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Archive for the ‘Ephesians’ Category

Things That Don’t Bring Shame

Running after our own desires only brings shame

When was the last time this statement had you nodding your head in agreement?

Heard an excellent message yesterday morning at a church we were visiting.  The pastor had many great points about Ephesians 1 – and in particular what God desires for us.

Are our own desires always bad?  When they don’t line up with the word of God and God’s ultimate plan for our lives – our desires can bring us only temporary happiness – but not lasting joy.

Heard another excellent video message this morning from Joyce Meyer.  She was speaking on the subject of “Fear”.  One of the best I’ve ever heard on this subject.  In the middle of the message – she almost echoed the words above that the pastor had spoken yesterday – “when we follow after something from the flesh – it only satisfies for a little while – but then we end up feeling REALLY STUPID and having tons of regret”

The question should be:  “What does God want for my life?”  Period.  He has so much more planned for me than I can ever imagine – and the things He does not give me is only to protect me or give me something better instead.

That simple trust is very hard.  We want what we want.  I want what I want.  I sometimes try to “help” God, trying to manipulate circumstances to get it – instead of just giving it up and asking what He wants for me.

Are you asking for something today and God is saying, “No”?  Is it a desire of the flesh?  Is it something He does not want for you?  Is it withheld because of the great lesson you are going to learn from it?

God will never give you something that causes shame.

You can take that to the bank, my friend.

Romans 9:33 – As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

I am praying for you

God Bless

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Could You Sing This At Your Wedding And Beyond?

Yesterday our pastor spoke on a familiar passage of scripture from Ephesians 5:21-29

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church”

It is a powerful passage that has been abused and misused over the years.  But the point is that – just as we should take up the heart of a servant – like Jesus did for us by his demonstration and example – so husbands and wives should live in submission to each other.

If there is physical and emotional abuse – it should not be tolerated and backed up with the above scripture – as God clearly wants us to live as servants to each other.

As Stephen was talking – something stood out to me.  He said, “Husbands should be spending all of themselves on their wives.”  As a musician, my mind quickly thought of the lyrics where I had heard that terminology before:  Jon McLaughlin – “A Song You Might Hear At A Wedding”.  These song lyrics are powerful and I encourage you to listen to this great song video.  It is the beautiful expression of a man for his wife.  You will love the line “I promise to spend the rest of me on you”.  Powerful and poignant.

When was the last time you spent yourself on someone?  As a husband or wife – do you practice this each day?  Isn’t it about time?

 

God Bless

What’s Making Your Noise?

Animated noise

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Yesterday our youth pastor, Jeremy spoke on a passage of scripture in Ephesians 3.  It is the prayer of blessing.  But it wasn’t so much that prayer that we have all heard a million times in our lives that stood out to me – it was what he said about paying attention to God that made me sit up and take notice.  He talked about things in our lives getting the most attention – the things that are maybe not the most important – but that which make the most  noise.

So I ask you this – as I ponder this same question for myself.  What is creating the most “noise” in your life right now?

Does God allow the “noise” to see if you’re really paying attention to what is important?

Do you still hear Him in the midst of all that “noise”?

What does your “noise” sound like?  Do you spend your time trying to quiet the noise and “put out tiny fires” instead of really concentrating and centering down to the quiet still small voice in your heart?

 

God Bless

To Stand Alone

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, head-and-shoulders por...

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When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.   Eleanor Roosevelt

What does it mean to ‘stand alone’ and be counted?  Does it mean to be obnoxious about it?  Or isolate yourself?  Or be self-righteous or judgmental?

No.

We all have to come to the place where we have a conviction – either personal, social or spiritual – and we must decide for ourselves just what that conviction will mean for us.

Sometimes it means alienation from family and friends – sometimes it goes broader than that – in the political or social arena.  And we find ourselves ‘standing alone’.

Is it wrong to stand out – be all alone in what we believe and what we have decided is right?  How can we do so without being accused of forcing our personal opinion on another person?  Or being obnoxious?  Too opinionated?

I’ve had many interesting situations when I was trying to do the right thing – much opposition and many diverse reactions over the years.  I recently had an interesting situation in an email from a former close friend – who insisted that my ‘friendly and even humorous email was ‘forcing my opinion’ – when I was merely stating what I thought was the obvious – and in fact – the truth.  Let’s just say – the truth is subjective at best.  We all have a way of seeing our version of it.  And it is easy to get swept away into settling – for fear of opposition.  It is easier to just go along – to forget what the truth is – and choose an easier and less rocky road – even believe something that is not so. This friend should know me – but sadly has chosen to look and walk away – even when truth is right there.  That is the easy road – the one of least resistance and criticism.

