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!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Intimate God should never become a familiar God.

1 Timothy 6:13-16 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,  who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

Application: How essential it is to be reminded Who our God is! I just returned from India, and it was clear there, the people viewed whatever gods they worshiped as greater than themselves, worthy of their adoration and fearful of their displeasure. You Lord have made Yourself so intimate with us, that our flesh many times can take for granted the relationship You offer. We can even become complacent in our thoughts and our approach to You. We can treat You as some Big Buddy of ours, one of our home boys the big Guy upstairs. My man that has got my back. All false gods demand respect, fear and emphasize their separation from humans.  The intimacy You offer oh Lord can be a two edged sword if we are not careful. You do want us to call You friend and even Papa, like crawling up on Your lap when we are hurt and You comforting us, or protecting us like a mother hen does her baby chicks. You have humbled Yourself lower than an Angel, took on flesh and invited all, from the highest to the lowest, from the most righteous to the most decadent to freely come and join Your family! Only a true God could or would do that. Yet, in this tremendous act of intimacy, if we do not keep before us the reality of Who You are, we can become too familiar with You, and we might approach You as an equal and disrespect You in front of others. That is why Scriptures such as this help us to remember who You are! 

You alone are Sovereign, the King of all kings, both real and imagined. The Lord over everyone that would think themselves a lord. The one and only true God! Thanks be to the Holy Spirit, Who helps us to keep the balance. Yes, we can approach You boldly and with ease because of the blood of Your Son. Yet, we should never forget that You are the Almighty God, worthy of all honor and praise. We should never lose sight of our respect of Who You are. For myself, I see that if I'm not careful, because You are so intimate that I might treat lightly the sins I commit. The enemy desires to build guilt in my life due to my failures, however, the Holy Spirit desires to convict me of those sins and draw me immediately back to You in confession and repentance, which will enable me to experience Your cleansing in our relationship, that brings back the intimacy in fellowship that my sin disrupted. Each time that we encounter Scriptures that express the greatness of Who You are we would do well to take time for a heart check and make sure that the balance of intimacy and reverence are existing together.

Meditation Questions: How close do you feel to the Lord? How serious do you take your sin? When you sin, are you more upset that you failed or that you hurt your Heavenly Father’s heart? Is your sin more about you, or more about how it disrespects your God? Right after you sin, do you still feel ok to approach God? If not, why? Is yes, why? If you were to describe your relationship to God would it lean more on the formal side or the familiar side? Do you think you have balance? Based on your answer what should you do to make it what God wants it to be? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Waiting can be profitable

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 6:13-15 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,  that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus           
                                                                                        Christ  which He will bring                                                                             about at the proper time

Application: The Hope of every Christian; yet the human frustration of the wait. How many believers wish the Lord would return right now? I know I do, and if I am honest there are a variety of reasons. First, is to be with Him, to see Him and spend time with Him. To experience the person of Christ face to face, to walk and talk with Him. The older I get the more I desire that. If we are honest though, there are other reasons; to never taste the failure of sin again, to be able to sense oneness with holiness that eludes me in this flesh. To not feel my body aging, no more arthritis, no worrying about what I eat, no exhaustion, no sicknesses. No more pain from saying goodbye to loved ones and friends, that go through the portal of death. No more arguments with my wife or kids, or feeling like I have failed them. No more concerns about paying the bills, putting food on the table. No more frustration over government that does not work, that cares only for itself. No more seeing evil people celebrate decadence or reading about what monsters have done to innocent people, especially children. No more feeling helpless when you want to stop injustice or heal people in the midst of disaster. Even though I am not afraid of death, because I know what awaits me, dying is still disconcerting. Rapture is so much more attractive than dying. All of these are proper and I know You see them in our hearts Lord and do not think less of us because we feel this way. 

