Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: 1 Corinthians

Psalm Saturday #2 – Psalms 131 – O LORD, my heart is not lifted up

image

Psalms Saturday – Psalms 131 – 11/21/2015

Psalms 131:1 (ESV) O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

This is a song of Ascents, of David known as the man after God’s own heart and I love this Psalm due to its simplicity and humble let’s look it all three verses on a verse by verse basis.

V1 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.

David was humble of heart and knew his place in relation to his relationship with God. Despite being the man that God would elevate to King of Israel in his heart he knew that God’s ways were much higher than his ways as confirmed in Isaiah chapter 55…

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

And that is true today as it was when David penned those sweet words and in many cases we can trace a humble heart to a dynamic Christian life. God hates the haughty and proud, read what is said in the following passage in James chapter 4…

James 4:1 (ESV) What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

It is all great scripture and tremendous application however verse 6 tells us very plainly that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble” and looking at your life with scripture as a mirror are you more proud than humble? Do we attempt to look at things that are too high for us? Do we occupy ourselves in things that are too great or marvelous for us? Do we attempt to self-promote?

Even in ministry and ESPECIALY in ministry we have to be careful to not allow ourselves to be “lifted up” or “self exalt” because when we do marvelous things in Jesus name we can allow ourselves to think and believe that we actually had something to do with it as opposed to just being the tool that God used, if you want to see an example of this in the early church let us look at Acts 14…

Acts 14:8 (ESV) Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul and Barnabas came to Lystra after fleeing Iconium and after doing great things in Jesus name the people mistook Paul and Barnabas for gods. They started to call them names of gods that were familiar with and attempted to worship them and offer sacrifices to them as celestial beings. Paul however did what we should be doing and gave glory to God, what an example and should you read on in Acts Paul ends up on the receiving end of a stoning a few verses later due to the people he was fleeing from pursued him to Lystra.

V2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

I am a simple guy, this is a simple blog and advanced theologians probably will not get much from the analogy’s and stories that I share here but much like what Paul writes in 1st Corinthians chapter 1 I believe that God uses this simple blog to achieve great things and reach people at a level they are at in a way that websites that offer much greater and richer systematic theology do not. Paul writes…

1st Corinthians 1:26 (ESV) For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Too many of us get bent out of shape about our “Christian reputation” that we are petrified to get dirty for the Lord, that we don’t get messy and interact with messy people in their messy lives because we could appear to be less than “whiter than white”. I believe that is why there are less Good Samaritans these days and more “theologically wise believers” and I am not knocking getting your doctrinal ducks in a row however we forget the most important thing…LOVE!

We have to as David says “quieten our soul” and the analogy that David uses is like a weaning child and imagine the comfort and stillness of a child that has been freshly weaned, being a father I know the difference between a child that needed the food, the comfort and the succor compared to how they were feeling prior when they were far from that. Are you being comforted in the Lord this way? If not then is there something missing in your Christian life?

Psalm 46 advises to “Be still and know that I am God” and often times we cause our own stress by taking on burdens that we should be taking to the Lord in prayer and allowing to watch the one that has peace that passes understanding work in your life.

V3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

And that brings you to David’s closing, the comfort of the Lord was not just for him, but it was for the whole nation from this time forth and forever more. God was not going to go back on his promise to his people and in the same way God does not go back on his promise to you dear Christian.

We are to hope in the LORD, first last and always from now and forevermore. There is no expiry date on his love he loved you first even in your sin, so much so that he sent is son to die for you on Calvary’s cross. We have confirmation of God’s love in the book of 1st John. 

1st John 4:13 (ESV) By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

This Psalm was written for me, I am no theologian I am just a guy with the heart to open the word of God and write about it. I mainly share Gods word in my explanations as I deem His words much higher than my own and I don’t seek fame or fortune and I don’t actually know if my full name is anywhere on this blog. I am just a simple guy who is seeking Gods will in his life, needs God’s comfort in my trials and wants to rest on God’s promises now and forevermore.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Advertisements

Why Christians should J’adore Paris

image

Matthew 5:4 (ESV) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

It has been quite a week hasn’t it, last Friday we learned of multiple assaults on the French capital Paris that were attributed to a terrorist group called ISIS. Personally having been there I know that it is a beautiful, vibrant and a city that is very proud of whom they are and it is a city that is no stranger to being attacked in such a violent manner.

As Christians it is difficult not to get caught up in the idea that “the perpetrators must pay” and “revenge is the only option” and whilst I am not surprised nor unhappy that France chose to retaliate within 48 hours and I would never criticize their national policy, I do feel that as Christians it is as the verse above states our job to comfort the mourning.

This attack was not just an attack on France it was an attack on our way of living. It was a reminder and a reinforcement that we do have people out there who do wish to harm us and wish us harm. As Tony Blair stated on the day of 9/11 when he said “We are all Americans today” I would say that “Je suis Parisiens” (We are Parisian) And for me that is why it has hit us on a level that we have not been hit since that fateful day in September 2011 and made us remember how we felt on that day.

Jesus spoke the words above as part of a greater sermon called “The Beatitudes” where Jesus said some words that were quite revolutionary at that time of Roman occupation where the mourning were not comforted, the meek were not inheriting the earth, the merciful did not always receive mercy. Jesus spoke words directly from heaven and touched men’s hearts in a way that empty religion could not. We as Christians should do likewise.

