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My response to Ephesians…Live a life of love!

Tonight as I sit at my computer resting from celebrating my Savior’s resurrection with my family, I look over the verses we have just covered the past 12 weeks together and these verses pop out at me:

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” –Ephesians 2:12-13

At one time I was without hope…..without God.

At one time I was far away from God…but Jesus brought me near.

Thank you Jesus for the hope and relationship we have with you! Though once we were far from you, thank you for bringing us near through your precious blood.

Thank you for living and dying a life of love for us!

For me personally the one verse that sums up Ephesians would be Ephesians 5:1

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Be an imitator…be like Christ.

How did Christ live his life? He lived a life of love.

He loved us so much he sacrificed everything…..HE became the offering.

I want to imitate Christ with my life as a wife, mom, daughter, friend…..as a sister in Christ.

Be imitators of God….live a life of love….

As I take my place in God’s family…I need to live a life of love.

As a child of God who has been adopted into his family by grace…Eph 2:8

As I go through life with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ…I need to live a life of love.

With my brothers and sisters in Christ, be humble, gentle, patient….bear with one another in love. Eph 4:2

As I pursue my role as a wife …I need to live a life of love.

Wives, submit to your husband, as to the LORD.Eph 5:22

As a daughter and a mother …I need to live a life of love.

Honor your father and mother…do not exasperate your children…Eph 6:4

The whole book of Ephesians is about living our lives loving others, and loving God. Paul concludes by  encouraging us to be STRONG in the LORD and His mighty power….we will have struggles….living a life of love and sacrifice isn’t easy. We will need God’s help. There is a battle going on and we are the targets. We are reminded in verse 6:12 that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world…”

My advice to all of us….

Pray….work on making it a habit to be in constant communion with God.
Focus……focus on Jesus and don’t look around at what others are doing,  just stay focused on him and in his Word.
Love….imitate Christ and live a life of love.

 

Thank you again from the bottom of MY heart for joining me these past 12 weeks as we have studied the book of Ephesians together! You are a blessing to me!

 

Please join us this summer as we study the life of the Proverbs 31 woman!!!! God has great things in store for us this summer!

For more information about our summer study, click here!

Until next time…

 

Love God Greatly!!!

 

 

 

{Week 11} Instructions for Christian Households & WIWW Link-Up Party

Looking for the Ministry of Motherhood book giveaway? Click here and enter today!

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Today’s post came from our weekly link-up party!

Congratulations, Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler, you’ve been selected for this month’s WIWW spotlight!

Erica blogs at http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/

Now onto Erica’s post! LOVED her “10 Ways to Respect Your Husband” list and I know you will too!

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I absolutely L O V E Ephesians! It just gets right to the point don’t you think? I like things straight up, and here it is all lined out for us in Ephesians 5:21-33.

Now, I know in this day and age the term “submit” can be taken the wrong way, by both men and women, but really that is what God has called us to do. The official definition of submit is to yield oneself to the power or authority of another. Not always an easy thing to do. As a wife, submitting to my husband, is really me telling him that I trust him, and that I willingly put my life in his hands.

Now, let’s take a look at our husbands calling. God explicitly tells our husbands to “LOVE” us. And if you notice, it’s not just a so-so kind of love, but the same love that Christ has for His church. The same love that caused Him to give up His life for her, to make her holy and blameless in His sight! W O W! That’s a HIGH calling on our husbands ladies. And really, if you think about it, if our husbands are really seeking and following God’s commands, it would be in our best interests to submit to his authority as head of our homes. And I’m just thankful that’s all I have to do, compared to my husband’s job, mine is easy!

Now, does that mean I’m a door-mat with absolutely no opinions of my own? NO! Certainly not, I’m not wired that way. I’m a take charge kind of gal if you haven’t noticed by now. I like things a certain way, and that can definitely come across in my marriage as well. But when it comes to decisions that affect our home, my husband is where I go first. For the most part, we talk about things before we just go off and do them (minus the hamster incident a few months back, which I apologized for profusely), and it just works better that way. My husband is much more level headed than I am, so I’m thankful to have his opinion and direction.

