Guarding What We Have With Care!

“Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.” (1 Timothy 6:20, 21 NIV).

Within the context of the instructions given to Timothy regarding how he was to conduct himself within the church, we find those instructions relevant to everyone who is in leadership, now.

Though many may argue that the bible is “simply a book of myths,” those who know Truth, know better. And as such, we can always go back to the bible–for instructions in our daily living, understanding that what God inspired others to write-no matter when it was written–is still good for us, today.

An interesting conversation occurred yesterday when someone said to me, they didn’t finish reading a certain book years ago because of the book’s doctrine. Since I was familiar with the book, I couldn’t understand the reference, but was able to determine that the person meant, “they didn’t want to be indoctrinated” by what was being disclosed in the book. It struck me when it was said and I responded that perhaps, that’s why many people won’t read the bible–fear of indoctrination to a sound belief system.

I know many could argue why the bible is outdated, but they could not argue that with me. I don’t argue over what’s in the bible because of my relationship with God. I know and understand the bible is a summary of historical events, demonstrating God’s love for mankind from the beginning, and is sound–for the day in which we live. If all understood the context of events noted in the bible and what happened and what was said, when–we’d understand that careful study of where we are today, is depicted in the bible–a history that covers about 3500 hundred years of man’s behavior and God’s response.

We learn how God expects us to honor Him and honor parents as well as one another–still relevant today. We learn how we are conduct ourselves with one another–with integrity. We learn what happens to people who do not honor God and those He has chosen. We learn how we are to respond to those who are different and respect them for who they are. We learn about politics and leadership, taxes, and love relationships–culminating in marriage as part of His plan to see mankind continually perpetuated by new births. We learn how much He loves us through His death on the cross, His resurrection, and His ascension with the promise of His return. We learn how to operate in the gifts and power He has given us through Holy Spirit. We learn to love the unlovable and to pray for our enemies. And everything we learn now, is referenced in the bible–that “book of myths” by which so many have used–to gain wealth and assist others.

All of this–and more–Paul was reminding Timothy of as he started leading a church--to stay the course and guard what he had been taught, never allowing the foolishness of demonic teachings to become part of what he taught others.

Unfortunately, since many do not understand how Holy Spirit operates in our lives, they have succumbed to demonic teaching–all those things that are opposed to God’s plans for mankind–and they think they are teaching truth. They are not teaching God’s Truth and since we have no truth to teach, what is being taught is a lie and we know that Satan is the father of all liars. We cannot allow demonic teachings to keep us from our destination–an eternity with God. 

With all of our getting, we must get wisdom–and true wisdom only comes from above–not below. We must guard the wisdom given from God with great care and allow Him to direct us in all things.

The Spirit God Gives!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

If we are wandering this land, full of fear–unable to speak up or speak out against injustice and indignities, and sin–we are not operating with the spirit given to us by God, but influenced by the spirit of the enemy.

The spirit God has given endows us with power–from within–the courage to stand firm upon the convictions of our beliefs and we are able to speak up and speak out when we see injustice, inhumane treatment of people and sin.

The spirit God has given fills us with love overflowing–so we are able to love all people–regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or political stances–unconditionally.

The spirit God gives us enables us to develop and function with a self-disciplined life–one that is aware of limitations and the needs of self and others and accommodates with wisdom.

Why does God give us a spirit that enables us to do (not to make excuses in not doing)? Because we are His children and we are destined to do all He desires us to do–beyond our innate capabilities–moving full steam ahead with the power He has given us. What an awesome God!

He has given us a spirit that says, “We can do all things through Christ Jesus” and do them well, glorifying Him.

He has given us a spirit that says, “With Him, we can do it.” We can stop doing all things that harm body and mind or would influence harming others.

He has given us a spirit that says, “Nothing is impossible with God.” We can think things through before we act and know we have exercised wisdom in all decisions.

That’s the Spirit God gives! Which spirit is influencing what you do today?

Short Version!

I realize that sometimes, I get carried away and forget that not everyone wants to read a long blog. So, here’s the shorter version of my blog from this morning, based upon 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

Don’t argue about The Word with anyone who attempts to refute it, but do encourage them to read it first–then come back so a reasonable and intelligent discussion can be had and enjoyed by all.