This suffering is temporary

Romans 8:18 (ESV) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Paris you have been given a sucker punch right to the gut of the heart of your country and I pray for you and yours at this time. They have struck right at the heart of a city that was just beginning its weekend at the core of national pride, the national stadium where the beloved “Les Bleus” were playing an old foe Germany in an association football match to warm the team up before the big games in the same city the following year.

I grieve for those people who lost loved ones in the 129 souls that perished that night between the various places that attacks took place. My prayer is that they knew Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and I pray with condolence and sympathy for you oh loved ones that you may find comfort in the “great comforter”.

I take solace in that I believe there will have been more people praying for France this week than at any other time since WW2. I stated on my Twitter feed this week the truth that is pictured above that “The last time France had so many allies was WW2” and despite the great sufferings you experience and grief is a real heart wrenching thing to go through, but there is Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and I pray for the nation of France to turn to Jesus at this dark time.

I shared this week on my Facebook wall the incredible testimony of my brothers at Calvary Chapel Paris who met for a service two days after the attacks and they did not just have an increase in numbers but in the fragility of death being so close it allowed people to examine where their faith was. It really made people look at the truth of Paul’s writings in 1st Corinthians 15…

1st Corinthians 15:54 (ESV) When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I would urge you that behold now is the accepted time and now is God’s day of Salvation, (2nd Corinthians 6:2) and if you are not assured of your place in heaven I would urge you to either contact me to discuss or please let a pastor or minister know and we would be happy to talk you through accepting Jesus into your heart and being born again.

He heals the broken hearted

Psalm 147:3 (ESV) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

And this is the truth of the whole Bible that there is no hurt, there is no valley to deep, to depths in which we can plunge to that would not be able to be healed by God. I serve a big God that created us in his image, knows our innermost parts before we were knitted in our mothers wombs one who cares about you regardless of the wrong you have done or how far you think you have travelled to God, he is willing to have a relationship with you, that is why Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.

This message is for the Parisian as much as it is for the ISIS terrorist that you today could be in heaven if you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said in the Gospel of John chapter 14 verse 6 that “he is the only way to heaven” no one comes unto the father (God) except through him. I pray for a true revival in the city in a movement that moves hearts and minds and the nation repents and follows Jesus Christ. I read the following in 2nd Chronicles 7…

2nd Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

And this is my prayer, an abundance of prayer in Paris and a healing of the land! Please know my Parisian friends I do grieve with you and lament that this had to happen to you and as a Scotsman I have a special affinity towards the French due to our shared royalty and history. Most Frenchmen I have met have been good sorts and a credit to your country and my overall opinion of your country is favorable due to time spent there and people met. I have a great love personally for Paris as a city and have my own personal feelings about the attackers.

To any Muslims looking in

Jihad is not the answer! ISIS is not the answer! Jesus Christ is! He is the Son of the one true God and he spoke about how to recognize his true disciples and that is “if you had love for one another” (John 13:35) There are no virgins awaiting you in Paradise and you do not have to kill infidels in order to be assured of celestial paradise. I would love to speak to you regarding a relationship with Jesus. I pray for you and grieve that you have not found him as your Savior.

I pray this article was a blessing, feel free to share, comment or like on whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

WE ARE EXETER – The City Harmonic Concert October 29th 2015

image

WE ARE EXETER – The City Harmonic Concert October 29th 2015

Those crazy Canadians

If you ever get the chance or opportunity to go see the band “The City Harmonic” then I would advise that you please do, they are much more than four “Weird Canadians” (Their words and not mine) from Hamilton, a place that is as well known for its steel industry as it is it’s football team (Tigercats) and based on the testimony I heard last night this formed a big part of the history  of why they were touring North America with their “We Are” tour, and in the latest leg of this tour when last night they visited my home town in Exeter, CA.

Back to the Great Commission

There are not many bands that come through here (Small population of just over 10,000) so we have to give much kudos to Michael Guzman of the Church of God, Exeter for being able to make Exeter one of the stops on this great tour and for the band for making the tickets so affordable. On a personal level this confirmed so many things that God has been speaking to me that we should as Christians be working together for the glory of God and fulfilling Matthew 28 and going out and making preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ the number one priority. Michael was keen from the start that this be Exeter’s event and not a Church of God event and all of the relevant publicity spoke of “Churches together” and I find this great and I will explain the reasons why below.

Unified evangelism

The Gospel of Jesus should be brought forward in a unit as opposed to a pincer movement! I know that is Army terminology but there is an element of truth in the fact that there is “strength in numbers”. If that means further ecumenicalism then I would have to say to those who are scared of working with those outside of their particular flavor of Christianity the words of Christ himself when the disciples warned of someone who was doing the work of Christ in Jesus name but was not part of their particular group…

Luke 9:49 (ESV) John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

Reinvent the wheel?

People have issues in doing joint projects due to minor differences in theology. Here is tge thing, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, many churches will be doing similar things. Let us look at it from a non-Christian point of view; a non-Christian does not understand the subtle differences between Baptist theologies or they couldn’t pick a Lutheran out of a lineup or a Calvinist from a Catholic and all they know is that it is “Christian” in religion and in definition and they will not care what branch of Christianity that this viewpoint belongs to and will often times use something a denominational leader says as something to beat the whole of Christianity over.