I used to believe this – and I used to do this.   Not anymore.  Nor do I have a lot of respect for those that do.

I’ve had many interesting situations in this life of mine.  Nothing is harder than having a differing opinion with another human being – especially a good friend – who ought to know you better – but for some unknown reason – will not own or acknowledge it.  Even when doing the right thing.

And so, like Eleanor who knew what it was like to face controversy in her lifetime – I too have not only faced it – I’ve lived through it and even learned great things about people while going through a difficult time.

I wish I could say that people always understand my side of the story – or even listen to my side – but sadly, my side is often not even consulted – much less met with any understanding or dignity.  And yet – I still stand in my own ‘opinion’ or yes, my own convictions – and because I believe I am doing the right thing – standing up for truth and all that truth demands – I am stronger each day.

And I expect controversy – I even welcome it.  Jesus himself had plenty of it.  They didn’t like what He had to say – what He stood for.  He was ready and able to ‘stand alone’ and in His final hours – that’s exactly what He did.  Never compromising what He believed in – even when going to the cross.

And like Jesus – I want to live a life of graciousness.  A heart that freely and without reservation, embraces and loves.  Having a non-judgmental attitude – full of compassion and forgiveness.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

My prayer for you today is this:  That you will be forgiving of those that differ in their opinions from yours.  That you will decide what it is that you believe in – and not be afraid to be counted – and to stand alone.


God Bless

Making Marriage Better

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; Philippians 2:3

Today Greg and I were having one of our “discussions” in the “talking room” over coffee. We were discussing a very heavy topic – “Christ and the Church” which led to the topic of how it says in the Bible that “marriage” is to be a model of that concept. However – it is a poor example – especially in light of all the bad marriages in our world today. It would be like trying to explain how God is like our “loving Father” to someone who has been abused by her earthly Dad.

But I believe this is a “picture” – just a glimpse, if you will – of how God intended for marriage to be – even though we are imperfect and fail at His model – over and over again. Why do we fail at it? Because we are flawed human beings – everyone of us at the core is selfish and wanting our own way. Our hearts are incredibly wicked – holding in them, secrets that pull us in directions that are in direct contradiction to what was intended for us. We are “prone to wander” – and we do.

Because of this selfish, willful nature – we become imperfect mates to our spouse and vise versa. It goes against our nature to “submit” – or put our own desires aside and prefer our mate’s desires and wishes – over our own.

We have all seen this happen – either in our own relationship – or in someone close to us. Feelings are marginalized. People are not validated. A marriage that may have started out full of life and passion – loses something over time – feelings change – life happens – people grow apart doomed to lead very separate lives. Lifeless, dry and empty. We have all heard the saying if we have been Christ followers all of our lives – “we don’t believe in divorce – MURDER yes!! But not DIVORCE!” And life continues on that “happy” note – lives of “quiet desperation” – seeking fulfillment and understanding from somewhere else – or from someone else – people of like minds – who validate us and encourage us in our daily journey to try and understand the life that has been “tossed” at us – and the “feeling” that may have changed for one reason or another.

But to “regard others as more important than yourselves” takes an act of my will. A daily discipline of my heart and mind. It means I still may want to have my own way – even hold things in my heart as a “secret” – but still – I will honor you – because I value you. I will even try to let go of those things that I want – and concentrate on loving you in the best way I can demonstrate it. And the “secret” things that I hold onto – the things I “stuff” so that you won’t see them – in time will not have as much of a hold on me anymore. And in time – by leading my heart – I will be able to let go of it entirely.

Ephesians 5:21,22

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

This is such a key scripture. We do it because we reverence Christ – not because we always feel like it. And in doing so – we become more like that model that He originally set up for us. Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her – how much more should we be willing to at least make an attempt at it?

Now do marriages fail in spite of this great principle? Yes. Usually because people lose sight of this model – are simply unwilling to submit to one another and give themselves – all of themselves – heart and mind in preference of the other. In those cases – there is usually no hope for that couple. And they usually live in a “cold war” situation – leading very separate lives – finding fulfillment elsewhere – or leaving the marriage entirely.

I want to challenge you today – just like you must be willing to be a friend in order to have friends – you must also be willing to prefer your mate over your own desires. It does not mean that you will hit the mark every time – that is impossible because we are human – but if our hearts are right – and we make the attempt to value that person in our lives – be the very best mate that we can be – then this is a start to making a better relationship – and a better marriage. Learn your mate’s “love language” and speak it to them every day. You will see a turn around very quickly in your own heart and attitude as you “serve” the other person in love – and you will find a sweet surprise of your own – that what you give away – will soon come back to you. And you will be blessed.

Have an AWESOME day – as you prefer one another.

God Bless

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