Power Struggle

For the last couple of weeks, we have been working through Paul’s challenging words about marriage to the Ephesian church. What he describes there sounds awesome when it works, but the reality is that it doesn’t often work. Ideals are nice, but reality is rarely ideal. So, what do we do when things aren’t working like God intended, particularly when it comes to our marriages? That’s where something the apostle Peter said comes into play. This week, we are talking about what to do when reality falls short of ideal. This idea applies to our marriages, yes, but it applies more broadly than that as well. Read on to find out what to do and the impact it can have.

Power Struggle

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: Polycephaly is better than being monocephalic. Wait, you’ve never heard that one? Well, how about this version? Two heads are better than one. That probably sounds a bit more familiar. Be honest with me, though: How many of you have ever heard of the medical condition known as polycephaly? It is a rare genetic defect causing a creature (including human creatures) to be born with two heads. Perhaps you’ve seen a picture of a turtle like this one. This poor calf just tugs at your heartstrings a bit. This last one, however, is probably something you could only imagine seeing in a nightmare. As a general rule, God designed the various creatures He created to have one head. That’s all they need. When a creature enters the world with two heads, that is unfailingly a signal that something has gone wrong. If you want to be all theological about it, it is one of the many impacts of sin on the world. 

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Love Lived Out

Last week we began taking a look at what I promised would be some of the most important, but also the most challenging words on marriage we can find in the Scriptures. Paul’s counsel on how to get marriage right for the Ephesian believers starts with the command for wives to submit to their husbands and doesn’t get any easier from there. Without context, it just sounds like an ugly mess we rightly want to avoid. So, we started out this look last week with context. We explored the larger purpose and theme of the entire letter and came to the conclusion that something entirely different from what the world sees in these words is what Paul actually meant. This week, we are exploring Paul’s counsel itself and seeing what kind of sense we can make from it in light of the proper context. Keep reading to see how we did.

Love Lived Out

Have you ever done one of those hidden image pictures where you have to essentially color-by-number in order to discover what the image is? If you just look at it without doing any work on it at all, it looks basically like a bunch of random shapes all jammed together. At least, that’s the case if they’re done right. Until you begin filling in blanks, you aren’t able to really understand what you are seeing. If they’re created really well, you have to get several blanks filled in before you begin to get a clue. But at some point a picture starts to emerge. Once you’ve gotten a sense of where you’re going, then, the energy and intensity to work on it begin to increase. As you have a clearer and clearer sense of the end toward which you are working, you can move in that direction with greater diligence and speed. 

This is all a little like what we are going to be doing today. 

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 20:25-28

“Jesus called them over and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This coming Sunday, Lord willing (and on here Monday), we are going to be talking about Paul’s words to the Ephesian church about marriage. One of the ideas he introduces there is that, in the Christian view of marriage, the husband is the head of the wife. Today is not going to be about that at all (stay tuned for Monday). Instead, something I’m going to say in an attempt to explain what this looks like through the lens of the Christian worldview as opposed to the lens of the world prompted another thought. I want to explore this in a bit more detail today than I will on Sunday as I offer a review of the latest Star Wars series on Disney+: Andor.

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Morning Musing: Micah 5:2

“Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Christmas morning is a time when kids all over the place are looking forward to waking up, going to wherever their tree happens to be, and laying their eyes on their big Christmas surprise. The bigger the better too. I remember a few Christmases when I was little where I had some big toy or another greeting me as I walked in the living room. As you start getting a little older, though, something happens. The toys tend to get a little smaller. Then they get a little smaller still. And the first few times you find something smaller – still exciting, but smaller – it hits a little like a slap in the face. Yet, as the old cliche goes, big things can come in small packages. This verse offers us a potent reminder of that truth. As we continue our Advent journey this morning, let’s talk about God’s tendency to work big things in unexpected ways.

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Digging in Deeper: Malachi 2:8-9

“‘You, on the other hand, have turned from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have violated the covenant of Levi,’ says the Lord of Armies. ‘So I in turn have made you despised and humiliated before all the people because you are not keeping my ways but are showing partiality in your instruction.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In 1989, Ed Koch lost his bid to be reelected Mayor of New York City in a primary upset to David Dinkins. When later interviewed about it and asked if he would run again, Koch wittily replied that “the people threw me out. And now the people must be punished.” In other words, if the people don’t like the situation they are in, it’s their own fault and they are going to have to own it. And indeed, sometimes when people are in a hard spot, it is their own fault for not receiving and following good leadership. But sometimes it is the fault of bad leadership. Disobedient people may raise the Lord’s ire, but poor leadership just makes Him angry. This is what Malachi reminds us of here.

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