Right now I’m reading through a book called “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn. I have to say I’ve been that surprised by what I’ve read, and I have been surprised that I do things that I never intended in regards to my husband! Mostly things that seem disrespectful to him that I didn’t even realize were.

So I thought I’d make a little list I could keep for myself to help me to respect my husband, and hopefully it will bless your families as well! The fact that my husband will be reading this will serve as my accountability. Yikes.

 

10 Ways to Respect My Husband:

1. Pray for him! Our husbands are under constant attack and temptations. Here is a wonderful freebie that can help you get started praying specifically for your husband: 31 days of praying for your husband.

2. Show him respect at home! This is a biggie for me. I tend to feel more comfortable arguing my point when we’re at home, and I can forget that I have 8 little eyes on me. I need to show my husband respect in front of our children which will also confirm his authority in our home! I mentioned the “hampster incident” before. One day we were out getting dog food, when suddenly four extremely convincing kids and one VERY cute hamster (whom we now affectionately refer to as “Squirt”) managed to talk me into taking the little guy home. It seemed harmless enough at first, I mean he only cost $14, I conveniently forgot to think about food, bedding, a cage, toys, food dishes, yada-yada…. you get the point. I think it was a good $100 by the time I walked out the door for a $14 hamster. I realized that my actions that day were really showing my oldest daughter that it was okay to disrespect daddy and do what we wanted regardless of his opinion. I apologized in front of the kids for not seeking his opinion on the matter and had a talk with Strawberry Shortcake to explain why my actions didn’t honor God’s calling for a wife. It was a small incident, but one that I’ll remember. I’m a constant influence on our children and my actions as a wife and mother need to be a godly example to them.

3. Show him respect in public. I’m a sarcastic person. I like to joke around and sometimes it can be at the expense of those close to me. For example, I’m not sure how many of you out there doubt the capabilities of your husbands to find something that’s say right in front of their eyes. But in our house it’s a big joke. Both my husband and my son ask the girls to help them find things. I had to laugh the other day when my son exclaimed “Mom, where are my shoes? You moved the whole house around and now I can’t find anything!” My husband just looked at me and gave a slight smile as if to say “See! It’s not just me!” Now it’s okay for me to have a private little joke at home with my husband, however if I go around telling the whole world that he can’t find anything even if its right in front of his face, then suddenly it’s not so nice anymore. Degrading our spouses in front of others not only makes US look bad, but it makes THEM look bad to others. Not something I would ever intend to do. (Please immediately forget you read this example, I don’t want to bash my wonderfully awesome rock-star of a husband in public!)

4. Don’t argue with his knowledge.  Yet another place I falter. I like to know everything, and for the most part I’m always right. Even if I’m wrong ;o). But arguing or questioning our husbands intellectual skills is disrespectful to them. I tells them that we don’t believe in them, that they’re worthless as a partner. For me this usually comes up when my husband is trying to fix something in the house. I typically suggest calling a professional just because it makes me more comfortable. Sadly this is showing my husband that I don’t believe he’s capable of taking care of our family, which he most definitely is!

5. Say what I mean. Men are fairly direct. They say what they mean and mean what they say. Women on the other hand have a type of internal secret code that can result in us saying one thing and meaning another. I’m sadly a prime example of this, although over the years my husband has gotten better about reading me. For example my “I guess, do whatever you want” response usually means “no way, I’m annoyed you even asked!” He’s gotten better and sometimes jokes with me saying, “Is that the ‘you can go’ as in you can really go, or the type of ‘you can go’ where you’ll be mad at me later?” I’ve gotten better about telling him what I mean, but its still a challenge. I think as women we want our husbands to be able to read our minds, but its an unreal expectation that usually results in disappointment for all involved. It’s really just easier to say what we mean without all the hidden pretense.

