In the Same Way, Husbands

Swept Away by Grace—A Study in I Peter (part 3)—In the Same Way, Husbands

In this letter of Peter, we noted that Peter has asked the wives to be gentle kind servants, who are vessels of grace in the lives of their husbands. Then, lest the men took this as a license to be abusive in anyway; he quickly tells the husbands of their responsibility as well. Let us read below:

I Peter 3: (EXB) 7 In the same way [2:18;3:1], you husbands should live with your wives in an ·understanding[considerate] way [Eph. 5:25–33; Col. 3:19], since they are ·weaker than you[the weaker sex; or the less empowered one;L the weaker vessel;C women are typically physically weaker, but in Greco-Roman and Jewish society, they also had less power and authority]. But ·show them respect [pay/give them honor], because ·God gives them the same blessing he gives you—[L they are co-heirs of] ·the grace that gives true life [or God’s gift of life; L the grace of life]. Do this so that nothing will ·stop [hinder] your prayers.

Berto, lindsey

A husband has the responsibility in the home to treat his wife in the same manner as Christ did  the church. He is to demonstrate understanding and kindness. He is to be her protector. He is to have the responsibility to also lead her in understanding the grace of God by example. He is to give her honor, respect and love

. Ephesians explains this one step further—

Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Adorned in Humility, Love and Kindness by Grace

Swept Away by Grace- A Study in I Peter (part 13)—Adorned in Humility, Love and Kindness by Grace

Once upon a time I met Pedro Barba (Arroyo), Jr and fell madly in love with this man.  I felt so blessed that God would so graciously bring him into my life—after all I was divorced twice by the age of 22 and knew that God must have seen me as a failure—his oops child.  At least that is what I had been taught.  I wondered how in the world I had gotten to that place as I had been the exemplary young student for Christ—oh, but that is another story for another time as we must move on here.  So, at 23 like a fairytale I met and fell in love with Pedro Barba, Jr.  I felt that God had shown forth His mercy and His grace by placing this man in my life.  After a somewhat rocky courtship we married and my fairytale continued—well not always a fairytale; but neither is any marriage.  There was the fact that he professed to be an atheist; but, I knew God had a plan and well, ok the scripture about not being unequaled yoked—I kind of ignored for a moment.  Throughout that marriage there were many trials, tribulations and even tempestuous storms; but the one thing that endured was love.  Many well meaning Christians would tell me that any trials were a result of my sin of having disobeyed God.  Don’t get me wrong here, I am not condoning my disobedience nor anyone else’s.  Yet, we do fail God on a regular basis with our doubts, worries and selfish desires. 

sunrise mercies

Truth is we should all be condemned; yet, His mercies are new every morning and it is because of His faithfulness that we are not consumed by our sins.  Christ covered it all on the cross.  It is not by works of these guilty hands that I have gained salvation. 

We must fight against sin; perhaps, I didn’t at that time know how.  I know that I wanted to please God; but, beyond prayer and reading my Bible—I didn’t know how.   Then also in my naivety I believed that with enough love and since God was so gracious to bring Pete into my life; God would save him and we would live happily ever after.  That road would take me down some of my greatest sorrows and my greatest joys.  It was on that part of my journey that I truly learned of God’s Unconditional Love for me and that I had been wonderfully made.  Finally, I began to learn that I wasn’t God’s “oops child”; I was chosen with all my failures, because God saw me as His Beloved Child and He saw the finished me that He could create by His transforming work in me.  God also gave me the gift of always seeing Pete’s heart.  I spent many hours in prayer and repentance.

All of this as the introduction, we will move on in the studies of I Peter before returning to tell you the rest of the story.

Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

For the Joy that is Set Before Us

Swept Away by Grace—A Study in I Peter 2 (Part 11)— For the Joy that is set Before Us

Chosen, redeemed and left on this pilgrimage journey here on earth that we might be transformed into the image of Christ as we are being prepared to fully enjoy Christ as our greatest treasure. We are commissioned to live our lives in such a manner that others will see us and desire Christ. We were not left here to go after and seek our own self-fulfilling desires. Has this not been the message that Peter is writing? Because of the magnitude of Grace we have been given, our hearts should be overflowing with Christ and a desire to please Him. We have been given the opportunity of an eternal relationship as Child of the creator and joint-heir with Christ of all things. As we near the end of Chapter 2 we see that Peter is urging us to live outwardly the life we have been so graciously given through humility, love and even enduring ridicule, rejection and suffering so that we might be like Christ.

