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, April 27, 2012

Are you existing or excelling?

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

Application: The words Paul uses in this text are truly a design by the Lord to make a very important point. The word rich is employed throughout the text, but with different contexts so that the reader must ask the right question concerning riches. It is clear from scripture that material things are neutral, they hold no intrinsic evil, it is the holder of those things that determines that. Scripture also makes very clear that anything of real value is eternal, not temporal. Here we see the Lord warn people that are rich in temporal things to not trust that kind of richness. Instead, they are to be rich in eternal things that would include how they use the wealth of material things God has blessed them with. The richness of their good works will lead them to be generous in sharing the extra God has given them with others. The philosophy of this world is to use God and get things. Paul instructs Timothy the direct opposite. God is what people need to get not meant in an irreverent way meaning the goal of ones life should be to have a relationship with our Maker. Things are to use. So in this text the storing up is not what the world tries to store up money instead, it is treasure that is the foundation of the future, i.e. a treasure that is eternal. Remember, salvation is a free gift, all children of God have that, but from that foundation of Salvation we are told we build with God a life of investment.

1 Corinthians 3:10–15  According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

That investment is the realization of the eternal life that God has given us. Scripture describes it as taking hold of that which is life! This IS the difference between a child of God that lives a nominal Christian life and one that lives a life of fullness and abundant intimacy with Christ. It is so sad to meet people that claim to belong to God, yet clearly do not have joy in their life. Many I fear have deceived themselves and have never experienced a true conversion. Others though, did for a period of time taste that life after conversion, but have lost focus and now are existing as a believer instead of excelling as one. Through all my years as a counselor this has been a consistent sign in peoples lives that come to me due to lack of joy in their life. They are not investing their life for God; they are trying to gain the wealth and comfort of this world. Those I have discipled that invest their life in God have joy and fall into all levels of economic wealth. It all depends on where the Lord has placed them. Their joy in life comes from their relationship with their Maker, not their bank account. It is so true what the Lord said: If we try to save our life we will lose it, if we invest our life, losing the life the world offers, we will save what real life is, and experience it!

John 12:25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. (NLT)

Meditation Questions: What brings you joy in life? Is it possible to be uncomfortable and still have joy? If no, Why? If yes - what does that look like? What steals your joy? What can you do to stop that? Do you think God delights when you enjoy the material things you have in this life? If no, why? If yes, why? What does your answer show you about how you view God? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

God wants us to be rich

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy

Application: It is very difficult living in the world we live in, in the flesh we exist in, and with the eyes that see with such limited vision to not be impressed, influenced or just plain overwhelmed with the riches of this world. It is easy to be duped into believing that the more of the riches of this world that you have, the happier and more pleasant your life will be. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, we all still struggle with the impressive concepts that the thought of being rich will bring to us. Even when those thoughts are filled with good intentions, plans to use it for the glory of God, believing that we will never be affected by material things in a wrong way. We convince ourselves that we will be the one that remains above all that stuff. No matter how many stories we read, testimonies we have heard to the contrary, or the warnings concerning the danger of riches we continue to believe for us, it will be different. Maybe it will be, the issue is who made who rich?  If God chooses to make someone rich, it is a tremendous responsibility and stewardship, if handled well it will bring God glory and that person a great sense of accomplishment for the Lord. But it is important that we live in the reality that is before us. 

The facts are clear that the majority of human beings do not handle riches in a way that benefits God or themselves. So the warning that Paul is encouraging Timothy to understand concerning those that he might know that are rich is one based on the reality of life and on a Shepherd's heart. No true shepherd can forget the staggering statement from the Lord Jesus Christ which makes it clear that even if someone gains the entire world in comparison to the loss of their soul the gain is meaningless. Paul's statement clarifies what kind of richness he is talking about: these are the riches of “this present world” which in the original communicates even clearer as it calls it “the now age”. That little phrase sums up the type of riches he's discussing, they are temporal, here and now only. He doesn't condemn them for having riches, instead he warns of the danger that riches can bring. When someone has so much more than the average person there is a temptation to see their own value as greater than others, this is why Paul warns them not to be conceited. The Greek is «Conceited» - ὑψηλοφρονέω hupsēlophronéō; from hupsēlós, high, and phronéō, to think. To be high–minded, proud, arrogant. It is always wrong to think highly of oneself because it only leads to a fall, however it is even more foolish when we think this way due to “material stuff” that we own. It takes but a moment for all that stuff to be stolen, taken away, or lost through various things that can happen. So he is warning them and tells them not to place their anchor on the riches of this world. The term “fix their hope” is from the Greek word ἐλπίζω elpízō;  To hope, expect with desire. - In the construction meaning to hope in someone, i.e., to trust in, confide in [1] Whenever we allow ourselves to put our confidence in anything that is temporal we place ourselves in peril. That is the reason that Paul immediately points to the fact that our confidence, our trust needs to be in Him, Who owns all, sustains all, and is eternal. When we seek the riches that he bestows, not only are our riches eternal, but we will never find ourselves becoming conceited, because we know the riches we have came from Him, not our own hands.

