Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Truth--About Submission


The truth -- about submission is usually not seen as the Bible is read and applied. But there is a truth that is demonstrated throughout the pages of Scripture that is absolutely wonderful, yet awesome.

In a previous post, I wrote about the fact that submission is a gift and can only be given away -- never forced. Obedience can be forced -- the submission of the heart cannot be. It can be requested and required, but unless one wishes to be submissive, and give that gift of "coming under" to another, it is not done.

Now the "Truth" about submission (Biblically) is that the one who is submitted to is then required to turn and serve the one who has submitted. The same Lord who has required me to be submissive as a wife, has then required my husband to love me, provide for me, and to lay down his life for me. (Ephesians 5:22-33). It is in this passage, where the imagery of husband/ wife to Christ/church is most clearly stated.

When we review the Scriptures regarding the type of leaders the Lord told us to be, we see the same principle -- becoming the least in order to serve those who have submitted to us. This "Truth" is what is most often abused, both in the church and in the home. In fact, when we embrace this truth, then we see the harder part is really laid upon the husband and/or leader.

The imagery of Christ and the church in the Ephesians passage is good to look at over and over again. In fact, when we understand that our Lord Jesus Christ is Lord and we are to submit to Him as such, then we see that if one wants to see Christ in today's world, they must look at His Bride. In fact, if He is not seen (glorified) in her, then He is not seen nor glorified. He is to be the focal point of her love and adoration; He is also the one who empowers her life in every way.

He shows her off at every opportunity. She is the one who is seen. He is only seen in and through her. I wonder what changes would be made in our understanding of church leadership and home relationships, if we really took a good look.

He is our all -- yet He is the one who is our servant in all things. He answers our prayers, heals our bodies, gives us all that is needed, both physically and emotionally -- and is glorified when I am seen as His. When I stand to teach, when I help my neighbor, or whatever, He is seen -- yet I am the one being seen and being touched. He is only seen when His Bride is seen.

To submit is to give ones will to another. To be submitted to is to be required to serve the other in a way their heart is empowered to live in a "seen" way.

Interesting isn't it!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sermon notice

For all who might be interested, I was the guest preacher at the three Mother's Day services at my local church. An audio (MP3) file is available for listening at www.churchoftherez.org.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Submission & Obedience


Today I want to share an insight given to me by another woman of the gospel many years ago. It is the difference between "submission" and "obedience." Being a dutifully submissive wife (and we by all means must be that), I always thought submission and obedience were the same thing. My husband and I were born and raised in a very conservative church setting where women were silent -- except for singing and the training of children.

I can remember often hearing a frustrated friend say about a particular decision she did not agree with her husband and he was insisting upon pushing the point, "Well, I'll be submissive to it, but I don't agree with it." Then in disgruntled fashion and with a tight jaw, sit passively by as the husband insisted and she obeyed. I often was the one experiencing such frustration and guilty of such action.

However, I have learned a real secret that is a tremendous help. Submission is an attitude of heart that can only be given to another in willingness. This attitude of heart is what the Lord requires of a wife in a marriage, and a woman in the church. The above scene describes a totally unsubmissive person being obedient. This does not work the work of God. Submission is a gift to give away and no one can make me give it -- except the Lord. I can give it, but no one can make me give it. Submission is a matter of faith, or trust if you will.

Obedience, on the other hand, is not only commanded, it can be required by another person. However, if I am obedient while all the time unsubmissive in my heart, I have not accomplished the will of the Lord. In fact, I may actually be doing harm through obedience. Our Lord set it up in His word so that it would be a thing of gifting -- not a thing of law.

It is a joy to give submission -- and a joy to obey when love surrounds me. It is harder to give both when the hard edge of oppression (in one form or another) surrounds me. Nevertheless, my Lord requires me to give submission with no manipulation and to obey with joy -- regardless. This is a training of the heart. It is the training of the heart of the Kingdom -- for if we examine the ways of the Kingdom of God in Scripture, we will find that this is the way all is accomplished, whether we are male or female. This training of the heart must be accomplished in our prayer closets. It is a private matter of empowering in the Lord.

