Easter - 2018

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Submission is ... !

Jesus was God and he was willing to submit himself to enter history and submit to taking the burden of our shame and guilt and sin. The Definition of submission is; “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".  "put others first" - We respond, not by taking up any high handed authority, but by submitting to each other.

Instead of looking out for ourselves, we are to be looking out for everyone else, and they are to look out for us. Just as Jesus has done for us. When a believer takes this attitude into a marriage, the entire relationship changes. It becomes a relationship that grows and fosters strength when the storms of life come. Now again, this principle is essential in the crown jewel of God’s relationships…but it is also very applicable in every relationship. If you want friends…submit to mutual bonding and learning of each other. You want great employees…submit to learning that the employee is and work within the boundaries of your corporate vision to develop a mutual relationship of submission.

Christian Submission must come in Relationship --- Without knowing each other, knowing the heart’s desire, talking things through with each other, there can be no mutual submission – one will always just be giving in to the will of the other. That is why we need face-to-face relationships with other Christians – in worship services, in small groups and close friendships, so that we can obey God’s commands!

What would happen, if every person reading this blog post committed to being submissive in every relationship they have…it not a door mat, poor me, walk all over me submission… it is an attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden of the other person. What would happen … This type of relationship is so rare these days that when you find these type of relationship you run to it.

Jesus was asked what the greatest command was and He said in Matthew 22:37-40 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

A tyrannical husband demanded that his wife conform to rigid standards of his choosing. She was to do certain things for him as a wife, mother, and homemaker. In time she came to hate him and his list of rules and regulations. Then, one day her husband died. Later, she fell in love with another man and married him. She and her new husband lived on a perpetual honeymoon. Joyfully, she devoted herself to his happiness and welfare. One day she ran across one of the sheets of dos and don’ts of her first husband. To her amazement she found that she was doing for her second husband all the things her first husband had demanded of her, even though her new husband had never once suggested them. She did them as an expression of love for him and a desire to please him.”

Submission is a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden"

The question becomes…are you assuming responsibility and carrying the burden in your relationships…in your marriage?

Submission is a discipline that everyone must work on. You are not alone. You know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 27, 2014

What Submission is NOT!

Marriage – It is God’s idea! It is a place of high honor! It is a sacrifice! It is a act of submission.

In this final week of this marriage series, we are going to discuss… submission. It is a hot topic that every one of us loves to discuss…

 “Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect.” – William Paul Young, Author of “The Shack”

 “You cannot fulfill God's purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans. ” – Rick Warren

 “The truth is, if we don't learn to submit to authority, we won't ever learn to submit to God.” – Joyce Meyer

Christian Submission is not about being a Doormat. It is not a button that you push to prove you are better or more liked or have high abilities… Paul, who writes this passage, deals harshly with both secular authorities and with Christian brothers and sisters when they overstep their bounds and treat him as less than he is.

The Submission that Paul is calling us to is a mutual submission – not one where there is one person in submission, and another in authority, but that we would submit to each other.

Christian Submission is not about over-the-top politeness like those two chipmunks in the cartoons who say, “no, no, no, after you,” “no, I insist after you,”  It is not the abdication of responsibility or authority so we get no-where and no decisions get made because we are so worried about stepping on each others toes. Christian Submission is not about the lowest common denominator.

Submission is not about keeping each other from getting ahead. Christian submission doesn’t say, “I’m not going to use my God given gifts, because I might make someone else look bad”
There is a sense in the term of submission of coming under the other person, not to be held down by them, but to lift them up!

Philippians 2:6-7 explains Jesus example as: “(Jesus)Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” 

Submission is not about how good the other person is over you or how powerful you can become over them … More to Come...you know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

He loves you too much to let go!!!

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.

He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.

Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. An incredible tug-of-war between the two began. The alligator was much stronger than the father but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack. On his arms were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son.

The newspaper reporter interviewing the boy after the trauma asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go."

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, are because God has refused to let … you … go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you.

The Scripture teaches that God loves you...You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way but sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

The question then becomes, “are you sacrificing for your spouse?” If you love your spouse, you would be willing to sacrifice everything… the same it true of all our relationships: How much you are willing to sacrifice and love?

This is a good place to remind everyone…including me…that it takes two. Some relationships do not work because only one party is willing to love and sacrifice. The goal is to love to the point of discovery, when you get to know a person, you learn the other person and they in return get to know you. This takes years. I remember my parents getting to a place they would finish each others thoughts…not just sentences. Friends and relationships get to a place of knowing each other well enough that you think of the other person first… In the deeper relationships, you seek point where the other person’s thoughts and you are OK with them seeking yours. That means you must be willing to expose some of your emotions, your heart, your strengths, and your sacrifice.

Paul wrote Romans 5:6-8, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

You know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 20, 2014

Love calls for Sacrifice!

