Friday, August 26, 2016

What’s ‘E67’ Mean? (Ephesians 6:5-8)

“(5) Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; (6) not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (7) With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, (8) knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.” (Ephesians 6:5–8, NASB95)

Slavery may be against the law in this country, and for that reason one might be tempted to skip over these verses and move on to the next which deal with spiritual warfare as Paul closes out this letter. But were it the case that people were gainfully employed during Paul’s time as they are largely today, we might see these verses worded a bit differently.

It doesn’t take much of a search of history or even a look outside our own country to see that the slave-master relationship is a tenuous one in which one party has no power and the other has all of the power. We see this even in the dark areas of our culture were women and even men are enslaved in the sex trade, constantly being held by various deceptive and threatening means. Paul does not endorse or condone slavery here, but in the next verse he does speak to how the master with servants is to treat them, and much of what we see today is far outside this standard.

So, moving back to a standard where there was a more cooperative relationship between the slave and the master we do indeed see a number of parallels with our current structures of employee and employer. I imagine that there were many slaves who would not have chosen to do what they were conscripted to do. Today I think it is also safe to say that there are many people working at jobs that they otherwise might not have chosen, but because of circumstance or work availability have accepted the work offered to them. Of course, there is the big difference in today’s system because the employee is mostly free to pack up and leave, resign, or quit if he or she so desires. Laws have been in place to set minimum standards and to give employees rights. Unions have emerged to provide a voice in some areas. And, employees can even be retrained to rise to new levels of responsibility and increased heights in management. With education people are given many freedoms to shape their futures. But ultimately as long as we work for someone else this relationship of employer-employee is going to exist.

As I was looking at the progression of the verses which came before these I noticed that we began with the first human arrangement—the marriage, where (after Adam and Eve and excluding times or arranged marriages) the husband and the wife chose each other and mutually submit to each other in the Lord with the husband being given a unique role by God. The next verse dealt with the second of the relationships—parents and children, where in a sense neither chose the other. The parents may have been quite purposeful in deciding to do everything within their power to have children, but the child was not designed by them. And, then there is the child who is born to his or her parents and has no say so the matter. The child is given to the parents to raise hopefully in the Lord. But even in this lack of choice, as it is, there is an intense bond that comes with being family with a deep and abiding love being shared (ideally) with each other.

But in the times to which Paul was writing there was a third level of relationship. It is with those given to serve, but who have no blood or family ties. The slave is brought into this relationship at a lower level, with little to no voice, and expected to do as the master expects. It is in this context that Paul instructs them, “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;” Making it a bit more relevant to today, I don’t think it a stretch to apply the same instruction which is consistent with the broader instruction of Scripture pertaining to submission to those in authority roles. So, rewording it a bit, “Employees, be obedient to your employers according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ.” Realistically, our work consumes a major portion of our time and employers, humanly speaking, hold the jobs of their employees and in that sense their ability to provide for our families in their hands. If the employer is not pleased there will be consequences, whether that be not getting a raise or promotion, or it be something more permanent such as in termination. We (employees) are called to do what they (employers) expect us to do just as if we were doing it for Christ.

When we think of the words “fear and trembling” it does not mean that we go to work quaking in our boots every day, though some may have harsh bosses that would give rise to such a thought or even dread. What it means that we give them the great respect due them as the one given responsibility over this portion of our lives which deals with how we work and support our families. Our provider is and always has been God, but God calls us to work in the tasks given to us as unto Him and to look to Him as our provider. And, we are to do this with sincerity of heart. We are not to be half-hearted or half-way in our work. The attention we give to it should not increase when the boss is looking and corners should not be cut when he is not. Christ is our head, and it is Him we are serving in every aspect of our lives—including our jobs or professions. For those who are self-employed, remember that you have clients and you owe them the same diligence that you do a boss who writes your check.

I have been working part-time in a retail store during my search for another pastoral position. It is a good company. They treat me very well, and they make us treating our customers and co-workers well a priority. The job is not terribly complicated, but it is physically tiring and the schedule is erratic. Having said this, there are days that I just don’t want to go in, and there are definitely days that I wish the search for God’s leading to a new church would be finalized. But, I realize even on those days and with those thoughts that this is not yet the case and that I have a responsibility to fulfill. So, I get dressed and go to work and while I am there I endeavor to serve my employer and my customers with all of my heart.

At this job we wear name badges, and on our name badges we are encouraged to put something personal with the hope that it might give rise to questions such that we enter into a personal contact with our customers. I chose to put “E67” on my name badge, and when I am asked what this means I respond with, “It is a reminder that I am to serve you with a smile.” Oftentimes I will then ask, “How am I doing?” This will generally generate a puzzled look on peoples’ faces, leading them to asking how E67 would remind me to do that. My response then is to tell them that it is a Bible verse, and sometimes I am able to go further when they ask which one.