Gotta love you!

He Delivers!

“Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:18 NLT

Whenever “evil” attacks–in whatever form it takes–we need to know with assurance, that The Lord will deliver us and we do this by saying what The Word says. “No weapon formed against us shall prosper” or come to any good.

When we see the works of the enemy, we should not be afraid, but confident in knowing, “we are more than conquerors” and will always be victorious.”

When sickness and disease attack our bodies, we should not cringe, but know, “by His stripes we are healed” and then do everything we can to make sure it happens. “Faith without works accomplishes nothing.”

When our finances are under attack, we need to know that, “the cattle on a thousand hills are His and the fulness thereof,” and whatever He has is ours because we are His children.

When we find ourselves being persecuted for our faith in Him, we need to remember, “with God going before us, He is more than the world against us” and we have been empowered through Holy Spirit to keep the enemy in his place.

When problems arise in our marriages and families, we need to remember that, “family is God’s idea” and Satan hates Him for it and will do anything he can to create rifts in the family.

When our faith, is based upon the solid foundation of The Word and we know how to empower our lives with The Word, nothing the enemy does shall have any lasting effect and we will come through every trial, refined, better than before because every time we exercise our faith with action, we are muscling up–getting ready for the next attack.

So, don’t cringe or marvel at the enemy’s attacks.  Think of his attacks as misfired darts that were never strong enough for an impact upon anything and laugh in his face, every time he draws his bow. We have been “watered with The Word” and it,  as our shield, is more than enough to quench any of his fiery darts. Just know–He delivers–the same today as He did–many years ago. Hallelujah for Deliverance!

 

Patterns Matter!

“Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13 NLT).

I remember when I was sewing most of my clothes–primarily because of a home economics class in which I had to learn to read a pattern–how difficult it was for me to understand the pattern. The one thing I noticed, though is when I had “repeated”using the pattern often enough, I had no problem getting the results I wanted in the clothing I wanted to wear. This was in high school–when we didn’t have much money and fabric was considerably cheap. I was able to use patterns from a neighbor and learned to modify the pattern to suit my own tastes. I made jackets, pantsuits (before they were popular) skirts, dresses, belts–whatever I wanted to wear. I even learned to modify clothing by adding “lace or trimming” to lengthen a gown for someone else.

When my daughter first began school, I made her school clothes and then somewhere along the way, I stopped sewing and lost sight of how to read the patterns.

When we don’t practice doing a thing–we lose sight on how to do it. Like learning a foreign language–we must practice or we lose our ability to remember it. Typing requires continual practice to maintain accuracy and speed.  The same principle applies to–well, just about anything–we must practice and hold onto patterns in learning that make learning worthwhile.

If this works for learning, it will also work for teaching–anything. When we develop wholesome patterns–that work every time–we create situations in which we can be assured of the results. And this is the admonition Paul was giving to Timothy (and us)–make sure the pattern is shaped by faith and love we have in Christ Jesus.

If what we teach is not based upon the same pattern–foundation in The Word–the results will be unpredictable and this is how division in the body of Christ is created–people have forgotten to hold onto the pattern of faith and love.

Establishing patterns in life–make differences–especially when we want to achieve specific results–time after time–that glorify God!

Hold onto the patterns of wholesome teaching based upon The Word and be assured of the results that have a foundation in The Word, shaped by faith and love!

Nothing to Argue!

“Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly” (I Timothy 4:7 NLT).

One of the reasons that “people” have said why no one should discuss “religion and politics” is because there is so much that can be argued, but shouldn’t be.

What a person believes is what “they” believe. No one should attempt to superimpose their belief systems on anyone else because everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want to believe. Belief–in anything–is subjective–not necessarily objective and as such should be respected as an individual’s right.

Part of the problem with “denominationalism” is the fact that every denomination is a split from a foundational belief. This is why we have Catholicism, Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, and a host of other denominations that “chose” to use specific segments of scripture as a foundation for their belief. What has happened is that it has all become “religious institutions” established that have little or nothing to do with Relationship with God.

