Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Not understanding God does not change Him

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 2:3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  

Application: In this Scripture we see it stated very clearly that God desires all men to be saved. But what does that mean, can any desire of God's be frustrated? If God is God, then who could resist Him? This is the question that humans have asked for centuries. In the Church this question has spawned all kinds of explanations and “isms” that try to explain how the Sovereignty of God works alongside the choice of humans. I think it is desired by God that we stretch our minds and contemplate these weighty issues of Bible Doctrine, but we should neither argue over them nor delude ourselves into thinking that our explanation is the final word. How can finite figure out the Infinite? Father, I believe you desire us to have some fun stretching ourselves, but more importantly, consider the “truth” that is being communicated, even if we cannot understand it’s workings. When we consider what the word “desire” means we will come away with no doubt that in Your heart Lord, You wish all to know You.    

Desire: θέλω thélō; To will, wish, desire, implying active volition and purpose.[1] God’s θέλειν is always characterized by absolute definiteness, sovereign self-assurance and efficacy.. It is resolute and complete willing.[2] The literal Greek is, “who wills all men” etc. It marks a determinate purpose.[3]

Sadly, we spend too much time arguing how this works instead of seeing Your heart Dad! I know that You choose us and we choose You, how that works I will most likely never understand, maybe not even in heaven, but what we can see is that it is Your will that all would come to a saving knowledge of You. The proof is in the price You paid! You withheld nothing, and You continue to extend grace to all, IF they will turn from their sin and trust You. Only God is powerful enough to supply a salvation that is open to all but forced on none! Father, lead us to spend our time sharing with all we know this great desire You have for all to come to You. We will leave the “how it works” to You! 

Meditation Questions: How much time do you spend trying to figure God out, compared to the time you spend learning what He is and wants? Do we have to understand how salvation works to share the good news with people? Are we? When was the last time you were able to share with someone how much Jesus loves them? Do you believe when God state something in his word he means it? If not, why? If so, how do you treat that?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
[3] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 2:3). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Praying for those that may even hate God

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 2:1-3 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  

Application: I believe in taking the stewardship of our freedoms and citizenship very seriously, yet I do find that it seems we have crossed the line too far when it comes to how we deal with authorities over us. Yes, we should be active participants in our government, if we live in a country that affords us those freedoms. Paul mentions here those in government and authority over us, that we should be in prayer for them. Here we have an opportunity to be again in the world but not of the world.  We have a stewardship as citizens of the country we live in. The government and culture represents us so we should be active participants if in the very least, living in obedience and at peace with our rulers and representatives. As individuals, God may even lead some of His children to become involved personally and that must be decided by each individual. However, again the church as a whole is obligated to be an example to the world, though we do not depend on the world’s system to effect change first and foremost. We should do what You lead us to do Lord, but before we protest, or call our lawyer, or threaten our representative with loss of property or support, we need to FIRST bring these leaders before Your throne in prayer. We need to beseech You, to intervene into their heart and make Yourself known to them. We need to love them enough to be concerned about their eternal condition. Sometimes, we are so irritated with the sinful direction they take a nation, that we forget they are sinners separated from You, doomed eternally unless they repent and turn to Christ. Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for them as much as for us! We cannot forget that. Paul uses several of the words for prayer in the New Testament to emphasis his desire for us to remember our leaders before Your throne:
Entreaties - δέησιςēsis; to make known one’s particular need; want. In the NT, supplication or prayer for particular benefits, petition for oneself (Luke 1:13; Phil. 4:6; Heb. 5:7; 1 Pet. 3:12; Job 27:9; Ps. 39:12; 40:2; 1 Kgs. 8:28, 30);
~ in behalf of others (Phil. 1:19; James 5:16);
~ with hupér on behalf of (Rom. 10:1; 2 Cor. 1:11; 9:14; Phil. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:1);

Prayers -  προσευχή proseuch; to offer prayer to God.

Petitions -  ἔντευξις énteuxis; A falling in with, meeting with, coming together, intercession, prayer, address to God for oneself or others (1 Tim. 2:1; 4:5, prayer according to God’s will).