Sometimes I add to my studies looking at a paraphrase of the Bible because of the personal insights that the author might add. In The Message we find a loose rewording of today’s passage that I really enjoyed as a personal encouragement. “Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.” (Ephesians 6:5–8, The Message)

I can experience joy in my work because my work is given to me by God, and it is Him that I am seeking to please. In doing my job I can then find opportunities in it to share this joy with others. Nehemiah was a cupbearer to a king. He had heard some troubling news about his homeland which was heavy on his heart. But even in that heaviness he continued to faithfully serve. Then one day the king asked him what was troubling him. With this request, Nehemiah was able to quickly pray and then respond. As a result, some pretty amazing things happened when the king responded by offering to help and grant the desire of his faithful servant.

“O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.” Now I was the cupbearer to the king.” (Nehemiah 1:11, NASB95)

When I go to work I am the image bearer of my King.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Provoked to Love (Ephesians 6:4)

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4, NASB95)

I notice here that there is no instruction to mothers, but I suspect that it is for a very good reason. Just as husbands in Ephesians 5:33 are instructed to love their wives because it is a general weakness in reaching their wife’s great need, so is the instruction to fathers given here to guard against squelching the heart of their children. Whereas 5:33 is worded in a positive form, here the instruction to fathers is worded as a prohibition or something they are guard against doing. It is not an instruction to not make our children angry, but it is an instruction to not provoke them to anger.

What we have here is another one of those “put off” and “put on” instructions of chapter 4:22-24 as we have our mind renewed. “…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22–24, NASB95) The central pivot point here is the instruction of the Lord. As we grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him it is to affect how we relate to others.

In accordance with the submission instruction of Ephesians 5:21 where we are to submit to one another from our reverence for Christ, the father is not to “provoke” or incite the anger of his children. Just looking to the news these past few months and the rioting in the streets as outsiders (many times) have come into hurting communities to incite the people there to do much more than grieve and quietly protest. Their intense response has incited others to respond intensely as well, and things quickly spiral out of control and even into anarchy where lawlessness prevails for a season. Anger destroys reason, and as fathers (and mothers where it applies) we are to not allow even our own anger, frustration or disappointment to be a tool to incite our children to anger as well. We are not to escalate things by the way we deal with them. They may respond poorly on their own and may not need our help, but we are not to be a source of gasoline on the flame of rebellion. We are to remember that this instruction to fathers follows immediately on the heels of a powerful instruction to children. There are responsibilities on both sides, and we as parents (and particularly fathers) are to uphold our end.

I wish that I could say that I am an expert at this, but I know there are too many times that I have to be quietly reminded by my wife to bring it down a notch. As men we can sometimes use our strength and position in the home to intimidate. This is not how we are to be with our wives, and it is surely not how we are to be with our children.

The awesome thing about Scripture is that God has given it to us not only to instruct us in what not to do, but also what to do. In this verse we read that we are to “put on” what we learn from Him and, “bring them [our children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We are not to have the attitude of some which says, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.” But rather, we are to have the attitude of our God who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins and to draw us into an eternal relationship with Him. We are not to be about making obedient slaves of our children, but about training them in a relationship of love in which we walk right with others before God. This needs to be our STOP sign when we are tempted to respond otherwise. This needs to be the point we back up to when we go too far. This is the way we are to be toward our children. It is the way our God is toward us.

We are to bring our children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” It is not a “because I told you so” kind of thing, but a “we are going to do things God’s way” kind of thing. Some other translations use words such as “nurture” and “admonition” (King James), “training” and “admonition” (New King James), or “training” and “instruction” (NIV). This first word “discipline” incorporates the whole process of correcting, disciplining, structuring, and setting straight. It is not necessarily a pleasant process, but it is a necessary one which is done from a right heart according to the pattern set by our God. In Hebrews 12:5-11 we see this comparison made and expanded upon.

“and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:5–11, NASB95)

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we see this process in action, where Paul wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, NASB95) The word “training” in this passage is essentially the same as our word “discipline” in our word today. We see that this training incorporates the whole process of teaching truth, correcting error, and setting straight so that the individual might be fully trained or disciplined for righteous living.

Not wanting to overlook the second word, “instruction” or “admonition,” we see that this process is more than one of obtaining right actions or responses, but of instructing the mind such that the reasons are understood. It is the priority of the “why,” and this “why” is not “because I told you so,” but because this is what God has given us to do and this is how He says we are to do it. It is the passing on of a foundation such that when the child leaves the home there is a rock on which he or she can stand.

The original name of my field of study in school was “nouthetic counseling” or being able to instruct or counsel one another in the Word. We see this in Romans 15:14 where we read, “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14, ESV) The word “instruct” is the Greek word ‘noutheteo’ and it means this whole process of instructing, warning, and admonishing one another in the truth of God. And, our word “instruction” in today’s passage is the same. Notice in the Romans passage that this is something that is passed on by one filled with the goodness of God to others. This is the role of the parent and it is to be accomplished with that heart, not one of frustration and inciting of anger and/or fear.

Fathers are big and powerful guys, and just as God does not use His great power to force His will, so are we to treat our children similarly. But rather, from power we are to lovingly and firmly discipline and instruct such that they are built up and encouraged to do likewise and act responsibly before Him on their own.

