Archive for March, 2007
According to Paul’s worldview, outsiders are not nuisances to be threatened and suppressed. Outsiders are the very people that we are called to serve. It’s like saying that strangers are friends that we haven’t yet met. The church exists for the benefit of those who are not members. If Jesus really did think that other people were so important and so valuable that he chose to die for them, in spite of their sinfulness, in spite of their manners and idiosyncrasies, in spite of the ways in which we may find them frightening or unapproachable or unattractive, then we also need to have a love an concern for them that stretches over all the barriers that might try to repel us.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians — Chapter 4
4:1 Masters, deal with your servants fairly and equally, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
4:2 Keep on praying, staying alert and showing gratitude. 4:3 Pray for us also, that God may open a door for the message, allowing us to speak about the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4:4 Pray that I may explain it as clearly as I should. 4:5 Act wisely towards outsiders, using your time well. 4:6 Always let your words be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer everyone.
4:7 Tychicus, my beloved brother, a faithful servant and fellow slave in the Lord, will let you know how I am going. 4:8 I am sending him to you for this reason, so that he can find out how you are and encourage your hearts. 4:9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is going on here. 4:10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. You have received instructions about him, “If he comes to you, welcome him.” 4:11 Jesus who is called Justus also sends greetings. These are my only Jewish fellow workers for the Kingdom of God, men who have been a comfort to me.
4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you. He is always striving on your behalf in his prayers, praying that you will be mature and fully understand God’s will. 4:13 I can tell you that he is very concerned about you, and about the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. 4:15 Greet the believers in Laodicea, and greet Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 4:16 When this letter has been read to you, arrange for it to be read in the church of the Laodiceans. You should also read the letter from Laodicea. 4:17 Tell Archippus to make sure that he does the work which the Lord has given him to do.
4:18 I write this greeting with my own hand: Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
March 31st, 2007
At various stages in life you have to give up old habits and start new ones. It doesn’t just happen when changing schools. It happens whenever your change jobs or move houses or get married or stop being married or have kids or retire. When any of these life changes occur, in a sense you have to die to your old way of life and get reborn into your new way of life. For example, when you leave school and go to university, you have to learn to stop relying on teachers to motivate you to study, and instead learn to motivate yourself. The change is even more significant when you become a follower of Jesus.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians — Chapter 3
3:1 You have been raised with Christ, so search for things which are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 3:2 Think about things which are above, not things which are on earth. 3:3 You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 3:4 When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. 3:5 So kill those parts of you which are earthly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idol worship. 3:6 The anger of God is coming because of these things. 3:7 You used to do these things when they were part of your lifestyle, 3:8 but now get rid of them all: anger, bad temper, hostility, slander, and abusive language. 3:9 Do not lie to each other, now that you have removed the old self with its habits, 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its Creator. 3:11 There is no difference between Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian and Scythian, slave and free person. Christ is all, and in all.
3:12 As God’s chosen people, holy and beloved, dress yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, courtesy and perseverance. 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive each other, if anyone has a complaint against anyone else. Just as Christ forgave you, forgive each other.
3:14 Most importantly, live a life of love, which is the perfect connection. 3:15 Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, because you were called to peace in one body. Be thankful. 3:16 Let the message of Christ permeate your lives, and teach and instruct each other with all your wisdom with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude to the Lord in your hearts.
3:17 Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 3:18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as this is proper in the Lord. 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be bitter towards them. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, because this pleases the Lord. 3:21 Fathers, do not antagonise your children, so that they will not be discouraged.
3:22 Slaves, always obey your earthly masters, not just when they are watching you, like people pleasers, but wholeheartedly, out of reverence for God. 3:23 Work heartily at whatever you do, as if you were working for the Lord, and not for people. 3:24 Understand that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. 3:25 Someone who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong that has been done, and there is no favouritism.
