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Author Topic: The Devotionals Thread  (Read 70797 times)
Colossus_500
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« on: April 17, 2006, 09:57:38 AM »

Mods, can we make this a sticky thread?

I thought it would be cool to pass on different devotionals that I read. Please share your devotionals as well.  I'll start with this link from devotional that I read during lunch today:

www.activeword.org/devotional/index.cfm?d=20060417

and here's the devotional:

Different Drummer

Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) (1 Samuel 24:2-3 NKJV)

You couldn't script a better scenario. Saul is bent on hunting down and killing David, but before he sets out with his troops, he attends to his needs in the very cave where David is hiding with his men! It certainly appeared that God was delivering David's enemy into his hands and that this was his chance of a lifetime. After all, Saul had been trying to kill David for the past six chapters. Why not take this opportunity to kill Saul? Even his comrades chimed in with a word of encouragement (1 Samuel 24:4).

It seems only natural and wise for David to take advantage of this situation. But what seems right in the natural isn't always right in the spiritual. God's people aren't supposed to let what's natural dictate what they do; they're called to march to the beat of a different drummer, a beat set by Jesus:

'You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you . . . .' (Matthew 5:43-44 NKJV)

It's only natural to hate and hurt our enemies, but our spiritual responsibility is to rise above the natural and love them with the love God has shown us. David understood this and took a pass on the chance to harm Saul:

And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul's robe. (1 Samuel 24:4 NKJV)

We need to emulate David by rising above the natural temptation to hurt our enemies when given the chance. Instead, Christ's love should be directing our steps and dictating our actions.

DIG - Why didn't David kill Saul when he had the chance?

DISCOVER - Do you have a 'Saul' in your life? How do you apply God's love to your relationship with him or her?

DISPLAY - Take some time right now to pray for your enemies and ask God to fill you with His love for them.


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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2006, 11:16:53 AM »

Great idea Colossus Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 09:47:33 AM »

Your Dwelling Place
by Max Lucado

You were intended to live in your Father's house.

Any place less than his is insufficient. Any place far from his is
dangerous. Only the home built for your heart can protect your heart. And
your Father wants you to dwell in him.

No, you didn't misread the sentence and I didn't miswrite it. Your
Father doesn't just ask you to live with him, he asks you to live in him.
As Paul wrote, "For in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts
17:28 NIV).

Moses knew this. "LORD," he prayed, "you have been our home since the
beginning" (Ps. 90:1). What a powerful thought: God as your home.

Your home is familiar to you. No one has to tell you how to locate your
bedroom; you don't need directions to the kitchen. After a hard day
scrambling to find your way around in the world, it's assuring to come
home to a place you know. God can be equally familiar to you. 

With time you can learn where to go for nourishment, where to hide for
protection, where to turn for guidance.

God can be your dwelling place.

God wants to be your dwelling place. He has no interest in being a
weekend getaway or a Sunday bungalow or a summer cottage. Don't consider
using God as a vacation cabin or an eventual retirement home. He wants
you under his roof now and always. He wants to be your mailing address,
your point of reference; he wants to be your home.

Listen to the promise of his Son, "If my people love me they will obey
my teaching. My father will love them and we will come to them and make
our home with them" (John 14:23).
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2006, 03:02:56 PM »

Morning and Evening
A Devotional Series by Charles H. Spurgeon

Morning Devotion
Thursday, April 20, 2006

"That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death." --Hebrews 2:14

O child of God, death hath lost its sting, because the devil's power over it is destroyed. Then cease to fear dying. Ask grace from God the Holy Ghost, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of thy Redeemer's death, thou mayst be strengthened for that dread hour. Living near the cross of Calvary thou mayst think of death with pleasure, and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is sweet to die in the Lord: it is a covenant blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment, it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home --a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to that sea which knows no storm? Listen to the answer, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." Yon ship has just departed, but it is already at its haven. It did but spread its sail and it was there. Like that ship of old, upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, "Peace, be still", and immediately it came to land. Think not that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth they open in heaven. The horses of fire are not an instant on the road. Then, O child of God, what is there for thee to fear in death, seeing that through the death of thy Lord its curse and sting are destroyed? and now it is but a Jacob's ladder whose foot is in the dark grave, but its top reaches to glory everlasting.
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2006, 06:50:07 AM »

Learning the Hard Way

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
--James 4:4


A phrase Solomon used many times in Ecclesiastes is "under the sun."  By using this phrase, Solomon was speaking of a horizontal, strictly human viewpoint of life.  He was declaring there was no fulfillment in
life under the sun--in other words, in life without God.  He'd learned the hard way.  Once he began his descent into human excess, Solomon rarely looked above the sun for answers.  He proved that the attempt to meet the deepest needs of our lives, while leaving God out of the equation, will leave us empty.