Thanksgivings - εὐχαριστία eucharistía; thankful, grateful, well–pleasing. Gratitude, thankfulness, thanksgiving [1]

We need to be actively seeking Your influence in these leaders lives and decisions. That includes thanking You for appointing them leaders over us, though we may not see it, Your plan includes them. Even the evil ones. So, we will not thank You for the sin they commit, we should thank You that in Your plan and wisdom, You have chosen to lift them up into leadership. Remind us Holy Spirit to not fail at this important stewardship of prayer.

Meditation Questions: How often do you pray for leaders in your nation? Especially the ones you don’t like? Do you thank God for the government you live in? How do we balance our responsibilities as citizens of a nation, and citizens of heaven? What is an Ambassador? What are his responsibilities to the nation he is working in? If someone were to ask people you know – “Who’s interests do you watch out for?” what would their answer be.

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To believe the truth, you must preserve the truth.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 1:18-20 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. 20 Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

Application: As we finish this section of scripture Father, there are some issues we need to keep in our minds. Paul is reminding Timothy of the stewardship that he has over “the call that God has placed on his life.” We too, need this reminder. Year after year, century after century our faith has been handed down by those that were willing to die for what they believe in. We owe it, are obligated, to the Lord, and all those that come to faith after us to fight for the faith and keep it pure. As we consider this we must come to decisions how we will conduct our lives. Too many believers get pulled into the mundane and temporal world around us. To fight the good fight, we must move to eternal living, though we must deal with the temporal concerns and issues of everyday life we cannot afford to become consumed by them. “Be in the world but not of the world.” We must keep our eyes and our hearts focused on the much bigger picture. Another interesting aspect of this section of Scripture is that once again we see Paul using so much language concerning soldiers and war. This is how Paul viewed life, and so must we, if we desire to keep the spiritual edge on life. With a military view consider, if you are going into battle how much time would you spend being concerned about the color of your car, or fashion of your clothes? The focus would be on those things that are more important for your health and protection. Of course, there is balance and we must live in a real world that includes the color of our car and the fashion of our clothes. The key is to just keep things in proper perspective. How much time and energy spent on things that will last forever versus things that will burn. The other issue that we are reminded of by Paul when he states “keeping faith” is his commitment to the Scriptures. As the Israelites were warned, when they get into the land not to forget what God had done for them as recorded in the scriptures, Paul expects us to know the book.  Most of Paul’s writings are about keeping our doctrine – not making money, getting gifts, manifestations, being happy, getting our miracle. Paul understood the key to maturity in our faith and our salvation is engrafting the truth of God's word into our heart. The weakness and carnality of much of the modern church is a testimony to this truth. Today, “we” the church, is wrapped up in signs and shows, not hiding God's word in our heart ~ remembering, or committing it to memory. Paul knew the health of the church was dependent on the depth of its knowledge of the word of God. The last two letters of his life to Timothy attest to this belief.

1 Tim. 1:3  As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer

1 Tim. 4:6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

1 Tim. 4:13  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

1 Tim. 4:16  Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Tim. 6:3-4 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, [4] he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

2 Tim. 3:10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,

2 Tim. 4:2-3 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. [3] For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

We cannot control what others do, but we must commit ourselves to keeping our doctrine and teaching solely based on God's word. In doing so, we will delight the heart of our Lord and prove faithful stewards that have done what they should and could do, to make sure an unbelieving world will hear the truth as God intended.

Meditation Questions: What are You doing to make sure you are engrafting the word of God into your life? What is the difference between “systematic theology” and “Biblical doctrine”? How are you passing the truth of God onto others? Are you able to identify false teaching, or does someone have to show you it is? Does living as a soldier mean we cannot enjoy life? What does it mean?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not enjoyable, but needful

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 1:18-20 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. 20 Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

Application: The first aspect of turning someone over to Satan is to refuse to hide their rebellious behavior, which might include making it a public record for all in the Body to know. This is essential for the protection of God’s name in front of those that do not yet have a relationship with Him. When we say we refuse to hide their behavior, it does not mean we are going to publicly broadcast their sin to the believing and unbelieving world, like placing an add in the newspaper. The scriptures clearly explain that all confrontation should be done in love, one step at a time and with the motive of restoration.

