Posts Tagged ‘Submission


Husbands And Wives

The Bible calls for a special relationship between husbands and wives that sometimes creates controversy and hurt feelings. Paul says:

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. – Colossians 3:18 (NIV)

A wife is to respect her husband because she loves and submits to God first. This is God’s expectation of a wife in her relationship to her husband. Was Paul a male chauvinist pig? Not at all! In the next verse he says:

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  – Colossians 3:19 (NIV)

A husband who loves his wife sacrificially and unconditionally and is patient with her will find that he has a wife who respects him. The husband’s job is not to make his wife submit. The husband’s job is to love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). How did Jesus love the church? He died for the church. Husbands, if you are not willing to die to yourself daily for your wife, you are not loving her the way God intends for you to do.

Repaying The Lord

What can I give back to God
for the blessings he’s poured out on me? — Psalm 116:12 (The Message)

I heard this Psalm quoted by Bono at a U2 concert back in 2001 in Indianapolis.  It is a profound question.  What can we give to God that He doesn’t already have?  What can we give to God that could possibly measure up to all of the blessings He has poured out on us?  The simple answer is: ourselves.

First, we can surrender our lives to Him in humility and submission.  I believe that God gives us a choice to accept Him or reject Him.  If we reject Him, He honors that choice throughout eternity.  If you don’t want to live with God, He’ll honor that choice.  If you accept Him (by grace through faith in Christ expressed in baptism) and desire to live with Him, He’ll honor that choice as well.  In accepting His gracious offer of salvation, we must submit and surrender to His leadership in our lives.  We must repent and turn away from sin and turn to God in total surrender.  We give Him our lives and He gives us His Spirit.

Second, we must recognize that He is the source of blessing in our lives and we give Him our praise, thanksgiving and adoration.  Romans says that to offer ourselves up as living sacrifices is our spiritual act of worship.  As we begin to understand more and more that everything we have is a gift from God, the more our hearts yearn to repay Him.  We could not possibly hope to repay Him with offerings of tithes and praises and with good behavior.  All we can give Him is the most valuable thing we “possess” and that is ourselves.  Let us take up our crosses today and repay the Lord with our very lives lived in His service and praise.

PRAYER: Father, I could never repay You for all of Your goodness to me. Because of the cross of Jesus, I don’t have to. But I want to. I want to express my thanksgiving and gratitude to You by the way that I live today. Help me to live a thankful life. In Jesus’ name I thank You, amen.


Your Invitation Awaits

Luke 14:15-24 (NIV)

The Parable of the Great Banquet

15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

What is the excuse you’ve given for not surrendering your life fully to Jesus?  In the parable of the great banquet, people made excuses about why they couldn’t attend this man’s banquet.  One said that he had to go check out a field he had just purchased.  Another said that he had to try out his new teams of oxen.  Another had just gotten married and was unavailable to attend.  The man who was throwing the banquet was angry because those who were invited made excuses.  It was a big deal to be invited to a feast in those days.  To not attend was an insult to the one throwing the party!  So the man who had prepared the feast tells his servant to go out and invite everyone in town.  It didn’t matter who they were or what they were dealing with, they were invited.  This was one big hall because after inviting everyone in, there was still room for more!  So the master sent the servant out into the countryside to invite everyone he met to the feast.
Jesus has invited everyone to His great banquet.  Many will make excuses as to why they can’t (or won’t) attend.  Some will be distracted by the things of this world.  Some will use work as an excuse.  Some will be more devoted to their earthly relationships.  Is there anything wrong with having things?  No.  But when our hearts are more devoted to our things than Jesus, then we may miss the banquet.  Is there anything wrong with working hard?  No.  But when we focus more on working at our jobs than working for God’s Kingdom, we are in danger of missing the banquet.  Is there anything wrong with loving your spouse, children or parents?  Not at all!  But when anything takes priority over Jesus, we will be in danger of missing the banquet.
Following Jesus is about surrendering everything to Him.  Those who thought that they were a shoo-in for the banquet missed the One who invited them to attend it.  So those on whom they looked down were the surprise guests who were welcomed, unworthy as they may have believed themselves to be.  God has opened His banquet up to everyone!  Will you accept the invitation?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I want to fully give my life to You. Help me to surrender everything to You today. Whatever You ask me to do, I want to do. Whatever You ask me to give, I want to give. I ask for Your forgiveness when I withhold things from You. Amen.

MY Will Be Done

Why is submission and surrender so hard?  Why is it so hard to give up our plans and dreams and give them over to God?  Does He not know what is best?  Is He some sort of cosmic killjoy?  I know that God is in control and that He will always do what is best for His Kingdom and His glory.  These are the things for which I should be living and praying.  Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, taught His disciples to pray…

May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven. — Matthew 6:10 (NLT)

Even on the night before He was crucified, Jesus prayed that the Father’s will would be done in His own life.

Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” — Matthew 26:42 (NLT)

The problem is that I want what I want and I want what I think is best.  I want what I want NOW.  God wants me to wait for Him to reveal His plan.  I want what I think is best for me and my family.  God wants what is best for His Kingdom and His glory.  I want what I think is best for His church.  He wants me to remember that it is His church and He will do what is best for His church.  I am not God.  I do not see the big picture.  I cannot see what is coming around the bend, but God can.  What I want may seem right to me.  My will may seem best to me.  God’s will is best for me.  Now I must bring MY will in line with HIS will and wait upon the Lord.

