Tag Archive | Ephesians

“Number 1……..Me………I……… Myself”

Philippians 2:4 – Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (HCSB)

Ephesians 4:2 – with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting[a] one another in love, (HCSB)

Lord, I’m sitting here sipping my coffee and thinking of what I need to do today.  I’m trying to make this cup of coffee last as long as I possibly can because, when I finish it, I need to make a phone call to someone.  I try to talk to her on a regular basis, but there are days that I just can’t deal with her negative attitude.  She can find something wrong in any given situation.  I wish she could find happiness in something, but her only joy is in her misery.  Instead of looking on the bright side, she can find the dark corner in any sun filled room!  It is always about the woes in her life.  She is not the least bit interested in what is going on in my life, or in her neighbor’s life, or in the lives of her family members.  She is the personification of the old joke “Enough about me.  Let’s talk about you.  So…what do you think about ME?” I keep trying to point out all the positives in her life, but she always has a negative.  I can almost see You smile and shake Your head.  I guess I’m not so different from her sometimes.  I tell You what blessings I want, when I want them delivered, and who I want to be blessed.  Of course, I should always be the first one blessed!  Philippians 2 tells me to not be so absorbed in my own interests but to be aware of the interests of others.  A friend’s shirt says “J(Jesus) O(others) Y(you).  I saw a sign the other day that said “Joy = Jesus, Only You”.   Okay, Lord.  I hear You.   The children’s song says “the joy of the Lord is my strength”, and Philippians 4 tells me that I can do all things through You.  2 Timothy tells me that You have not given me a spirit of fear but of love. I need to show the love and joy of You in everything I do, even in talking on the phone. One more sip of coffee as I make that call.    telephone

Round and Round

Ephesians 4:32 – And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. (HCSB)angrywoman

Lord, I am drinking coffee with a vengeance this morning, I am doing more gulping than sipping, and the cup is hitting the table with a little more force than normal.  Truth be told, hitting with more force than necessary, but I’m a lot mad and a little hurt.  I keep asking this person to do something, but it never gets done.  Every time I ask about it, apologies flow and promises are made for future behavior, but time usually reveals that the apologies are worthless and the promises are hollow. Next time I ask it will be the same cycle again.  I feel as if I’m on one of those spinning amusement part rides where you go round and round just to end up where you were when you got on.  Lord, You know I can’t just throw up my hands and walk away.  My first reaction is to let this person know that I’m angry, but then I hear Your voice pointing me to scripture.  The Bible tells me over and over to refrain from anger. Psalms says to avoid anger because it leads to evil.   Proverbs tells me that being angry makes me do foolish things and that getting angry over things like this doesn’t even make sense.  James says to be slow to speak in anger because it doesn’t show Your righteousness.  So what can I do to change this person?  I think Thomas A’Kempis summed up this situation perfectly when he said “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be”.  Okay, Lord, I know that sometimes You speak through other people when You speak to us, and that is speaking to me.  How many times have I asked You for forgiveness but go back and do the same things all over again?  How many promises have I made to You?  How many times have I apologized?  Thank You, Lord, that You forgive me and love me even when I don’t follow through on my promises.  Thank You, Lord, that You never throw up Your hands and walk away.   Lord, help me to follow Your direction and show Your love.

Wish I’d Done That

 

Ephesians 6:18 — And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.(NIV)

 

 

As I am finishing my coffee this morning and talking to You about the day ahead, I think of a chance encounter prayI had yesterday with a young friend of mine from church. She was thanking me for visiting her friend Mary and for the follow up phone calls. Mary has two children with special needs and was so excited that I had shared with her the classes and other support that our church offers. My friend went on to thank me for inviting Mary to lunch next week and shared how Mary was looking so forward to this one-on-one time with me, just to relax with her new friend. As my young friend continued on with her thanks and praises, I was seriously wishing that I had done all of those things, but it wasn’t me!  When I made that confession, I laughingly said, “tell whoever it is to keep it up – she’s doing a much better job than I am!”  My friend and I both chuckled and walked away.  Even though I walked away from the conversation, I can’t get away from the feeling of wishing I had done all those things and wondering why I hadn’t.  I heard a speaker once say that its always women who say, “I could do more.”  I don’t think I could necessarily “do more”, but I can “do better”.  I know that I can’t go back in time and replace that loving woman who reached out to Mary to give her what she needed — help for her children, a friend, even a free lunch!  But, I can use that unknown woman’s example and become more of an encourager.  As these thoughts are running through my mind, I also have the thought (maybe a whisper from You, God?) that it isn’t about me!  Philippians 2:3 tells me not to do things because of rivalry.  Instead of thinking that I need to “keep up”, I can be applauding this woman who reached out.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 says that we should encourage each other and build each other up.  I can’t do that with her face to face, but I can do that by praying for her and being thankful for her actions that were such a blessing to Mary.   Lord, I thank You for this sweet sister who is working so that others can see You.  I pray that You will give her strength, that You will send her encouragement, and that she will feel Your presence in all that she does.  And Lord, make me more sensitive to the opportunities You provide for me to help others.

