My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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New Living in New Creation
Beautiful new creation in West Africa.
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Eph. 5:15–20 NRSV)
This entire chapter begins with an encouragement from Paul for the Ephesians to become imitators of Christ. In this context he discusses the influences of the culture upon life in the new Christian community. The life of the Christ-follower (imitator) is to be different from that which is found in the world.
If God’s people are new creation, then there is new living. Careful attentiveness must be given to the ways in which the culture is allowed to influence because, it is people who have made the days evil (not God), and therefore wisdom is needed to live in a discerning way. If not, foolishness will rule the day.
The people who worshipped Dionysius would drink until they were drunk as a part of their ritual. Wine was a part of this worship and in continual use. When they were filled with the wine and acted in such odd ways, they believed this was a sign of being filled with the spirit of Dionysius. Therefore drunkenness was associated with god-worship. Drunkenness plagued the culture in Ephesus. This is why Paul contrasts the use of wine with the infilling of the Spirit. It is a challenge to those who believed they needed wine to “lift their spirits,” rather than depending on the filling of theSpirit.
Chrysostom put it this way:
Be ready for the Spirit’s filling. This happens only when we have cleansed our souls of falsehood, anger, bitterness, sexual impurity, uncleanness and covetousness. It happens only when we have become compassionate, meek and forgiving to one another, only when facetiousness is absent, only when we have made ourselves worthy. Only then does the Spirit come to settle within our hearts, only when nothing is there to prevent it. Then he will not only enter but also fill us. (HOMILY ON EPHESIANS 19.5.19–21)
Therefore when we are tired and weary, anxious and afraid, we should not seek to have our spirits lifted by the drinking of alcohol. In the end it is the strong drink which can make us feel even more sorrowful. Instead, it is through prayer and the singing of Psalms that we are to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In this way we can avoid those things which may keep us from living as new creation.
Chrysostom’s message on this passage is powerful and so, we continue:
Do you wish to be happy? Do you want to know how to spend the day truly blessed? I offer you a drink that is spiritual. This is not a drink for drunkenness that would cut off even meaningful speech. This does not cause us to babble. It does not disturb our vision. Here it is: Learn to sing psalms! Then you will see pleasure indeed. Those who have learned to sing with the psalms are easily filled with the Holy Spirit. But if you sing only the devil’s songs you will soon find yourself filled with an unclean spirit. HOMILY ON EPHESIANS 19.5.19–21.
New creation means new living, day in and day out focused on giving thanks to God, our lives an offering in worship before our Lord.
In the power of the Spirit, may we live daily as imitators of Christ. Amen.
Scripture: Proverbs 21:17Whoever loves pleasure will suffer want; whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich. Observation:
Some have said that this verse speaks of the dangers of an Epicurean life-style. What does that mean? Generally we have attributed this to the teaching of Epicurus, a philosopher who was born in 341 BC. He encouraged people to find a static state of pleasure where one was satiated — or full. When the pleasures have been completely, or entirely satisfied, then one feels full. Later Epicurean societies adopted a motto: Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo ("I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care”). In contemporary society this phrase has been adopted to be used at humanist funerals, or to be carved as an epitaph on a headstone.
The problem is that they don’t understand what Wisdom was trying to say. Pleasure alone would ultimately leave one wanting. The Epicurean life of rich foods and drink, as well as the investment in oils and cosmetics could not be sustained. T…
Proverbs 15:17Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it. Observation:
The guests are invited to dinner but the host is concerned that there is little to offer. Without the financial resources of the wealthy, they are unable to kill a fatted ox and can only serve vegetables. While some may be discouraged by this, wisdom tells us that the satisfaction depends upon the appetite of the guest. If the guests who are invited are hungry, then even a small meal will be enjoyed and received with gratitude. They will experience the love of the host who was willing to share all he had with his guests. Application:
I was born in Germany where my parents served as missionaries. It seems that our financial resources were often limited, and yet, there was an endless supply of guests at our table. Not only did we have our dear German friends gathering with us at the table, but also many visitors from other countries who would stop by, wanting to see “t…
Scripture: Job 38:1-2 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Observation: Trying to give a reason for Job’s circumstances, his friends had provided every explanation imaginable to the human mind. Now, it was time for God’s response and reality is brought into focus. The friends were bringing counsel to Job, but they did not have knowledge. There was far too much that they did not understand. Following this question God reminds Job that God alone has power over creation, and this knowledge is far beyond Job’s understanding. Therefore, the words of Job’s friends are hollow with misunderstanding. They do not know God, and should not presume to speak for God, for their counsel becomes words without knowledge. Application: If our first instinct is not to run to the Lord in difficult circumstances, we may be allowing ourselves to be counseled by words without knowledge. There are plenty of people who are willing to give us ad…