Tag Archives: Paul

A Spirit of Fear

Click this link to listen to the audio.


2 Timothy 1
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did,as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.[b] 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Biblical Marriage Roles

Good-WifeI recently had this conversation online. Some minor wording has been changed to make it relevant to anyone. 

Q:What are Biblical marriage roles?

A: The biblical answer is mutual submission. Different but one is not the natural lord over the other. Both made in the image of God. Both valuable. If you can teach people how to love and be selfless it falls naturally into place. There are really good marriages around you that have figured it out. Watch how they interact with each other. The world perverts it in every way, but the best answer is to stay away from pendulum swings.

Q:  “What does mutual submission look like? Does it look like the description in the Ephesians 5:22-33, or are those verses cancelled out by 20-21?”

A: No verses are cancelled out ever. That’s the problem with this subject. There is general understanding throughout the Bible about the value of women. Then we take two or three passages by Paul and use those to trump everything else swinging way past God given roles and into something justifying the paterfamilias. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” and then it shows what that looks like. He addresses both parties. Here is how you submit to each other. It is not a simple concept. I expect to learn more experientially about it for decades to come. I also have more Bible study I’d like to do.

For instance what does it mean to be the head as Christ is the head? It can’t possibly be a role in which someone is obeyed and worshipped without question right? It can’t mean I save her from Hell. There have to be limits to the analogy. Christ is the head of the church. I am the head of the wife. To what extent? I am not her Lord, but there is a vast set of scenarios where I am clearly the leader. For instance, I walk first into more dangerous areas. She trusts me to protect her, to pay attention to our surroundings and would follow me out of a room immediately if I said, “we need to go right now.” I am the head of our house spiritually. When we are faced with demonic attacks usually I am the one that has the authority to end it. Sometimes however this is not the case. We look to God for the right answer here. Now, I also submit to Beth. She is not my Lord, but there are things in our life where I ask her what she thinks, and we do that without question. We are both homeschooling our daughters, but Beth has the authority to direct it. Why? Because she is more fit for the task. She has put the work into it. She has done more research. She is a better teacher than me.  I could write a book on the different things on which we submit to each other. A lot of these things fall into the obvious masculine vs. feminine giftings. I’m much stronger and not afraid of black bears, so I take the trash out after dark. She doesn’t get offended by me taking this role. I would like to paint every room in the house blue or black. Beth knows better how to make a house hospitable and beautiful, so I don’t even argue. I’m not offended or emasculated in any way.

The bottom line is you’ve got to consider every bible passage within the greatest context which is the Bible in its entirety. God created them in His image, male and female. Both are His image. They are very different, but they are most assuredly equal. The man leaves his family and clings to his wife. They become one (echad). God told us to love. Love is a decision of our will. The will is always involved with marriage. Consent is key in every sphere of relationships. It is what defines stealing vs borrowing and so much more. It’s inseparable from marriage relationships too. Submission to each other happens by knowing who God has made each of us to be and then agreeing and consenting to yield to the other person. It does not mean I use a trump card every time we get into an argument. If a husband has to say, “No! I am the man. I am the leader!” to get his way in a decision there is something wrong with his character, just as wrong as if he never made a single decision or if he lived in constant fear of his wife. A marriage of two Christians is very beautiful and needs very little rules. Love self governs and flows smoothly. Selfishness forces and causes tension.

Anyway. That’s some of an answer. There’s a lot more to be said.

What if I’m not good enough?

IMG_1841-2-4Yesterday, as the girls took their naps, I felt drawn to our comfy couch, not to nap but to spend some time with God. On normal days I like to chill out by reading or watching a show that’s too “action-y” for the girls, as Bekah puts it. But no. The air was expectant and alive with the Holy Spirit’s company. I don’t think there was anything specific He wanted to say, simply that He just wanted to talk with me. We could talk about whatever. So I began reflecting on all my hopes, questions and concerns with this YWAM plant that is about to happen. It hasn’t been preying on my mind, per se, but I do occasionally wonder at God choosing little old me to co-lead this Big Deal. I am painfully aware of all my faults and my shortcomings and I do sometimes get that “Oh snap!” feeling in the pit of my stomach, although I try my best to ignore it as much as possible.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking at the bright side of things where the future is concerned (I’m winking, if you can’t tell).

I’ve been tucked safely away in our home for the past few years, taking care of our girls and nursing a number of health issues. I’ve had minimal contact with other human beings and so minimal opportunity to  mess things up. I have no qualms with learning from past mistakes, but never has it seemed so paramount to get it right the first time as it does now. I have full confidence in Micah’s ability, his character, and his stamina to carry out this vision God is sharing with us –not so much in my own.

God encouraged me through 1 Corinthians 3. Micah felt I should share it here and spread some of that encouragement around to anyone facing a similar predicament. Click here to read the chapter.

When I first read this I said, “Wha–?” As in, “What? I don’t see how this applies to what we were just talking about, God.” So I read it again today at lunch and He helped me see what He was trying to show me yesterday.

Did you read it? Now skip down a few lines.

Ah yes. The good old  “I am of Paul” vs. “I am of Apollos” fight. The Corinthians were getting hung up on who was following who, and who did what first and a whole lot of nonsense. Imagine the growing Christian church of that day as a garden or planted field as Paul sums up, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). Now skip to the end and read where it says God has given us all things and we belong to Him.

So in answer to my question, “What if I’m not good enough or smart enough?” God says He is doing this marvelous thing; this crazy vision for a YWAM Upper Valley is His. He is doing it, not us. He has given it to us, and we belong to Him. He is causing the growth. The weight is ultimately on His shoulders. Phew! Thank goodness for that.

On to foundations.

(1 Corinthians 3:10-15) I remember when we first came to School of the Bible seven years ago and telling folks, “We’re doing this school so we can have a firm foundation before heading out into the mission field.” I know foundations are actually pretty boring. Slabs of concrete that, as a homeowner, you never want to see or think about for fear of finding those ominous cracking lines. Boring or not, I’ve got a soft spot for them. It clicks in my brain when Paul says we have a foundation which is Jesus Christ. The-Sims-4-build-modeOn our SIMS-like journey to building the Kingdom of God, Jesus is our foundation and we get to build on it. Our add-ons are tested by fire. If we build and our work remains, hurray! We did a good job. Pats on the back all around! If the quality of our work proves poor and is lost in the fire, we suffer loss (in that bits or all of our house burnt down) but we don’t perish with it. A worst case scenario of blowing it big time is I get to start over with Jesus. It’s not the end. I’ll learn. I have the good foundation and I’ll endure. All is not lost and I can build again, all the wiser. “Relax, Beth.”

I walked away from lunch with these three think-points:

  1. Have a good foundation. Focus on that. Build wisely.
  2. Don’t be duped by the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 3:18-20). God sending out little inexperienced me to take on this big task will probably look foolish to the world, but the wisdom of the world is foolishness before God. People will think it’s crazy so just get over it.
  3. Consider this in confidence: God is in charge of all of this. It will be all right, come what may.

If God is handing you something big and scary try to relax. He doesn’t expect you to be good enough or smart enough. He’s making that garden grow. He’s holding the house up. He doesn’t expect you to do His job. He wants you to participate but not stress out about being in charge.