6. Be respectful to him even in his absence. Since I’m a stay-at-home mom, this usually means to speak respectfully of my husband in front of my children. But it can also extend to how I talk about my husband in front of my friends as well. Venting about my husband to a group of friends really only causes me to resent him more, and my friends to think less of him as well. Venting about my husband to my children is just out of the question entirely. They need to see me submitting to his guidance for our home even when he’s not present.

7. Don’t compare him to other men. Comparing our husbands to other husbands is a recipe for disaster creating only dissension at home. I think we can tend to take all of the best qualities of other peoples husbands and combine them all into one perfect guy that really just doesn’t exist! This man is my husband, God chose him for me, as a perfect gift from above. I need to treat him as the heavenly gift he is.

8. Make myself available to him. With four kids, a house full of animals, and a blog to run, I can be pretty worn out by the end of the day. Sadly that doesn’t leave much left for my husband when he gets home. Still, I need to make myself available to him. To talk to him about his day, fill him in on mine, and yes, make myself accessible intimately as well. I don’t want to embarrass anyone out there, but we have to face the facts. In today’s world there are temptations for our husbands around every corner, on every billboard, and in every workplace. It’s an important role that shouldn’t be overlooked.

9. Keep up my appearance. This isn’t too tough for me, I’ve never been a stay in my jammies all day with no-make up kind of gal. I really do shower each day, put on full make up and get dressed before ever leaving my bedroom. I don’t really do that for my husband,  I think it’s because if I don’t “get ready” in the mornings, then I don’t feel good about myself. Thankfully it serves two purposes! However, even for my kids, I think that dressing nicely is a good value to instill. I don’t want to get dressed up only for special events, but instead I want to get ready for each day. My kids are a special event, and so is my husband. I don’t want him coming home to a wrecked house and a wrecked wife everyday. That wouldn’t be too appealing for me, and neither is it for him I’m sure. I’m not talking so much about weight here ladies, but more about showing our husbands that we care by making an effort with our appearance. I hope you understand what I mean.

10. Encourage him. I find that all day long I’m encouraging out kids. “Great job, buddy! That’s the best cursive z I’ve ever seen!” “Oh, good Teeny Tot, you’ve cut out your shape!”  Why would I feel that my husband deserved any less? Telling him that I’m proud of his work, thankful for the fact that he takes care of our family so well, and that he’s home each night to be with us is important! Just like anyone else our husbands need to feel appreciated and valued. Encouraging them in the home, public, and in private are all essential!

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Erica is a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a homeschooler. She authors Confessions Of A Homeschooler  that offers tons of printables, resources, ideas and homeschool curriculum. She likes to digi-scrap and dabbles in graphic design in her *free* time. Feel free to drop by her site for a visit anytime! www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com

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Women around the world are IN THE WORD! Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

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{Guest Post} A Chance To Bloom

Sometimes we just need to start over. We need a chance to bloom again.

It’s five o’clock and I’m behind.

I need to start dinner, but my 9-year-old daughter sits there with the pencil in her hand, still not finished with her homework.

The boys are arguing with passion over whose turn it is, and by the sound, neither one is intending to back down anytime soon.

The oldest texts me that I’ve forgotten to pick him up, and as I prepare to load everyone into the car, they step on the goldfish that the littlest spilled all over the floor–her attempt to get an afternoon snack all by herself.

And I’m stretched thin. I can always depend on my old self to surface—the one that is long-standing and has worn ruts in my way of relating. And so often I trip on the ruts, and fall.

I nag them to get in the car faster, “Hurry up! We have to go! Where are your shoes?!! Get your coat!” And they pile in, all four of them. The boys begin their silliness, and the littlest cries because she didn’t buckle-up herself.

And amidst the background chaos I drive. And as I do, I see the pink blossoms and the sun shining down. And I wish for more beauty right here where I am.

