Life Stage Living–Titus 2 Part 1

As children of God, we are saved by grace.  While salvation is a gift, it is also a guide to live in a way that honors God.  What that entails varies as we reach different stages of our lives.  We are no less responsible for our behavior at age 50 than at age 17.  Each life stage has is set of temptations and demons that plague us.

The key to honoring God is always centered on being humble and following his lead.  It is never about checking off a list of do’s and don’ts.  Having said that, the desire to be humble includes walking in a way that points attention to God and not to ourselves.  Young men should not be Brash.  Young women should dress and act appropriately.  Old men should speak wisely and act their age and old women should not be bitter or harsh.  We know how to behave, but, while our behavior does not affect our salvation, we must remember it does affect how others perceive God and his impact on us.

God Bless You.

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

The Qualifications and Nature of Leaders–Titus 1 Part 2

It is so important to pick the right leaders.  History teaches us that as the leader goes–so goes the group. Paul was outlining to Titus the qualifications of those he would appoint as leaders in the Church.  As we  review the list, we see an obvious truth–A good leader will manage his own life and his own family.  The qualifications do not look at prestige; they revolve around treatment of others, personal choices and family values.

In our walks, our lives should be showcased in humility, love for others and care for our families–we should be the example of that person people are glad to see coming.  We should be chaste of heart. In addition, as leaders we must be devoted to loving our spouses– and raising our children to love–not loathe God.  As in all things with God, We do not have to be perfect to lead, simply committed and submitted to walk in a way that honors him and to lead our families to do the same.

God Bless You

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Greeting with a Message-Titus 1 Part 1

Paul was on mission. The journey he was led on was powerful, critical and vital to the long term health of the Church.  He was not a simple evangelist.  He was a man with the goal of building Christ’s church across Europe and Asia.  With that in mind, his message to Titus, the young preacher, is very specific and very timely for his journey. God has a plan and you are part of it.  Titus, like Timothy, was saved by Paul and assisted Paul in his ministry.  He was a part of the work in Corinth and now working in Crete.

Paul, in his encouragement, wanted Titus to remember who he was serving and why.  It is so easy to lose sight of the mission.  Paul knew that and wanted to assist this leader in staying on mission and message.  The mission is still the same, the message is still the same.  We are to live to seek Christ and share his message with all who will listen.  We can never lose hope–though sometimes tempting. In addition we need to see our mission as ongoing, not one and done.  We have a Lord and Savior that loves us and is preparing us for an eternity with him–all we must do is follow his lead.  What a mission, what a message!

God Bless You

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,

To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Finish the Race–2 Timothy 4 Final

One of the key principles of Christianity is that it is not an event, but a journey.  Paul was at death’s door.  His execution by Nero was to happen soon.  While Paul was summing up his final thoughts and wishes to Timothy, he reaffirmed the principle we as God’s chosen people need to cling to—We as a church are on a journey and as such, we need to focus upon finishing  and finishing well.  Paul said it best—I Have fought the good fight I have finished the race and I have kept the faith.

 In our Journey, I am learning that as the years accumulate—it becomes harder, not easier to maintain faith.  Trials and tribulation, failing health and increased complexity with our families and their own trials make t more difficult to continue to follow the Lord with faith and determination. We, however, like Paul, must Finish the Race and keep the faith.  As we do, we will be rewarded on several fronts.  We will join him with delight to spend eternity free from sin and its ravages.  In addition, we will leave a legacy in our families and ministry that will truly last and will not fade away like the stuff we accumulate does. Finally, we will give our families and friends a true picture of how great God is—because, no matter the circumstance, they will see that he is real and real in our lives.

 It is a long run.  Our job is not to set records or take short cuts.  Our job is to fight, finish and keep the faith—Will you join me?

 God Bless You

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

No Matter the Audience, the Truth Remains–2 Timothy 4 Part 1

We have to face the fact that the time is nearing that people will no longer listen to the truth, but will court lies and persecute those that oppose them.  As we watch life unfold, we see the Church and its message become more marginalized and those that speak it more unpopular. , Around the world, Christians are being killed and imprisoned for standing firm and speaking truth.  In America, where our founders specifically documented the desire to follow God in this nation’s cornerstone documents, we see new legislation each year that strip the freedom to worship from us in the name of tolerance and independence.

None the less, we are called to proclaim the truth. No matter the high the cost or how little the demand ,we tell folks how God has changed our lives.  In the days ahead, we have to stand firm even as the pressure to remain silent increases and the exposure to ridicule becomes more pronounced.  We are ambassadors for our Lord, as such we can never be ashamed or afraid.