(Matthew 18:15–17) “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

This is the first step. Our greatest hope is that there is restoration and the one who erred has seen the sin and repents and thus it ends quickly and no one else has to be involved. The reason I say it is the first step is because the individual has already ignored the Holy Spirit and their conscience concerning the sin. So the minute a confrontation has to take place, you have started on this path. We must give them the chance to repent of their sin and if need be go to those that they have sinned against and confess and asked forgiveness and make things right, restoring the relationships. All this can be done just between you and the individual in sin. If they refuse to do what the Bible requires (be angry but not sin, be at peace with all, forgive, stop…etc.) then we may have to bring others in on the situation. As we bring others into the situation this will cause greater exposure of the sinning brother's problem. All of this is done to try to bring the person to their senses about their sin. If they continue to rebel and not submit to God then the church, that is ~the body of Christ, ~the believers they are fellowshipping with, ~those we are commanded not to forsake the assembling with, we have no choice but to cut them off from their fellowship in the body of Christ. Again, this is not about being vindictive, our motive and drive is to help our brother or sister see that if they want to live in sin they cannot enjoy the fellowship of the body or communion with the Lord. We should bring in the principal taught in 1 Cor. 7:14, where we see that an unbelieving husband is protected because of a believing wife.

1 Cor. 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

He has not been given salvation, however, God separates him for special protection because of his wife and her relationship to the Lord. The focus is on the believer not the unbeliever. When she prays to God to protect her family this includes her unbelieving husband, and God will honor her prayers and so her husband is blessed because of her. Being part of the body of Christ offers this protection to each person but when that person rebels they need to face the fact that life away from God includes a life away from the protection that is given to those that are in the body of Christ. When we fellowship with each other and pray for each other, a special encouragement and bond happens between members of the body. In addition, God honors our prayers as we pray for His protection and blessing for each other. When a person is “turned over to Satan” the church is making it clear to that sinning believer that if they want to live in the world and like the world, they cannot have that special bond and protection offered when in Fellowship with the body of Christ. What Paul is talking about here is of the most serious nature, and it is essential if the Body of Christ wishes to remain pure. The world needs to see a contrast between the worlds dealings with sin, which is either ignore or over kill and the Churches dealing with it. “Tough love”, mercy and grace, transparency and restoration if the offender will allow it. The flock also needs to see that open rebellion and sinful living has ramifications.

Meditation Questions: When you think about confronting a person about sin, what is the first thing you think of? Fear? Vengeance? Restoration? Do we have to like everything we should do in the Body of Christ? Would you encourage someone to continue eating rat poison if you caught them doing it? Would you ignore it? Before we confront anyone about sin in their lives what questions should we ask ourselves?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Turning someone over to Satan

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 1:18-20 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. 20 Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

Application: What does it mean to deliver over to Satan? It sounds mean spirited. We need to see that this thing we call Christianity, the Body of Christ and Spiritual Warfare, is not just some social club with rules. You are very serious about it Lord. So is the enemy. There are believers suffering heinously over their belief in You, many even dying throughout this world. There is no time for games, because we are dealing with peoples eternities here. For some the issue is eternal destination, for others it is eternal investment. The most dangerous “being” on the globe, is a carnal Christian. How can that be? Temporal things are exactly that, temporary! They pass, they burn, they end. That which is eternal exists forever. The human soul is eternal, it will exist forever. The scriptures make it clear there are ONLY two places a soul can exist for eternity; with God or separated from Him. When a Christian becomes carnal in their way of life, they do the greatest damage that can be done to the souls of those that do not yet know the Lord. This is why Your Word Lord speaks so strongly about accountability beginning with believers:

1 Corinthians 5:9–13 (NASB95) I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?[This is a rhetorical question]  13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

1 Peter 4:14–17 (NASB95) If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Paul goes on the record about two individuals that are rejecting the faith and shaming the Lord. If the Body of Christ would do this today, we would see less church splits and the unbelieving world would see a clearer message. As it is today, so many that “claim” to be in the Body of Christ live just like the world. We ignore them in our assemblies and just hope they will leave our local Body and go to someone else’s. This is shameful Lord! We owe You more! We owe the world more! This is just the beginning of “handing someone over to Satan” – publically acknowledging that this individual has gone astray and refuses to repent.

Meditation Questions: Do you know of a child of God that is living in open sin? Does their lifestyle only impact them? Have you witnessed individuals leave a local assembly because of sin, and now are worshipping elsewhere like nothing happened? How did that impact the local assembly they left? What do you think it does to the local church they went to? If we warn people that God will judge those that live in sin, yet we ignore those in our churches who are doing the same thing, what does that say?