Cheap as chips?

Let’s use an analogy that is a little fun but gets the point across well. Let us replace the denomination name with flavors of chips. So rather than stating I am a Baptist or Presbyterian, we will state I am Salt and Vinegar or I am Barbeque, which by definition are all potato chips but again they are different flavors. (A good question to ask would the “cult of potato chips be Cheetos or Funyins eaters?) Would we split over a chip flavor as easily as we split over a preferred order of service on a Sunday or in the case of Seventh Day Adventist the day of the week that you prefer to go to church?

Align with those on the same mission

At this point I would have to state that it is important to align ourselves with people who are on the same mission as us and not “join forces for the sake of joining forces if the ones you seek to align with are not on the same mission as you” and I have to confess that I am a big fan of the Apostle Paul, a man who started off his journey persecuting Christians to the point of death as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, then he had a blinding light and was brought to task by his Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) and then spent much of his written work appealing for unity in the body. A favorite writing of mine is as follows…

1st Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

You could say the same truth lies at the door of the modern Western church as it did when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. Bear with me for a second and you will see where I am going with this, replace the word “Paul”  or “Apollos” with your brand of church for example “I am a Methodist” or “I follow Calvin” and you will see how relevant this is to the modern day believer, we are instructed to be of the “same mind and judgment” and let us do that, let us preach the gospel straight from the pages of the word and let the Holy Spirit impact the lives of the people we touch. Let the revival start with me, with you the reader. Let us strengthen our homes, let us be like Joshua and let there not be a decision “As for me and my house WE WILL serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15)

Families on and in mission

Here is where the gloves come off and we need to read the truth that we need to be families ON mission and families IN mission. Please know that we are not perfect and we will fail, we will sin, we will fall and we will fail but we will love! John 13:35 states that this “is how we will be identified as his disciples, by our love for one another” This could be as simple as having people over, this could be mentoring people in the word, this could just be as simple as doing your job to the best of your ability and being a Christian in the workplace in every transaction you do. There will be times where the mission of Christ is strong and there are times that you have to focus more on the family but we should be “working at it all to the Lord heartily and not to a human master” (Colossians 3:23) We have to use the skills that God has blessed us with and use it all to the glory of God. My wife is a gifted musician and leads our house in worship on a Sunday evening and I love that she has the heart to do so, I know that I am stronger when I am doing what I am called to do by the Lord, I have the gifts of encouragement, teaching and mentoring.

What about the concert?

Getting back to the concert, it was beautiful to see the great local choir made up from many local churches, great to hear of the pastors and leaders who met together to coordinate to help move the needle for Jesus in our small community and was great to see the three pastors who came up and prayed over the community that this not just be a concert but actually be a small part of an ongoing movement to spark revival in the City of Exeter and beyond. And that is my heart, like these Canadians I come from a “Steel town” in that beautiful land called Scotland and my first job was an apprentice welder in a place very close to the original Hamilton in Scotland. I recognized the place that they came from and the heart that they had to get the churches and the people of God together and get all of us Christians pointing in the same way as regards to evangelizing our local area. When Jesus stated the great commission and gave us the task to “go out unto the world and preach the gospel” there was no caveat that stated “only if they have the same eschatology or hermeneutics”. The music was wonderful and most definitely a joyful noise to our Lord. The words were impactful and certainly pierced any remaining hardness in my heart and swept away any inhibitions that I had about being on mission in my small town. I genuinely felt God speaking to me and it was a true oasis in the desert as it was a break from real life and a good opportunity to have that mountaintop experience and realign priorities that may have got messed up otherwise. The question I have is why are we not on that mountaintop more? Let us get back on point with what God is trying to do in our lives and be that blessing to others and let the Lord replenish us from that stream of endless living water.

What flavor of Christ are you?

I find it such a shame that we lead into conversations about our faith by stating our particular branch of Christianity (and example would be I am a Presbyterian) before we identify ourselves as Christians and because we have become so entrenched in our differences we do not even think that the church across the road may be willing to pull our resources and do a community outreach. We have to start thinking in terms of changed hearts as opposed trying to get people in the doors on a Sunday. These are words of lamentation and I am working through my own issues and my own baggage that I have self-loaded in this area.

Quantity or quality?

Personally if I was a pastor, I would rather have 40 committed, connected family like believers in my church than 400 folks who barely knew each other and do not operate in any small groups, individual ministry or mentoring in order to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” because that 40 who are reaching out and being missional, teaching the converts and then sending them out to witness to others will be much more efficient in the work of the ministry in the area where God has planted them. I love small groups, so much so that I have one in my house on a Sunday evening, we go between 3 and 17 dependent on what night it is. We follow the example of our Messiah Jesus who had a small group of 12 disciples which he invested in, he mentored for three years and sent them out to change the world, as his disciples we should do likewise.

Closing benediction

My prayer is that you read this and get excited to partner with me to change my small town; I would still like to partner with you if you live in a different town. My priority is revival in three places…

My home – I want to be like Joshua, my house will serve the Lord
My neighborhood – I want to be a light to my neighborhood and preach the gospel to whomever God sends my way
My town – Exeter is a lovely place but imagine Exeter on fire for Jesus? Wow what a thought and I want to be a good and faithful servant to the mission the Lord has given me.