God Bless You

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

The Power of Scripture–2 Timothy 3 Final

 

 When Paul spoke of the full armor of God, he spoke of mostly defensive weapons, but, when he spoke of God’s word—he spoke of a powerful weapon.  God’s word is a weapon, a tool, a comfort and a guide.  Whether we speak of personal growth, or the training of others, The Bible is our main tool for learning about God.  The history and accuracy of the Bible is amazing.  The enemy has tried to eradicate it for thousands of years. Since the Bible has been held by common people, it has changed the lives and directions of individuals, families and even nations.

 Personally, the Bible has become a great comfort and tool in my life. Daily, as I seek him in his word, he provides comfort, knowledge, discipline and direction. Through the years, the Word has filled in so many gaps in my walk with him.  It is no simple book—it is alive and personal.  All my friends that have committed to seeking God daily have, in fact, found him.  We can never grow weary of seeking God—it is the driving force in this Amazing Journey.  Take a few minutes each day, and ask God to lead you through his word.

 God Bless You

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Winding Down–2 Timothy 3 Part 1

earthThe world we live in is winding down. On every front, the values we historically held dear are now discarded.  As a result, the order and peace that used to typify our culture is now chaos. Less than one hundred years ago—our nation was reminded of this by the great depression. My parents lived through that traumatic time and the result was that they valued others and took nothing for granted. Now, a couple of generations later, the world has shown it neither values life or considers anything but self protection as important.

We, as the Church, are called to be different.  That difference must be so stark that it shakes the very core of the culture. Like our Lord, we are to be selfless, we are to Love God and others.  We are to be grateful for what he has provided—whether little or much. We have to hold on loosely to this world and its trappings—Just like a tourist passing through.  We can enjoy our journey, BUT, we have to remember—THIS IS NOT OUR HOME. When we free ourselves from the world’s grip, we can make a difference in other’s lives.  If we do not, we become as those we are saddened by.  Help me Lord to remember in these last days—I am simply passing through.

God Bless You

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

2 Timothy 2 Part 2–A Way of Life

Sharing the Gospel, it is not as much an action as it is a way of life.  When we walk with him daily, he becomes a part of every aspect of our lives.  The result is that we become like him in our life, in our thoughts and in our actions. We could no more deny or disown him than we could deny or disown ourselves.  In that place, we no longer “try” to be a good Christian—we simply reflect Christ in all that we do.

As we reflect Christ, we impact others and honor God.  It is not that we become perfect, instead we simply become submitted to his leadership.  As he leads, we see glorious things happen in our lives and in the lives of those we deal with.  We are truly blessed.  What’s more, we are not under compulsion or pressure to perform—we simply trust and follow.  Thanks, Lord for leading, guiding and molding us into your image.

God Bless You

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,     we will also live with him; 12 if we endure,     we will also reign with him. If we disown him,     he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless,     he remains faithful,     for he cannot disown himself.

Spider Logic–2 Timothy 2 Part 1

My friend Roger Erickson developed this name for discipleship.  the multiplication principle of  discipleship.  The idea is to not simply lead men to Christ but mentor them so that they can do the same for others. Like a spider’s web, it continues to grow and strengthen well beyond the original material.  The body of Christ works the same way.  As we pour our lives into others we grow stronger individually and the body grows stonger as a whole.  There is a unity and support that brings us through the battles that we face each day with our enemy.

Personally, I would have never made it except for those that poured their lives into me. From the Bus Captain Dewey McGee, to my friends through the years and those that still pour into me today–I have learned that discipleship is a lifetime endeavor. I have taken what they have given me and tried to pass it on to those that will pass it on to others.  It is a great gift–eternal and powerful.  Thank You Lord, for those that have built their lives into me and those that have patiently walked along side and listened as I have shared my heart!

Happy Birthday Son!!!!!!!!!!!

God Bless You

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Standing Firm in Your Faith–2 Timothy 1 part 2

The world would have us believe that we should not express our faith.  From their perspective it shows our intolerance and ignorance.  When we take a stand for Christ, we are berated, minimized and pitied for our antiquated and silly beliefs.  What the world does not understand is that the things of God are spiritually discerned and difficult to understand without the help of the Holy Spirit.  None the less, we as Christians should walk with our heads up and speak unashamedly of the difference Christ has made in our lives.

 

Bullies usually use intimidation to get their way.  If someone stands up to them, often they back down and show their true cowardice.  It is the same with the world.  They try to bully the Church into being quiet and not standing up for their beliefs, but when we do stand firmly in our faith the world will have to acknowledge the difference it makes in our life. Often as we stand firm, the world will desire the peace we have and our faith will lead others to faith in him.  Much like the bully, the world will back down and Christ will be glorified. 

 God Bless You

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.[b] 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.