March 30th, 2007
Most people decide that questions of philosophy are just too difficult to answer. There are too many competing opinions, and so most people just don’t bother to look into it. But, as Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living. If you haven’t thought about why you exist, how can you know what you should be doing with your life? How can you make sure that when you get to the end of your life you haven’t wasted it? If you haven’t worked out an answer to the question of what is the meaning of life, then you have simply accepted the default answer, which is that there is no meaning.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians — Chapter 2
2:1 I want you to know how hard I am working for you, and for the people in Laodicea, and for everyone who has not yet met me. 2:2 I do it so that their hearts can be encouraged and they can be united in love and gain all the riches of fully knowing Christ, the mystery of God, 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 2:4 I say this to stop anyone misleading you with specious arguments. 2:5 Although I am physically absent, I am with you in the spirit, glad to see how well you are living and how solid your faith in Christ is.
2:6 Keep following Christ Jesus the Lord in the way you have received him. 2:7 Put your foundations in him and be built up in him and established in the faith just as you have been taught, and be generous with your gratitude. 2:8 Be careful not to let anyone rob you through philosophy and empty pretence based on human traditions and worldly powers, and not on Christ. 2:9 Every aspect of God lives in Christ’s body, 2:10 and you become complete in him. He is the head of every ruler and authority. 2:11 You were circumcised in him with a circumcision made without hands, removing the sinful nature through the circumcision of Christ. 2:12 You were buried with him in baptism, and you were raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 2:13 You were dead in your sins and uncircumcised flesh, but he made you alive together with him, forgiving us for all our sins, 2:14 wiping out the record of accusations against us. He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 2:15 He has overthrown the rulers and the authorities. He has publicly exposed them and triumphed over them by the cross.
2:16 No-one should condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for observing or failing to observe particular feast days or new moons or Sabbath days. 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but Christ is real. 2:18 Do not let anyone steal your prize with false humility and angel worship, delving into visions, and being arrogant with worldly thoughts. 2:19 Such people are disconnected from Christ, who is the head from which the whole body is supported and held together with joints and ligaments, and grows through God’s power. 2:20 You died with Christ to worldly powers. So why do you live as if you have to obey rules such as, 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch?” 2:22 These rules are human regulations about things which are gone when we use them. 2:23 They look like wisdom with their self-imposed piety and humility, and asceticism, but they are of no value against self-indulgence.
March 29th, 2007
Paul said, “The Good News is bearing fruit and growing throughout the world, just as it has with you since the day you heard and truly understood the grace of God.” It’s all about faith and hope and love. Faith involves deciding to trust in God, but it’s not blind faith; it’s a faith based on all the available evidence. Hope is what God gives you, a hope that there really is a meaning and purpose in life and that who you are and what you do does have significance. Love is how you relate to God and other people, no longer seeing others as objects to be used for your purposes, but seeing yourself as a servant of others.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians — Chapter 1
1:1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 1:2 to the believers and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ at Colossae. Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:3 Whenever we pray for you we thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:4 We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love which you have for all the believers, 1:5 because of the hope which is kept for you in heaven, which you first heard about in the message of the truth, the Good News 1:6 which has come to you. The Good News is bearing fruit and growing throughout the world, just as it has with you since the day you heard and truly understood the grace of God. 1:7 You learned this from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 1:8 and he also told us about your love in the Spirit. 1:9 This is why, since the day we first heard about you, we have not stopped praying and making requests for you to understand fully God’s will with spiritual wisdom and insight, 1:10 for you to live lives worthy of the Lord, and please him always by doing good things and growing to know God better. 1:11 We pray that you will be made strong by his glorious power, to endure and persevere with joy, 1:12 giving thanks to the Father for letting us have a part of the inheritance of the believers who are in the light. 1:13 He rescued us from the power of darkness, and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves. 1:14 In him we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 1:16 All things were created by him, in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible things, thrones and dominions and principalities and powers. Everything has been created through him, and for him. 1:17 He existed before anything, and everything is held together by him. 1:18 He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he is the most important of anyone. 1:19 God was pleased to live fully in him, 1:20 and to reconcile everything, including things on earth and things in heaven, to himself through him, making peace through the blood of his cross.
