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, March 7, 2012

The “real” inconvenient truth.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 5:24-25 The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. 25 Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.

Application: In these two little verses is communicated one of the most significant truths, yet one of the most hated truths. No oneNO ONE gets a pass on what they do, bad or good. It is essential for us to embrace this truth because it will impact how we approach our life. If we think we can live a secret, private life and no one will ever know it, we are wrong. Paul makes this clear to Timothy, and I believe it is done to help Timothy realize that he need not worry or fret about making sure all scores are settled. Some individuals reap immediately what they sow, whether good or bad. Others though, may do evil and seem to get away with it, or others may do good things and never get recognized for it. Paul makes it clear that in the end all will come to the surface. For a young Pastor that desires to make sure he is doing what God wants, this is an important truth. A shepherd needs to weed out the sin in his flock, but he cannot see it all. He also wants to encourage and recognize those that honor the Lord, again though, there is no way he can see all that has gone on, especially when some that do good prefer to do it unto the Lord only. This is important for a shepherd to understand, God will deal with everything that goes unseen. Those that do evil will give an account, and those that secretly did good will be rewarded. 

The reason this truth is so disdained by much of the world is that it brings home the reality that we are accountable for our lives. That is not a popular view today. Yes, most people want individuals that hurt others to answer for that, but if we live our life without hurting others yet live it outside of a relationship with the Lord, we do not think we should be held accountable for that. When it comes to human to human issues, accountability is an accepted idea for most, though today even that is in question when we consider how many criminals are never responsible for their actions because they are victims of circumstance. 

However, when it comes to human to God issues the story is quite different. Many claim that God should allow all of us to live the way we want as long as we do not hurt anyone else. Never do I hear them even consider if the way they are living hurts God. I think the problem lies in the way we think of You Lord. You owed us existence and therefore our life is ours to do what we want with. Obviously the foundation of that thought is flawed, You owe us nothingwell let me adjust that. Because of Your great love You gave us life to live in a relationship with You. For the most part You do allow us to live our lives as we choose, but it was never a right, it is a stewardship. Before creation You owed no one anything. After we were created and given the freedom to choose right from wrong, and we chose wrong, You now owe us something. Death! That is the wage of sin! We are accountable to You, our Maker. Father, help us to choose wisely! 

Meditation Questions: Do you feel God owes you anything? What is that and why? Did God owe His Son death? So what do we call what God did to His Son? Should we worry about what anybody gets away with? Why? When you do something for God, how important is it that others see it? Are there any sins that have only one victim? Why do you say that? How close to God do you feel we are in equality? Why? How does your answer affect how you live your life?

Monday, March 5, 2012

It’s not about alcohol…it’s about the bigger picture

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 5:23 No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

Application: This passage in 1 Timothy is a great tool for the Holy Spirit to makes us do a honesty check in several areas. Paul is encouraging Timothy to use wine to settle his stomach. Many dishonest believers have used this passage or ignored this passage far too many times. If we truly desire the Spirit of God to speak through His Word to us, we MUST be people of integrity and deal with what it states or does not state. No matter our bias, we should feel compelled to approach all scripture anew each time we open the Book. Then, and only then the Spirit has fertile soil to plant His Word in. Consider some of the issues that are dealt with here. Some have used this verse to justify drinking alcohol. To drink or not to drink falls under the Liberty teaching in scripture, which has one rule: Do you have a clear conscience from the Lord? It does not matter what Timothy can or cannot do, the question all of us need to deal with is can I do or not do this? Drunkenness is a sin, and the scripture warns about losing sobriety of the mind. Only the Lord can lead you into whether you can AND when & where you can drink. The other issue is the lack of honesty on the make up of this wine. In Timothys day the water could be quite dangerous, so a little alcohol would sterilize the whole thing. The point is Timothy drank this wine to counter health problems, not to party and it is doubtful it contained the percentage of alcohol that our drinks do today. This verse really should not be used to justify drinking, that is really a liberty issue and can only be answered by each individual. 

On the other side though is the issue that some say the Bible condemns the use of all alcohol. Again, that is not honest. Many hold this position because their family has been greatly damaged by alcohol use. I understand the bias, but that cannot control our interpretation of scripture. Also, it would be better put that it was not the use of alcohol that hurt their family, but the misuse of it. Another issue arises from ignoring the truth of this passage. Some teach that sickness is a lack of faith, because all believers have the right to health. Yet, Paul did not tell Timothy to claim heath in Jesus name! He told him to use the common sense God had given him and medicate himself. To my dismay I have sat at sick beds with children of God who are blaming their lack of faith for their sickness. Using their understanding of this came from teachers that love money and fame far more than the Lord, His Word and His people. We all have read of families that have allowed children to die, because they expect God to directly heal their child, instead of seeing that God also uses men to bring about His desire. It is interesting that these folks have no problem understanding that God uses their participation to give them children, yet when it comes to this issue, human participation is a lack of faith. Perhaps they would do better to wait for God to make them with child, at least then God would not have to be blamed for not healing the child when it is sick. Father, Your Word has the power to challenge our integrity and honesty! Thank You for what it can accomplish.

Meditation Questions: What are the liberties God has given you? Do you know them? Do you know how to handle them? Where would you go in the Bible to learn about liberties? What does your answer show? Is a liberty once and for all? Why do you hold that position? When we seek man’s help is that a lack of faith? Why do you hold that position? What is faith? Can you seek man’s help and still have faith in God? Explain. If you were sick who would you turn to? What does your answer show?