephesians to remember that "you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." Eph. 2:12

But the final sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, has made all one in Him.

Jesus has "broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." 2: 14

"to reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility." 2:15

"through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father." 2:18

Having been reconciled to the Father through His son, all Christians are now part of One Body. 1 Cor. 12:12
We are His holy Temple.
"Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone" 2:20

It is still true today...
Reality so clear; History so alive; Truth so near.

Let us be reminded. We are One Body. We have access to the Father only through Jesus, His son. The wall of hostility has been destroyed...

It is finished.
May we trust Him,


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