Again, as I write this I do so as one who recognizes that I am still growing. But God is so amazing in what He can and does do through us as we seek after Him and trust Him to work in and through us. Work on putting up the STOP sign when anger surfaces, and seek to do it another way—His way. James 1:19 tells us, “This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;” (James 1:19, NASB) STOP and listen to God, pause before your children, and then speak appropriately into the situation and into their lives such that you “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hearts to Hear, Honor and Obey (Ephesians 6:1-3)

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:1–3, NASB95)

Again returning to the general instruction of Ephesians 5:21, to “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ,” we find another specific application of how submission to Christ is to be applied to human relationships. We looked at the relationship between Christ and His church, the husband and the wife, and now parents and their children. In each of these there is the added aspect of headship ordained by God. Here we read that children are to obey their parents in the Lord. It is God who created the relationship, and it is God who established the order. God created man, and He sent His Son to bring man into a new relationship with Him through being born again. It is God who created man first and then woman, and who gave them to each other to become one with man having a headship role under the Lord. And it is God who created man and woman to bear children, and who gave the couple the role as parents to raise those children under the authority entrusted to them by God and in the knowledge of the Him.

God created these relationships and He determined how they are to operate. It is His right and proper way. Parents are the parents, and children are the children. This is God’s order. Parents are to give themselves for their children to love, nurture and train them to live lives fully submitted to Him. Children, on the other hand, are to submit to their parents in this role given them by God and according to God’s order of things even recognized in nature by those who do not know Him. The parents are to be the parents and the children and the children. This is the right and proper way, and when this breaks down relationships are hurt, God is not honored, and things go greatly awry.

We read that children are to “obey” their parents. I like this word. I think when it comes to people responding to us with obedience we all like this word. But, when the table is turned and we don’t like what we are called upon to do, we frequently find that we don’t care for it as much. The Greek word translated obey is ‘hupakouo’ which is made up of two other words. The first part (hupo) meaning ‘of’ or ‘under.’ This is the first indication of where tensions might surface. When we want our own way it is not our first response to come under or submit to someone else. This is where we again need to be reminded and even to remind others that God has ordained an order to things. We are all under Christ and are to submit to Him, and according to God’s plan children are under the parents and are similarly to submit to them. In the best of circumstances this happens when all are looking to the Lord and seeking Him and His ways, full of His grace and truth. The second part of the word is ‘akouo’ which means to ‘hear’ or ‘listen.’ It has the meaning of listening to understand or to comprehend. Putting them together, obedience is more than just doing what someone asks. It is the process of submitting to the instruction of one with an attitude and approach of comprehending what they are saying or asking such that it can be properly understood and acted upon. It is a full act of the heart, the mind, and subsequent actions. This means that attitudes are to be adjusted when they are wrong such that the acts are completed with the joy that one would have in responding directly to the Lord.

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.” (Hosea 14:9, NASB95)

Of course, over time we expect that as parents we are going to be forced to go through the difficult process of holding them more and more loosely as they mature and assume growing levels of responsibility. This also, is exactly how God has ordered it. It may not be easy on the heart, but it is His right and proper way. And, when this happens as He intends the results can be amazing. But sadly, we see way too many examples of when parents fail greatly to step into their role and/or when children rebel and alienate themselves from both their parents and what they learned as right and proper. Because there is sin in the world there is also going to be breakdowns in these most important relationships. It is for this reason that the role of the parent and the submission of the child are both to be centered in a relationship with God, with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, His Spirit indwelling each and growing them, and the Word guiding their steps and shining a light on their path.

Verses 2 and 3 continue, “Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” Going back to Exodus 20:12 we find Paul restating the fifth of the Ten Commandments and the first of those pertaining to human relationships, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” (Exodus 20:12, NASB95) This commandment is the only one specifically directed at the family, and it is one that established a proper progression for the home which leads to an ongoing stability for society. When the children grow up under godly training, and then marry and go and train their children to do likewise, things go well in the land. This was a specific promise to the Jews pertaining to the land that God had set aside for them, but it is also a general one that Paul reaffirms here that is right for all of mankind.

But when children do not follow after their parents and they seek after their own ways, then a course for destruction is establishedn and, as we see from history, families and nations are destroyed. Years ago, when I was given the opportunity to return to school, I chose to study Biblical Counseling. The reason for this was not to become a counselor, but to enhance my understanding of God’s Word and its power to change lives. I chose this because I looked at society around me and the multiple generations of dysfunctional homes. I was seeing more and more people coming to Christ who were not raised in Christian homes. Their foundation for biblical living and order was non-existent, and people were struggling to set a course that works. But God has an answer to this, and it is my great joy as a pastor to guide people into both a relationship with Christ and in their understanding of His power to change lives and restore homes.

As I look around me at the current election cycle, I see masses who have run to support candidates with limited attachment to the truth and whose words speak of shaking things up or of giving their constituents more of their extreme desires and increased license. Politics have always played to this to some degree, but this is by far the most extreme example I can remember. I look at the masses who gather in the streets to protest and to destroy the property of others. I look at how people are shouted down in meetings. I look at how people of faith are ostracized and even punished for taking “unpopular” stands. I look at the callousness of people encouraging the taking of unborn lives and the parents who are deceived by the lies of the abortion industry and their own desires. I look at the growth of the “if I feel it I should be able to do it” movement and all of its ramifications on those who do not agree. And, I look at how this has reached into families whose hearts desire has been to do things God’s way. As I do this I think of the parents who did not follow the path of their parents in the Lord, and now those parents are raising children who are raising children who are doing likewise. We are in a long downward societal spiral, and the only answer is to get right with the Lord and then to get right in our relationships. Not doing this, it is easy to see how it continues to not go well in the land.