I look at my daughter and begin the lecture. I tell her how she’s working too slow in her school work, not getting enough done, and how all that needs to change. But I can hardly focus because of the endless backseat bantering. I raise my voice in frustration and insist they stop their goofiness and giggling, “Stop!! Why can’t you just be quiet?!!”

But as soon as the words are half out, their shocked faces convict. I remember Matthew 7:12, their memory verse of the week, and how we’ve talked about kindness and the golden rule. I recall how they’ve been singing it and how I’ve been teaching it. And now how I’m not living it at all.

And I can depend on my old self to so easily return, time and time again, and I am fatigued by the failing.

Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)
… put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
 

A wise person once said, You haven’t failed if you haven’t quit trying, and I’m determined not to give up.

When I see my old self return, Paul says I’m to take it off and lay it aside. And instead, I am to be renewed in the spirit of my mind, renovated and reformed—changed in the very essence of my understanding. And one thing is sure, I can’t do that alone. It’s the Holy Spirit who does it in me.

God’s desire for me in my stretched-thin moments, is to turn to Him for help–to surrender my old self and put on the new, and He transforms me from the inside out. I am a new creation of His. He empowers me to give grace–to speak life with my words, to be kind and to forgive, just as I have been forgiven. And in that He is glorified in me.

Ephesians 4:29, 32 (ESV)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear…be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
 

We all need start-overs and new beginnings, and His loving kindness never ends. He always provides a chance for us to bloom again.

I gather them by the couch when we get home, and I hug them each, one by one.

I say sorry and ask for forgiveness, and their eight little arms fling over my neck in one giant family hug.

And it is then, that the wisdom comes from the littlest one,

“Don’t worry mama, you can start again.”

And I will.

Do you have days with stretched-thin moments?

How has God helped you bloom again?

 

 

Jacque resides in Southern California with her civil-engineering-general-contracting husband, and her five energetic children, ranging in age from 4-16. When not enjoying their new homeschooling adventures, she works as a labor & delivery RN, where she never tires of the miracle and wonder of birth! She travels along life’s road, amidst daily missteps and failures, yet is relentlessly caught by God’s mercy and restored by His grace. Jacque’s heart is to encourage others to see God’s mercy and grace in everyday moments, and be healed and set free from guilt and shame, through the freedom Christ brings. You can find her writing at Mercy Found Me, Facebook and on Twitter as @Jacque_Watkins.

{Week 7} WIWW Link-Up Party… Enjoying the Ride…

I married an amusement park enthusiast.  He’s crazy, that man.  He loves all rides that twist and turn, and his body seems to handle them with ease.  Impressive, I tell ya.  I, on the other hand, can barely survive a ride in the back seat of my minivan without getting car-sick.  Make me read a map while I’m back there, and it’s all over for sure.

So we have this family tradition of attending our local fair every summer, and I have to admit that my adventurous spirit has been lacking most years.  Just the thought of climbing the steps of the Tilt-O-Whirl about sends me over the edge.  Lucky for me, for many years in a row, I’ve had a convenient excuse for letting my husband do the riding honors with our kids.  Need someone to stay back with the baby and the stroller?  Sure, I’d be happy to sacrifice for the family.  Heh.  Someone needs to take the pictures anyway, right?

Family divided.

My problem now is that my youngest is starting to ride rides.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  Last summer all of a sudden my little excuse was dragging her daddy off to the toddler helicopters, and three excited boys were yelling my name to “Come on, Mom!”  Oh dear.  Can’t we all just ride the carousel together as a family?!

Somehow in the midst of sheer boy excitement (clearly before I could come to my senses!), I had reluctantly agreed to their request and found myself on this thing:

Somebody help me.  Who knew my mouth was this big (don’t answer that)?  And why is no one else screaming (for all I know the ride hadn’t even started yet – ha!)?!  I told myself that I was pulling the natural “I’m here for ya, bud.” mom-move when I grabbed hold of the two boy legs seated beside me, but between you and me, I was desperately reaching out for a little comfort for myself.  Haha.