Meditation Questions: What do you believe supplies the things you need to live in this world? Your job? Money? What is the difference to you between life and existence? When you hear the term “a self made man” what does that mean to you? How should we feel about the material wealth we have attained? What does your answer show you? If you had a choice to be rich or have a rich person be willing to allow you access to their wealth, which would you prefer? Why? What does your answer show you? 

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

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The unapproachable One that is approachable

Scripture Read: 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: After reading verse 15 where Paul lays out the unspeakable greatness of our God as Wuest gives the literal translation: the One who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of those who are reigning as kings, and Lord of those who are ruling as lords”; one might rightly ask what more can be said? However, there is so much more to be said, that if all were written down, the books of man could not contain it! Even so, the next statement places an incredible exclamation point on the Person of our Lord. Consider: who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light,”

Alone is μόνος mónos; Only, alone, without others. We all know what mono means, this one, and this one only. No one else can claim what is about to be claimed. God alone possesses immortality! There is a difference in being the one who shares something and the One that is the source of it. This is our God, there is no immortality apart from Him! Consider what the original communicates: ἀθανασια athanasia, from the priv. a, without, and thánatos, death. Rendered “immortality” in 1 Cor. 15:53, 54 of the glorified body of the believer. In the NT it expresses the nature not of life itself, but strictly speaking, only a quality of life such as the quality of the life of God and the resurrection body of the believer. Athanasía occurs in 1 Tim. 6:16 where the word is used in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ in His manifestation as the God–Man. It is true that He suffered death, His physical body and His spirit separated one from the other, but they did not remain separated. He brought them together once again with an incorruptible body that had all the characteristics that our resurrection body will have. The Lord Jesus Himself, however, has inherent athanasía, immortality, in that no one could permanently separate His body from His spirit. He raised His body and joined it together with His spirit which temporarily had been committed to the Father. Thus He is the only One who inherently has always had immortality. The phrase here is as it is found in Gr.: “the only one having immortality” (a.t.), meaning that He always had it. He never gave it up and He still has it. [1]  Also; “Immortality” is athanasia (ἀθανασια), made up of thanatos (θανατος), “death,” and the Greek letter Alpha, which when prefixed to a word negates its meaning, thus, “no death, incapable of dying.” [2]

The Possessor of immortality is also described as One Who “dwells in unapproachable light”. This is another compound word: ἀπρόσιτος aprósitos; from the priv. a, without, and próseimi, to approach, which is from prós, unto, and eimí, to be, go, or come. That which cannot be approached, inaccessible, unapproachable, hence unapproachable light (cf. Ps. 104:1–3, 12; Ezek. 1:4, 13, 26–28).[3]

This is where I personally lift my arms in praise to our God. He is unapproachable, because He is pure and holy, His light would dissolve all that was darkness in front of it. Yet, because of His great love, He has made Himself approachable. The blood of His Son on the cross has bridged that consuming light, so that even though we continue to walk in the darkness of our flesh, in His Son we can live in the light of the Spirit!   Who is like Thee Oh God? No One! Thank You for giving me a way to approach Your throne. I love You Lord!

Meditation Questions: What is your view of God? How different is the flesh than the spirit in your mind? What is light versus darkness? When you approach God do you understand what that cost Him? Your body is mortal but you are immortal – what does that mean to you? How does that impact how you live? How does that impact your “now”?

[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 6:13). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
[3] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.