When we get all dressed up to attend a wedding, we put on our very best clothes and behavior because we are going to take part in a sacred act. A man and a woman are going to give their lives to each other for as long as they live, and we have the honor to stand with them and witness their solemn, sacred pledge to each other. They are going to make a covenant, a holy and irrevocable vow, to be one, to own all things in common, and to love and care for one another for the rest of their lives. It takes a sacrifice in all relationships . . . especially marriage.

Sacrifice… “A surrendering of some possession (action, feeling, or emotion) as an offering to God.” Sacrifice is the freely giving up of oneself for the benefit of the other.

Throughout the Scripture, the shedding of blood was required for a covenant to be in effect. The covenant is a contract or agreement between two or more parties.  Covenant is how God has chosen to communicate to us, to redeem us, and to guarantee us eternal life in Jesus. It involved the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross. In a marriage, the covenant was fulfilled when the husband and wife consummated their marriage and shed their uniqueness for the purpose of becoming one. The act of binding each other was and is a shedding of ones person so as to grow in the relationship as a unifying of the heart, body, soul, and mind. To a lessor degree…this is true of all good and lasting relationships. 

Before Karen and I head off to bed at night, we sneak into the children’s room to check on them and see them sleeping - little soft cheeks lying there on the pillow as peaceful as can be, I get a tremendous sense of love and thankfulness that God has given me these creatures. Sometimes I catch myself gently patting their heads or rubbing their cheeks and appreciating the soft touch of fresh skin. Do I love them? Yes. But five hours earlier, when those seemingly angelic creatures are running around, fighting, yelling, demanding - “I want milk, I need go potty,” and complaining, “why do we have to . . .” my love for them wanes. When this love calls on me to wipe bottoms and wash hair and put on clothes, my love is put to the test. Talk is cheap. Actions are difficult.

The fact of the matter is that love is not always fun or easy. It especially depends on what the object of your love is. It’s easy to love your recliner. All it does is sit there and give you a place to rest. You don’t have to talk to it. You rarely have to clean it. All you do is sit on it. It’s easy to love your television. It talks to you. It keeps you entertained. It becomes more difficult when you have to clean it, move it, and pay for it. Children are more difficult, because they are sinfully selfish. Pets are more difficult, because they don’t always listen. Bosses are not easy to love, because they can be rude and very demanding. Neighbors can be difficult to love - because they can be loud and obnoxious. 

Jesus said in John 15:13-14, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Do you stall coming home from work because you have a hard time loving your wife? Do you look for excuses as to why you can’t spend time with your kids, because it takes work to love them? Do you do your best to avoid phone calls from certain people because you have a hard time loving them?

Think About it...You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Honor in Marriage and IN ALL OUR RELATIONSHIPS!

When we honor our relationships, God restores our souls and rejuvenates who we are in Jesus. The hurting are healed, the lost are witnesses of God’s grace, and the believers are encouraged and rejuvenated.

One of the most beautiful illustration of God’s love for us found in the Old Testament book of Hosea. God said to the Prophet Hosea, “Go take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2).  Hosea went to the market place of prostitute slaves and bought Gomer. He brought her home, made her his wife, and had children with her. He bought her when she was a disgrace and an embarrassment, and he only asked that she be a good wife to him. Hosea offered Gomer a new life of honor before God and man.

God used Hosea to demonstrate how deep and unconditional His love was for Israel. He desired them even when they have forsaken him, turned to false gods, and had become prostitutes in their worship. Through Hosea, God was saying to them, “Even though you have disgraced me and embarrassed me, I love you and I want you to marry me. I want to give you a new life of honor.”

God has always desired a people who would live in a loving relationship with Him and with each other. That desire found full expression in Christ Jesus. With the sinless blood of Jesus, God “bought” us out of the marketplace of sin and “spiritual prostitution,” our worship of false gods and our pursuit of evil practices. Paul wrote about our salvation in Ephesians 1:7 where he says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

Jesus redeemed us, purchased us, paid the full price for us, and took us out of the sin market and bondage of the Devil, the world, and our flesh. He purchased us with his life so that we might be free to love him and become His bride…as His bride, He gives us a place of honor, and we are to bring glory and honor to Him. The responsibility affects EVERY relationship we have! 

Live it....You know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 13, 2014

We are not created equally...we are different for a reason!

This makes me laugh....
“It was Saturday morning and John, an avid hunter, woke up ready to go bag the first deer of the season. He walks down to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, and to his surprise he finds his wife, Mary, sitting there, fully dressed in camouflage. John asks her, "What are you up to?" Mary smiles, "I'm going hunting with you!" John, though he has many reservations, reluctantly decides to take her along.

They arrive at the hunting site. John sets his wife safely up in the tree stand and tells her: "If you see a deer, take careful aim on it and I'll come running back as soon as I hear the shot." John walks away with a smile on his face knowing that Mary couldn't bag an elephant -- much less a deer.

But not 10 minutes pass when he is startled as he hears an array of gunshots. Quickly, John starts running back. As John gets closer to her stand, he hears Mary screaming, "Get away from my deer!" Confused, John races faster towards his screaming wife. And again he hears her yell, "Get away from my deer!" followed by another volley of gunfire. Now within sight of where he had left his wife, John is surprised to see a guy, with his hands high in the air. The man, obviously distraught, says, "Okay, lady, okay! You can have your deer! Just let me get my saddle off it!"