1:21 You used to be distant from God, enemies in your minds because of your evil actions, 1:22 but he has now reconciled you by his death in a human body, so that you can be holy and faultless and blameless when you stand in his presence, 1:23 if you continue in the faith, firm and steadfast and unmoved from the hope of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed to all creation under heaven. I, Paul, was made a servant of this Good News.
1:24 I am glad to suffer for your sake, and to continue in my own body what remains of Christ’s sufferings for his body, the church. 1:25 I became a servant of the church according to God’s plan for me to explain the message of God to you. 1:26 It is a mystery which has been hidden throughout the ages and generations, but has now been revealed to his people. 1:27 God wanted to let them know the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is that Christ lives in you, the hope of glory. 1:28 We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all our wisdom, so that we will be able to show that every one of them is mature in Christ Jesus. 1:29 I work hard for this with all of his power which works through me.
March 28th, 2007
Exams are a big cause of anxiety. Having to speak in public is a big worry producer. There’s often a lot of nervousness before a big sporting contest. You might get an anxiety attack if you’re about to meet someone famous or someone that you really want to impress — perhaps at a job interview or on a first date — or if you’re approaching a situation where there is likely to be a confrontation, perhaps with some anger and violence. According to Paul, the best way to get rid of anxiety in life is to hand the worries over to God, have faith that he has your best interests at heart, and thank him for taking care of the problems.
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians — Chapter 4
4:1 Friends, my pride and joy, I love you and long for you. Remain true to the Lord, my dear friends. 4:2 I urge Euodia and Syntyche to reconcile in the Lord. 4:3 Yes, and I ask you, my true comrade, to help these women, because they worked for the Good News with me, and also with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, Rejoice! 4:5 Your kindness should be evident to everybody. The Lord is near. 4:6 Don’t be worried about anything. Tell God everything you desire by praying and asking and giving thanks. 4:7 The peace of God, which is too great to understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
4:8 Finally, friends, focus your minds on things which are true, things which are honourable, things which are right, things which are pure, things which are agreeable, things which are praiseworthy, anything which is good or admirable. 4:9 Do the things which you learned from me, which I gave you, which you heard from me, and which you saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you. 4:10 I am very grateful to the Lord that you have at last thought about me again. You actually have been thinking about me, but did not have an opportunity. 4:11 I am not saying that I am short of anything, because I have learned to be content in any conditions. 4:12 I know how to live in poverty, and I know how to live in prosperity in any and all circumstances. I have experienced both being full and being hungry, both having plenty and not having enough. 4:13 I can do all this through the one who strengthens me. 4:14 But it was good of you to share in my troubles. 4:15 Philippians, you know that when I started proclaiming the Good News in Macedonia, no church other than you shared with me by giving and receiving. 4:16 Even in Thessalonica you helped me out more than once when I was in need. 4:17 I am not looking for a gift, but I want to see your blessings increase. 4:18 I have all I need and more. I am well stocked with the gifts that you sent through Epaphroditus, a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable and pleasing offering to God. 4:19 My God will meet every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 4:20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
4:21 Greet every believer in Christ Jesus. The believers who are with me greet you. 4:22 All the believers greet you, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
March 27th, 2007
At the time, things like cars and houses and academic qualifications seem to be valuable, but if you really understand who Jesus is and what a difference he can make in your life, why are you going to waste your time worrying about them. They are absolutely nothing compared with what Jesus can do for you. As Paul said in today’s reading, “I count everything as worthless in the light of the immeasurable value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have lost everything and consider it garbage, in order to gain Christ and be found in him.”
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians — Chapter 3
3:1 Finally, friends, rejoice in the Lord. It is no problem for me to write the same things to you again, and it makes things certain for you. 3:2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evildoers, beware of the mutilators. 3:3 We are the real circumcision, the ones who worship God in the Spirit and take pride in Christ Jesus, and don’t put our trust in the flesh, 3:4 although I could do so if I wanted to. If any other man thinks that he can put his trust in the flesh, I can do better: 3:5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew with Hebrew parents, a Pharisee with regard to the law, 3:6 a zealous persecutor of the church, and a faultless follower of the righteousness which is in the law.
