All in the Family ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 12-21-14


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These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 51 ~ Dec.14-20
Acts 27-28, Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians,
1 Timothy, Titus, 1 Peter

All in the Family


This week we looked at seven New Testament epistles, all, except 1 Peter, written by Paul. All were written to encourage and/or instruct churches and pastors in doctrine and practices as they lived out the Christian life in the church, at home, and in the world. Four of these seven epistles specifically instruct family members on their roles in the home. Today, we’re going to take a look at God’s instructions to wives, husbands, children, and parents.

We’ll be using Colossians 3:18-21 as our outline, fleshing out each role with passages from the other epistles.

Colossians 3:18-21


Wives- Submit

Interestingly, in each of the four passages we’ll be studying today, the roles in the home are addressed in the same order: wives, husbands, children, parents. It’s of particular interest to me that wives are always addressed first. Although Scripture doesn’t tell us why this is the case, I would speculate that this might be for two reasons. First, it follows the order of the Fall (Genesis 2). Eve fell first, then Adam, and God gave her consequences first, then Adam’s. Second, wives -then and now- normally have the most responsibility for the day to day, “in the trenches” management of the home. We have an enormous impact on the emotional and spiritual tone of our marriages and family life.

Colossians 3:18- Submit for the Lord
We are submit to our husbands because it is “fitting in the Lord.” Not because they deserve it. Not because they’re awesome (and when they’re not we don’t have to submit). Not because we want to be the perfect wife. Because it is “fitting” in God’s eyes. This is the role God has ordained for us, and it honors Him when we obey Him.

Ephesians 5:22-24, 33b- Submit for the church
We are to submit to and respect our husbands as a picture of the church’s submission to Christ. In the same way that Hosea’s marriage to Gomer was a picture to Israel of God’s faithfulness to His adulterous people, our submission to our husbands should be a picture, especially to the church, of how the church is to be faithful and obedient to Christ.

1 Peter 3:1-6- Submit for our husbands
We are to be subject to our husbands to win them to godliness– to salvation if they are lost, to obedience to Christ if they are saved. Notice that this is accomplished by our example and behavior, not by nagging or talking them to death. Our “respectful and pure conduct” and our “gentle and quiet spirits” are attractive and winsome and can smooth the way for our husbands to desire to be more godly men.

Titus 2: 3-5- Submit for the world
We are to submit to our husbands “that the word of God may not be reviled.” Lost people are watching us. Will we live in obedience to God’s word and show them that it proves true? That they can trust the same Christ we trust?

Husbands- Love

Colossians 3:19- Love for your wife
Husbands are to love their wives and treat them kindly. The Greek form of the phrase “do not be harsh” means not to be bitter or resentful. Wives are imperfect, sinful people (just like husbands) and husbands are to be merciful and forgiving when their wives fall short, not hold bitterness or resentment against them.

Ephesians 5:25-33- Love for the world and the church
Husbands are to love their wives as a picture of Christ’s love for His bride, the church. Christ gave both His life and His blood for the church. When husbands daily love their wives in a self-sacrificing way, they are showing the world -and the church- Jesus.

1 Peter 3:7- Love for your own spiritual life
Husbands are to be understanding with their wives and honor them because they are brother and sister in Christ. Just as a rift between two fellow Christians can hamper their worship and church unity, sinning against his wife by failing to love her as Christ commanded will hinder a man’s relationship with the Lord.

Children- Obey

Colossians 3:20- Obey for the Lord’s pleasure
Children are to obey their parents. In everything. They are not to be allowed to back talk or do as they please in defiance of their parents. Why? It’s so simple even a child can understand it: this pleases the Lord. When children obey their parents, they are fulfilling the role God has ordained for them.

Ephesians 6:1-3- Obey because it’s right. Obey for your well-being.
Obedience to parents is right because God says it is. It is His very first “horizontal” (our relationship with others) Commandment in the Decalogue (the first four are “vertical”- our relationship with God). It is also the first Commandment with a promise- that things will go well for those who obey it.