Exeter is where I live now and I would go so far as to say it is my home town, Scotland will always be where I grew up but the Lord has given me Exeter as a mission field. I have no idea why I landed here except through God’s will but I know there are people who share my desire to make a change in my city.

One thing I know is that my Christian brothers and sisters in Exeter is that we are more similar than we are different, it is right that we should be praying for our brothers and sisters regardless of where they congregate on a Sunday, we all have the same Savior and WE ARE ONE. WE ARE ALL ON THE SIDE OF JESUS and WE ARE EXETER.

I pray this was a blessing, an exhortation and I have no desire to lead a movement, simply be a motivator or facilitator in moving the needle towards helping my town find Jesus Christ. If you find this a blessing, like, share or comment on this article or feel free to publicize this on whatever social media platforms you use. I love you all and want to see my small city on fore for Jesus.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

See also

A vision of clarity for the church (part 1)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 2)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 3)

image

How many of Jesus disciples would pass a pre-employment screening?

image

How many of Jesus disciples would pass a pre-employment screening?

(The example is borderline satirical so please do not be offended) 

1st Corinthians 1:26 (ESV) For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

When you are hiring for a high profile appointment, you will screen you prospective candidates and Jesus selected a “small group” before small groups were popular, this small group would turn the world on their head and lets imagine for a second that Jesus had chosen his twelve candidates at the beginning of his ministry to a background agency like most companies who have desirable positions do so consider the possible results…

ALPHA AND OMEGA BACKGROUND CHECK LLC.

Client – Jesus of Nazareth.

Position – Disciple and follower to change the world.

Candidate 1) – Simon Peter – We have reviewed Simon Peter and found him to be ill mannered, prone to rage, prone to boasting, promises much but delivers little and we would find him to not be well equipped to deal with a crisis or stressful situation. Candidate really needs to learn when to stay quiet at times. – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 2) – James (son of Zebedee) – Seemed to be overshadowed a little by John, he seems inseparable to him, unsure whether he could be an individual in the group, decent character and appears faithful but his courage may be his undoing as he could end up getting himself killed. – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 3) – John – Here is a man who would be too emotionally involved and would stick closer than a brother, he is a keen writer and has a bit of a temper so we are not convinced he would change the world – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 4) – Andrew – Brother of Simon Peter, keen fishermen and is more of a follower than a leader, perhaps may not stick with mission as a recent acquisition from the disciple school of John the Baptist, a possible plus point is he would wish to be closely taught by you. – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 5) – Thomas – Nervous character who did not say much and is more of a follower than a leader. Gives impression that he would doubt easily. – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 6) – Phillip – Is easily led and will follow with just a few words, possibly teachable but a man of simple education and worked his days as a fisherman, unlikely to be accepted by the Religious people – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 7) – Bartholomew – son of Talmai lived in Cana of Galilee, of noble birth so would have concerns whether he could relate to the common people of Jerusalem. He is an Israelite with some interesting opinions of regions in Galilee, this could be problematic. – NOT APPROVED 

Candidate 8) – Simon (Zealot) – A real political radical, could upset the whole mission with his anti-Roman rhetoric, this may be an issue with reaching Jews with ties to Rome. – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 9) – Thaddeus/Jude – Another Zealot who is fiercely nationalistic, a political tinderbox who may undo all of the good works you plan to do here. Would not sit well with the reigning Roman authorities, he wishes his Messiah to be crowned King – NOT APPROVED.

Candidate 10) – James (son of Alphaeus) – Good strong character but is not assertive or push himself forward in a large group setting, his real flaw is that he does not speak up as much as the others and is lost in a large group setting. – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 11) – Matthew – Former tax collector and colluder with the occupying forces from Rome, who is hungry for profit and universally disliked, would never gain popular opinion with the religious types in Jerusalem due to flawed character, blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. – NOT APPROVED

Candidate 12) – Judas Iscariot – Now this is a candidate that we could get behind, good connections with both Roman and Jewish leaders, good with money, sound business acumen and zealous for the cause at hand, this man should be your right hand man – APPROVED

Isn’t it crazy how the world see’s differently to God? This of course is humor with a little artistic license and Jesus never sought out a background investigation on his disciples as he had something better – he could see their hearts. Imagine that, as he was choosing Peter and listening to Peter’s big promises, he knew he would deny his three times. Likewise when he was choosing Judas Iscariot he knew he would be betrayed and he knew to the exact coin how much. Yet he still chose them?

If he (who is sinless and perfect) made such choices in his inner circle, in his small group, in the cell group he would use to turn the world upside down, what makes you think that he would not choose you, with your minor indiscretions to do his work today.

One of the biggest disqualifications to the work of the Lord today is ourselves, we are like Thomas and doubt, we are like Simon and are a nationalistic political zealot, we are like Peter and run off at the mouth and make promises we cannot keep. I recognize characteristics in each of the disciples I would rather not have.

A question that I would have to ask you dear reader is “What handicaps do you put on your service to God?” What do you put before God as an excuse to not serve him? I would encourage you to not do so, God can get his will achieved without you but imagine the blessing of being used by God in the way you were called? That is why God asks us, because as a father I know how cool it is to do things with my kid!

