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!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It is always the “whole” person, not just a part.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 5:7-8 Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Application: So many individuals in our world today try to compartmentalize life,  which if you consider the results you will easily see that is a sure recipe for disaster. We build one private life and one public life. It has led us to actually thinking that spiritual issues, emotional issues and psychological issues are each separate things that can be dealt with individually. A prevalent idea practiced today is to take a sin problem to a priest or pastor and if you have a mental problem you go to a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Which really is quite ridiculous, because any problem a human being has, sin or not, is a spiritual, mental and emotional issue and even sometimes a physical issue.  The Scripture states:

Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

Your Word, Father, does not compartmentalize man; You, always deal with the whole person. We see this in this text. Paul is writing Timothy to encourage him to shepherd the flock God has placed him over. Paul does spend time dealing with theological doctrines and where Timothy needs to stand firm. However, he does not stop there, because the whole person needs to represent Christ. Not just in what they know, but also in how they live. After given instructions on how the Body of Christ should be charitable to those in need, specifically widows in this section, Paul emphasizes that Timothy teach these truths along with the other truths discussed in his letter, in order that the children of God will be above reproach. Lets consider what this word reproach means:

Reproach - an expression of rebuke or disapproval; a cause or occasion of blame, discredit, or disgrace; to express disappointment in or displeasure with (a person) for conduct that is blameworthy or in need of amendment; to bring into discredit.

Paul wants Timothy to know that the believers there should not live a life that would disgrace, disappoint, discredit the Lord or bring those accusations against His name. Everything about us, what we know, teach and what we do should not leave room for someone to honestly find blame in us. There will always be those that falsely accuse, we must let the Lord deal with them, but we should not live in such a way that honest people would be able to defame the Lord on our account. This requires the whole person to be committed to You Lord with an intimate relationship, not just certain areas of their life or on days they go to church. Teach us Lord how to bring our whole selves before You and use us for Your glory! 

Meditation Questions: Is there a private you and a public you? Do we have a right to certain privacies? What are they? What does it mean to live your life “like an open book”? Do most of your friends; church, work and neighborhood know each other? What does that say? If someone in your family was telling someone you work with about you without revealing your name, would that person be surprised when they found out it was you? What does your answer show? If you have lived a double life, what should you do? Is there someone that you have in your life that can help you live only one life? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Charity begins with Honesty!

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 5:3-7  Honor widows who are widows indeed; 4 but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 5 Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. 6 But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.

Application: One of the historical marks of true Christianity is charity. Taking care of the weak and helpless; note it is the very opposite of evolution (the survival of the fittest). James give us a strong image of charity in the context of his statement " faith without works is dead". Here, Paul adds to that image when he brings in an aspect of charity that many seem to want to ignore - accountability! Some take a contradictory stand insisting that true charity asks for NOTHING in return, no strings attached. Define strings! Insinuating that there should be no gain by the giver. If you mean "what do I get out of it by what I give you" I agree. However, if that definition includes "no responsibility" then I must disagree. There is the responsibility of the giver to give what is best for the receiver, for it to be real charity. 

Responsibility does not say "what's in it for me", but, "what is best for you?". An example would be seen in Soup Kitchens and Shelters that give them both food for their stomachs and food for their souls. A free meal or place to sleep, but you will hear the gospel. Why do some consider that wrong? If a man is sick and hungry and you feed him only, but refuse to give him medicine, so he dies, what charity is that? They seem content to send a well-fed man to hell. Your Word Lord teaches responsibility should be a part of the formula in charity. 

So Paul teaches us about taking care of widows as an example of charity. He covers two issues. First, he gives us a qualifier about the widow being truly alone; does she have a family that should step up and help, and not shirking their responsibilities. Her family should not leave her to get help from the Church, because this is aid that should go to widows that are really on their own. The second issue is reality of life. How does this woman live? Remember this is not charity being given to open the door to share Christ, that is a different matter and the responsibility is different in the way I described earlier. This charity is almost like a retirement plan. The Church is stepping up to care for this woman for the rest of her life. This is not "owed" anyone. The Church owes no one except the Lord! It is reasonable to have the responsibility of godly living expected from a person that is being supported by the money given for God's use. We need to show charity to all, but we also need to seek what is needed most by those we are helping including our charity. When no responsibility is included in the giving you could actually be damaging the situation. For example, you see a poor man asking for money you give it to him. You are hoping he takes it and buys some food with it to nourish himself, but then you find out he went and bought a drug that was just enough this time to take his life. Would it not have been better to buy food for him and give it to him, or offer work so he could earn money for food and sense the integrity that work brings? Many times when people are in need, it is that very need that God orchestrated in their lives to break their self-dependent pride. In that humble environment, for the first time their heart may be open to God, so with the food you may share why God is loving them. Even here in this text, the widow with family may have the opportunity with the family to talk about God and how He desires them to minister to their family member. We must be charitable, but we also must keep it honest!

Meditation Questions: When you give to someone in need, what are the steps you take? Prayer? Investigation? Is it fair to expect a hungry man to hear the gospel, without having food? Is it right to feed a hungry man food and ignore his soul? What is our responsibility to others? What about the weak and helpless I the church. Are they to fend for themselves? Is it wrong for us to ask tough questions before we give charity? Why do we hesitate? So who are we trying to protect? What does that say about our charity? 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Confrontation does not mean no respect!