Parents- Train

Colossians 3: 21- Train for their emotional well-being
Whom does Paul address in this statement? Fathers. While mothers have a huge responsibility to train their children in godliness on a daily basis, the buck stops with Dad. God has been holding dads responsible for their families since He called out, “Adam, where are you?” in the Garden. Fathers are not to rule with an iron fist, but encourage and grow their children in the ways of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4- Train for their spiritual well-being
Paul again addresses fathers. Fathers are to take seriously their responsibility for the spiritual health of their families. They are not to act or treat their children in ways that frustrate them needlessly. Fathers are to train their children in the Scriptures and discipline them biblically.

Titus 2:4- Train out of love
This is the only part of these passages where Paul specifically addresses a mother’s relationship with her children. She is simply to love them. Of course, it is not loving to let a child do as he pleases. We have already seen that God commands children to obey their parents. So a mother is to lovingly train her child in God’s word and in obedience to God and to parents.

In His wisdom and goodness, God has ordained certain roles and responsibilities for each member of the family. We show our love and honor for God when we seek to obey Him by fulfilling our roles as He empowers and enables us to do so.



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You can give “Jacob” as a GIFT, too! At these prices, you can get one for all the women on your Christmas list!

And don’t forget your women’s Bible study group! You don’t have to have an e-reader or tablet. “Jacob” can be downloaded to your smart phone, computer, or tablet, too. This is a much less expensive way (especially for small churches on a limited budget) to do a women’s Bible study than ordering a $15 workbook for everybody. It’s a great time to start thinking about January Bible studies!

Order your copies today– this is a limited time offer!

8 Christmas Tradition Do-Overs (and Do Over and Overs!) ~ at Satisfaction Through Christ


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I wish I had realized as a young mother that once you start a Christmas precedent, or fail to start one, it can be really hard to change later. Looking back over 20+ years, here are some Christmas traditions and precedents I would go back and change, and others I’m glad we started early and kept.


Christmas is a great time for building family traditions. Check out my new article at Satisfaction Through Christ: 8 Christmas Tradition Do-Overs (and Do Over and Overs!)

What are some family
Christmas traditions you enjoy?

Throwback Thursday ~ Playing Go Fish


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Originally Published March 9, 2009


Not long ago, I stumbled across a fabulous vocal band called Go Fish. They bill themselves as “great music for kids that won’t drive parents bonkers!” and they certainly live up to that declaration. I would classify them as a Christian version of “The Wiggles” except that The Wiggles drive me somewhat bonkers. They have released a number of songs that will appeal to adults as well, particularly their Christmas music. My favorite is “It’s About the Cross”:

I also love The Mom SongBible Book Bop, and so many others! Plus, they have an amazing assortment of Vacation Bible School curricula.

Go Fish’s music is available for purchase (MP3 downloads as well as CDs) on their web site (link above),, CBD, and

Wednesday’s Word ~ Isaiah 40


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Isaiah 40

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord‘s hand
    double for all her sins.

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
    and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
    when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
    surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever.

Go on up to a high mountain,
    O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
    O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
    lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
    “Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
    and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
    or what man shows him his counsel?
14 Whom did he consult,
    and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
    and taught him knowledge,
    and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
    and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
    behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
    nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him,
    they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

18 To whom then will you liken God,
    or what likeness compare with him?
19 An idol! A craftsman casts it,
    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
    and casts for it silver chains.
20 He who is too impoverished for an offering
    chooses wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
    to set up an idol that will not move.

21 Do you not know? Do you not hear?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
23 who brings princes to nothing,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
    scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
    and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25 To whom then will you compare me,
    that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
    and because he is strong in power
    not one is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers

Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 12-16-14


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Who Was St. Nicholas?- With what little we know about St. Nicholas, it is safe to say he would not be pleased to know he had eclipsed Christ in the hearts of many as the central figure of Christmas.



To the Trader Joe’s Employee Who Noticed My Family in the Parking Lot- “I just wanted you to have this bouquet…” and I looked down to see the flowers in her hands. She quickly continued to explain…

Does God Have a Purpose for My Life?- The ultimate purpose of your life is not about you. You exist for God’s glory. I exist for God’s glory. Every person you meet and have ever met exists for God’s glory.

Snowtime- God’s handiwork up close and personal.