This is ironic when you consider his life story.  King David, the man after God's own heart, had raised Solomon in a godly home.  When David was on his deathbed, he had called young Solomon in to remind him of what really mattered in life. He told him, "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind . . . " (1 Chronicles 28:9).

In other words, David had been saying, "Son, you can't live off of your old man's faith. You need to get your own.  You need to serve God with an undivided heart.  You need to completely commit yourself to Him.  This is the secret I have learned about life."

For a time Solomon did follow the words that his father gave him.  Then he allowed his heart to be divided.  He tried to love the Lord and the world.  According to Scripture, that just won't wash.  The Bible reminds us "friendship with the world is enmity with God" (James 4:4).  If you are going to be the world's friend, you are going to be God's enemy.

--Greg Laurie, author of Losers and Winners, Saints and Sinners
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2006, 09:07:02 PM »

Greg Laurie is awesome. He used to be one of the Pastors at Calvary Chaple Costa Mesa. I'm enrolling my son next fall for school, I think it's going to be a great experiance for him!
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2006, 06:49:24 AM »

Greg Laurie is awesome. He used to be one of the Pastors at Calvary Chaple Costa Mesa. I'm enrolling my son next fall for school, I think it's going to be a great experiance for him!
I listen to Greg Laurie every chance I get.  He is an incredible speaker.  Alot of those guys from Calvary Chapel are on a web portal where you can listen to them online.  Here's the link:  www.oneplace.com

Some of my other favorite pastors to listen to are.

Ravi Zacharias
Chuck Swindoll
Chuck Smith
Alastaire Begg
J. Vernon McGee (though he is deceased, his messages are still played on the radio and online)
Adrian Rogers (though he is deceased, his messages are still played on the radio and online)
Leo Giovanetti
Bob Coy
Joe Fosche

there's a host of others that i like to listen to, but these guys have helped me tremendously in my growth. 

Intense, your son is a very lucky young man to have a dad who invest in his future like you have.  It'll take him a long way and will make his walk a little bit easier (it's never easy is it?).  Kudos to you, bro. 
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2006, 09:13:58 AM »

On Gratitude

"Strive to be conscious of all the riches God has given you, and your heart will be full of love. You will think only of helping others, of lighting the way for them. Someone who feels rich cannot keep everything he has for himself; he feels compelled to share it. Whereas someone who is not aware of his wealth and spends his time making lists of everything he lacks will naturally resent those he believes are richer than himself. As far as he is concerned, they have too much. He has no alternative but to attack them and either take or destroy what should be his. It is always poverty, poverty in all its forms – material, moral and spiritual – that is at the root of every crime. So, if you want to be a benefactor of humanity, be conscious of all the riches God has given you, and know that no one can take them from you."

Omraam Mikhaël Aďvanhov
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2006, 11:59:04 AM »

This one is pretty long, but it's a great read.  Here's an excerpt from Ravi Zacharias' book "Cries of The Heart". 

Cries of the Heart
Ravi Zacharias
 
Some time ago my wife, Margie, returned from an errand visibly shaken by a heartrending conversation she had experienced. She was about the very simple task of selecting a picture and a frame when a dialogue began with the owner of the shop. When Margie said that she would like a scene with children in it the woman quite casually asked if the people for whom the picture was being purchased had any children of their own. "No," replied my wife, "but that is not by their choice." There was a momentary pause. Suddenly, like a hydrant uncorked, a question burst with unveiled hostility from the other woman’s lips: "Have you ever lost a child?" Margie was somewhat taken aback and immediately sensed that a terrible tragedy probably lurked behind the abrupt question.