This last paragraph was a hard one to write, but it is a present reality. This present reality is not a surprise to Christ, and neither are straying children or misdirected parents. God is powerful to change lives. What He calls us to do is to turn our hearts to Him and follow after Him in obedience. We see this in the example of the Prodigal Son who returned home expecting little and being given everything because of the great love of the father and his power to bless. God's way really works, and He is powerful to complete it.

“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” ’ “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:17–24, NASB95)

Children we will always be, regardless of our age. Being able to honor our parents we can always do, regardless of their presence. We are a living legacy and testimony to the nurture they gave and the path that they set. And in the cases where maybe our parents have failed, we are a testimony to the power of our God to bring to us what we otherwise did not have. My parents are both now in the presence of the Lord, but as I choose daily how to live I do so with the influence that they had on my life and even the name that they gave me such that I bring honor to them in both. I also live carrying the name of Christ and as a living testimony of Him. I may have white hair, but I am never too old to honor and obey. This is how we need to raise our children, and it our hope that this is how they will walk for all of the years to come.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Love and Respect (Ephesians 5:33)

“Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33, NASB95)

Many years ago I was introduced to a couple that had begun a unique ministry to husbands and wives that was (and still is) having a dramatic impact on their marriages. This verse, Ephesians 5:33, serves as a banner over their ministry and its words were the insight that ignited it. They are the simple principles of “love” and “respect.” Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs and their Love and Respect program so impressed me that it became a standard part of my premarital and marriage counseling, and I continue to be amazed as to how these two simple principles put in practice can so powerfully turn things around in the home.

As Dr. Eggerichs explains, it is not that women don’t need respect and men don’t need to be loved, but that men tend to be weakest in loving their spouses and women tend to be weakest in respecting their husbands. What Paul does here is to speak not to an exclusive action, but to weakness and need. Women tend to be very relational and love oriented. Things are interconnected and an issue in one area has ties in others. Men, on the other hand, tend to be more singularly focused and work/success oriented. Men go to work to get things done and they go to battle to win.

Recognizing these general differences, women are instructed to respect their husbands for who they are to encourage in what they do. Men, on the other hand, are instructed to express and demonstrate their love for their wives in various and meaningful ways. As he moves through the multi-session seminar, Emerson unpacks many facets of these relational differences and shows couples how to move away from the crazy cycle where the husband may do or say an unloving thing toward his wife and the wife responds with a cutting or disrespectful word or act toward her husband. This is a cycle that can continue to spin unless it is stopped by one or the other, without regard to who started it. The answer, then, is to reverse the cycle and getting it spinning in a proper direction which can be built upon and the marriage strengthened. Moving from the crazy cycle, he shows couples how to reverse the direction to an energizing cycle and then advance it into one he calls the rewarded cycle.

At the core of this is how the couples view at treat one another. In this sense, while Paul may have been speaking about Christ and His church, Paul makes it clear that the principles apply to husband and wives. These truths are for married couples, and they are essential to a Christ-honoring and couple-enriched marriage.

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22–24, NASB95) In Ephesians 5:22-24 Paul started off with the instruction that wives are to submit to their husbands as the heads of the home just as the church is to Christ. Coming to the end of the passage we can clearly see how this willing act of submission of the wife demonstrates respect for her husband. As the one given by God to have that role in the home and the one who is generally wired by God to function in a work-success world, the wife is to respect her husband just as she does Christ. It won’t always be easy, and the husband will even be wrong at times giving rise to question, but it is God’s way and the wife is to respectfully speak into and navigate their relationship such that she continually builds into her husband as the one given for that role.

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” … “but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:1-2, 4, NASB95)

Following this Paul instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved His church, giving Himself for her. He expands on this by instructing husbands to nourish and cherish them. This we read in Ephesians 5:25-29, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,” (Ephesians 5:25–29, NASB95)

This description of love is one in which the husband gives everything for the betterment of his wife. It is one where the husband recognizes the oneness that he has with his wife in marriage, and he treats her with all of the love that comes with it. He pays attention to her heart, and he tends to her needs. He cares about her best, and he does what he can to see her achieve it. It is not controlling her life, but working to help her flourish and grow. It is one that stays close when things are tough and even learns to hug. It is one that learns to listen and realize that not everything has to be fixed.

Going back to Emerson and Sarah’s seminar there are so many other examples of the energized and rewarded marriage. But all of them from the side of the husband point to the husband being one who treats his wife in loving ways for maximum benefit, and where the wife respects her husband letting him know that she is 100% by his side. Together as they love and respect one another, tending to their weaknesses and enjoying their strengths, they grow into the kind of relationship that Christ is working in His church and He will complete.