When is it hardest for you to surrender to God’s will?

What is hardest for you – waiting for God’s will to be done or surrendering yourself to His will?

PRAYER: Lord, have Your way in me.  Help me to know and do Your will today.  Give me the strength to surrender my life to Your will and Your way today.  In Jesus’ name, amen.


Living By Instinct

Do you ever wonder why you do what you do?  Do you ever seem to be just living by instinct?  It appears to me that many people live by instinct.  They don’t think about what they’re doing, they just fly by the seat of their pants and they do whatever feels good or is most expedient.  The problem is that our instincts are not always fueled by God’s desires for His people.  Our natural instincts are controlled by our sinful nature and lead us down the wrong path more often than not.  Jude wrote about those who are controlled by their natural instincts in verses 17-21 of his brief letter.

But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said.  They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires.  These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you.  They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life.  In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.  — Jude 17-21 (NLT)

The cure for living by instinct is to live by the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we receive God’s gracious gift of salvation, we are filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  In order to live by the power of the Spirit, we must surrender and submit to the Spirit’s control in our lives.  Surrender and submission are not easy.  It is a daily battle to allow God’s Holy Spirit to take control.  We are a bunch of control freaks and we want to drive the car.  When we get in a jam we’ll sing, “Jesus, Take The Wheel!”  But on most days it is a struggle to give up the control and allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives.  So pray in the Spirit today that God will give you the power to give up control.  Pray that God will give you strength to fight your natural instincts towards sin and wickedness.  Pray that God will fill you with His Spirit and that you will surrender to His leading in your life.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank You and praise You today for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  Help me to surrender to the Spirit’s leading in my life today.  Help me to give You the control of my life in everything I think, say and do.  Lead me, Lord, so that I may go where You want me to go and do what You want me to do.  In Jesus’ name, amen.


No One Can Defeat God

In Acts 4:25-26, the Apostles Peter and John quoted Psalm 2 in response to the persecution they suffered at the hands of the Jewish elders and chief priests:

You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?

26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.

Peter and John had performed a miraculous healing of a crippled beggar in Acts 3.  They were preaching in the Temple about Jesus being the Christ, the Messiah.  They were arrested in Acts 4 and thrown in jail for the night.  Then they were brought before the rulers, elders and teachers of the Law (Acts 4:5, NIV).  They were asked by what power or name they were able to do what they did.  Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, began to proclaim the Truth about Jesus.  Those who had arrested Peter and John were unable to figure out how to punish them so they let them go.  The Apostles went back to their people and that’s when they quote Psalm 2.
In Psalm 2, attributed to David by Peter and John, David writes of how the nations conspire and the peoples plot against the Lord and His anointed One.  The “anointed One” is referring to the Messiah.  Way back in David’s day, he prophesied about the Messiah and the fulfillment of that prophecy was found in Jesus.  God’s response is one of laughter and scoffing, rebuke and wrath.  No one conspires against God!  No one can defeat God!  There is coming a day when those who plot and conspire against the Almighty will be judged and punished.  There is only one God!  He exists in three persons: Father, Spirit and Son.  We will all bow down before Him.  Some will bow willingly in honor and worship and others will be brought to their knees in fear and awe of the One they rejected in this life.  But make no mistake, my friends.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11, NIV).

Psalm 2

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

         I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.


Hands Up or Hands Out?

After withstanding His temptation by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus begins His ministry.  He began to preach and teach throughout Galilee.  He performed miracles and His fame began to spread rapidly.  He went to Nazareth, His hometown and Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath.  Luke records that this was His custom.  In other words, Jesus was a regular worshiper of God the Father.  Upon entering the synagogue, He began to read from the book of Isaiah.  He read from Isaiah 61:1-2.  This is what He read:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

​ – Isaiah 61:1-2a (NIV) 
He then tells the people that this Scripture was being fulfilled right before their very eyes.  Jesus is saying that He is the One about whom Isaiah prophesied.  One would think that the people would be so excited!  The Messiah had come and He was from their town!  It’s kind of like when a town posts the names of athletes or celebrities that came from that town.  Only the people of Nazareth weren’t quite thrilled.  They wanted to know where the miracles were.  Why wasn’t He healing them and performing miracles like He had in Capernaum?!?  Jesus knew their hearts and He knew what they were thinking.  They were waiting for a show, not looking for the Savior.
How many times do we go to Jesus expecting what He can give us?  We are less about surrender and submission and more about wanting the miracles and healing in our lives.  We want Him to save us, but we don’t want to surrender to Him.  We can’t have it both ways.  We must submit and surrender to Him as Lord each day.  If He never did another thing for us, we must still surrender.  After all, He did the One thing for us that no one else could have done.  He died for our sins.  He took our punishment upon Himself.  He suffered physically so we wouldn’t have to suffer for all eternity.
So as you go to Jesus today, don’t come with your hands out looking for what He can give you.  Go to Him with your hands up in surrender, offering Him all that you are.

Luke 4:14-30 (NIV)

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

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