Pause

The next few verses in ourEphesians study need some careful research.  I’ve heard and read these verses taught several different ways, and I want to give them the most accurate treatment I can, so I’m going to put a hold on that until next week.  Also, I don’t want to start on this passage and then not finish it until next week, so I’m stepping away from it until Monday.

Here’s a meme that caught my eye and my interest this morning: Tired

I have commented many times that there are two things people are seeking when they come to my office:  Hope and peace.  Hope that things can and will improve, and the inner peace that will allow them to rest, to sleep, and to get through their days without falling apart.

The hope I can offer them is Jesus Christ.

The peace I can offer them is Jesus Christ.

Of course, there are many ways I go about it.  We are what we think (Proverbs 23:7).  It is what we believe, what we think about, that motivates our emotions and behaviors.  If one believes that life is dire and nothing but trouble, then he will be Eeyore.  In the story illustrations, Eeeyore is actually kind of cute and loveable.  Believe me,  cute and loveable are not the characteristics that a persistent Eeyore is known for.  So I try to help those people examine their negative thinking patterns and learn to control them in a more positive (biblical) direction.

Peace comes only when we accept a few basic principles:  You can’t control what other people say or do.  It’s not your job.  You can only control how you react to others.  That is your job.  What other people say about you is none of your business.  What a relief it is to really get hold of that one and to quit wondering and worrying about what other people think.  Not your job. Stop it!

Finally, true peace comes from learning Philippians 4:4-8.  We are told that when we stop worrying and start praying about everything, with grateful hearts and a begging demeanor, we will have the peace that passes understanding.

There will always be trouble.  There will always be people in your life who have no good will toward you. There will always be loss and heartbreak.

There will always be Satan’s attempt to thwart the purposes of God, and sometimes believers bear the brunt of Satan’s evil.  Don’t worry.  Our future is secure with God, and He will have the final victory.

Isaiah 26:3.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”

Psalm 119:165. “Great peace have they which love Thy law; and nothing shall offend them.”

Grace

Ephesians 4:7.  “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

This verse is the beginning of a passage in which we are taught that God has given gifts to every believer to be used in the ministry of the church, in the sharing of the gospel, in ministry to each other.  We have one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Body in Christ. Each member of a body is to function in full accord with the other members if the body is to be healthy and get the job done.

I have a little problem right now.  I think it’s arthritis, and probably not much to be done, but I’ve noticed over the past few days that the second toe on my left foot is very sore and aches a lot.  Amazing how one small member doesn’t really feel too important until it starts to send out pain signals.  And if it stops “working,”  it will affect my balance and my stride.

The truth is, our human bodies break down and wear out as we age.  The larger truth, a glorious truth, is that the body of Christ will never age, never break down, never fall to illness or death.  Yes, there can be members that are out of sorts, but Jesus said that the gates of hell itself will not prevail against the church.

I want to be a member of the body who uses my gifts even as I age, whatever they may be, to further the work of the church. We are all given something.  Some gifts are public.  Everyone knows who has them, what they are, and how effective these gifts are.  Other people have more quiet gifts, and sometimes go completely unrecognized.

God recognizes them all.  He measures out the gifts according to His will and wisdom. Our job is to allow Him, through the Holy Spirit, to use us as He will.

One Faith, One Baptism, One God

Ephesians 4: 4-6. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

God provides the basis for unity  in these three short verses. One body:  the fellowship of believers.

This past summer, I had the privilege of going on a mission trip to Slovakia, way over on the eastern end. We were there to help a little church do some construction, and to hold a Bible conference.

I don’t speak any Slovakian.  Many of the older folks don’t speak any English. But there was a unity, a oneness, in the Lord. We enjoyed each other, we shared our testimonies.  We worked our translators pretty hard!  To me, it was a perfect example of two different cultures coming together in a bond of unity through the Spirit.

I may never see any of those people again in this life, but we all have the same hope of heaven, and we know we will see each other again there.  We all believe in the efficacy of Christ’s blood for the washing away of sin.  We share the same faith, the same baptism, the same God.

That is the bond of the spirit of unity in Christ. Lindaandtranslator

Giving my testimony on the last Sunday in Michalovce.  The young man was an excellent translator.

Unity of the Spirit

Ephesians 4:2-3. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep  the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

We are, in verse one, to walk worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus.

In verse two, we are told to walk worthy “with all lowliness.”  That doesn’t mean we’re to put ourselves down, talk trash about ourselves, constantly apologize to people for taking up space.  We are simply to be humble.  It is God Whom we represent. We should never be proud in our task, but humble and meek.