If you want to learn more of what Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs have for couples in learning to have the best marriage that God offers, go to their web page at They have seminar information as well as many helpful articles, audio clips, and even a blog and podcast. Many of your churches might even have the DVD’s for you to borrow. And, don’t ever forget; no counselor is better than the source of his material which in the fullness of truth is to be the living Word of God—the Bible.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

We are His Bride, His Church (Ephesians 5:32)

“This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32, NASB95)

From verse 32 we read that while the terms husband and wife are used in the previous verses and that they clearly speak to the husband and the wife, the focus is greater than the relationship between the husband and his wife. The focus is much broader in that it points to the relationship between Christ and His church, and what He has done for His church out of His great love. He gave Himself fully for His church so that His church might grow and mature into His radiant bride which is to be given fully complete back to Him.

Paul used the term “mystery” and he said that it is a great one at that. We have been brought into a wonderfully amazing union with Christ. We have been knit together with Him and one another, and are inseparable in that oneness. He is the head and we are the body. This was a truth that was previously unknown, and here Paul makes it clear that our union with Christ as His church is special and unique.

For thousands of years, man had known and experienced the union of one man and one woman in marriage. He had known its marvelous strength and love, and he had also known the ills of it going wrong. But man had not known God in a personal, physical way until Christ took on the form of man and became flesh for us. Now there was a person to attach to God and a personal relationship to experience. God has always been real, but in Christ becoming man and living a life recorded for us we came to know God in a way that had previously been unknown. In Christ many great mysteries were revealed, and the one pointed to here by Paul is the union between Christ and His church which is compared to that between the husband and wife at its best, where the wife submits to her husband and the husband lovingly gives himself for his wife as the head in the relationship.

His church is not to be a power play between men seeking their agenda of what they think God might want, but it is to be His collective body of believers seeking Him as one, loving Him and submitting to His will just as the Son loves the Father and submits to His. Sure, there is a communication gap between us and Him. We don’t see Him clearly or hear Him fully as He and the Father do one another, but it does not diminish the fact that the relationship is real and we are called to walk in His way and be filled with His Spirit as we hide His Word in our hearts.

It’s a difficult thing to watch a church go through a split because of competing desires or twisted emotions, but it happens. These words of Ephesians 5:21-32 are an instruction and an encouragement on how it is to be. Just as we can easily see when a marriage goes bad, we know when a church does also. God’s Word tells us that the real answer is to keep our hearts and our focus right by taking the ideal we know of marriage and living according to in in relation to one another in the church and in our relationship to Christ. And just as when a husband and a wife turn their hearts and eyes back to Christ and their marriage is revitalized, so can a church when it turns their wills and their emotions back to Christ.

Working in a public place I see many things. I see the couples going through the difficult days. I see the tensions that exist when agendas compete with one another, and I get the extreme privilege of seeing couples whose love has grown incredibly deep through many years of walking together as husband and wife. I even get to see the loneliness that occurs when one of that couple goes on before and the other is left to walk alone. We are relational people. This is how God created us. In being relational we are both instructed in and enabled to experience God’s best. What we have to do is seek after Him and do it His way. This is what God expects of us as individuals, and it is what He expects of us as His church.

But unlike marriage, where the feast happens at the beginning of the union, for us His church the great feast is yet to come. We entered this union not having personally seen the groom though having come to know Him and grow in Him, and one day we are assured that we will see Him face to face.

“Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”” (Revelation 19:6–9, NASB95)

Who we are as the church matters. As His church we speak of Him to others. Christ has united Himself with us, and we are His light in the world. The way we are with one another speaks to the way that we are with Him. In John 13:34-35 we read, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35, NASB95) We are His bride, His church, and he gave Himself fully for us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Amazing Love (Ephesians 5:28-31)

“So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:28–31, NASB95)

Sometimes trying to grasp just what it means to love someone else as we love ourselves is a mind boggling thing. This can be in part because of a self-deprecating attitude which tells us that we are not worthy of such love especially of ourselves by ourselves, but it might also be because we are sometimes so self-focused that it is hard to put other’s needs ahead of our own. These are some of the extreme ends of self-loathing and self-loving that affect how we love others. At the heart of them is the concept of how we view ourselves and how we view that other special person.

This struggle has led many to wrestle with the words of today’s passage where the heart of this struggle might best be traced back to the curse in the garden after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and were judged. There we read that the wife’s desire would be for her husband, and that desire is the kind of desire that seeks to have charge or control. But the husband, who was made head, would tend to exert that headship maybe in the form of undesirable rule. We see conflict in the curse. But, God’s perfect plan for the husband and wife was that they would separate themselves from their parents and become one flesh where they were joined in a oneness union that mirrored the oneness of the Trinity, where there was neither self-debasement or self-exaltation. It is a perfect oneness that the Father, Son and Spirit share which is perfect in love, unity, and harmony of thought and action. It is one where the Son demonstrated His love for the Father by not regarding who He is as God to become man to give Himself for us. And it is one in which the Spirit comes to perfectly work in us to do the will of the Father. There is a oneness which cannot be separated other than to know that our one God is in truth manifest in three persons.