The conversation had obviously taken an unsettling turn. But even at that she was not prepared for the flood of emotion and anger that was yet to follow, from this one who was still a stranger. The sorry tale quickly unfolded. The woman proceeded to speak of the two children she had lost, each loss carrying a heartache all its own. "Now," she added, "I am standing by watching my sister as she is about to lose her child." There was no masking of her bitterness and no hesitancy about where to ascribe the blame for these tragedies. Unable to utter anything that would alleviate the pain of this gaping wound in the woman’s heart, my wife began to say, "I am sorry," when she was interrupted with a stern rebuke, "Don’t say anything!" She finally managed to be heard just long enough to say in parting, "I’ll be praying for you through this difficult time." But even that brought a crisp rejoinder—"Don’t bother."

After leaving her, Margie returned to her car and just wept out of shock and out of a longing to reach out to this broken life. Even more, ever since that conversation she has carried with her an unshakable mental picture of a woman’s face whose every muscle contorted with anger and anguish—at once seeking a touch yet holding back, yearning for consolation but silencing anyone who sought to help, shoving at people along the way to get to God. Strangely, this episode spawned a friendship and we have had the wonderful privilege of getting close to her and of praying with her in our home. We have even felt her embrace of gratitude and have reflected much as she has tried in numerous ways to say, "Thank you."

But through this all she has represented to us a symbol of smothered cries, genuine and well thought through, and of a search for answers that need time before that anger is overcome by trust, and anguish gives way to contentment.

These smothered cries and the wordless reality that infuses every life may well be endemic to the human condition—men, women, young people and even children. Numerous professional voices are now awakening us from the illusion under which men particularly have lived in many cultures, that strength lies in not feeling. What a price has been paid for living with such amputation. Not every cry is ridden by anguish, but every life has its own cry or has heard the cry of another who is struggling with emotions or passions in need of explanation. Not every struggle is vented with such force, but many a life is governed by much inner conflict. And just as some are able to cope more readily with failure, so also are some better able to handle the vicissitudes of life.

The purpose of this book, therefore, is not simply to apply some healing balm to the bitter pain of an unheard cry, rather, to face squarely the reality that all of us in our private moments deal with suppressed cries. Years ago Reader’s Digest printed an article entitled, "When We Are Alone We Dance." The main idea was that when we are alone and nobody is watching, we all have some rhythmic expression. We may not succeed in clicking our heels in midair but that does not keep us from trying. Within that private world, each one of us also wrestles with some heart-consuming battle. For one it may be the inner ache of loneliness; for another it may be the daunting and haunting specter of guilt. For yet another it may be the question, "Why do I not feel God to be near when I have done all that I know to be right?" And for still another it may be the question of all questions—"Who are you, God?"

The reader will immediately recognize the range of our existential struggles. If anything unites our cultures today it is the unanswered questions we face that have a felt reality. The loneliness of an unloved life is the same in Bombay as it is in Barcelona. The life tormented by guilt is the same for a movie icon in Hollywood as it is for a schoolteacher in Havana. How do I choose a life that has pleasure without living a life that is immoral?

These gnawing questions were underscored by a grim and dreadful incident that took place in New York City some years ago, the culmination of a series of almost indescribable events that had befallen a young woman. The story is too heartrending to repeat. Feeling the silent pain of a whole city, a state senator agonized,"How can so much go wrong in one life and nobody be aware of it?"

After days of pondering that obvious question, a city councilman gave the only plausible answer. He said, "Life is too busy and complicated for me to hear the cry of every person in my community. As a matter of fact, I struggle to find time to even hear the cries of my own family. If I had to listen to the cry of everyone in New York City, you may as well ask me to listen to the sound of every blade of grass growing and to the heartbeat of every squirrel. The noise would be deafening on the other side of silence." I doubt that he overstated his point. If the cries of the heart in any community were to be cumulatively sounded, the noise would indeed be deafening.

Where then, might one go? There is a place where there is an aggregate of human suffering and questioning. That place is the heart of God. The Bible repeatedly portrays for us the anguished, though sometimes silent, cries of those in need, pleading for one who might bring hope.

Of all the stories in the Scriptures, none so reflects those varied needs as the story of the Woman at the Well in her conversation with Jesus. In the fourth chapter of John’s Gospel we read of the encounter Jesus had with the Samaritan woman. The disciples had left Him to get a little rest while they went into town to buy some food. When they returned they were astounded to see Him talking to this Samaritan woman, but they were afraid to ask why He would talk to her or to question what prompted this curious familiarity.

