Ephesians 5:11-16

Moving on…this next part of Ephesians 5 was a difficult one for me in the past, as I tend to shy away from confrontation.  But the more I read this passage, the more I believe that this is not talking about an in your face kind of confrontation, but in a lifestyle that simply turns a light on in a dark room.  In other words, our refusal to take part in unfruitful works will expose them for what they are, simply by comparing the fruit production.

I also don’t believe that we have to share a lot of detail with the whole body of Christ about the dangers of satanism, or worldliness, or promiscuity.  According to this passage, it’s shameful to even mention those things done in secret, but those things become exposed when the light is turned on.  That is why we should be careful how we live…because we are the light of the world (Matthew 5), Christ is shining on us, and we are reflection of His light.  And when the unfruitful works of darkness are exposed, we should be ready with an answer for the hope that is in us.  Not in a confrontation, necessarily, but in a knowing and telling who we are and why.  Wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

 

 

11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly;

13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,

14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise,

16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

How are you doing on your Scripture memorizing?  I learned from a young age to memorize Scripture. My Momma worked with me in Bible memory even before I started formal schooling.  She started with the books of the Bible, and moved on to simple verses.  When I started fourth grade, a Christian education became a priority of my parents for their children.  This A.C.E. school that I attended was largely focused on Bible memory, and required us to memorize large portions, sometimes entire chapters in a month’s time.

When we homeschooled our children, I used the AWANA program in much the same way, though not in large portions, as the focus was on select topics pertaining to salvation, the person and life of Christ, etc.  Between my childhood memorization, and the trickle down memorization that happened when I helped my children learn, I have a good supply of God’s Word stored away.   I can’t count the number to times that those passages I memorized as a young girl have come back to me at just the right time so that I could speak God’s Word to a situation that needed perspective.

In my next entry, I’ll post some tips that I found helpful for putting God’s Word to heart.


Part 1

Part 2

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ACT before you ASK

I’m working on a prayer journal system that will hopefully be a tool in keeping me organized and on task in my quiet time.  Right now, it’s a tool, but also a project, as I am in the process of tweaking it to make it function for me.  You might remember that last year, I began putting a little prayer journal together for the sake of memorizing the creed and rosary.  I did a series on prayer that included some of the insights the Lord gave me while putting it together, and I’m thinking this is going to be a similar series by the time we finish with it.

20140524-081414-29654093.jpgLast year, a dear friend sent me a little journal, which had remained empty and unused until last week.  I’ve put it to use as my Beta version, and when I pick it up, I remember her in my prayers.  (She is one that I thank God for in my Thanksgiving…as well as one I intercede for in my supplication) …but I’m getting ahead of myself.   By the way, I LOVE how God made this journal with sunflowers!  It’s like my prayer life has a theme…and seeing sunflowers reminds me to pray.  How great is He!?

I started putting my journal together by following the ACTS model of prayer, that is, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.  As I continued it kind of morphed into what I call ACT before you ASK.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m don’t deliberately make myself focus, my prayer time can sound whiny, and childish.  I do not want my prayer life to be marked by this.  I want my prayer time to be intentional, where I focus on the Lord and my heart is filled to overflowing with gratitude and praise for Him, and marked by faith and trust.

I divided my journal into six sections as such:

Adoration – Where I record the names and attributes of God that I collect as I go.
Contrition/Confession- Where I spend time in self-examination and confess the sins that the Holy Spirit reveals to my spirit.
Thanksgiving – Where I remember to thank the Lord for what He is accomplishing in my life.

Application – Where I record my God whispers…times when the rubber meets the road…those little (or big) things that jump out at me in my daily Bible reading, prayer, or personal interactions with others.
Supplication – Where I keep a record of people that I pray for on a regular basis.
Knowledge – Where I keep a record of portions of Scripture and Bible truths that I have committed to memory and know by heart.

My daily quiet time follows this model pretty closely, with my daily Bible reading fitting right between the two acronyms.  I think I’ll make a separate post for each of my sections so I can show you better how I put this system to work for me.  I haven’t completely made up my mind whether I will prefer a bound journal, like the one I’m using right now, or if I will eventually move to a 3 ring binder system.  I can see benefits and downsides to both, and I may eventually use a combination of both.  It is providing me with more opportunity to create, and draw, and color.  For now, my dividers are homemade, laminated bookmarks that fit the book.  Each divider has prompts that keep me on track, and the cool thing about them is, if I don’t want to take my whole journal with me, but need the prompts, I can remove them from the journal, put them in my Bible, or purse, or whatever I’m carrying, and tote them along with me to use as needed.