The "lines have fallen to me in pleasant places" and my husband and I now worship where I have freedom of expression and so my frustration levels are relatively easy to keep dissolved. However, whether it is my dear husband ordering my steps, or the headship of my church -- all must be received as of the Lord.

Remember, it is the training of the heart -- not what is done or not done -- but why was it done or not done -- that makes all the difference in the Spirit of our Lord.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Entering into Finished -- Part 2

In examining Genesis 2:1-3 and John 19:28-30 we discovered that our Lord entered into rest because all was finished. The concept of the "finished" explored leads us to understand that faith calls us to receive a work done while it is clearly evident that much work is yet ahead.

In our salvation, we understand this, for certainly nothing we can do or add could possibly get any thing done on our behalf. He is all that is necessary and when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ, all the righteousness He is becomes ours. (2 Cor. 5:21) However, as we live our lives in grace, we have a tendency to leave the concept of "finished," and try to work the works of God.

The Scriptures clearly teach that He prepares good work for us to do, and that is neither threatened nor set aside with the understanding of "finished," rather it is enriched.

The "work of God" is clearly stated is faith in Jesus Christ. (John 6:29) So trusting Him is our work. Therefore, when we begin to grasp the concept that all is truly "finished," we begin to experience release. Release from pressure, performance, worry, anxiety, stress, and a multidue of emotions that will damage us both spiritually and physically.

"Rest" in Him is a by-product of "entering into finished." Coming to a point in my heart where I choose to lay everything down, so He might begin to flow in me to such an extent that I begin to see His hand and join His work. Remember, Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. His emphasis was seeing His Father work, and joining Him. (John 5:19)

Our priorities would then be ordered. We would be released from the stress of trying, and be released into the joy of seeing. How awesome that would be.

How? The easiest and at the same time the hardest way possible. Lay me down and give up into Him. All of me, my cleverness, my mental capacity, my education, whatever -- for some it will be jobs, families, etc... Whatever we have been assigned to do in our short time here, is to be laid down -- and then worked in His power. Sounds so simple. It costs me my life -- and it costs you yours.

He calls with an opportunity to "be as He is in this world." (1 John 4:17b)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Entering into Finished


Tonight is our regularly scheduled Psalm 19 Ministries Fellowship Meeting and I am speaking. So I thought I would just put a preview of what I have in my heart to present, and then follow up on it a bit in the next few days. So those of you who choose to read, can have some idea of what I have taught.

"Entering into Finished" is an unfolding from the Scriptures of three passages. First, let me explain what I mean by "unfolding." When the Lord in His graciousness, allows me to see and understand something in Scripture that I have not studied, nor read, then it is an "unfolding." It always just unfolds out of the Word. It is not gained by scholarship, however, if it is a true unfolding, then scholarship will support it and enhance the ability to explain the understanding. It is always out of the Word. It is not a product of a clever mind, or some mystical experience. It is the Word in dimension form. I will try to explain my understanding of that further in the coming days.

There are three passages that have caught my eyes and my heart. The first is Genesis 2: 1-2, "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done " Here God rested because He was finished. The creation was complete and nothing needed to be added, so He rested. One of my Bible College teachers said "God rested because He was finished, not because He was tired."

The second passage is an obvious one. John 19:30 "When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, 'It is finished,' and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." Once again we hear "finished" knowing our Lord had many dimensions in mind, but the immediate one is the salvation of our souls. He had done all. Fellowship would now be possible from the Father's heart in my own -- all because He did the work and finished all that needed to be done.

The third passage is Hebrews 3:16-4:13. I will not try to write that one out for you. But do take the time to read it for your own enrichment. Our time tonight will be spent is the discovery of the by-products of "entering into finished." See what the Lord unfolds for you, and then check back for some of what we discovered.

Blessing your day in Him. Thanks for reading.