I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day- A sobering poem with a haunting, but hopeful melody. May the Prince of Peace reign on earth far as the curse is found.

IMG_5407Eight Trends About Church Bulletins- LifeWay studies everything about churches. I’m waiting for them to come out with an article about how your church’s bathroom plumbing affects whether or not visitors return. I actually have some input about that.

God Might Call You to Be Ignored- This isn’t a pretty thought for many of us…And yet, it’s probably the reality for more of us than we realize. We speak, we pray, we plead… and there’s nothing. For many, your words are nothing more than the incoherent mutterings of Charlie Brown’s school teacher.


Michelle Lesley:

Last minute Christmas shopping? Don’t forget– “Jacob” is on sale for 99 CENTS, and a portion of your purchase supports missions.

Originally posted on Michelle Lesley:


All e-versions of “Jacob” are on sale! Get a Kindle or Nook copy for just $1.99, or other e-version at CBD for just $1.59! (Click the hyperlinks here, or click on the “Books” tab above.)

You can give “Jacob” as a GIFT, too! At these prices, you can get one for all the women on your Christmas list!

And don’t forget your women’s Bible study group! You don’t have to have an e-reader or tablet. “Jacob” can be downloaded to your smart phone, computer, or tablet, too. This is a much less expensive way (especially for small churches on a limited budget) to do a women’s Bible study than ordering a $15 workbook for everybody. It’s a great time to start thinking about January Bible studies!

Order your copies today– this is a limited time offer!

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Missions Monday ~ 12-15-14


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Missions Monday is designed to expose you to some awesome missions and evangelism stories, resources, and information in the shameless hope that you will be moved to get more involved in supporting and participating in missions and develop a greater burden for sharing the gospel with those around you.

IMG_6040Evil Spirits and Electricity Problems- This is why Africa does not need more government aid.  This is why Africa does not simply need more wells or more shoes or more schools. Until the underlying worldview is addressed, there will not be change in Africa. This is why Africa needs the gospel to penetrate its worldview.


Extending the Hand of Friendship Amid Persecution
-In the midst of this painful and frightening trial, Hussein could sense Jesus was close to him.

file0001157189783-e1416856780630-599x299Four Mission Trends to Be Thankful For- When it comes to the spread of the gospel, let us remember that no matter the circumstance, we have much to be thankful for, because in Christ, the victory is already won.

The Greatest Story Never Told, Part 1- Almost 2,000 of the world’s 7,000 languages are still waiting for their first portion of Scripture.



front_doorSpurgeon’s Three R’s: A Useful Method for Evangelism- The three R’s cover three things a gospel presentation needs to establish: the problem, the solution, and the response.


20271-110830Discipleship as Priority- In the past year, new house churches have popped up left and right in this area as a result of pregnancy health classes combined with a discipleship and church planting method called Training for Trainers (T4T).

Friends of Gideons
- Gideons now place over one million Scriptures every five days. Find out how you can get involved.


3 Reasons to Rejoice ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 12-14-14


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These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 50 ~ Dec. 7-13
Acts 20-26, Romans
3 Reasons to Rejoice


Paul wrote the epistle of Romans to the church at Rome while he was still in Corinth, around A.D. 56. His main purpose in writing was to instruct the Roman believers in basic Christian doctrine, beliefs, and practices, since neither Paul nor the other apostles had yet been able to instruct them in person.

Rome was a dangerous place for Christians at that time. There was persecution of the sort that, today, we can only have nightmares about. But even in the midst of that horrific situation, those who were in Christ had good reasons for hope and rejoicing. Paul shares three of them in Romans 5:1-11 to comfort and encourage the Roman church.

Romans 5:1-11

Reason to Rejoice #1: Our Standing (1-2)

What is our standing before God before we’re saved? We stand guilty in our sin before God. There is no way out of that sin, and no way out of its eternal consequences. There is complete uncertainty about what will happen to us after we die. For the lost, there’s no hope that, no matter how bad things get in this life, God will set all things right in Heaven. Without Christ, the best we can say about our eternity is, “I guess,” “I hope,” or “Maybe.”