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, 2 the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity

Application: Your Word Lord is so practical in everyway. Yes, we are taught many doctrinal issues that are so important, but we are also brought down to the everyday nitty-gritty of life. Paul moves from that deep instruction about False teachers and guarding our doctrine, and gives us straight forward instruction on how believers should treat each other on an everyday basis. He gave us further instruction in his writing to the Galatians:

Often, particularly we theologians are so~ focused on doctrine, we miss the application and how it should change our lives. That certainly was the Pharisees problem. If the doctrine of Christ does not come out in our actions toward one another, what good is it? Jesus would not be happy about that, He spoke most fiercely against that kind of religion. His brother James wrote a whole book exposing the hypocrisy of head knowledge only! What is so great about this passage is that it also answers the question about how to deal with authority in the body of Christ, because age carries with it respect which often translates into authority. Older men and women have a natural authority in society that we become accustomed to. We who are older should be examples of humility, not demanding or using our position for our own acclaim. Whether young - men or women, we should not be trying to correct by putting down or being rude, instead we should show respect always, especially when it deals with issues where the older person has done wrong, showing love always, so that they will know us by our love, first.

It should be mentioned, we are not left in silence concerning the question of dealing with the brother or sister in a fault or in sin. Your Word makes it clear that there should be accountability, but our approach should be measured. Here, the Greek really helps us. Paul tells us not to sharply rebuke an older person.

ἐπιπλήσσω  epiplssō; from epí, upon, and plssō, to strike. To strike or give blows upon, to beat. In the NT, used only metaphorically meaning to chide, rebuke to chastise with words, to rebuke, reprove.[1]

We may still confront the wrong, but we need to guard our approach. Instead of speaking firmly from a superior position, even though we are in the right, we should temper ourself because our goal iis to restore, not show who is right or wrong. The word appeal in the original expresses that:

Παρακαλέω  parakaléō; from pará, to the side of, and kaléō, to call. To aid, help, comfort, encourage. Translated: to comfort, exhort, desire, call for, beseech [2]

Interestingly, we get our word παράκλητος paráklētos,  from this, which of course is the word used as the name for the Holy Spirit. The picture we have from these words is a command to come alongside as we see the Holy Spirit even described also as the Comforter. Not to ignore the wrong, but we are to come alongside and encourage the older believer to do what is right. In each relationship mentioned we cannot forget our family connection mother, brother and sister. This places the highest expectation on how we should love one another. Lord let me be a reflection of You.

Meditation Questions: When you confront someone what is the main thing in your mind? What steps do you take before you confront someone? What steps do you take after you confront someone? Have you ever been confronted? How did it feel? What could have been done better? What does the word respect mean to you? Is respect earned or given? Can you show respect to a person you do not respect? What does that look like? Why would you do that? 

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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Conscious Living

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:15-16 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

Application: Paul continues his encouragement to Timothy to live a life that honors You Lord. He makes it crystal clear that this cannot happen through a "lazy" approach to life. The phrase Pay close attention employed in the Greek communicates pointedly to this truth through the use of the compound phrase:

 πέχω epéchō; from epí – upon, and échō - to have, hold. In the NT, used of the mind, to fix the mind upon, give heed to, pay attention. [1]

Fixing our mind on something requires a disciplined life. We cannot walk through life in a semiconscious state, not filtering out what does not belong in our life. Whether that be images, fads, words or teachings. We need to realize that our minds are boraged with images and information at such a rate today, that Paul could not have dreamed of. Therefore his admonition is that much MORE important to us. Due to the volume and speed of information we receive, we must "fix" our mind on those things that lead to godliness. Without a focus point we will fall and succumb to the nature of the world and our own sin nature. It is also very important to understand the order and in what context this passage is communicating

The exhortation is, “keep on paying attention to yourself and to your teaching.” Vincent says: “The order is significant. Personality goes before teaching.” Timothy, Paul says, will save himself and those under his spiritual care by giving diligent attention to the public reading of the Word in the local assembly, by exhortation based upon the Word which has been read, and by an explanation of that Word. The salvation spoken of here cannot be the salvation of the sinner nor the preservation of the saint in salvation, for the reason that both of these are a work of God for man. The Salvation referred to here is understood by a study of the context (vv. 1–3), namely, being saved from the teachings of demon-influenced men. That is, by the reading of the Word, by exhortation from it, and by a clear explanation of its meaning, Timothy and his hearers will be saved from becoming entangled in these heresies.[2]

How true it is that we guard our character, first and foremost! Having our doctrine in order is useless if we ourselves are not in communion with You Father. At the same time we must understand how what we believe directly impacts our relationship with You. So this is not an "either/or" issue, but instead it is a compound principle! We must fix our minds to guarding our character AND our doctrine! How do we do that? Paul states the obvious - persevere! Being mediocre, indifferent or just plain lazy will not do it; we must remain intense in this issue. Knowing that by Your grace we can experience Your peace and joy in our life as we continue to remain close to You, Lord.

Meditation Questions: When looking at your time management, how much time do you take reflecting on who you are versus time you take gaining knowledge? How intentional are you in the way you live? Would you say most things that happen in your life are planned or stumbled into? Do you set goals? Why? Why not? What do you hope your life will be like in 2013? What steps are you taking to get yourself there?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 4:1516). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.