* Meditation Questions: When you blow it, what do you do? If you have reaped what you sewed, did you ever blame God or consider Him mean? Do you believe that when you have asked for mercy that means there should be no consequence? Are you asking God to teach you how to praise Him even when He has to chastise you out of love?
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
* Meditation Questions: Do you make decisions when really up or down emotionally? If you have made decisions tat you regret, take time to think back and determine what your mental, emotional and spiritual state was at the time. What does this teach you? What reason would you have to not wait and ponder a decision? Are you giving time to allow your flesh to get out of the way and the new man to hear God’s counsel?
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
* Meditation Questions: Do you look at what others are doing to see if you can do it also? Why? Who will stand before the Lord for any and all actions you have taken? So why would we look to see if others are doing it? When you read the Scriptures, what are you looking for? What does that say? How easily do you lose your thoughts when you read Scripture and get side tracked by issues that are not relevant to your life? What does that say?
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Scripture Read: Titus 3:12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. 14 Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. 15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.
Application: This is a great ending to a powerful epistle from Paul. It can give us some important insight in our communication with each other. We need to see that Paul always adds a personal touch when dealing with the family. We have no idea how task oriented Paul was but have good reason to believe he was very driven. Yet he always makes sure to connect personally in his writings. We need to remember that although our local Churches are in someway “organizations” we must never forget that first and foremost they are “organisms”. Too many times task oriented people get the job done at out meetings, but the carnage left behind is not glorifying to the Lord. We must remember to connect in love with each other as we get tasks done. The other aspect that we need to consider is the practical action Paul invokes on the brethren to show their love – not just talk it. “I love you,” said only as words means very little to the person hearing it. Love is an action word. Paul makes it clear to this shepherd that he needs to encourage his flock to show their love – not just talk it. How about us? Do our actions communicate love for Jesus and others? Or do others hear how we love them, but our actions show we love ourselves? Father, lead us to love like Christ – that will carry with it clear actions that communicate Your love.
* Meditation Questions: When was the last time you showed love to a friend? A stranger? An enemy? In your busyness do you take a moment to connect with the individuals around you? Based on the kind of person you are – do you need to be more disciplined to finish tasks, or do you need to be more relational as you complete tasks? Ask the Lord to bring balance into your life.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Application: Several things are important here. Most likely, the only way you come to the understanding that a person is divisive arrives after you have tried several times to correct him and he has rejected that. This fact should lead us to make sure that we show patience to those that are young in the Lord. We should not over-react to their mistakes, but wait and see how they handle a gentle rebuke. If they show growth from it, you are going to see them mature. If on the other hand they do not handle the rebuke well, do not jump to judgment, give them time while keeping a watchful eye. If this becomes a pattern then you might have to become firmer in how you challenge them to grow from criticism.
Remember, none of us like to be shown our failures, I know I don’t. The key is getting past the initial hurt of emotion, remaining in control of those emotions, so we can learn from the counsel we receive. Once this person exposes their heart to be a divisive one you might need to express some tough love. Note, “tough love” is called tough love, not because you beat someone up – emotionally or physically – it is called “tough” because it is tough on you to give it. That is the test of your real affection and compassion for the individual. If you enjoy hurting them – keep your mouth shut. You are not giving “tough love” you are venting your spleen. If you would rather do anything else but have to tell this person something you know will be difficult to receive, you are functioning in scriptural “tough love”. Keep in mind also the Scripture describes this kind of person as perverted. That is because they are twisting the truth. So you might get some surprising reactions. You cannot protect yourself from those; this is where you find out where your faith in Christ is. Do you believe He can and will control the situation? You might be tempted not to confront due to your fear of the reaction. You need to ask yourself if that is the case, do I really love this person? Love will desire to protect the other person from harm, even if it is there own behavior that is doing the harm. If you love them you will take the chance to point out that they are being divisive and allow Christ to defend you. The Word also states that they are condemned in themselves already - so we are not to try and condemn them. We need to only share in tough love that they are not following the Lord and leave them there to deal with God. This is what real love and commitment to each other means and costs.
* Meditation Questions: Is there someone you know needs to be gently confronted? What have you done about that? What happened the last time someone confronted you about something? What does that show you? Is love something you feel? Is love something you do? Is love a commitment that has feelings that come and go and requires different actions at different times? Describe how you have seen this in your life.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Application: Notice the key word here is foolish. We need to really measure what we give our time and energy to. I think the Lord wants us to study all the details of the Truth and even have some healthy discussions about confusing issues. But it amazes me how much time believers spend getting into arguments over things that either don't mean much or over issues that can ONLY be settled in the mind of God Himself.
First, if we would just consider how much there is in the scriptures that God desires to illuminate us to. If we would devote our time to that, consider the character fruit that would be produced. Second, if we would spend some time investigating difficult issues and challenge each other in ways that would glorify Him - I am sure this would bring pleasure to God’s heart. He desires His children to investigate His Word and help sharpen each other through it. He takes no pleasure in wasting time fighting each other over what is usually a liberty issue or a Biblical doctrine that we are trying to explain fully by placing it into a systematic theology. Let's not break the heart of our Lord by wasting precious time, displaying unChrist-like behavior over His truth or issues that are man made philosophies. The world is watching and we should be examples to them.
* Meditation Questions: How much time do I devote to trying to figure out what God meant on issues that are left unclear in scripture, compared to how much time to I spend doing the things I know God says to do? How much scripture is dedicated to explaining exactly how salvation works versus how much scripture is dedicated to explaining why we need to be saved, to become saved and how to make sure we are saved? What does that say to you?