3:7 All of these things seemed to be earning me merit, but I now count them as worthless for Christ. 3:8 Moreover, I count everything as worthless in the light of the immeasurable value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have lost everything and consider it garbage, in order to gain Christ 3:9 and be found in him. I have no righteousness of my own through obeying the law. My righteousness is through faith in Christ, coming from God by faith, 3:10 based on knowing him and the power of his resurrection, sharing in his sufferings, and becoming like him in his death, 3:11 if I can somehow be resurrected from the dead. 3:12 I am not saying that I have already received all this, or have already become perfect, but I keep trying to seize these things, just as I was seized by Christ Jesus.
3:13 Friends, I don’t consider myself to be there yet, but I concentrate on one thing. I forget about anything in the past, and stretch forward to the things which are ahead. 3:14 I aim towards the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 3:15 Those of us who are mature should all think this way. If you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 3:16 But we should keep following the path that we’ve been following. 3:17 Friends, do what I do, and learn from those who live according to the example which you have in us. 3:18 As I often told you, and now say it through tears, many people live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 3:19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their belly, and they revel in disgrace, thinking only about earthly things. 3:20 Our citizenship is in heaven, and we are waiting for a Saviour to come from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. 3:21 He will transform our humble bodies so that they are like his glorious body, by the power which enables him to have authority over everything.
March 26th, 2007
According to Paul, followers of Jesus need to undergo a radical reordering of their priorities. “Do nothing through selfish rivalry or pride, but humbly consider others to be more important than yourselves, and do not just look after your own interests, but look after the interests of others.” We have to go through a process of retraining ourselves in which we no longer try to grab the biggest slice of cake, or try to become the most important person, or seek the position of highest honour. The purpose of life for a follower of Jesus is to serve others, and so there is no room for selfishness.
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians — Chapter 2
2:1 If there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation in love, any friendship in the Spirit, any affection and compassion, 2:2 make me truly joyful by being like-minded, having the same love, being unified in soul and mind. 2:3 Do nothing through selfish rivalry or pride, but humbly consider others to be more important than yourselves, 2:4 and do not just look after your own interests, but look after the interests of others.
2:5 You should think the way that Christ Jesus thought. 2:6 Although he was in the form of God, he did not consider that he should use equality with God to his own advantage. 2:7 He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and was born in the form of a human. 2:8 While he was in human form he humbled himself and obeyed God to the point of death, dying on the cross. 2:9 So God lifted him up to the highest place, and made his name greater than any other name. 2:10 At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 2:11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
2:12 My dear friends, you have always obeyed, not only when I was present, but now even more while I am away from you. Do what you need to do for your salvation with fear and trembling. 2:13 It is God who motivates you with both the will and the energy to act according to his favour. 2:14 Do everything without complaining and arguing. 2:15 Be blameless and innocent, untainted children of God in the midst of a dishonest and corrupt generation, amongst whom you shine like lights in the world, 2:16 offering them the word of life. Then I can be proud on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain. 2:17 Even if my life is poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am happy and will rejoice with you all. 2:18 In the same way, you should be glad and rejoice with me.
2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I can be encouraged when I know how you are doing. 2:20 I have no one else who truly cares about you in the way he does. 2:21 Other people look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 2:22 You know Timothy’s character, and how he served with me in the work of the Good News like a son with his father. 2:23 I hope to send him at once, as soon as I know what is going to happen to me. 2:24 I trust in the Lord that I will soon be able to come myself. 2:25 I thought it was necessary to send you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, your messenger sent to care for my needs. 2:26 He was missing you all, and was quite concerned because you had heard that he was sick. 2:27 He really was sick, and almost died, but God had mercy on him, and not only on him, but also on me, sparing me from facing one sorrow after another. 2:28 So I was very keen to send him back to you. When you see him again you can rejoice and I can stop worrying. 2:29 Welcome him in the Lord with joy, and honour people like him, 2:30 because he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to do for me the things that you could not do.