If you have disqualified yourself due to sin then you have to do the following…

REPENT – Apologize to God and repent, make yourself right with God and apologize to anyone you have sinned against, get back to square one with God and get right with him, that is the foundation.

REVISE YOUR ACTIONS – Simply take a U turn and let go of that sin and give it to God. Change the harmful direction that caused you to sin in the first place.

REJOIN THE FIGHT – The Lord wants to use you and has given you talents, Jesus himself said that “the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few”. Dedicate your talents to his will and his glory and rejoin the fight unless you are biblically disqualified then you will be blessed in the long run.

I hope that today’s article was a challenge, a blessing or even an exhortation, please like, comment or share on whatever social media platforms you use. I pray this message is used to the glory of God.
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

Agape Bible Study – 08/30/2015 – Week 2 – 1st John 2:3-14 – Knowing Him and our Spiritual State

image

 

08/30/2015 – Week 2 – 1st John 2:3-14 – Knowing Him and our Spiritual State

1st John 2:3 (NKJV) Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12 ​​I write to you, little children,​​Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13 ​​I write to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I write to you, young men, ​​Because you have overcome the wicked one. ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because you have known the Father. 14 ​​I have written to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I have written to you, young men, ​​Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, ​​And you have overcome the wicked one.

1A – The Test of Knowing Him (1st John 2:3-11)
1B – Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments (v3)

This is the fruit, the evidence in someone’s life that they know God is that they keep his commandments or do his will, that they will have love; they will have an obedience for God and want that fellowship with the will of God in their lives.

It is the same as we are, if we surround ourselves with folks who will encourage us to behave in rebellion to God, we may stand up for God in the first place but slowly we adapt and slide to be more like our surroundings. Conversely if our fellowship is with God and the people who keep us accountable and keep us following his commandments (iron sharpening iron) then we will draw closer to God.

When we are converted we are restored to God we are restored and that restoration continues with our constant fellowship with God through confession and repentance should we sin, God changes the heart and writes the law upon our heart and the evidence of us knowing Him is that desire to keep his commandments, will we always be successful? Will we never slip up? No, but the desire is there that is not there in the man still caught up in his sins. God is graceful, kind and longsuffering and he sees the heart behind our actions.

1C – He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (v4)

Can we know Christ and not keep his commandments? Of course not John calls you out on it and calls you a liar! How refreshing! I reckon we could do with some of that kind of straight talk in the church today! With John it is either black or white, unlike today when we try to cloud ourselves in “gray areas” or find justification when we color outside of the lines!

When we say we “know him” is it like a “celebrity knowledge”? For example I know what the current president looks like, I know his name, his wife’s name, his presidential address and lots of facts about him, but if I was to turn up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC and try to get through the front gate would I be tested in whether I actually knew him or not? Would I get in if the President did not recognize my name or I didn’t have an appointment? This is a wake up call if your Christianity is like that. Do you know him on a day to day basis or do you have a knowledge of him.

If you don’t keep his commandments you then break one of the Ten Commandments, you lie! And John states quite clearly that the truth is not in you, or that your faith is false. Can this be restored? Of course it can, but it requires repentance and restoration with God the father. You cannot continue on that destructive path.

1D – But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (v5)

And just to flip it over, we see the contrast of the good side of the coin, If we are truly “all in” (to quote Chelsea) we will see the love of God perfected in him and this will have the result of evidence that we are in him. We have to do some self appraisal at this point, I have just done my half year appraisal at work and on this we look at what has been accomplished over the last year, we look at the things that have went well and the things that have not gone as well, but it is a good barometer to see how “on target” I would be for the end of the year. Christians should do their own checklist too.

How are you with your past sin life? Do you talk of your sin with fondness or shame? Do you flee from sin or plan to do it? Do you enjoy your sin? Is your sin a lifestyle or an ongoing habit?

The point of this is not to condemn anyone but to convict you of things that might require change in your life. We all have struggles, we all have kicked harmful things to the curb but we all have that area that we could do with getting rid of, maybe we still have many and some of us may just be paying lip service to God and living a double life. Jesus talked about these types of people in Matthew 6, you cannot serve two masters, you will love one and hate the other.

1E – He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (v6)

Have you ever given any thought to the name Christian? It basically means “one who follows the Christ” so if we truly are following Christ and we are truly all in believers then we will be looking to follow the masters example. I always ask that you check all things that I say to make sure they line up with the word of God. The famous evangelist Greg Laurie is quoted to have said “Don’t follow the Pastor unless he is following the master” now I am not a pastor or even a very good biblical teacher, but if I give you one example to follow I p[ray that it is one of someone that is sold out living for Christ and LORD willing all that I talk about in these studies be following after Gods perfect and infallible word of God.

This principle is simple, we have to follow Christ’s example. In the 90’s it was very popular to wear WWJD (What would Jesus Do) bracelets and the guy who patented them must have made a fortune as they were everywhere! However they were a great reminder when you were making decisions on a daily basis because please let me assure you dear Christian that you will not be at your weakest when you are surrounded by believers here on a Sunday night, it will be the decisions you make when you are at work on Monday, when you are in a clandestine situation and you see what you actually default to. It will be the decisions you make when you think there is no accountability. That is the true you! Are you WWJD then?