Keep laughing...you know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Created to compliment ... "You complete me" is a lie!

God designed Eve to complete, that which was lacking in Adam’s life. “And Adam said, She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). Marriage is God’s gift to humans. It was given to resolve the problem of human loneliness by providing complimentary companionship between a man and a woman. Marriage is an illustration much like a completed rubics cube. A wife needs someone who understands and honors her. So Bible instruct to husband, "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." (1 Peter 3:7). A husband needs someone who is meek with noble character. ” So Bible instructs to the wife, “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, (1 Peter 3:1) This is why Bible says “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value." (Proverbs 31:10, 11) A husband is to protect his wife by laying down his life for her. (Ephesians 5:25.) A wife is to protect the interests of her home. (Titus 2:4–5.) And Parents are to protect their children and to raise them up as a Godly seed.

How is this accomplished?

At the end of the Movie Jerry McGuire … Tom Cruise is an arrogant Jerry McGuire who is a Sports agent for big name sports players. In the end he realizes it is not about the fame, money, or the prestige, but about love. He is begging for his girl friend / wife to come back and he cries out, “She completes me.” I am here to tell you that is a lie of the flesh. Your spouse does not complete you. In fact, if you lay that responsibility on your wife or your husband, you will be very disappointed. You are only complete with God…what your spouse can do is offer to you’re the ability to draw close in a relationship that draws you even close to God.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Equality is reflected in the first marriage as the man and woman were created in the image of God and given co-regency over the created order (Gen 1:26-28). For believers in Christ, marriage is a covenant of companionship between two spiritually equal human beings (Gal 3:26-28). Yet equality does not eliminate roles in a marriage relationship. Nor do roles in marriage diminish the call to mutual love and respect. The main purpose of marriage is to display the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. In other words, God designed marriage most deeply, most importantly, to be a parable or a parallel of the way Christ loves his church and the way the church loves and follows Christ. Jesus affirmed it in Matthew 19:4-6.  Marriage and relationships are eternally bound when there are three present… you, your spouse and God.

According to Scripture, the husband bears primary responsibility to lead the home in a God-glorifying way. His leadership clearly involves authority and should be honored by his wife and family (Eph 5;22-33,6:1-3). His authority, however, must be based on divine love (see: Eph 5:25, 33, John 10:11-13, 1cor 13:4-8) and thoughtful consideration (see: Phil 2:3-5). Scripture warns against husbands who treat their wives with insensitivity (1 peter 3:7). Husbands must never forget that they are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Cultural limitations or biases should not be placed on this command any more than on the command for wives to respect their husbands. You are only complete in Jesus by total submission to each other in His word and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

The question becomes, “Is your relationships complete because they serve the other person or are they complete because serve your selfish desires?” “Is your marriage complete because of Jesus in the relationship or is there something missing?”

You know I love ya ... Don

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Crowning Achievement!

According to Dr. David Mace, "Poor communication is the main problem in 86% of all troubled marriages." A happy and healthy home is one of the best places on earth, while an unhappy and unhealthy home is one of the most miserable places. Someone rightly said “Where purpose is not known abuse is inevitable…” When a person does not understand the purpose of a thing, they almost always abuse that thing and marriage is no different. An all-wise God who created order out of chaos, handcrafted man and woman in His own image, and then instituted and ordained marriage must have had a purpose in doing so. What then, one must ask, was God’s purpose in creating marriage? Indisputably … the most fitting answer will be found in harmony with the will of God as it is revealed for us in His Word. In the next few weeks we are going to turn to His Word in order to find the divine purpose of God’s institution of Marriage… in fact this series is an examination of all our relationships.

There are those who call the church the body of Christ, and there are those who call the church the bride of Christ. Some modern teachers have argued over which is correct. They say, “If the church is His body, which is male, it cannot be His bride, which is female.” 

The fact is, in the first marriage between Adam and Eve, Eve was both Adam’s body and his bride. She was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, yet she was separate from him in form and inseparably bound to him in spirit. As believers in Jesus, we are inseparably bound and eternally married to the Lord Jesus Christ in Spirit. Yet, on this earth, we live out His life in our flesh. We are body and bride simultaneously… That is why our relationships are so important… important in marriage, in families, with co-workers, with neighbors, and yes, even in our relationships with our enemies.

Marriage is “made In Heaven” because it is God’s idea. He created the idea of relationships. He designed it. He established it and defined its parameters. Secondly, marriage is “made In Heaven” because God made Eve and brought her to Adam. Eve was God’s original idea. Our first parents did not woo, solicit, or choose each other. This was an arranged marriage, a match literally made in heaven: Eve is the absolute pinnacle of creation, the crown of Adam, “the glory of the man” (1 Cor. 11:7). How many of us look at our spouse as God’s crowning achievement in our lives?

You know I love ya.... Don