 

But guess what?  I survived the ride that day.  And I not only survived it, I actually enjoyed it!!  Turns out my thinking was all wrong.  Not all rides are as crazy as they seem, and a little effort on my part sure did go a long way in encouraging  my fun-loving boys.  We all left the fair that day pretty pumped up that we had accomplished something together (“Can you believe Mom actually rode that thing??”), and even a little more connected than we were when we arrived.  And it was worth every bit of the “sacrifice” it took to get me out of my comfort zone.

 

Now fair rides are not for everyone, that’s for sure.  But connectedness in the body of Christ is.  In case there’s any doubt, we’ve had repeated reminders about unity in the body since we started Ephesians (… anyone ever told you that if the Bible repeats something, it’s probably worth paying extra attention to??).  And I have to wonder when we struggle with the unity that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4, if we’ve held on to some wrong thinking for far too long:

Have we hidden behind our own preferences instead of agreeing on truth (remember that much of what we get “stuck” on isn’t even biblical thinking!)?

Do we rely on the same convenient excuses year after year?

If we were willing to bend just a little on the negotiables, could God use us more effectively?

Could God be calling us to get out of our comfort zones in order to be an encouragement to someone in need?

Are we plain just letting fear get in the way?

 

Unity in our relationships is not always easy.  In fact, let’s be honest… sometimes it is the last thing we want to do!  But Paul is calling us to maturity.  To focus on what really matters.  To remember that we are all on level ground at the foot of the cross.

 ”…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3

And here’s the amazing thing:  when we finally let go of “our way” and submit to practicing unity the way God intended


Freedom comes.  

Is it time for you to let go of something that has hindered unity, so that you can start enjoying the ride? 

At His feet,

   Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

 

 

 

Christ Our Cornerstone & {Week 6} WIWW Link-Up Party

Today’s post came from our weekly link-up party!

Congratulations, Kelli from AdventurezInChild’Rearing, you’ve been selected for this month’s WIWW spotlight!

Kelli blogs at http://www.adventurezinchildrearing.com

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Ephesians 2:18-22

New King James Version (NKJV)
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Christ Our Cornerstone

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Without a strong cornerstone- the building will not last- it will crumble

“Members of the household of God” – Members of the same household would be a family. This passage describes the household/ family as having Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. 

What is a cornerstone exactly?

As defined by Wikipedia: 
The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

The whole building is set from and upon that stone – the rest of the building is the rest of the “family” or the body of Christ – the church – all together for the Spirit of God to dwell. Not in the building itself – but in the people – the family of Christ.

We are one family – the body of Christ – where the Spirit of God dwells! That’s pretty exciting stuff!

Makes me want to act like it! 

We MUST exemplify love - which is the example set by our cornerstone: 

1 John 3:16 & 18

1 John 3:16 – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:18 – “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

We need to overlook our differences and love with the love of Christ – both within the outside the body/family/dwelling of God!!!

Spiritual “busyness” doesn’t cut it y’all – we’ve got to get real – pull together with love and reach out to this dying world. People – both in the body and out of it - need the love of Christ. If we aren’t living it – where will they find it?

They don’t meet Jesus Christ walking down the street - they meet you and me!

Something God has laid on my heart is that I want to be Jesus to others – both in my family of believers and non believers. He died for each one. He is the cornerstone – He set the example.

More words from Paul to the church:

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 & 11:1So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God–
even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.


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I am a wife and mother of 3 beautiful (yet very active) little boys. We put God first in our lives and feel that everything else falls right into place. If you had told me ten years ago that I would be homeschooling my three boys – I would have thought you mad. Yet here we are, finding joy and adventure in every day as we grow, learn, and play. This blog is a way to share those experiences with you.
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Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

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