Jesus’s response to her is profound. The woman represented all that was oppressed or rejected in that society. She was a woman, not a man. She was a Samaritan burdened with ethnic rejection. She was discarded and broken from five failed marriages. She identified God with a particular location, not having the faintest clue how to reach Him. Was it possible to have any less self-esteem than in her fragmented world?Jesus began His tender yet determined task to dislodge her from the well-doctored and cosmetically dressed-up theological jargon she threw at Him, so that she could voice the real cry of her heart. Almost like peeling off the layers of an onion, He steadily moved her away from her own fears and prejudices, from her own schemes for self-preservation, from her own ploys for hiding her hurts, to the radiant and thrilling source of her greatest fulfillment, Christ Himself. But He did not stop there, He went further. That "further" will draw some of our attention in this book.

In short, He moved her from the abstract to the concrete; from the concrete to the proximate; from the proximate to the personal. She had come to find water for the thirst of her body. He fulfilled a greater thirst, that of her soul.

When the disciples finally managed to break into the conversation, they asked Jesus if He was not hungry enough to want to eat. But Jesus said, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." By now completely bewildered, they wondered if someone had already fed Him. They were on a completely different level of hungers and thirsts, while He was about His Father’s business of giving the bread of life and of opening the spring of living water so that one need never thirst again.

In this simple narrative converge our own hungers and God’s great longing to fulfill those inner hungers and satisfy those deep longings. I recall on one occasion speaking to a man who had come from a country where much blood had been spilled in internal strife, a land where someone’s heart was broken every day by some stray bullet or a hate-filled ideological conflict. He told me that even though for years he had found comfort in the knowledge that Christ had borne his sins, it was a new realization years later when he took note that Christ had borne our sorrows, too.

That intimacy with God is a knowledge that has bridged what one knows with what one feels. Such knowledge takes what we know and what we feel seriously. This is not a fatalistic posture that says, "So be it," resigned to accept what flies in the face of reason. When we learn God’s profound answers to every sentiment we feel, we find contentment and courage and live a life of hope and confidence. We then make every day count with significance, while treasuring His thoughts and harnessing our feelings.

For too long we have forced a dichotomy between fact and feeling and have unwittingly bought into systems of thought that held on to the one while doing disservice to the other. Voltaire once remarked that all of man’s miseries are a reflection of his grandeur. In other words, our senses and sensations can and ought to be joint indicators of the eternal and the true. That which God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

We well remember the words of the song, "How can it be wrong when it feels so right?" and we might legitimately take issue with that plundering of the objective realm of right and wrong at the mercy of momentary passion.

But there is another side to it: How can things be right when they feel so wrong? That is a much more difficult issue. Does God expect one who is plagued by a lonely existence to dismiss that feeling as unreal? Does the search for a personal God in an impersonal world not raise legitimate questions? Do the questions of a person in agony not count? Must we not have wisdom amidst the myriad pleasures that surround us? That is where this book hopes to lead us. We will not be content to merely deal with the problems as they surface by an intellectual stroke of the pen. We will not stop at the point where the answers are merely stated as glib responses. Our hope will be to bring the whole of our being to engage with the questions and the cries of the heart. Cries are born out of real feelings. So also must joy betoken a real confidence and repose.

In the Psalms David described himself as one wounded and crying in his bed at night. This same David spoke of the happiness that came when he took his cry to the Lord. With that same confidence, let us begin our journey to respond to the cries of the heart. We might be surprised to know how much bottled-up sentiment will be uncovered. When God speaks we will not respond by saying, "Don’t say a thing;" rather, we will be soothed by His touch and will rest in His comfort, knowing that He has bothered to hear our cries and to come near in our need.
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2006, 12:27:13 PM »

Spiritual Laws
From the Active Word with Pastor Bob Coy

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7 NKJV)

God has decreed certain laws to govern the physical world, such as gravity, inertia, and relativity. These laws will not bend, break, or buckle. The same holds true in the spiritual world. Certain spiritual laws will always remain constant and consistent, such as the law of sowing and reaping. Absolutely no one is exempt from this law, including David.

