Proper Priority and Respect–1 Timothy 6 Part 1

It is easy to forget that all we do in life, as a believer, we do to honor God.  Paul as he was ending his letter to Timothy and one last principal that he saw as a priority for the Pastor–the teaching of proper priority and respect.  In the church, we cannot allow our faith to be used as an excuse for how we behave.  Paul reminded Timothy that as slaves, the believers needed to be the best and most respectful slaves in the country.  Masters needed to treat their slaves with benevolence and respect.  The priority lies in honoring God–not in the position of employment.

The same holds true in position in life–rich or poor, leader or follower, pastor or new believer–the key is to live a life that honors God first and foremost.  Paul wanted Timothy to see that the prestige the world offers; is simply a distraction to what is really important–following the Lord.

In our lives, we face the same struggle in where we work, in what we own and with whom we do life. Our duty and desire is to follow God.  We recognize that God leads and orchestrates our journey and we are content to follow–wherever it leads.  As we do, he will bless us, provide for our needs and prepare us for the real life of eternity with him.  We have to learn to be content in whatever our circumstance, and allow him to create the life we are to lead.

God Bless You

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare[a] of their slaves.These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

That Just Isn’t Fair–Genesis 21 Part 1

We see the world linearly, while God see’s the world from an all knowing, omnipresent way. Because our view is so limited, many things that God does and allows seem both unfair and unreasonable.  What Abraham understood was that God knew the plan–and it was not his job to question it; it was his job to trust God and follow his lead.  Make no mistake, Abraham loved his son Ishmael, but, God always intended to build Abraham’s lineage through Isaac. Trusting that, Abraham honored God’s command and sent Hagar and Ishmael on their way.  I am sure it was not easy, but, as Abraham had trusted God for 25 years–he had to again trust God to bring his plan to fruition.
 
Nothing has changed.  There is so much in the world that seems unfair.  Many of the things result from men’s choices to do evil and reject God.  Some things that happen, however, do not seem–from our linear perspective to make sense or even align with God’s nature in any way.  We, therefore, begin to blame God for life’s trials–rather than seek Him to make sense of them and follow him through the difficult times.  Many things will never have a why attached, but, most will find him walking with us and propping us up–when it seems we cannot continue to go forward.
 
God is both ready and able to meet us where we are and carry us through any and all circumstances–even those that do not seem fair. We, like Abraham, must be willing to trust him and follow him even in the times we do not understand his plan or life’s circumstance.  This is war–and, as his warriors, we must be prepared to take the steps to survive and follow his lead.
 
God Bless You

Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac[a] to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away

The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

Embrace Your Place–Proverbs 25 Part 1

Everyone has aspirations in life. It is a great thing to live in a country that truly allows anyone to do anything as long as they strive and work hard. We raise our children with the idea that they can truly pick their career and place in life through education and diligence.  There is however a hard truth that often gets quietly shelved—While we can do anything, we cannot do everything.

God has used our lives, our talents and our life circumstances to prepare us for our journey and a role in other’s lives.  So many times, we become envious of others roles and discount the value each of us brings to our families, friends and communities. Solomon, in his wisdom, broke it down into three areas—Hold your tongue, embrace your place and don’t start unnecessary fights.

Discernment is a mighty tool.  Learning to hold one’s tongue and not simply spew out every free range thought, is critical to being successful in life and in ministry. In this culture of blogging, snapchating and Facebook, we have forgotten that using our mind as a filter for our mouth is invaluable to our lives and the lives of others.

Solomon also stressed the critical nature of taking your place and embracing your role in life. If we can be content with the circumstances we face, then if God blesses us with more, we can humbly accept the gift and be equally content in the new place.  Conversely, if we are unhappy with where we are and always envious of others, we will not have opportunities to use our roles to change lives, nor will we ever truly be happy in any other role we are given.

Finally, Solomon urges us not to be accusers or overly litigious.  We need to be careful and not rush to judgement of others—lest we embarrass ourselves and others because we do not know the entire story.  Further, showing grace and mercy by holding our tongues could make us life-long friends and allies—and we will need them.

It simply comes down to embracing your life and trusting God with your future and its timing. God will honor that and make your journey complete, awesome and life changing—You can be anything, you just can’t be everything!

God Bless You

 

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;     to search out a matter is the glory of kings. As the heavens are high and the earth is deep,     so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.

Remove the dross from the silver,     and a silversmith can produce a vessel; remove wicked officials from the king’s presence,     and his throne will be established through righteousness.

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,     and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”     than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.

What you have seen with your eyes     do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end     if your neighbor puts you to shame?

If you take your neighbor to court,     do not betray another’s confidence, 10 or the one who hears it may shame you     and the charge against you will stand.

Preparing the Leader for the Journey–Exodus 26-31

God spent well over a month teaching Moses all the things he needed to know to lead the people of Israel. As their leader, He had to be a general and a general contractor. He had to be able to assess the lives of his people and accessorize the tabernacle. The teaching was personal, detailed and significant. Moses must have realized that this was the undertaking of a lifetime. God took the time to personally teach him, comfort him and prepare him for what was ahead. Then at the end, God personally wrote out the terms of the covenant on two stone tablets—to send home with Moses so that the people would never forget.

In our lives, God knows following him is no small undertaking. That is why when we accept him as Lord and Savior, it is only the beginning of a lifetime journey. His spirit takes the time to mold us and teach us to live as kingdom children. His spirit is like the tablets—with us as a constant reminder that he loves us and will accompany us to the journey’s end. We, as his children simply need to realize and accept that we will always be learning and growing–until either we go to join him, or he returns to get us. Paul said it best—“He who has begun a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day f Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6.

God Bless You

“For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim.

Hang this curtain on gold hooks attached to four posts of acacia wood. Overlay the posts with gold, and set them in four silver bases.

Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.

“Then put the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—on top of the Ark of the Covenant inside the Most Holy Place.

Place the table outside the inner curtain on the north side of the Tabernacle, and place the lampstand across the room on the south side

When the Lord finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God.

Persevere in the Midst of Chaos–Jude

As we have discussed many times, we are in the midst of a cultural and spiritual battle.   The world and the enemy would love to discredit our faith and destroy our influence in the world.  But, John encourages us to persevere in the midst of the chaos. We are called stand firm and follow no matter the influence of the world.

When we stand firm in the midst of the chaos, we have an impact on all around us.  As we do, the battle intensifies and the enemy throws everything in his power at us to defeat us.  Sickness, poverty, trouble with family and a host of other trials are executed in our lives to neutralize our impact on the world.  Knowing that is the case, we must prepare for and meet the trials head on. As we do, we will have the ability to persevere and to influence the world.

God Bless You

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

The Right Things–Hebrews 13 part 1

Doing right is a never ending challenge. The author of Hebrews makes it simple–do the right things for the right reasons.  Love each other as a family would.  Treat strangers well they may be God’s messenger to you. Don’t simply sympathize with folk imprisoned or in pain–empathize, hurt like they hurt, seek freedom as they seek freedom.  Trust God in your marriage and with your stuff–he treats those things quite seriously!

We need to respect God’s plan for our lives.  We have a 3 step duty; 1. Trust Him, 2. Follow him, 3. Then watch him as he protects, provides and empowers us to make the journey!  Like any dad, the worst  pain to him, is the pain of mistrust by his family. The worst defiance of him is the failure to follow him on such an important trip through every trap and trial–Your freedom and life is at stake.  He loves you and will lead you to a place unlike any dream you could dream–he only requires that you follow.

God Bless You

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”[a]

6 So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”

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.