Sticks and Stones

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

 

 

Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.  How many times have I heard that?  How stonesmany times have I said that?  How many times have I wished it to be true?  Words do hurt, and they continue to hurt long after the conversation is finished.  I can still hear the words of a parent telling me that I didn’t measure up.  I can still hear the words of my spouse saying something hurtful.  I can still hear the woman at church telling me how much better someone else could do my job.  I still have that little voice in my head telling me that I am not worthy.  Sometimes, Lord, I hear You calling me to do something, and I am willing and excited about what You have planned for me.  Then a feeling of uncertainty comes over me. The whispers to my heart start telling me that I can’t do it; I’m not spiritual enough; its ridiculous that I would even think You would use me.  They are whispers, but they are so loud that those are the only words I hear.  All of the old words come rushing to join in to make my insecure feelings take over.  Lord, when doubt tells me that I am weak and alone, help me to remember that Deuteronomy 31:6 tells me to be strong and courageous, not to fear or be in dread because You will stay with me.   When doubt tells me that I’m not good enough for a certain position, help me to remember that Ephesians 2 tells me that I am Your masterpiece, created to do the good things You planned for me.  Romans 8 says if You are for me nothing else matters.  Sticks and stones can break my bones and words can hurt me, but Isaiah reminds me that by Your stripes I am healed.

Church Eye Candy

Ephesians 6:6 – Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. (HCSB)

 

1 John 2:16 – For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. (HCSB)

 

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 – Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial: (HCSB)

 

 

 

Eye CandyAs I was finishing my coffee this morning, I started pondering some things said by speaker I recently heard.  She was saying that finding the work that God has for you involves some action on your part.   I don’t remember the exact wording but it was along the lines of people sit back and wait for a visit from a couple of angels and a prophet or two before they do any work at all.  The suggestion was that as Your servant, I need to step out and start trying different jobs, and if I discover it isn’t the job for me, I should not be afraid to step away.  The speaker also hit on the idea of not doing something just because someone else says you should be doing it.  I thought that idea needed more time because I feel that’s the one mountain that causes struggle in most women!  I was recently talking to some other pastors’ wives and telling about how when our family went to the first church my husband pastored, one woman kept telling me all the things the last pastor’s wife had done and how I bought into it.  I was a full time classroom teacher, had a child under a year old, my husband was in seminary all week, we had moved into a new area, and here I was — thinking if I could just do a little more, just do a little better, just take on one more church project, just lead one more committee, just teach one more class, then everyone would be happy.  A young friend of mine calls it “being church eye candy” – each person wants you to be seen doing what that person wants you to do.  Colossians 3:23 tells us to work to please God and not just to please other people.  Ephesians 6:6 says to work hard, but not just to please the people who are watching.  We are to work to do the will of God.  Is it God’s will that I work in the church’s preschool department?  Maybe that’s just the job God created me to do.  Maybe I’m NOT the person for the job, and when I refuse to acknowledge that, I’m taking someone else’s blessing.  Is it God’s will that I teach a class or work in the kitchen or sing in the choir?  Is it God’s will that I step away from some of the things I’m doing?  As church members, I think we sometimes get so busy doing “the work of the Lord” that we aren’t able to do the work that God has for us.  1 John 2:4 says that if we claim to know God and don’t obey Him, we are lying.  What if people get upset with me?  What if I look silly stepping away from a job?  1 John 2:16 says that our foolish pride and our selfish desires come from the world and NOT from the Father.  Lord, I know that You haven’t called me to be eye candy or a slave to desires, neither mine nor the ones others have for me, but You have called me to follow Your plans.  1 Corinthians 12 tells us about different people being called in different ways to serve You, but verses 6 and 7 sum it up for me: There are all kinds of wonderful activities, but You give each of us a specific gift to produce the work that is needed for Your glory at that point in time.  Lord, help me to use the gifts that You have given to me.  Help me to keep my eyes focused on the ways that You tell me to serve and not on the ways that people tell me to serve.  Help me to work to do Your will.

Gossip or Prayer?

Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)

James 4:12: There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (HCB)

As I was drinking my coffee this morning, I was wandering around different postings on an Internet site.  I came across a post that said, “We don’t refer to it as gossiping, we simply consider it sharing our opinions about other people’s life choices”.  It was meant to be humorous, and I chuckled and moved on.  Later I started thinking about that quote and how true it is in my life.  How many times have I shared my opinion about another person’s life choices when I thought they had made the wrong choice? How many times have I shared some information about someone but dressed it in finery by calling it a prayer request?  How many times have I justified gossip by telling myself of the importance of letting people know the details of what I heard so we can pray informed (or ill informed) prayers?  Am I hiding a tiny spark of glee behind my mask of concern as I ask for prayer? How many times have I laughed at the old joke “if you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit by me”, but then made that joke a major part of my behavior on a daily basis?  How many times have I judged someone’s actions without knowing the whole situation?  How careful have I been to “share” only with others who would agree with me on the issue?   Was I really concerned with building people up and meeting their needs or more interested in character assassination?  When I labeled something as a  “wrong choice “, was it wrong because it was a choice You didn’t agree with or wrong because it was a choice I didn’t agree with?  The first part of James 4:12 says there’s only one lawmaker and judge.  Even if I know the facts surrounding someone’s sin, why do I feel it is my job to reveal that sin?  James 4:12 goes on to ask “who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12 in The Message Bible says when I behave that way, I am writing graffiti over your message.  Lord, I stand before You, humble and contrite.  I could try to explain myself with much stammering and stuttering, but we both know the answers to all of those questions. Lord, I ask that You help me control my sinful tongue and only speak to benefit those who listen.