So, if people want to believe there is “power in things or an object,” let them believe it. If the source of their belief system is contained or confined within man-made objects–that’s their business. However, I would point out that the prophets of Baal discovered there is no power in “the things made by man’s hands” or in “words used as chants or incantations” to evoke the Spirit of God.

If we truly want to see “the power of God operating” in our world, we simply need to develop a relationship with God, obey His voice, and see how loving others can change the environment. Now, that’s “Power” and it is not contained, but as infinite as our God is.

Go ahead–have your discussions about your beliefs, just respect the beliefs of others in the process. God responds to our faith in Him, not the things in which we have faith. Don’t argue–just love!

What We Have!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)

The Spirit of The Lord

That abides within us

Rises and takes control

In times of turmoil

And combats our fears

Turning them into courage and determination,

Assuring victory at every turn.

The Spirit of The Lord

Strengthens and empowers us,

Motivating, exercising, building

Muscle-bound perseverance,

Thought-binding power over

Every negative situation, shielding

And volleying whatever the enemy

Throws our way.

The Spirit of The Lord,

Who knows nothing but Love,

Constantly replenishes and pours

Into us, all He receives from above,

And then, The Spirit of The Lord

Moves upon us to journey this land

With knowledge, wisdom, and power

To accomplish what’s needed in this hour

So all might have access to the Gospel

We know and share with our lives!

This is what we have,

When The Spirit of The Lord abides

And thrives in us,

Courage, power, love, and a sound mind!

 

Self-Control

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—” (2 Timothy 3:2-4 NIV).

In the last days (begins verse 1) there will be terrible times–times in which people who have not acknowledged God, will not study His Word, will not hear Him, will not obey Him, will become–all of these things.

Their priorities will be greed–getting all the money they can amass by any means necessary, no matter how it may impact others.

They will brag about how they cheat and undermine others–bully others into espionage of all sorts in order to gain the upper-hand, financially over others.

They will abuse the power of their positions at home, in business, in communities, and in the government.

They will start by being disobedient to parents because they did not understand that honoring “mother and father” would guarantee them long life and then move out into society with the same spirit, defying spiritual and natural laws to do what they want to do.

They will be unholy–doing all things against God because their god is Satan.

They will be without love because they have never accepted God’s love and they cannot truly love themselves–they are empty and void of compassion for others and they are the only people who matter.

They will hold grudges against others and never forgive even though they are in need of forgiveness themselves.

They will lie and cheat to get what they want without regard to the destruction that occurs along the path they take.

They have never learned to control themselves and function on feelings rather than common sense, they allow negative emotions and thoughts to guide their every move which leads them to becoming brutish–manglers of human beings and murderers without flinching, creating chaos and confusion wherever they go and yet they do not see themselves as they are–devoid of human emotions and ability to interact appropriately with others.

They are more inclined to give into feelings and those negative thoughts that intensify into unbridled lust and they will do anything to gratify the desire.

Carnal, fleshy pleasures mean more to them than loving God and living according to His Word because they lack self-control and do not want to live an orderly life.

These are the people who will not control their thoughts, their mouths or their deeds. They think evil thoughts and then plot to carry them out–they cuss at the drop of a pin and then think it’s their right to infringe upon the rights of others. They are disorderly every where they go–loud and obnoxious–foul-mouthed and dangerous.

They understand “control” when they find themselves locked into situations where others are controlling them–jails, prisons, gangs, mobs.

They do not understand that although they may be locked up or locked into situations; they are never locked out of God’s love--if they are willing to receive it.

These indeed are the last days. The writing is on the walls of society all over the world. What are we–who understand–going to do about it?

 

 

 

To Whom Do You Belong?

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2:19 NIV).

On life’s journey, we are assailed with many things, turned in many directions, influenced by various spirits in people to the degree that some–never determine who they are or to whom they belong. We are familiar with such adages as–“birds of a feather flock together,” and “a man is known by the company he keeps,” and “if it quacks like a duck, it must be a duck,” but we do we really understand the implications?

