Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ephesians don't play!

Ephesians is one of my favorite books of the bible.  I recently finished studying this book and I am completely in awe of the remarkable grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I'm sad to admit it, but I have to remind myself daily of His beautiful grace and unconditional love in my life because I am so quick to forget this life changing truth.   I get so side-tracked with petty things like MY agenda for the day, traffic, angry clients, or pursuing my meaningless earthly idols.  (My husband can attest to that :) )

My favorite verse is Ephesians 2:4 when Paul says "But God".  I love when I read this transforming truth in this passage and mediate on the depth of these words.

In the beginning of Ephesians 2 Paul is explaining how man is separated from God and how we are dead in our sin and earthly pursuits.  We were by nature objects of wrath.  I am by nature doomed to be separated from God for all eternity.  There is nothing I can work hard enough towards, be good enough at, or know enough about to win the affections God.

But God chose to send His Son to earth, die a gruesome, torturous death, conquer death, and save all humanity from being separated from Him for all of eternity.  God did all this for His glory and we get to be a part of it!  I was doomed to wrath, but God who is rich in grace and mercy saved me.  "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved."

Here are my summaries of the chapters:

Ephesians 1: The Creator of this universe chose me to be a child of His.  It was nothing I did or accomplished.  It was all completed at the cross and was God's Will that I personally know the Savior of the world.  God seals me as His with the Holy Spirit and nothing can separate me from God.

Ephesians 2: I was dead in my sin and pursuing meaningless things "But God" who is rich in grace and mercy saved me, so I can spend all of eternity in communion with Him and glorifying His name.

Ephesians 3: Because we are His children, God reveals His marvelous mysteries and will for our lives and leads us in truth of how we are to live this life to glorify Him with everything we do and are.  God will give us wisdom to understand who He is and to know NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ.

Ephesians 4: God gives us the privilege of having deep communion with other believers who have also understood that we are sinners separated from a Sovereign God, but He sent Christ to die for man's sin, past, present, and future.  When we place our faith in this truth, God opens our eyes to who we are in Him, and how we can glorify Him with our lives through obedience.  God has given all believers specific gifts so we can function together as one body, but play different roles to magnify the name of Jesus.  We have the opportunity to experience deep relationships with others who are living their lives to reach the same goal.

Ephesians 5: As believers, we need to be imitators of God.  God has revealed His truth to us and we need to be obedient to His Word and put away our old self and put on our new self.  We once were in darkness, our eyes closed to the wonder and beauty of our Lord hiding who we really are, but now God has opened our eyes and we can find our confidence and identity in Christ alone.  We are sinful, dirty, and shameful and we don't have to hide it.  God knows all and we can be opened and real with our lives to other people and use our lives as a testimony.  I fail miserably daily, but God continues to love me unconditionally! What a might God we serve!

My favorite part of this chapter is verses 22-33.  God gives us instructions for a marriage.  The purpose of our marriage is not to make us happy, but to bring glory to God by tangibly imitating the relationship between Christ, the bridegroom, and the church,the bride.  Marriage is fun, but it's hard at times too.  It's being completely transparent with someone by revealing the sides of yourself you try hard to hide (like sin) and working through those things together by praying, uplifting, and encouraging one another.  I am truly learning how to love and be loved unconditionally, how to forgive and be forgiven, and how to show grace and how to be shown grace.  It's hard to let go of pride.

Ephesians 6: We cannot escape spiritual warfare.  It's all around us and God equips us so we are prepared at all times.  I forget there are evil forces all around us and I easily try to start my day and accomplish tasks on my own.  I am quickly reminded through my weaknesses and faults I cannot overcome evil in my own strength.  Sometimes when I think of spiritual warfare I get scared thinking there could be demons around or evil forces, but God did not give me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power.  God has has equipped me and is fighting the battle for me.  And guess what... He's already WON!!!

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

I hope this stirs your affections for Jesus as it has mine.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Skin '08

Weird title for a blog I know, but Tim being the creative man that he is titled our past weekend getaway this.  Our friends Jason and Alex graciously let us stay at their family's lake house on Cedar Creek Lake.  Man did we have a great time!  We used this weekend to evaluate and pray for our marriage, relax, and get comfortable in our own skin. (Hence the title of this blog)  I love it when we are intentional about keeping our marriage grounded in Christ and talking about ways we can tangibly do that daily.  It was a great time to get a way from tv, computers, and busyness that distracts us from spending time with God and each other.  We had some interesting encounters with wildlife as well; from Friday night to Saturday by noon, we saw a snake, a water moccasin, an armadillo, and Tim caught a catfish.  You can't escape the wonder of God's creation. :) 

Skin '08 can mean a few different things:

* Taking off our flesh and living in the Spirit daily.
* Being comfortable with our different personalities. 
* Knowing we are inadequate on our own in the roles God has placed us, but we can succeed with God's faithfulness.
* Being comfortable physically in the body God has given us.
* Taking care of our body physically by eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

tha birdwell beat begins

well, this is officially our first blog as we attempt to enter into the 21st century!  we hope that you enjoy our thoughts, stories, and pics as we take on the world!  i personally think our blog will be freagen awesome and everyone will want to read it all the time!... but, i'm pretty sure that is what everyone thinks... isn't that why people start blogs in the first place?  well, maybe no one will read this except me and jaya and a few family and friends, but, for those that dare, it will be life-changing!  stay tuned...