The Bible tells us that as David was looking over the city from his palace one evening, he noticed a woman taking a bath. A quick inquiry confirmed that the woman was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, a soldier serving in the king's army. Inflamed with lust, David had her brought to the palace and committed adultery with her. Then David went on with his life . . . until Bathsheba shared that she was pregnant (2 Samuel 11:1-5).

In an attempt to cover his tracks, David arranged for Uriah to return from battle so that he would sleep with his wife. When Uriah wouldn't, David sent him back to the battlefront with a set of orders for Joab, the captain of the army. They instructed Joab to engage the enemy and then pull back from Uriah so that the enemy could easily pick him off. Everything went according to plan. Uriah was killed in battle, and David married Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:6-27).

Everything seemed fine at first, but by sowing these sins, David would soon reap God's rebuke. The Lord sent the prophet Nathan to confront and call David to repentance. Moreover, David would later reap the consequences from the same sin he had sown:

'Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.'' (2 Samuel 12:11 NKJV)
 
David wasn't exempt and neither are we. We need to put down whatever sins we're entertaining in our private lives. If we don't, we're sure to suffer the consequences according to the spiritual law of sowing and reaping.

DIG - What is the law of sowing and reaping?

DISCOVER - When have you reaped what you've sown?

DISPLAY - How will you use David's mistake to your advantage?
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2006, 10:57:12 AM »

Balancing the Intellectual with the Spiritual

"Man must work with his intellect. He must develop his mental body so that he can express himself as an autonomous individual and gain mastery over the material world. But at the same time he must see to it that his intellect does not gain ascendancy to the detriment of all his other faculties and possibilities for exploration, something which is happening more and more these days. Based on what we see manifesting in most of our contemporaries, we could say the intellect is becoming an instrument of destruction. The more people rely on it, on the way in which it addresses questions and draws conclusions, the more they cut themselves off from other beings, both visible and invisible, for the subtle life of the universe, of the soul and spirit, escapes their investigations."

Omraam Mikhaël Aďvanhov
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2006, 12:28:26 PM »

Faith vs. Fanaticism

"Because of their narrow views of religion, so many of mankind's various religious followers* still portray the Divinity as something repugnant, monstrous! Yet this does not prevent them from exclaiming that ‘God is Love’. They have been told this and they repeat it, but their behaviour expresses the exact opposite. So they have a long way to go if they truly want others to believe their God is Love. Some will say: ‘We have to proclaim our faith and defend it.’ Yes, but in principle, faith and love are not two separate worlds: they are linked together and sustain each other. So long as you fail to understand what true faith is, there can be no love. And conversely, so long as you do not know how to express love, you cannot claim to have true faith. It is right to have a faith and to defend it, but when you try to impose it on others, it is no longer called faith but fanaticism."

Omraam Mikhaël Aďvanhov

*paraphrased so as not to cause offense or single out any particular group
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2006, 10:09:35 AM »

http://www.wadehodges.com/Audio/humanity%202.0/submissive.htm

Humanity 2.0:  A Submissive Family -- Wade Hodges

Read Eph. 5:21-6:9 (NIV)

Troubling Questions

This is one of those texts where if we are not careful our ship will be dashed against the rocks of troubling questions before we ever get close to the dock of understanding what this text may actually be saying.

I’m thinking of questions like ...
Why didn’t Paul condemn slavery in this text?
Is his description of husband being the head of his wife cultural or universal?
Was Paul an unenlightened male chauvenist and if so can we trust anything else he says?

Those are all good questions, and they need to be addressed somewhere down the line, but when we tackle them first without keeping the bigger principle in mind we usually end up shipwrecked on the island of personal agendas and unwinnable debates.

The Lighthouse

This text comes with its own lighthouse that will keep us away from the rocks. It will guide us safely to an understanding of this text that will ultimately equips us with the perspective needed to approach the really difficult questions in a way that will bring us together instead of tearing us apart.

The lighthouse of this text is 5:21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  It’s very important that we read this verse and the larger passage in its proper context. This passage is still a part of Paul’s description of what living a life worthy of our calling looks like.

In 5:18, Paul says be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit will result in several behaviors.  We’ll speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  We’ll sing and make music in our hearts.  We’ll give thanks to God for all the good stuff in our lives. And he says that we will submit to one another out of reverance for Christ.