Yet, as You state in Your Word, this appearing which we have all yearned for, including the man that is writing Timothy 2000 years ago, this appearing will be according to Your timetable. The proper time will happen when all that You have desired to take place here on earth has been accomplished. So what are we to do while we wait for this time? One exercise I have found helpful is to reverse my thinking, instead of considering only how much better that time will be when we have left here, there are things that will never take place again in all eternity and I should maximize their opportunities while I have the chance. After I leave here, I will never have the unique relationship You have given me with one woman that I have with my wife. I should enjoy this special relationship and make it as rich as possible. I have the opportunity to bring You glory in a fallen sinful flesh, by allowing Your Spirit to produce Your fruit in me. I have the opportunity to love the unlovable, and forgive those that have sinned against You and me. I have the opportunity to live in front of young men and women a life that shows that victory can be a reality, even in old age. I have the special opportunity to share with someone separated from You by sin, how much You love them and witness them enter a relationship with You. I want You to come Lord, but until it is the proper time, I want to use this time to invest in that eternity that awaits me!  

Meditation Questions: If you knew Jesus was coming today, is there anything you would change about your day? What does that say? How do you view your opportunities right now; something you have to go through, or potential for growth and fruit? Why would you want the Lord to return right now? Why would you not want the Lord to return right now? What do your answers show you? Have you ever considered what you will not be able to do once we leave this world? How are you taking advantage of that at this moment? 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It’s not over till it’s over

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 6:13-14 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,  that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ

Application: As Paul closes this letter to Timothy he admonishes him to finish well. This should be the prayer of every believer. The race is to the end, not part, but whole. To begin well and even get to the last lap, only to not finish leaves the race incomplete. Far too many have dropped out just before they would have finished. I believe the attack of the enemy intensifies at this time, because the enemy has lost in every other way, so he desires to at least destroy the testimony that person would leave. Notice, Paul shares with Timothy the ultimate finisher, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who stood faithfully even in front of Pilate. Paul uses two words to exhort Timothy in the way he should live. First he tells him to be without stain.

ἄσπιλος áspilos; from the priv. a, without, and spílos, spot. Without blemish or spot, free from spot, unblemished, pure.

This is the same word that describes Christ as without sin. Paul is not suggesting that Timothy can live sinless, but he is emphasizing to Timothy that the life he lives should as much as possible be pure, not mixed with sin. This admonition needs to be heeded by us all. The enemy will discover what areas of our life are mixed with sin and he will take advantage of that.

The second word reproach emphasizes what others see in us.

Anepílēptos or anepílēmptos, a qualification the Apostle Paul recommends that a bishop or elder should have (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:7), means beyond reproach, i.e., that he ought to live in such a way that reproach will not come to him justifiably when he stands under the scrutiny of judicial examination by God; hence he is unindictable. This is found also in 1 Tim. 6:14, spoken of God’s commandments grouped together as one commandment. We should incorporate in our lives God’s commandments in such a way that the spoken word and the life of the speaker may not bring the commandment under indictment as being either faulty or ineffective. [1]

What is so important is that we understand that in this race three issues are in view, not one. This is not only about our testimony, it includes that, but there are two other issues at stake here. First and foremost, the name of our Lord is on the line. People have never met Jesus Christ, but they do meet us. What they think of Him is determined most times by what they see in us. So how we finish is very important. Secondly, the testimony of the Faith is also dependent on us. When we quit, unbelievers chalk our beliefs up to just another religion that did not deliver. This should never be! Lastly, our name loses its power. Think of the great saints that finished well, now with the Lord for centuries, yet their name and life still speak into the lives of believers today. We may not be famous, but even in our families our legacy can carry a powerful impact on those that hear of what the Lord did in us! Finish well; you will never regret it!

Meditation Questions: Do you believe you will ever retire? What does that look like? Does that word mean anything pertaining to your walk with Christ – What is that? How would you describe what it will mean for you to finish well? Have you thought about in what areas you might have a problem with when it comes to finishing well? How important is it to know your weaknesses? Are you proactively fortifying your weak areas?

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