When we look at Paul’s instructions to Timothy, we understand that Timothy was up against some people who attempted to undermine who he was. Apparently, there was much discussion and disagreement over “words” (more likely the interpretation of such) and Paul told him, don’t argue over words, study to make sure he knew what he was talking about and to not let those who had “turned from the truth” influence him in any way. And then, Paul reminds Timothy that God knows those who are His and whoever confesses belonging to Him, must turn away from wickedness (doing those things influenced by evil).

We who confess to having a relationship with God–must understand the implication–not only to those who have a common confession, but for those who do not. There is probably nothing more discouraging to someone who “doesn’t really know Him, yet” to hear those who proclaim they do–arguing over words or rituals or traditions that mean absolutely nothing if God is not in it. Jesus warned us that, “we have made the Word of God of no effect because of our traditions.”

The disparity comes to the forefront when people really do not know to whom they belong. They can tell in the blink of an eye which church they attend (or are members); they can tell someone the pastor’s name; they can even tell what the church believes; they can tell tell when they were baptized, but when asked about having a personal, intimate relationship with God–they stutter. When asked how often they read, meditate or study The Word–they hesitate. They can quickly parrot what others have said about something, but have no knowledge of their own.

When people read the bible for themselves, they would know–“The Lord’s Prayer”–the model given to the disciples, was not meant to be prayer for all things at all times. If that was true, then Jesus would have prayed it when He was in the garden, just before He was arrested. And the same people who repeat this prayer as a mantra, wonder why God is not hearing or responding to them. They do not know that God’s response to us in prayer is based upon a sincere conversation with Him and our faith in Him, not a repetitious monologue. If people had read John–they would have discovered what meaningful prayer entails.

The real problem is–not knowing to whom they belong. If we belong to Jesus, then our behavior and our associations must be indicative of that relationship, rather than a relationship with worldly people who do not know Him!

To Whom You Belong!

“Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2:19 NIV).

When we repent of sin, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He was crucified, died, buried, and rose again, accept Him as Lord and Savior, we become part of the family–joint-heirs with Jesus. This belief establishes a firm foundation on which we can build our relationship with The Lord, solidify it by allowing The Word to govern our behavior and confessing to all that Jesus is Lord. If we confess that Jesus is Lord, we must turn away from wickedness–remove ourselves from the arena of sinful behaviors and move towards those who will encourage us to remain sin-free.

Living a sin-free life is possible when we put ourselves in an environment that is conducive to doing so. We must be willing to acknowledge all those things that keep us from living a sin-free life (the temptations we give in to) and turn away from them completely. When we refuse to acknowledge those behaviors that are sin and stay in the environment that leads to sin, we reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ and put ourselves in position to not receive God’s best for us. God knows those who are His and who is living right before Him.

If we truly belong to The Lord, we don’t refute what He says in an attempt to justify living any way we want to live.  Sin–against our own bodies (all sexual sin), drug addictions, alcohol addictions, laziness (over-eating/lack of exercise), lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating others, deceptive practices, abuse against others,blasphemy and murdering, having respect of persons–all is sin. There are no little sins or big sins–everything we do contrary to God’s Word is sin.

Now the Lord knows those who are His. These are the ones who attempt to live according to God’s Word, and may slide backwards, but refuse to dwell in or allow sin to inhabit their environment. When we backslide–we need to acknowledge it and quickly remove ourselves from the temptation and/or environment that got us there. And sometimes–that means removing ourselves from people who deliberately sin and then entice us to do the same. It is our choice–to live according to God’s Word or not. Everything that we “do” (actively participate in) is our choice. Unless some one is holding a gun to our heads, threatening to blow us away, we have a choice in the matter of our behavior. God gave us–free-will–to choose what we do.

For all of those people and activist groups that proclaim that they were “born” anything other than male or female–they acknowledge they are led by the devil in promoting the lie. They further manipulate others into believing the lie and then expect special consideration–from everyone else, including the government. God will not excuse sinful behavior regardless of any governmental stances taken to support or promote sin. We are all accountable for what we do in this earthly body and when the time comes–no government policies will be able to intervene on our behalf. When we stand before Him in judgment–Only what we do for Christ and in Christ will matter and living a sinful life–will not get us into heaven.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to understand sin as You have proclaimed throughout Your Word and create in us a heart that desires to please You, not self or others.