In the midst of the storm

So, what are we to do when storm clouds surround us and we feel oppressed? We are to look to Christ as our example for He is our light to show us the way out of darkness. As we cling to Him we recognize that He is truly our Joy in the midst of diverse tribulations. (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3) That is why we can rejoice, knowing we are His dearly beloved.

Look what Peter wrote.

Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Friends for the Journey

Every Sunday morning I try to post a poem for you. Oftentimes it is a new poem; however, some weeks there are no new poems forming in my head.  Poetry for me is not something I can just sit down and write—the beginning words must appear in my mind and only then it can take shape.  This week I have nothing new; but, wish to share a poem from last year that many of you have not seen.  I wrote this poem as I was leaving Florida where I had lived for 10 years.  For me, I consider myself so blessed with all the directions and places God has led me.  So many people I have met in my travels and friends that will last a lifetime.  What a marvelous grace God has shown down upon me that I have such friends who have been there for me, graciously forgiven me when I have been wrong, encouraged me when I have been down, and played such a role in who I am today.  Thank you, all this is for you. I have felt Christ’s love displayed through each and every one of you.  I pray you see His hope, His love and His Joy through my life.

I’d Traveled Far
By Effie Darlene Barba

I’d traveled far across this land
Unto the eastern shore
Uncertain of what God had planned
Alone, I stood once more
I’d heard Him bid for me to go
Twas all I needed know

And then I saw, as time did pass
His plan begin unfold
I had been placed within His class
To learn His love untold
And as I saw His Glory Shine
His joy, His love now mine

I met dear friends along this way
That helped me as I grew
And others stumbling blocks did lay
God used to guide me too
That I might see His Grace His might
With Christ my guiding light

And Now I know that I must go
To leave these all behind
I wonder if my life did show
A Glimpse of God’s dear mind
And did my life His Glory shine
Within this mirror of mine

Oh, Lord I have this one request
When memories of me rise
That they might see how I was blessed
Your grace my greatest prize
You took this broken, selfish heart
To fill Your Love Impart

So, can you Lord, use all I’ve done
Though blend of good and bad
To point them Lord to your dear son
His Grace, His Love did clad
A simple person such as I
With righteousness on High

 

© 2014 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to any brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides regarding the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

A Life’s Testimony

Swept Away by Grace—A Study in I Peter (part 10)—A Life’s Testimony

Peter, the rough and rugged fisherman became an eloquent writer and teacher of the gospel. As we have noted in I Peter, he reminds us over and over again that it is by grace alone that we have been saved and called to be set apart in this pilgrimage journey. He tells us that in Christ we are set free from the chains and bonds of sin that surround us. Yet, as we noted in the previous verses; he does not want us to forget that God is righteous and God hates sin. God knows that our self-centered, pride-filled, pleasure seeking hearts draw us toward counterfeit joys that cannot fill the void within. He is the only one who can fill that void. Peter also knows the perils; after all, he was the one who after pride fully boasting to follow after Jesus had then denied Christ. Peter had also felt the grace of Christ’s forgiveness.

mountaintop-experiences-in-the-valley-ronald-barbaArtwork used by permission of Ronald Barba who owns the copyright—for further information on obtaining please click on the link

Peter’s heart had been broken of all the self-exaltation and had wondered if he would ever be “worthy” of being a teacher. Ahh, truth is: he knew he wasn’t worthy; but, was chosen anyway. Peter knew that it was Christ who could do the work through him and not himself.