Meekness, someone has said, is strength under pressure.  Moses was called a meek man.  Jesus was meek.  Meek does NOT equate with weak.

We are to be patient in our calling. We are not to treat other believers with impatience; we are to  be forbearing. Forbearance is patience and tolerance.

Don’t you just cringe these days every time you hear the word tolerance?  The poltically correct gurus have changed the meaning of the word to being complete acceptance and approval of all sinful behavior.

I could go off an such a rant right here!  I won’t, though, because it’s not my purpose in this post.  But there is a rant building in my mind, and sooner or later it’s going to have to come out :)

When believers exercise tolerance toward other believers, which is the context here, it simply means that we remember we are God’s; that we do what we can, without compromising scriptural truth, to keep a bond of unity and peace.  When we do have division over scriptural truth, we  do so without hatred and pejorative speech.

Friday Counseling Issues: Music

Oliver Sacks, M.D., is a neurologist who has written a fascinating book about music and the brain.  My son loaned me his copy a few years ago, and I think I’m going to have to buy my own because I want to read it again.

Musicophilia details the way the brain reacts to music.  I was particularly moved by the story of a very elderly man in a nursing home who had pretty much pulled into himself, not speaking or communicating in any way.  When he was fitted with headphones and listened to the music of his era,  he responded dramatically.  He’d been a musician, and his brain still was wired to recognize and enjoy his music.  He even began to communicate again with his daughter and the caregivers in his facility.

All through the ages, every culture in every land has used music for recreation, for ceremony, for oral history, for wooing a fair maiden, for religious observances and more. In the Bible, music is mentioned hundreds of times.  David played his harp to soothe King Saul’s bad moods; instruments that were used in the tabernacle and later the temple are enumerated; the choirs that had the job of making music were detailed.  We are told in Job that the morning stars all sing together.  We know that there will be amazing music in heaven, for God is a musical being.

Whales sing to each other.  Birds make beautiful sounds.  If you listen on a quiet summer evening, you will hear the rhythmic chirping of frogs and crickets as they court one another.

God has given us a wonderful gift in music.  It lifts the soul as nothing else can do.  I’ve often considered having soft music playing in my office during sessions, but I’ve not done it because of my concern that it would be distracting.  Some day I may give it a try, though, because music does, indeed, soothe the savage breast (William Congreve, The Mourning Bride, 1697).

So if your spirits are low, or you are tense and anxious, try listening to some beautiful music.  If you are angry and your temper is high, music can help calm you.  Music is the language of romance.  A date to a concert of beautiful music is a great idea.  Music can entrance babies who are fussy. Take a look here: http://win-edge.com/BabyGoToSleep.shtml

And finally, just for fun:

 

 

Walk Worthy

Ephesians 4:1. “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,”

Several things.

“Therefore.”  When a new chapter begins with that word, you need to look back and see why.  In this verse, the therefore refers to the limitless love and power of God to work through believers.

“The prisoner of the Lord.”  Paul was indeed in prison.  Some would have considered him  a prisoner of Rome, but he knew better.  He knew that if God chose to do so, he would be freed from his prison in a heartbeat.  He was right where he needed to be, and he was okay with that.

“Beseech.”  To beseech is to beg unceasingly, with tears and humility.  Now think about that in regard to what Paul is beseeching the Ephesian believers to do:

“Walk worthy of the vocation.”  Be worthy.  Live godly before others.  You have the Lord Jesus Christ in you; you have the power of the Holy Spirit to comfort you and strengthen you.  You have access to God through Jesus Christ.  Walk worthy.

But what vocation?  Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance tells me that this word is klaysia, which means an invitation or a calling.  So do all believers have the same calling?

Yes, we most certainly do.  We are called to love God, to share the gospel of salvation, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  We are called to live godly in Christ Jesus, to bring no reproach to His Name through our words or behaviors.

One of my favorite verses surely applies here:  Micah 6:8. “But He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

It really isn’t complicated, is it?

Glory in the Church

Ephesians 3:21. “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

esphesians321_dribbble_1x

Here is a prophecy that the Church is eternal. Nothing will destroy it.  The very gates of hell will not prevail against it.  And the glory will be to God through Christ Jesus throughout all the generations, throughout eternity.

That’s what heaven is about, you know.  Yes, we’ll meet our loved ones who have gone before us.   Yes, we’ll enjoy all the beauties that our minds can’t even imagine. But the featured event in heaven will be to glorify God throughout all eternity.