March 25th, 2007
As Paul indicated in today’s reading, his imprisonment resulted in the whole imperial guard and many other people finding out that he had been sent to prison because he was a follower of Jesus. They would have then been asking who Jesus was and what he stood for, and why that was so dangerous that Paul needed to be imprisoned for it. And Paul’s imprisonment also forced other believers to reassess their own situations. Many of them decided that it was time for them to make a stand as well, and so they became bolder in telling other people the good news of Jesus.
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians — Chapter 1
1:1 From Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the believers in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the supervisors and servants. 1:2 Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1:3 I thank my God whenever I think of you, 1:4 and every time I pray for you I do so with joy, 1:5 because of your participation in the Good News from the first day until now. 1:6 I am confident that the one who began a good work in you will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ. 1:7 It is right for me to think this way about you, because you hold me in your heart. All of you share with me in God’s grace, both in my imprisonment and in defending and promoting the Good News. 1:8 God is my witness how much I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
1:9 I pray that your love will increase more and more in knowledge and full understanding, 1:10 to help you make the right choices so that you will be sincere and innocent when the day of Christ comes, 1:11 filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
1:12 I want you to know, friends, that the things which happened to me have actually helped to advance the Good News. 1:13 The whole imperial guard and others have become aware that my imprisonment is for Christ, 1:14 and most of the believers in the Lord have become bolder as a result of my imprisonment, and are daring to speak the word of God fearlessly. 1:15 Some people preach Christ out of jealousy and conflict. Others do so out of good will, 1:16 by love, knowing that I live for the defence of the Good News. 1:17 The people who preach Christ out of selfish rivalry are insincere and think that they are increasing my problems during my imprisonment. 1:18 But who cares? In every way, whether under pretext or in truth, Christ is proclaimed. I am delighted about this, and will continue to rejoice. 1:19 I know that I will be released as a result of your prayers and with the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 1:20 I seriously expect and hope that I will not be embarrassed, but will be bold enough to ensure that Christ is always glorified by my body, whether I live or die. 1:21 If I live, it will be for Christ, and if I die it will be my gain. 1:22 If I keep living in the body, I will continue to do productive work, but I do not know which I would prefer. 1:23 I am torn between the two. I want to leave and be with Christ, which is far better, 1:24 but it is more necessary for your sake that I remain in the body. 1:25 I am sure about this and I know that I will remain and keep helping you to grow and have increasing joy in the faith, 1:26 so that you can boast even more about what Christ Jesus has done for me when I come to you again.
1:27 Your lifestyle should be worthy of the Good News of Christ so that, whether I visit you or am away from you, I will hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, working together in unity for the faith of the Good News. 1:28 Do not be frightened in any way by the people who oppose you. This shows them that they are going to be destroyed, but you will be saved, and this is from God. 1:29 You have been blessed on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 1:30 as you face the same battle which you saw me face, and now hear that I am still facing.
March 24th, 2007
If you’re a follower of Jesus then you will be engaged in battle, although it is not a battle against people; it’s a battle against spiritual forces. So the issue is not whether you will be engaged in battle, but how well prepared for it you will be. If you’re not wearing the proper armour, then you’re going to get struck down and eliminated. If you do put the armour on, then you can make a stand and resist the spiritual attacks, so that you are still standing when the battle is over. The armour that you need to wear includes truth, righteousness, a desire to tell the good news of peace, faith, salvation, the Spirit and the word of God.
Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians — Chapter 6
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is the right thing to do. 6:2 “Honour your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise: 6:3 “So that it will go well with you, and you will live a long time on the earth.” 6:4 Fathers, do not antagonise your children. Nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
6:5 Slaves, submit to your human masters with respect and fear and with a generous heart, as if to Christ. 6:6 Do not just be people pleasers, working only when you are being watched. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God wholeheartedly, 6:7 serving with good will, as if for the Lord and not for people. 6:8 You know that when you do something good you will be repaid by the Lord, whether you are a slave or free. 6:9 Masters, do the same things for your slaves, and stop threatening them, because you know that God in heaven is both their Master and yours, and he is not biased.