That is the Peter who now writes:

Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Firm Foundation—Now and for Eternity

Swept Away by Grace- A Study in I Peter (part 9)—Firm Foundation-now and for Eternity

Peter has been confirming and reminding the people of the marvelous wonder of the grace they have been given. Grace which reaches out, takes hold, and transforms lives. He realizes that there is a truth which they must also know—a truth without which grace has no significance. That truth is that God is a righteous and just God as well. For that reason, he refers back to Isaiah where it was written: (Isaiah 28) “16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lay in Zion a stone, a[q]tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation. He that believeth, [r]shall not make haste. 17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. “Judgment will come—that is a certainty and judgment will pour out from heaven only that which mankind deserves as a result of his rebellious and self-absorbed heart. Many who built their lives on their own “self-righteousness” and on anything other than the truth of the gospel will watch their lives crumble beneath the hailstorms that try the faith.

broken-and-contrite-heart-ronald-barbaportrait used by permission of Ronald Barba who owns the copyright.  Please click on the picture if you wish to obtain information on purchasing

Christ is the only foundation on which we may build that will stand when the trials of our faith come on the earth. Furthermore, when we stand before Him in judgment all our humans works and wisdom will be burned away; yet, our salvation will stand firm only if we have built upon the foundational stone of Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3: 9-15). For all who have not believed on Jesus Christ, there is no foundation and they will be eternally condemned—by their own choice to have denied the only means of righteousness that was purchased at a great price to the Father and Son.

Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Because You Have Tasted That He is Good

Swept Away by Grace—A Study in I Peter (Part 8)—Because You have Tasted that He is Good

It had been a simple question.  It was meant to be a word of flattery, a friendly gesture to uplift, I am certain.  Any other moment, I would have immediately known the answer—in a split second; because I know the truth.  After all, I know the gracious beauty and wonder of God’s love.  I know He is good and is Sovereign over my life.  Then why, oh why did that question split open the scars of my past?  Hadn’t God already healed that wound so long ago?  Perhaps it was timing that made it lethal or perhaps I had let down the wall just enough to allow the question in with all that it could imply, or maybe I had turned off the alarms because I though I was safe. There it was the question,  “So, who takes care of Super Woman?”   At that moment my heart split in two and all the desires for human love I had long ago laid aside rushed in, along with all the fears of rejection, feelings of loneliness, and those feelings of inadequacy.  For that moment, all the truth of who I am in Christ faded into the background as Satan’s lies became so loud within my heart and mind.  Then I began the process over the next 24 hours where my own fear would destroy any hope of friendship, thus relinquishing me from being vulnerable anymore. Not the smartest way of handling the situation, I know.  I should have run to God; but, unfortunately, once those walls are broken we tend to try to hide those feelings from even God.   Of course my fear was not only will this friend find out that I am not superwoman; but they will discover my weakness as well. Don’t tell me you have never done anything similar.     I had been there before.  So, this was nothing new—only I did not expect  this particular emotional stumbling block.  It had been so many years since I had felt this kind of loneliness. I  believed that God had closed that wound forever—or, so I had thought.

Sullivan2_photography courtesy of Dr. Rene Sullivan and used by permission

In this journey we are surrounded by a dark sea of turmoil from the evils surrounding us in this world.  Illness, disappointments, sorrows, violence, death, financial turmoil, and job performance demands all press in from outside us.  Then from deep within is all the brokenness of our hearts, our longing for acceptance, our pride, our feelings of mediocrity, and our sense of inadequacy.  There would be no hope were God to have left us in our broken state; but, He did not.

Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

God Sends You a Note

Have you ever stood amazed as you look through your life at all the various people God has placed in your pathway? Some you barely see for an instant, some are there for a lifetime and some interweave with your life like a needle and thread on a tapestry, entering and leaving. The amazing thing is how God uses each and everyone to step by step transform us. In His Sovereignty, He allows the joys, the dreams, and even the rejections and the sorrows. He knows each and every scar that we bear which weigh us down. He knows where we are most vulnerable to Satan’s whispering lies. He knows that there are scars from this world of sin which can only be healed by a Surgeon’s knife, reopening that scar and revising it with great skill. God does just that. I thank God for each and every person that God has used in my life for that purpose. Those whom unwittingly have been used to cut open those scars and those who have been there to heal them. My prayer is that God fills their heart, each and everyone, with His Joy and His peace.