To stress the importance of mutual submission Paul provides several illustrations of the way this principle of mutual submission should work in a typical Greco-Roman household of that time.

Each of these illustrations is quite radical in that in Paul’s day submission in all of these relationships was usually a one way street.  The patriarch of the family who filled the roles of the husband, father, and master could legitimately demand submission from the rest of the family. He could enforce submission if he didn’t get it.

But that’s not the kind of submission Paul describes in this passage. The guiding principle of everything that Paul says here is driven by the conviction that in response to Christ, who he is and what he has done for us, we should submit to one another.

Dr. Suess defines submission

First things first.  What does the phrase “submit to one another” mean?  After doing quite a bit of research on the meaning of the word submit as Paul uses it in this passage, the best definition I found was from a theologian named Dr. Suess.  Let me read you the story of the Zax.

This story defines submission by showing what it is not.  Submission is not standing face to face in standoff saying, I’m not budging for you.  It’s got to be my way or no way at all. 

Submission is saying I’ll gladly step out of the way to accommodate your needs.  Mutual submission is both people stepping aside in order to serve the needs of the each other.  Submission is not just an outward behavior, it is an attitude that says “I will willingly, voluntarily put myself in second place, so that you can be first.”

Story of the old people and their teeth.

Mutual submission is both people in a relationship working to put the other one first.  The beauty of Christian submission is that within the community of faith, submission is a two way street.  No one stands above anyone else.  We are all called to submit to each other, to put each others welfare before our own.

We’ve got to keep this in mind as we read this passage. In each example Paul calls both parties to submit to each other in a way that is appropriate for their role in the household.

Three Examples

To the slaves, Paul says submit to your master by working as hard for him as you would for the Lord, remembering that he is your real master.  To the masters, he says submit to your slaves by not abusing your authority.  Treat your slaves with respect, remembering that you are equal in God’s sight.  He is master of the both of you.  That’s radical advice from Paul.  Sure it makes sense for a slave to submit to a master, but a master to a slave?

To the children he says submit to your parents by obeying them because it is the right thing to do and you’ll be blessed by your obedience.  To the fathers, he says submit to your children by raising them in a Godly way and not making things unnecessarily hard on them.

To the wives he says submit to your husbands as you would to the Lord.  Here’s where things start to get a bit tense and often distorted, because we separate verse 22 from verse 21 as if a wife’s submission to her husband is on an island all to itself.  If we were reading this passage in the language in which Paul wrote it, we would never make that mistake.

Because in verse 22 in the original language, the word “submit” is nowhere to be found.  Our English translations have carried it over from verse 21.  Literally, verses 21-22 read, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, wives to your husbands as to the Lord.”

Once again, as with the other examples, Paul is saying to both husbands and wives, “Submit to one another in a way that is appropriate for the roles you play in your relationship.”

Wives, he says, submit to your husband because the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church.  All the men in the congregation say “Amen.”  All the women say, “Not so fast buddy.”

Headship: Gulp

When we men read this passage we get so excited about words like submit and head that we stop reading the text and start pounding the table while shouting, “Woman, where’s my dinner?”, which means that we miss the part about what form our submission to our wives is supposed to take.  Remember, this is a two way street.  We are talking about mutual submission.

Husbands, submit to your wives by loving her, just as Christ loves the church.  How did he demonstrate his love? He died for her, in order to make her into all she was called to be.  That’s the image we must look to if we are going to understand what Paul means when he says that a husband is the head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church.

“Head” in this passage has very little, if anything, to do with a man’s authority over his wife, and everything to do with the man’s responsibility to take care of his wife and make whatever sacrifice is necessary to ensure her well being. 

Especially in that culture, where most women didn’t stand a chance on their own, the husband is there take care of his wife in a loving, empowering way.  So when Paul says, “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord,” it’s not because he’s holding an iron sceptor, but because like the Lord, he is willing to put his life on the line for you. 

Paul description of what it means to be the head of a wife is enough to make some guys want to become women.  Many of us are far too selfish to function as the head of our wives in the same way that Christ is the head of the church.  In fact, if a man takes his responsibility seriously I think you can make the case that being a Christlike head is more demanding and costly than being called to be a submissive or respectful wife.

Win-Win

That’s only true if we are practicing mutual submission.  Too often we make submission into a power play where there have to be winners and losers.  Mutual submission is not one person moving over to the side, so that an unyielding person can keep walking straight.