1F – Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. (v7)

John states that this is something they should already know, this is not new news. Much like what I am doing here, I am convinced that I am not teaching something or making points that probably have not been made before. I am however putting my slant on it based on my life experience and I am somewhat tailoring this message to the people that I believe will hear it. But the truths that John is REMINDING the believers are not “new revelation”.

And this is important because often times and it will happen more as the “End Times” approach that we will hear the term “new revelation” more and more, my advice to you if you hear that term, I would pray to God for discernment and then check that it out to make sure it lines up with God’s word. John is continuing his thought from John 13:34-35.

1G – Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. (v8)

Jesus broke new barriers when we talk about love. He displayed such love that he would come down from heaven and be a sacrifice for us. We have the symbol of the cross which must have been strange to those who knew what the cross was; it was a criminal’s death device. In modern day terms it would be like if a new religion started up with their symbol being the electric chair.

In order for the darkness to pass away Jesus had to defeat death, he had to die in the cruelest way possible to save a people who may reject him and reconcile man to God. He is the true light (he is and always will be the “Light of the world”) and he is already shining. He is in heaven, when he was on earth he promised to “go prepare a place for us”

1H – He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. (v9)

How are we with our fundamental relationships? Do we speak all “Christian-ease” on a Sunday but secretly hate our brother? This is not a new revelation as Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 5:23, let’s look at that passage now.

This applies to blood and spiritual brothers, some of the main reasons that fellowships are harmed and have issues is that they have unresolved conflict, do you have this in your life and today is the allotted time to get this resolved. Let’s look at Matthew 22:36-40

1I – He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. (v10)

And again John flips this on its head and advises the opposite for one who is walking in the light. The word abide is “meno” (Greek) and the meaning is to sojurn, not to depart, time or place to be held. In simple terms that person is remaining in the light and will not be moved. How do you measure up to this?

If you are like this then there will be no stumbling, I love that he writes it as stumbling, in our house we have little plug in lights that illuminate just enough to see so that we can see the path we are travelling on in the evening when there is less light (it is handy at 3am when you need to go to the bathroom) If this wasn’t there then how easy would it be to stumble if something was out of place? Or even if you could not see a piece of furniture John talks about people living their lives like this. 

1J – But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (v11)

And just to show that John and I are on the same page, John goes on to expand and say that people are walking (living their lives) in darkness and the evidence is the hatred of our brother. Sometimes we can fake our hatred and mask it to look and seem like we do not, however let us ask some basic questions:

Have you unresolved anger towards them? Have you forgiven fully your past hurts that hurt the deepest? When you hear their name what is your gut reaction? Do you have to be fake in order to be civil? If the answers are yes then you may have unresolved hatred towards your brother (or sister)  

2A – Their Spiritual State (1st John 2:12-14)
2B – ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. (v12)

Continuing on the thought of loving/hating your brother John goes on to remind them that they have been forgiven of much and this is one reason to make sure that you do not hate your brother, because you have been forgiven of much less than you need from him.

And here is where it gets real my friends, at Vision Calvary Chapel of Porterville today during prayer the Pastor made a request to pray for unsaved friends/members of family and my own brother does not know the LORD. He would be the first on my list of people that I would love to change his life and surrender to Jesus. I also do not want to be the barrier or excuse that is used if he was to miss out on heaven.

If you remember when we spoke about “forgiveness” I stated that it is most likely to be family that hurts the most. We also have a unique “sphere of influence” because we have an ear in a unique way that no-one else has, we have an “in” as it where and we have to use that for the glory of God, sometimes it will take surrender on our part but we have to do his will before our own. Lets look at 1st Corinthians 13:1-3, because this is the meat and bones of our Christianity, if we “tick all the boxes” but don’t love, we have nothing.

2C – ​​I write to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I write to you, young men, ​​Because you have overcome the wicked one. ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because you have known the Father. (v13)

He is writing to those who have “overcome the wicked one” they have followed the instruction in Acts 16:31, they have believed in the LORD Jesus Christ and now they are saved. This is a placeholder to advise that because of who they are, they are being written too because they know the father.

John mentions “little children and fathers” we are all at different stages of our walk with Jesus, we will either be “little children” or “fathers” dependent on our spiritual maturity. The young men have had spiritual victory already and need to be reminded of their victories to strengthen them but not puff them up.

2D – ​​I have written to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I have written to you, young men, ​​Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, ​​And you have overcome the wicked one. (v14)

Paul writes in Philippians 3:10 that all of his spiritual knowledge could be surpassed by just knowing Jesus. We need to realize that greater is he that is in us that the one who accuses us and we need to live our lives in the Light. We have overcome the wicked one!

I pray this was a blessing to you and this is a bible study from our series that was originally taught on 08/30/2015 at our Agape bible study, please click on the link for further bible studies.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

 

The LORD’s prayer – Part 5 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

image

The LORD’s prayer – Part 5 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:13 (KJV) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

As we close our series on the Lord’s Prayer we see that looking back it has been a well thought out prayer and we close with what the musically aware people would call a “crescendo” we have learned that God’s name is to be hallowed, God is always on his throne in heaven, that His kingdom comes on earth and heaven, why we pray for our provisions and lastly we learned why forgiveness is key. Now we end with temptation and why that is such an issue.