God Sends You a Note

By Effie Darlene Barba

 

God sends you a note

Though someone else wrote

A text or a rhyme or a quote

And through what was said

A hope fills your head

As down some path you felt lead

Joy fills your heart

And flames with a spark

Like a dream, a beginning, a start

Then something goes wrong

Like some sad country song

And you feel like you just don’t belong

Then you lift up your eyes

Filled with tears toward the skies

And you ask God to please tell you why

While tears fall like rain

And your heart breaks with pain

Your sorrow no truth can explain

It had nothing to do

With the one before you

As the truth your dear heart doth pursue

God saw deep within

Saw the scars held therein

Left behind from the past where you’d been

So God sent you this oar

To help find the shore

And to force you to unlock that door

So the wound could now heal

And that burden so real

Could be crushed so that now you might feel

The release from that chain

That had caused so much strain

So, God’s joy and His Glory might reign

 

© 2014 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to any brands, products or services that I have mentioned with the exception of my own book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides regarding the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Therefore, Live a Life of Love

SWEPT AWAY BY GRACE—A Study in I Peter (part 7): Therefore, live a life of love

I Peter 2 (NIV) Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Whenever we see the word therefore in scripture, we must look back. Certainly Peter is telling us to rid ourselves of all thoughts of anger or deceit. We are to not lie—to ourselves or to others. We need to no longer live our lives with hypocrisy and envy; nor are we to slander others. This does not come just as a list of commands or laws which we already know that we cannot accomplish on our own; rather, it comes with a therefore and a means as to how.

broken-and-contrite-heart-ronald-barba

Artwork used by written permission of Ronald Barba who owns the copyright

Because of the truth that we have been elected and called forth by Grace to be born again into a new life with Christ and because of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us we are to look at the world around us with eyes of understanding and genuine love. We must be always mindful of “the beam in our own eye” before trying to remove the speck in someone else’s eye. We must always remember who we are without Christ and only then can we reach a world in need of Christ. Because of the price Christ paid for our redemption, we need to live forth our lives as His Ambassadors. Sometimes that does make us vulnerable to being taken advantage of or vulnerable to being hurt because of our mission. Peter knew this all too well and accepted that as a part of his life.

Then, Peter as though he also knew that contrary to what some might think, this type of pouring oneself out may lead to broken heartedness and even loneliness—he reminded us where we go to be nourished. We must be fed by spiritual milk and grow in our knowledge of Christ. We must continually be reminded of the sweetness of Christ in our lives—yearning after and seeking Him.

Listen to this song I wrote once upon a time.  The Master Weaver

 

New International Version(NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© 2014 Effie Darlene Barba

Artwork is used with written permission of Ronald Barba who owns the copyright. His work can be found at: http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/ronald+barba/all

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to any brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides regarding the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

Hope—Secured and Anchored in the Cross of Jesus Christ

Swept Away by Grace-A Study in I Peter (part 6): Hope—Secured and Anchored in the Cross of Jesus Christ

Our hope must not be built upon that which we see. It is so much bigger than anything that we could possibly see and so precious that it is worth all the pain and suffering we might find on this pilgrimage. Peter a rough and rugged sailor has now become the eloquent speaker. He now understands that this journey he has chosen will be far more treacherous than the worst storm he had ever faced before on any sea. Yet, he is pleading and urging to all who would read this his letter not to lose hope. He knows the urgency and when you read this book and this chapter, you cannot help but hear the earnest pleas of Peter. He has so reminded us that all that we have is an act of grace. We must take hold of that truth and wrap it tightly about our thoughts so as to prevent the fiery darts of Satan’s accusation from entering in. We must remain sober and not become intoxicated with the desires of this world or its enticements. Cling tight to that hope that one day we will stand before Christ—so overwhelmed by His beauty and Glory. We will marvel at how that beauty radiates and is reflected in our faces back to Christ with brilliance beyond anything we can imagine. He then urges us to be obedient children. He reminds us that God is a just and righteous God who never judges unfairly. Knowing that truth should cause us to tremble with fear and bow down in reverence to Him because the truth is our hearts are guilty, deserving hell and damnation. Yet, he paid the price for our redemption with the blood of His only begotten son. He didn’t buy us with tangible things such as gold or silver.

IMG_0509

Not only that before God created the heaven and the earth, God looked through the corridors of time and knew every failure, every sin, every rebellious act, every selfish thought and every act of hate that you and I would commit and He still ordained that Christ would come to earth and pay the penalty for our sin. He chose to love you and redeem you anyway.

You were chosen, so raise up your head and look upon God, the Father who resurrected Christ from the dead and is calling you into new life with Him. He has done this so that all

Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Comments Off