Verses 1-2 remind us that because we have been justified (legally exonerated of our crimes against God) by faith in Christ, our standing has been changed. Because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sin, we now stand before God as righteous, not as guilty. And because of that standing which we now experience dimly here on earth, we have the hope of one day standing before God in all of His glory– not ashamed and cowering before Him, but loved, welcomed, and accepted. We have that certain hope, and we rejoice in it.

Reason to Rejoice #2: Our Suffering (3-5, Hebrews 12:2)

Every one of us has suffered or will suffer. Even the richest, most powerful, most popular, most famous person you can think of suffers. In this life, the question is never, “Will I suffer?” but “Will I suffer with Christ or without Him?”

I have a friend who’s a physical therapist. Physical therapy can be excruciating, but one thing my friend helps her patients to focus on is that the pain they experience is not pointless. It is “pain with a purpose.” That pain means that one day that patient will be past the injury and able to walk better. There’s a reason for it. It’s the same way with suffering.

The reason God allows lost people to suffer is to cause them to cry out to Him for salvation. Paul explains, in verses 3-5, the reason God allows saved people to suffer: it grows and matures us in Christ.

We need endurance. Most of us have many years ahead of us to live for Christ. Coming through suffering builds the endurance we need to depend on God’s strength, keep on keeping on, and finish our lives out as faithful servants who refused to give up on following Christ, no matter how hard it got.

The Greek word translated “character” here means “proof.” When gold is refined in fire, all of the impurities burn away and what comes out is the proof of what was there all along: pure gold. When we endure passing through the fire of suffering, what comes out on the other side is the proof that the “pure gold” of Christ in us is what survives the flame. And the world desperately needs to see that proof -through our endurance of suffering- that Christ is their only hope. Not only that, but that very same proof that Christ carries us through suffering gives us hope that He will continue to carry us through suffering until He carries us Home. Just as Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Heb.) we endure suffering for the joy of what’s waiting on the other side– another hope to rejoice in.

Reason to Rejoice #3: Our Salvation (6-11)

There are so many reasons to rejoice in our salvation, but I’ll limit myself to the ones Paul outlines here.

6-8- We don’t have to clean ourselves up before coming to Christ. (Mark 2:17, Romans 3:10)
In fact, we can’t. It’s not possible. Jesus Himself said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (and, by the way, “None is righteous, no, not one;” so that’s all of us). Before we ever drew breath, before we ever thought about getting our lives in order before we could come to Him, while we were enjoying our sin and shaking our fists at God, that’s when Christ died for us. That’s why even the worst sinner can have the hope that Christ will save him, because God’s desire to save us doesn’t hinge on who we are or what we’ve done. It hinges on Him and His love for us in spite of our sin.

9- We no longer have to fear God’s wrath. (Romans 8:1)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

None. Zero. Zip. Unsaved people should rightly fear God’s wrath being poured out on them for their sin. That fear should drive them to run to the loving arms of the merciful Savior who stands ready to welcome and forgive them. But Believers can rejoice in the fact that Christ has already absorbed God’s wrath –all of it– towards us when He endured the cross.

10-11- We are reconciled to God.
Have you ever had a big fight with your husband, your sister, your best friend, or someone else you’re really close to? Think for just a moment about how you feel during the hours or days before you and that person make things right with each other. You feel separated from that person- disconnected -maybe like there’s a huge wall between you. You don’t feel bonded with that person. You don’t feel at peace. You wake up every day feeling like something is off kilter. But then think of the peace, and joy, and reconnection you feel when you and that person make up, forgive, and move ahead in your relationship.

That’s what it’s like to be reconciled (brought back and reunited with) to God through faith in Christ. We’re no longer separated from God. That disconnect is gone. We’re not enemies with Him anymore! We can rest in Him, enjoy Him, be at peace with Him, and be in harmony with Him. “God and sinners reconciled!” Rejoice!

When I first started putting this lesson together, I thought, “Hmm…Romans 5 is a great passage, but it isn’t very Christmasy.” But if you think about it, the rejoicing in Romans 5 is the very reason we rejoice in the birth of Christ. He was born so that, through Him, we could stand before God as righteous. He was born to shine the light of the gospel -and give us hope- through our suffering. He was born to reconcile man to God. Those are reasons to rejoice at Christmas and every other day!


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