Marriage is to be that kind of union. But, as people who know sin and struggle with it, we know the very real tension of our own desires possibly being different from those of our spouse. We know opinions that vary, and we know ways of doing things that are different. We know one generally being more wired to love and the other being more wired to respect and honor. We know one who might be able to deal with multiple things at once and the other who might have to pack one thought or action away before unpacking and managing the other. There are so many ways that husbands and wives vary from each other. This does not make those differences better or worse. But it does indeed evidence a difference, maybe even as we see the roles of the Trinity varied throughout Scripture.

Knowing the difference between God’s ideal and man’s tendency, Paul instructs husbands to love their wives as they love their own bodies. This kind of a love speaks not necessarily to a comparative love, but to a love of oneness without distinction. The husband is to see his wife as part of himself just as it was stated in creation that the two would become one. The husband is to relate to his wife as the special one who was made one with him. This means when things come along to cause division, even if it is by the other, the husband is charged to keep this priority of practice in mind and love his wife accordingly. This is not automatic. It is not an easy thing to do, or it would not have needed a command. But it is a necessary thing to do if the couple is to experience the kind of marriage relationship intended by God.

And to say that this is only the responsibility of the husband is to miss that fact that both husband and wife are called into the same relationship together with the same submission to one another that we are to have to Christ and which Christ had to the Father. The difference here is that the husband has been given the headship role in the home, and it is incumbent on him to take the initiative. But when he does not do this, there is nothing keeping the wife from loving back and winning him even in his disobedience as we read in 1 Peter 3:1-6.

Being of one body we cherish the entire body, and in the marriage relationship this means cherishing one another as we are to cherish and take care of ourselves. It is to tend to the other in loving ways, making sure that your oneness is a priority and that in so doing, for us husbands, that our wives are built up and encouraged in the Lord. This is what Jesus does for us, and it is the model that He has given us as we love our spouse. It is the heart of the purpose statement of Genesis 2:24 quoted here in our passage today. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Conflict, disappointment and failure are huge barriers to this kind of love. When we feel that we have let the other down it is very difficult to feel that we are holding up our end of the relationship. It is in conflict that other feelings rise and division occurs. It is in disappointment and failure when we focus on our inadequacies and inabilities and we feel unworthy of our role. When we sense these feelings we need to take them captive right away. We may not have the answer for what to do next, but what we do have is the answer to how we are to treat one another while we are working through the tough times.

Jesus endured a lot for us. He endured more than we could ever imagine. He set aside who He was as God for a season to take on the form of man to come and redeem those whom the Father loves. Keeping this bigger picture of Christ is huge for us in keeping the big picture in loving our spouses. And, for us who are husbands, to love our wives as Christ loved His church will not be easy at times. This is not because they are unloving in return, but because we all struggle. The rewards, however, for both are amazing.

I cannot imagine these past thirty-eight years without Robin. I am so thankful for a couple of friends of hers who put me on the spot to take her on that first date. The years have definitely had their tough times, and we have had our difficult moments. But our God is so amazing in designing such a wonderful institution as marriage where one man and one woman could give themselves so imperfectly in love to one another. Our model is perfect and He is the one from whom we are charged to take our lead.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

As Christ His Church (Ephesians 5:25b-27)

“…as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25b–27, NASB95)

Sometimes it is really easy for me to get so deep into the words and all of their meaning that I forget to step back and put them all together for their greater message. Think about the love of Christ and what He did for us. He gave Himself up for us. He sanctifies us which means to purify us and make us holy. He continually cleanses us in our lives so that we might more closely resemble who we are already made to be in Him; fully forgiven and made righteous with His righteousness put to our account. This word “sanctify” is the Greek word “hagiazo” which comes from another word simply meaning “holy.” Sanctifying us is making us holy as He is holy. This means that we are then separated from the things of the world and set apart and dedicated to Him fully purified. Dedicated is the other part of this great picture. This word is also used of things such as His temple and His people, which and who were made to set apart, consecrated, or dedicated to His service. This was to affect their entire being and usage such that everything about it or them would reflect His glory. This required moral purity and excellence in entirety. This is who we are made to be in Christ and it is the work that He is doing in us which we are to fully cooperate with.

He did this by cleansing us. We saw this in John when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet and Peter objected saying that Jesus then needed to wash all of Him. Jesus responded saying, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean…” (John 13:10, NASB95) The cleansing of the believer happens once, but there still remains the need for continued washing or bathing to deal with the other stuff that comes along. God’s Word continues to direct us in how we are to live as these cleansed vessels who need attention in order to shine as they were fully intended.

In the Old Testament I think of the pictures of the people of Israel who when they were given the land we charged to go in a rid it of all that was not of God. We see the impact that the word of God had on young King Josiah when the high priest found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord (2 Kings 22-23). Josiah responded with repentance and action. In chapter 23 he had the word of the Lord read to the people, and then he proceeded to do away with all that was wrong with their worship and the priest and idols who had led them astray. But Josiah was only one bright light among many dark rulers. We read in 2 Kings 23:25, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.” (2 Kings 23:25, NASB95) Immediately after these words we read how the people had not all responded and God moved forward with His judgment of His people. What Josiah could not do; Christ did come to do. He has cleansed us and has made it possible for us to continually grow having our feet regularly washed as we follow Him by faith.