Mutual submission doesn’t create winners and losers because both people are tying to out submit each other.  The more a man puts himself on the line for his wife the more willing she will be to submit.  The more respectful she is to him, the more sacricial he’s going to be. That’s how mutual submission is supposed to work.

That’s why the principle of mutual submission shines through this text no matter what kind of cultural fog we’re trying to navigate.

Obviously, if Paul were writing this letter to us in our cultural language taking into account the make up of our congregation and the families within our congregation, he wouldn’t say things exactly like he said them in 5:22-6:9. 

But I’m confident that verse 21 would stay the same regardless of what kind of culture Paul was addressing.  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Because as long as we keep telling the story of a God who humbled himself and walked among us and died a terrible death for our sake, we will always be called to put other people first.  We will always be called to submit to one another out reverance for the one who died for us.

When our broken sees us submitting to each other in our families, in our small groups, and on our ministry teams, or in all of our relationships, then our world will see, what Paul calls in Eph. 4:1 a life that is worthy of our calling.  And the mystery of God’s unifying gospel project will continue to be revealed in us and through us.

Copyright ©2004 by Wade Hodges, All Rights Reserved
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2006, 09:27:23 PM »

Satan judges no one.  Come over and see for yourself, there's plenty of room and the water is warm!

Hi again Johnny!
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2006, 04:54:59 AM »

Mr. Intenseone I know it must seem easy to try to attack people you think are me...But try standing up against ME.

Fighting shadows you convince yourself are actually me doens't prove anything but the fact you're scared and weak.



This is my only name on this forum junior.
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2006, 02:56:30 PM »

He knows that.  He was just pointing out another idiot.  You see his definition of idiot is "Johnny Appllo"
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2006, 04:32:35 PM »

Taking Comfort in Failure

"It is perfectly legitimate to have ambitions and plans, but before going all out to realize them you must carefully examine the nature of these desires and projects. If they are merely expressions of your egotism and do not vibrate in harmony with the order established by God throughout creation, they will go against divine law. They will come into conflict with certain entities and an entire vibratory order, and you will not succeed. Or, if you should succeed, it will be even worse, and in these conditions it is better not to succeed. Failure keeps those who are egotistical and reckless from all sorts of disappointments and accidents. They may be unhappy to have failed in their goals, but at least they are spared! It is always better not to succeed in one’s bad intentions; otherwise there will be no escaping the karmic consequences. If you have a plan to take revenge on someone and oust him, for example, but you fail in your efforts and abandon the idea, heaven will condemn you for your reprehensible intentions, but less severely than if you had succeeded."

Omraam Mikhaël Aďvanhov
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2006, 04:33:52 PM »

Taking Lessons From The Earth

"So many people have let themselves die of grief or have even committed suicide as a result of slander, abusive letters or vicious articles! And how many artists have done the same as a result of critical reviews or mockery! If evil has wielded such power over them, it is because they had no idea how to transform it. In order to resist what is harmful, you must take lessons from the earth. Yes, see how the earth uses the rubbish people throw on it: it accepts it as extremely precious matter, as fertilizer to be used in the elaboration of all sorts of colourful, fragrant and nourishing plants. Well, why shouldn’t human beings know the secrets the earth knows? Why should they succumb when faced with the filth of criticism, malicious gossip and slander?"

Omraam Mikhaël Aďvanhov
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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2006, 04:44:44 PM »

Maintaining Your Connection with Source

"Certain initiates have manifested particularly as masters of love, others as masters of purity, and others as masters of wisdom, but all true initiates were obliged to reach a point where they embraced the totality of things, beings and activities. Even if an initiate has been given a specific mission, he does not specialize but rather endeavours to live life in all its fullness. He does not lose sight of the details, but for him what is essential is the whole, the totality of life: how to protect it, enrich it and purify it, for life is the one reality that incorporates all other realities. And if we are to grasp life in its totality, we must work our way back again to the first Cause, to the Source, to God himself. Make sure, therefore, that you always maintain your connection with the Cause of all causes, with the divine Source. "

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« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2006, 08:22:11 PM »

 If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
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« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2006, 09:47:31 PM »

