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!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Confrontation requires movement, but slowly.

Scripture Read: Timothy 5:21-22 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. 22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free
                                                                       from sin

Application: Mob mentality is never a good thing, in the Body of Christ it is a tragedy. We possess the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, therefore there is no excuse with getting "caught up in the moment" when it comes to our discernment. This is especially dangerous for the "feelers" in the Body of Christ. I am one of those, I process data through my emotions first. This makes me very empathetic, and able to connect with people easily. The negative side though can be a reactionary spirit. This is not how the Holy Spirit leads. God is proactive and if we listen to Him over our emotions He will bring us balance. God desires empathy toward those that are in sin, but He wants it to be based on truth, not what feels right at the time. It is wrong when the Church does not confront sin, yet it is just as wrong to have a rush to judgment. The real issue with God is are we moving toward a confrontation AND restoration? 

Slow movement is not no movement. When we move on hearsay, or appearance we place ourselves in great danger of becoming part of a sinful situation. Because men are fallen, including saved men, many motives other than the truth can drive a confrontation. Church politics, envy, offenses of various kinds and even just pure hate. We need to be careful and move slow enough to allow the Lord to bring the truth to the surface. Remember, this is not inaction or ignoring problems, that is done far too much in the Church and the legacy has been disastrous! This is the very opposite, it is planned action, but measured and dependant on the Lord. When we rush, we jump ahead of the Lord and find ourselves " shooting from the hip" . If by God's grace we hit the target it is only by God's grace! There is no fruit, no maturing in dealing with sinful situations. No opportunity to see God guide us through prayer and measured steps. If God wanted all issues to be resolved by Him alone He could do it and He would have made that clear in His Word to us. The contrary is the truth. His Word is filled with instructions on how He desires to work in and through us to accomplish His desire. This includes ministering to the Body of Christ in matters of sin. It is no fun, I know, I have been involved in more then I can count, but there is no greater experience than to witness God's Spirit break through the heart of an individual and see them restored to full fellowship. The effort is worth the cost. For the times rebellion continues and the sinful brother does exactly what the enemy wants him to, even then the Spirit of God comes alongside you and let's you know you did what was needed, that you cannot answer for that person's decision and He fills you with His peace that your effort of love was worth it. That is why this passage is so important. Many today refuse to exercise the courage required to confront sin in the Church, if you are one that is willing, the last thing you want to do is to move too fast! Move, but move under the timing and guidance of the Spirit.

Meditation Questions: What are the dangers we encounter when we move too fast? Have you ever experienced any of the things you just listed? What did you learn from that? Have you ever hurried to judgment? If you could do that one over, what would be different? Have you ever been judged wrongly? What did it make you feel? Have you forgiven the ones that did that? What does your answer show you? List in order the most important things that should happen before we confront someone.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Seeing things that might not be there.

Scripture Read: Timothy 5:21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.

Application: One of the more difficult things any human being has to deal with is their own biass. We see things through our eyes, which come front loaded with our experiences, memories and values. This is why Paul gives Timothy a stern warning concerning this very matter. As a leader he must protect the integrity of his office by over ruling the natural tendencies we all have of looking at things only through our own  eyes. This is an admonition we would all do well to apply. Not only will it make us better listeners, for you to see something through others eyes you have to listen to their point of view, but it also will slow us down enough to ask God for His perspective, which is the most important. The word bias in the original is a compound of two Greek words:

 πρόκριμα prókrima; from pró, before, and krínō, to judge. With reference to place and time, to decide beforehand, prefer before, another being put aside (1 Tim. 5:21). Prókrima includes an unfavorable prejudgment against one, partiality being included in the attitude of this prejudgment.[1]

Prejudging can be very dangerous and detrimental to individuals, for both the one doing it and the individual that is being prejudged. Reputations can be hurt, friendships jeopardized and truth can be ignored. Every prejudice I have ever encountered was based on individuals prejudgment of people or things separate from any fact or truth. The other danger of this bias we all have is that we will be tempted to favor the individuals we like no matter what the facts show. When Church leaders do this the damage to Christs name is felt inside and outside the Church. When the world see believers jumping to conclusions before the facts are in, they lose any respect they had for Christianity. We owe it to our Lord to seek the Holy Spirits help to separate ourselves from our bias and seek the truth. God desires this and will enable those that seek His counsel to have it. This does not mean that we will not have friends that are closer to us than others, we are human and this is a normal thing in our society. What it does mean is that when it comes to how we treat individuals, especially when it deals with issues concerning sin and failure, we must divorce ourselves from our emotions and only discern what the truth is. This can be very difficult if it is your friend that has fallen and you are the one that has to confront the issue. I have been there, and at that moment I wanted to be anywhere else but there. Yet, I knew what God would desire and if I love this individual the tough love required was for his best. God has always been with me. (Mt 18) He has always protected and comforted. He is faithful and will be to you also. Stand for the truth, with no bias and you will see the blessings of God!  

Meditation Questions: Do you ask others if they see things the same way you do? Is everyone you ask just like you? What does that say? Do you know where you are bias? What do you do to protect yourself from being affected by that? Has someone ever prejudged you? How did that feel? Is it normal to prejudge things? What should we do about that? What if you have a sense about something? How should you handle that? Do you believe the Holy Spirit can help you see without bias? How does He do that?  

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