Fresh from the devastating revelations of the Ashley Madison hack and many people who teach God’s word being found online in a place that many would not have expected them to be, we realize that temptation is rife even in our churches. I am not going to labor the point here other than to say that this is a timely reminder of human nature and how far removed we are from the nature of God, even if we are immersed in doing his works. I urge you that even although you are reading a man’s words, do not follow the Pastor unless he is following the Master and at some point every man will let you down.

We are all tempted, my wife shared recently a link that was called “Why porn ruined my life” and that is just a common temptation, we are tempted to cheat financially on people, emotionally on people, we could cheat on our spouse, whether emotionally or actually, either way the hurt is still there, we could be tempted by food, tempted by self-indulgence, tempted by debt in fact there are temptations that I have not even thought about but it is true as the meme I read on Facebook which when quoted stated “The devil will not come to you wearing red and carry a pitchfork, he will come to you and promise you the desires of your heart”

That is as true today as it was when the world was created, in Genesis 3 Man only had one rule and the Serpent attacked that one rule right away and he did it by temptation, he twisted the words of God and coaxed the woman into quoting God into saying something that God didn’t actually say, from then on the temptation was set, temptation blossomed into sin and mankind was separated from God. That is how serious temptation is.

We cannot behave like Adam and Eve did and succumb to temptation, we must be more like Joseph when he was tempted by the wife of his master Potiphar, Let’s read from the book of Genesis…

Genesis 39:1 (KJV) And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. 6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. 7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. 12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

It is important to look at what Joseph did here! He was a slave, he was a servant in his master’s house, due to his diligence he was given authority over the house and the one thing he was not allowed was his master’s wife. His master’s wife was like the woman from Proverbs 7; she attempted to make herself alluring and offered herself on many occasions to Joseph. Joseph followed God’s plan and not his and even although he would most likely have got away with the sin he was being tempted into, he chose the righteous path. Are you like Joseph? If you could get away with it would you?

Joseph suffered in the short term for being righteous, he spend a couple of years in jail where he worked diligently and then was trusted with looking after the other prisoners, what diligence and what humility that man had to follow God’s will even in the most dire circumstances! He was there until God gave Pharaoh a dream and again Joseph was again blessed more than he ever was before, God placed him in charge of the country! What a testament to following the will of God.

God will never tempt us but will allow us to periods of testing to allow us to grow, let’s look at 1st Corinthians 10…

1st Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

God will not give you a sufferance more than you are actually able to withstand, however you have the option through free will of embracing sin and going against God. James also talks about this…

James 1:12 (KJV) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

James paints a picture of what I was saying that temptation is the foundation for sin, you have the option at this stage to endure the temptation or go with your own lusts, allow yourself to be enticed and then allow it to grow into sin and sin as we know brings for death. Regardless of how good the temptation is, if it is not of God then please and I beg you do not do it! If we are praying to be removed from temptation and we are removed then we will be removed from the evil one. (Who wants to destroy you!)

And lastly we have a reminder that “: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” And he is, he was and is and is to come, Holy is the LORD! One day we will be in glory with him and all of the struggles that we face today will pass away. What a day that will be! Anyone else looking forward to that one?

I pray that this article has been educational, challenging, convicting and exhorting, I pray that you received it well and please feel free to like, share and comment on whatever social media you wish as the LORD leads you too.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Do not anyone despise your youth

image

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eleven of the fourth chapter of First Timothy…

1st Timothy 4:11 (ESV) Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 

Command these things

Paul again exhorts Timothy to “Command” not advise, not gently push, but teach with authority, teach with the same authority of it was coming from Paul himself. He was Paul’s man in that area and he was also a messenger declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ. As fearless as the gospel is, Timothy had to be that bold, he could not dress it up to be palatable to the audience, he had to deal straight with the people and not compromise.

Which is an issue in the church today, often times we will try to “soften” the message, or make it more “user friendly” to reach society. I have no issue with making the gospel relevant or teaching the truth to someone who needs it, applying scripture to someone’s life or reaching someone at their level, however I do object to is evangelism that does not present the gospel in a true light, its almost like a “lying evangelism” to get them interested and when people find out what it is all about, they scatter because they didn’t sign up for that in the first place.

Win a Harley

It’s not just about reaching them at any cost, it’s presenting them with the truth and letting them choose based on a full knowledge of what it is all about. I see it often times in youth ministry but occasionally in outreaches, I have seen people try to use gimmicks to get them in the church building and the gospel being sold as if it is some kind of multi-level marketing deal. Not a good deal for all involved. I will give you an example, if you are going to say a Sunday service or a say a church conference and you went based on the headline “WIN A FORD F150” or “WIN A HARLEY DAVIDSON” then you are only passing time until that ticket is pulled and you really are not seeking God at all. Next week when you don’t have a $30,000 prize that seat will be empty! 

Be an example Timothy

Paul touches why Timothy may not be seen with respect when he states “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” This for years has been used as a rallying call or oft quoted (and misquoted) verse to gee up youth groups and enable youth into areas they were not mature enough to do and I have seen negative effects in this by having the youth do things they were never meant to do, making mistakes, not learning and eventually burning out and leaving the faith. They only quote the first part and stop at the word “youth”, this does a disservice to the text. 