The picture in this passage continues as we read that Christ did this for His church of whom we are individually members so that we will be made a glorious bride to be presented to Himself, and His method for this is by giving us His word to direct our steps. The word “word” is the Greek word “rhema” which represents not the entirety of the Word but the individual or specific pieces of it. His word speaks to our lives and it provides the direction for how we are to live before Him. It is the fulfillment of His word that assures us of what He has done. It is the faithfulness of the His word that gives us hope. And it is the content of His word that lights our paths to walk in between. We hide His word in our hearts, and that word is made alive by His Spirit such that we are continually being shaped into His perfect image.

And as we are shaped, the world is then able to see the change. God, of course has a perfect picture of what He has done and His doing, but as we grow it is done in such a way that others are able to see it as well. When we go to a wedding we see the bride presented in such a glorious way on this most special day. What Christ does in us is to shape us and prepare us for that day which His church will be presented before Him as His bride in all of her beauty and glorious splendor.

What an incredible picture this is!! Just look at the word used to describe her—us. “…that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”

Glory means honorable or esteemed, to have a place of honor and a splendid, radiant, or glorious appearance. The picture of the wedding day could not be more dramatic, and the hope we have for that great wedding feast in His presence is because of Him and what He has done and promised for us.

To be without spot or wrinkle is to be perfectly prepared and presented. My dad was in the military, and I remember the nights before an important inspection. The attention given to his uniform was precise to the smallest detail. It was unacceptable to have a spot or stain in it, and I remember even his hat sitting in an oven having been starched such that it was perfectly stiff and without a single wrinkle. He would spend time examining it, and making sure it was just right. There was no slackness in his preparation. And there is in an infinitely perfect way no slackness in the preparation of our Lord in us. The work that He began in us He indeed is faithful to complete (Philippians 1:6).

We read that He sanctifies and that the Greek word used is “hagiazo.” The end of this is that we are then presented holy and blameless. Holiness is the end result of sanctification. He “hagiazo’s” us so that we might be presented “hagios.” He does this so that we might be presented back to Himself as holy, pure, and without blame. We are His holy ones that He does the work of continually conforming into the reality of who He has made us to be. We as His church and His people are made to be into His perfected bride.

This is the picture of what Christ does for us, but it also the picture of what husbands are charged to do for their wives. The big difference is that He is God and husbands are not. I think about myself and how miserably I fail at times and how I can frequently look to my own self-interests and not those of my wife. It is in these times that I am also to remember that God is doing a work in me as I am charged to work to this end in my wife. And in this I am also extremely grateful for her love that gives me wiggle room as I make mistakes. Looking to the pictures of Robin on our wedding day in her dress brings back wonderful memories, but the greatest joy in being with her is not that one day but in what God has done in all of the days since. And now, as we are waiting on next Sunday to see if He is leading us to a different state and a new church, I cannot imagine doing it without her by my side. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Husbands to their Wives, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:23-25)

“For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:23–25, NASB95)

Later in this chapter Paul is going to wrap up his instruction to husbands and wives by telling wives to respect their husbands and husbands to love their wives. We will look at this in more detail later. As we began this section we saw that the wife is to submit or be submissive to her husband, as to the Lord. And here in these verses we read that the husband is to love his wife in the same way, as the Lord. From beginning to end we find that the marriage relationship based upon love and respect. In being submissive the wife respects her husband as the one given this headship role in their relationship and in the home. Then, as the head of the wife, we read that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves His church.

God has determined that this is His order in the home where there is not a two-headed situation but one where the husband given to the headship role deeply loves his wife and looks to her best. This is the plan, and it is the ideal to which both husband and wife are to look as they look to the Lord as their example. In the last post we focused on the wife following the example of Christ who emptied Himself to do the will of the Father. In these verses we return to Christ to see how out of His great love for us in laying down His life so that we might be saved and brought into an eternal love relationship with Him is to be the example for the husband.

Jesus Christ is the head of His church. “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:3, NASB95) This is the unquestionable role given to Him by the Father. We read this in passages such as Colossians chapter 1 where we read, “For by Him [Christ] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:16–20, NASB95) Jesus’ authority, as we clearly see from these verses, is an active one responding in submission to the will of the Father with whom He is one, and He did this for us who He dearly loves. This is the example of the selfless love of the Son and the model to which husbands are called to follow. Because of our love for God we are to submissively to Him give ourselves as living sacrifices of love to our wives.

Walking through these verses we alternate between looking at the marriage relationship between the husband and wife and the comparative marriage relationship between Christ and His church. In these verses we read that the church is subject to Christ, just as we read before that wife is to be to her husband. This means that it not only is the church (or the wife) to follow His directives, but that it is to do so with full regard for who He is. We, as the church, are to be constantly mindful of our Lord and what He has done for us. And, in response to this, we are to give ourselves fully to Him.

We, as members of the body of Christ and His church are to submit ourselves to Him because He is our perfect head. Wives, similarly, are to submit themselves to their husbands not because they are perfect leaders, but because Christ is. And husbands are to love their wives not because they are always lovely, but because our Lord is and this is how He is toward us. His motive is our best, and our motive as husbands is to be the best of our wives as we demonstrate our love by how we give ourselves to them just as we do to the Lord.