More to come…

 

 

 

Life Update

I was reminded this week that I have not updated you all on my life!

After a long, frustrating job search, and more lessons in waiting, the Lord lavishly provided a wonderful opening in my husband’s job field.  This job came with a significant increase in the pay that he had come to expect, working a shift that fits his ideal schedule and doesn’t require my night-owl to be an early bird.  I love how God took care of that detail!  Thank you so much for all your prayers!

My daughter graciously allowed us to stay with her until we started getting paychecks.  We then lived in an extended stay hotel until we had enough saved back to pay security and utility deposits on a sweet little apartment closer to his workplace.  In the middle of all that, my second daughter got married, and God graciously provided a way for me to attend with our youngest daughter.  At this point, I had ceased looking for a job, thinking I would resume when I returned from Idaho.  Well.  God had other plans, I guess.

Anyway, my husband took charge of apartment hunting and got us all moved in.  It’s been slow and steady replacing our furniture, but it’s coming together nicely.  Wanna take a sneak peak?

new furniture 1 new furniture 2
It’s not a lot, but we have everything we need.  Two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  This is a special perk for our teenaged daughter who still resides with us.

Little by little, we’re returning to some semblance of “normal”, whatever that is.  It is nice to have money coming in on a regular basis, and my inability to find work within walking distance has allowed me to be present for my daughter when she needs someone to sit with babies, or just wants to come and visit me.  My eyes are still open for a position that does not require a driver’s license and the ability to drive, since after a seizure, I wait for a year before putting myself behind the wheel.  God is good.  He still provides everything we need, and teaches us to know the difference between a want and a need.

I am blessed.

Back on the wagon

My Ephesians study from last fall was interrupted by more life changes, and I need to get back to it and get it done.  I really want to develop the habit of putting Sacred Scripture to memory.  The best way I’ve found to do so with understanding is to study it in increments seeking to understand the concept, not just parrot words.

So…I’m back at it.  If you’d like, you can read the first two installments here and here.

This week, I’ll be refreshing on the first ten verses, and resuming from there, bright and early next Monday morning.

I hope you’ll join me.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and follow your progress as you walk with me.

Recognizing Jesus

Today’s gospel reading is from Luke 24.  It is the account of the disciples on their way to Emmaus after Christ’s crucifixion.

As they walk, they are talking with one another, no doubt grieving and consoling one another regarding the events of the past few days.  The Word says that as they were walking and debating, that Jesus drew near and walked with them…but their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.

And as they don’t recognize Him, they begin witnessing to the crucified Christ Himself:
…about His words and his deeds
…about His betrayal and death sentence
…about His suffering, and death on a cross
…about His missing body, and rumor of his resurrection

And Jesus engages them
And rebukes them
And teaches them, starting with Moses and the prophets, he explains how all those events in Scripture were fulfilled in Him.

And still, they did not recognize Him.

I love the next part of this passage.  As they near their destination, they urge Him to stay and have supper with them, and He accepts.  Then a really cool thing happens…Jesus says a blessing, takes the bread, breaks it, and gives it to His disciples.

THERE HE IS!  In the breaking of the bread is where He made Himself known to them.

There, they finally recognize Him, and just as soon as they do, He is gone.

Can you imagine the excitement?  It was not their imagination, they both spoke with Him, listened to Him, and recognized Him.  They leave at once for Jerusalem to testify, and recount to the eleven who are gathered there all that had taken place on the way, and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever…today, He still makes Himself known the same way.  When we eat His body and drink His blood as we are instructed to do (John 6), He comes to us.  He indwells us.  He makes known to us His will…and when He does, we recognize Him, and testify of Him, and we are strengthened by Him.

I am slightly encouraged that I am not the only one who struggles to see Jesus when I’m focused on my own sorrows.  I don’t see Him, even when he draws near to my brokenhearted self.  I struggle to hear Him speak to my heart, and even though I have His words memorized, I cannot hear the truth in them for the clanging cacophony of my own sorrow, self pity, and despair.  Yet He continues to walk with me, and chide me, and teach me, and He waits for me in the Holy Eucharist.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!