6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his power. 6:11 Wear the whole of God’s armour, so that you can challenge the schemes of the devil. 6:12 Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the commanders, against the authorities, against the controllers of darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the spiritual world. 6:13 So wear the whole of God’s armour, so that you can resist when the evil day comes, and remain standing when the battle is over. 6:14 Make a stand, wrapping the belt of truth around your waist, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, 6:15 wearing as boots your desire to tell the Good News of peace, 6:16 and above all, taking along the shield of faith, which you can use to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 6:17 Also take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 6:18 Pray all the time in the Spirit with all kinds of prayer and requests. Stay alert and persevere in praying for all the believers. 6:19 As for me, please pray that when I open my mouth I will be given the right words to explain boldly the mystery of the Good News, 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I will have the courage to say what I should.
6:21 If you would like to know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus, our dear brother and a faithful servant of the Lord, will tell you all about it. 6:22 I have sent him to you for this purpose, so you can know how we are, and to encourage your hearts.
6:23 Peace to the believers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 6:24 Grace to all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with never-ending love. Amen.
March 23rd, 2007
The only real way to solve a problem is to bring it into the light. It doesn’t work if you try to make up facts to support your case and then attempt to solve the problem by throwing more darkness on it. The more in life that you have to hide, the bigger your problems will be. If you live a crooked life flitting from one shady deal to another, then a vast amount of your energy will be spent in trying to cover things up and fix embarrassments arising from exposure. But if you live a life of integrity you won’t have to try to hide things. You won’t spend sleepless nights worrying about what happens if you get found out.
Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians — Chapter 5
5:1 As God’s beloved children, imitate what he does. 5:2 Live in love, just as Christ loved you and gave himself up for us, an offering and a fragrant sacrifice to God. 5:3 Sexual immorality, any kind of impurity, or greed should not even be mentioned amongst you, as they are inappropriate for believers. 5:4 Wickedness, foolish talk, and disparagement are similarly inappropriate. Instead, be thankful.
5:5 Know this for sure: no sexually immoral, impure or greedy person, that is, an idol worshipper, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.
5:6 Do not let anyone deceive you with empty words. These are the things which make God angry with disobedient people. 5:7 Do not get involved with them. 5:8 You used to be darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, 5:9 because the light produces all goodness and righteousness and truth. 5:10 Discover how to delight the Lord. 5:11 Do not get involved with unfruitful works of darkness. Instead, expose them to the light. 5:12 It is embarrassing even to speak about the things which those people do in secret. 5:13 But everything which is exposed to the light can be seen. 5:14 Light shows up everything, which is why it is said, “Awake, you who sleep. Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
5:15 Watch carefully how you live, not as unwise people, but as wise. 5:16 Use your time carefully, because the days are evil. 5:17 Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 5:18 Do not get drunk with wine, which leads to debility, but be filled with the Spirit, 5:19 speaking to each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing, and making music in your heart to the Lord, 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
5:21 Submit yourselves to each other out of reverence for Christ. 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands, as you do to the Lord. 5:23 The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the saviour. 5:24 Just as the church submits to Christ, wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
5:25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for it 5:26 to make it holy, washing it clean using the word as water, 5:27 so that he could present it to himself as a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any other defect, but holy and unblemished. 5:28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as if they were their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 5:29 People do not hate their own bodies. They nourish and cherish them, just as the Lord does the church, 5:30 because we are parts of his body, of his flesh and bones. 5:31 “This is why a man will leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh.” 5:32 This is a great mystery, but I am speaking in the context of Christ and the church. 5:33 However, each of you must also love your wife as you love yourself, and the wife should ensure that she respects her husband.
March 22nd, 2007