Nourished by Faith

"St. Paul states that faith is ‘the conviction of things not seen’. And in fact, faith gives us access to an unknown world that is infinitely vast, where we begin to breathe, to nourish ourselves and to gain strength. Little by little, realms once foreign to us become familiar, and as a result we know. This is why we must not set faith and knowledge against each other, since the two go together: faith opens the way to new knowledge. Faith is the infinite, and within this infinity, knowledge carves out a small territory. It is our faith which probes the infinite and makes us penetrate ever further. Our knowledge of the divine world thus grows, thanks to our faith. Faith always precedes knowledge. In order to know, we must first believe, and once we know, we no longer believe: faith carries us towards something we do not yet know. Once we know, we no longer need to believe, because we are beyond belief. This is how, little by little, we arrive at perfect understanding."

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« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2006, 06:27:08 PM »

Uniting Cosmic Energy

"Every year during the night of the full moon in the month of May, the ceremony of Wesak takes place in the Himalayas. On this night, either the birth of Buddha or his enlightenment is symbolically commemorated. Certain initiates are able to attend the ceremony in physical form, while others attend by means of astral projection. But each of you can participate in this as well, by means of thought. During the course of this ceremony, brothers of the light enter into communion with celestial beings in order to attract cosmic forces and broadcast waves and vibrations of the highest spiritual nature throughout space.

If you want to take part in the reunion of these initiates, you must prepare yourself. During the night, do not wear any metal objects, since metal is not a good conductor for the currents which come from the spiritual realms. But the one mandatory requirement for admittance to the celebration is harmony. Watch to see that you entertain no negative thoughts or feelings towards others. Adopt a positive attitude which will enable you to unite with the initiates and receive the blessings they send to all the children of God."

Omraam Mikhaël Aďvanhov
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« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2006, 01:24:41 PM »

YOU CAN, WHEN YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN

Don't be afraid of what life has to offer you.
If you believe that life is worth living,
your belief will help create the fact.

The barrier between you and success
is not something that exists in the real world.
It's simply composed of doubts about your ability.
Your only limits to your realization of tomorrow
will be your doubts of today.

Success is a state of mind.
If you want to be successful,
start thinking of yourself as successful.

You are what you believe yourself to be.
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2006, 06:49:35 AM »

The Guest Of The Maestro
by Max Lucado

What happens when a dog interrupts a concert? To answer that, come with me to a spring night in Lawrence, Kansas.

The conductor, dressed in tails, strides onto the stage, springs onto the podium, and gestures for the orchestra to rise. The musicians take their seats, the maestro takes his position, and the audience holds its breath.

Enter, stage right, the dog. A brown, generic, Kansas dog. Not a mean dog. Not a mad dog. Just a curious dog.  At home in the splendor.

Roaming through the meadow of music. He visited the woodwinds, turned his head at the trumpets, stepped between the flutists, and stopped by the side of the conductor.

The musicians laughed. The audience laughed. The dog looked up at the conductor and panted. And the conductor lowered his baton.

He stepped off the podium and scratched the dog behind the ears. The maestro spoke to the dog. He spoke in German, but the dog seemed to understand. The two visited for a few seconds before the maestro took his new friend by the collar and led him off the stage.

Can you find you and me in this picture?

I can. Just call us Fido. And consider God the Maestro.

And envision the moment when we will walk onto his stage. We won't deserve it. We will not have earned it.

The music will be like none we've ever heard. We'll stroll among the angels and listen as they sing. And we'll walk next to the Maestro, stand by his side, and worship as he leads.

He, too, will welcome. And he, too, will speak. But he will not lead us away. He will invite us to remain, forever his guests on his stage.
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« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2006, 08:21:22 PM »

On Repayment of Debts

"Nature showers us with her riches, but somewhere, everything we take from her is very precisely recorded. These are debts we contract with her, and eventually we have to settle them. How? Since we are unable to return her favours in the same form that we received them, or to discharge them with money, from now on we must pay every day with the coinage of respect, gratitude, love and the will to study all that cosmic Intelligence has inscribed in its great book. To ‘pay’ means to give something in exchange, and everything good that our heart, mind, soul and spirit are capable of producing can serve as payment. In the physical realm we are limited, but in the spiritual realm our possibilities are infinite, and we can return a hundredfold all that nature has given us."

Omraam Mikhaël Aďvanhov
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