As husbands we are to give ourselves fully for them. Jesus held nothing back on the cross, and following His example we are to hold nothing back for our wives. And, when a marriage is working right or at least moving in a Christ-right direction the response of the wife will make it well worth the husband’s effort. I love the truth that we see in the next verses that as the church is presented in her splendor she is presented to Christ as His perfected bride. The amazing thing about all of this is not “What’s in it for me” giving, but the reality that doing marriage God’s way does have a wonderful result that is pleasing to both.

Of course, there is no promise that all wives are going to respond this way. The response of the wife is not to be the determinate of the love of the husband, just as the obedience of the husband is not to be guiding force for the wife. Each are called to do these as unto the Lord, and then trust the Lord to do His amazing work in the life of the other. Husbands lovingly give and see what God will do.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wives to their Husbands, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22, NASB95)

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22, ESV)

This command of Ephesians 5:22 is the first of several which grow out of the example of Christ and general command of the previous verse. In verse 21 we read that every believer is to “… be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21, NASB95) We find as a precedent of any particular act or attitude of “subjection” a general subjection that we are all to have toward one another. In fact, this command of 21 leads to the implied words in verse 22. Some translations will either indicate by italics or by margin note that a word is added to the text or may not be found in some manuscripts. Verse 22 is an example of such a verse, where “be subject” or “submit” is not found in the text but is added for clarity. It might more accurately read, “Wives to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” But such a statement clearly begs the question of what “to” is referring to, and a look at the texts clearly points back to the subjection or submission referred to in verse 21 which all believers are to exercise toward one another.

The foundational principle is “submission” which is a humble act of coming under or giving one’s control to another. The Greek word translated “subject” in verse 21 is hupotasso [Strongs #5293], which is a compound of hupo meaning under and tasso meaning to appoint, ordain, set or order. It has the meaning of setting in order under, arranging under, or subordinating. It does not mean that one is more or less than another, but that one is placed under the authority or will of another. And, according to Scripture this is how we are to regard each other and specifically in verse 22, how wives are to be toward their own husbands.

Note also that this positional arrangement is in relation to the husband and the wife. It is a singularly private one that is shared between a couple bound in marriage, and not a general one in relation to all husbands and wives combined. The roots of this command go back to Genesis 3:16 after the Fall, where we read, “To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”” (Genesis 3:16, ESV) In this judgment from God there is found both the directive and the struggle. That word for “desire” in the next chapter of Genesis is used to refer to a struggle for authority or mastery, and the word “rule” reminds us of how imperfectly at times authority can be utilized. Because of the sin of man and the subsequent judgment, husbands and wives are going to struggle to determine who “wears the pants in the family.” But in Christ, this struggle is brought into a new framework. We will see in the next verses that the husband is to love his wife and give himself for her just as Christ did the church, and here in verse 22 we read that the wife out of submission to Christ is to submit herself to the authority or headship of her husband.

These may not be popular concepts in our culture, but it does not change the fact that it is God’s intended order. Sin is what makes this relationship rough and hard to swallow. But Christ demonstrated for us the better way. In Philippians 2:1-11 we read,

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:1–11, NASB95)

God’s ideal is that the husband and wife as one flesh in marriage (Genesis 2:24) will function with oneness of spirit submitted to the Spirit of God and according to the oneness of God. Jesus has always been God with the Father and the Spirit. He has never been any more or less God. Yet He emptied himself by taking on the form of a bond-servant to humbly do the will of the Father. These words “emptied” and “humbled” say a lot about our Lord. When it is all about us we become full of ourselves. Jesus showed us that for us He did the exact opposite and freely gave of Himself out of Their great love according to the will of the Father for us. And, in the end He was the one who was glorified for doing so such that one day “EVERY KNEE WILL BOW … and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Reading ahead in the next verses, we see that the role of the husband is to so empty himself for his wife in order that she is then presented back as precious, spotless and full of splendor. This is the WOW part of God’s plan. The reality is that we all struggle with it. Husbands fail in their role and wives in theirs. It is misapplied and misused in our world. Sometimes rule is harsh and unloving, and sometimes submission is non-existent. But this is not God’s plan for the husband and the wife, and it is not God’s plan for His children as we all relate to one another.

Before closing it up, there are other passages dealing with this same issue in Scripture. Another one of them is found in 1 Peter 3:1-6 where we read, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” (1 Peter 3:1–6, ESV)

What we see in these verses is the impact of a godly wife on her husband and her house. Notice again that it begins by pointing backwards to chapter 2, and this backwards once again is to the character and example of our Lord. In this instance it was to His response to ridicule and persecution. He took our sins upon Himself for our forgiveness, and in the example of 1 Peter 3 and the godly wife we see that even when the husband is not following after the Lord or is disobedient in some way that she remains strong in Christ and entrusts her husband to Him to do an incredible work. In these verses we see that this is more than a visible response, but is one that comes from deep inside and flows into every area of her life as she places herself under or submits to our Lord to do His great work in and through her. And in doing this we once again see how she is then honored by God and those who follow after her.

I have been incredibly blessed to have such a woman as my wife!!!