Paul states that he should not be looked down because of his youth not because of his age, but the character of man that Timothy is. Timothy has already proven himself in his character but Paul knew that being young he would have attracted criticism and Paul gave him a list of criteria that would help him overcome this. He already has his doctrine in a row and Paul wants to keep him above reproach and keep him above petty criticism and allow him to focus on the task that God has set before him in Ephesus. Let’s look at the criteria given to Timothy by Paul…

But set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity – Similar to what Paul stated about the qualifications for Pastors in chapter three Timothy has to be an example in three specific areas. 

Speech – Luke 6:45 states that “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” and this highlights how important it is for Timothy to keep his heart pure, because as we learn the heart and mouth are connected.

As a leader you have to be careful what you say, you cannot be malicious that is obvious but there are subtle overtures that Paul alludes to (such as criteria like being sober minded) such as humor as I have learned living in a country that is not my own that some things don’t translate well.

You have to give a good counsel of the gospel, be honest in all things, let your speech be compassionate but truthful, people have to be able to trust their leaders and know that their theology is honest.

Conduct – As well as “what you say” Paul urges Timothy to watch “what you do”. This of course is in addition to the conditions in chapter three regarding overseers. Paul wanted Timothy to be behaved in an exemplary fashion, he would have to work harder, be more sober minded, he would have to be a 110% at all times in order to show good conduct and please some people.

Paul knew that Timothy was at a disadvantage due to how people would see him due to his age. He wanted to ensure that as much as he could that Timothy would not fall into issue in offense to the detriment of the gospel. This echo’s Paul’s life when he said of himself…

1st Corinthians 9:20 (ESV) To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

The important thing is the gospel is preached, individuals are not important. Asking Timothy to watch his conduct was a small price to pray for the eternal value he was being used to create.

Love – Being a leader is hard, you will give a lot and receive back little. Timothy is called to love just like Jesus taught us to in the gospel of John when he said…

John 13:34 (ESV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. 

It is not easy to love when you are not being loved back, Pastors have a tough gig, they are fulfilling a difficult calling, often timells they will be attacked, they will be complained about, they will be slandered and very rarely will they be praised but yet as part of the job description they have to love all and serve all.

With Timothy being you Paul takes extra care to make sure this is included that he has to lean of God in prayer for strength when times are hard. One thing we can do for our pastors is pray for them, intercede on their behalf.

Faith – Timothy had to be faithful, he has to show his faith as an example and he will have to lead men who are elder to him. He has to be a leader and teach these men faithfully about the doctrines of Christ Jesus.

Purity – Timothy has to remain pure, that  not to say that he will never sin again, but he has to be so immersed in the word of God, guard his mind and heart against all impurity! In his relationships as well as his personal conduct, he had to respect the women in the assembly and do nothing that would compromise himself or them and again had to be above reproach.

What Timothy was told to do

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. – We just read what Timothy was not to do; now let’s look at what he was to do. He was to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, exhortation and teaching, each of these things center on one thing – The Word of God! I touched a little on this on the “purity” bullet point but he had to lean on the Word of God as his first authority.

If Timothy was in the word of God and built his fellowship on the Word of God then he could not be in error. He had to make sure that in addition to teaching these things publicly and being a figure at the front of the assembly he had to make sure that in his private life this was as real as it was when he spoke publically about it! He had to practice what he preached.

Paul stated that “Until he came” Paul was planning to come soon to check if he was paying attention to these things, he was also coming to endorse Timothy in person as his man in Ephesus as long as he was doing these things.

Do not neglect the gift you have – This is timely advice for us all, that we should not waste the gifts that God gives us. I know that in my life I have taken “hiatuses” or taken time off that I could have been using my gifts to help others and serve and I had no good reason not to. 

We have to trust in God even when times get tough, that God will give us the strength to get over what we need to get over. We all have different gifts, we are not all going to be pastors, worship leaders or deacons, some will serve in whatever way they have been gifted. It is our responsibility to identify those gifts, be happy in them and use them as the LORD leads.

Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress – Paul knows that Timothy would be criticized because of his age, but he has to rise above that, prove himself and keep in the good things and show progress in the LORD.

Give a maximum effort

Mediate on the things of God, give it all, be all in, give a maximum effort, a question to ask is that in your life, are you all in? Have you been giving it all and is your progress evident for others to see? We have to hand everything over in its entirety to God! We have to be sold out to his will and surrendered that he knows what is best for us.

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. – Timothy is commanded to keep the doctrine straight, do not allow himself to be corrupted and teach only the true doctrine. This is a theme in the entire letter that the doctrine has to be correct.

Paul concerns himself with Timothy’s wellbeing, his conduct and his doctrine, and this shows as much as the character of Paul as it does his concern for Timothy as a child in the faith.

Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. – This is the wrap up and circles the reasoning behind why he is telling Timothy to do this. Timothy was there to fulfil a mission, he was to teach the word of God and be an example to those who were hearing him.

Paul wanted Timothy’s skeptics to not only respect him and listen to him, but he wanted them to see Timothy’s example and follow him as a leader in the faith. Timothy was to be diligent and not fall into a groove and neglect the important things of ministry. This letter was preserved so this tells me that it was used as a reference point at different times in Timothy’s life.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Timothy’s instruction in ministry

image

Timothy’s instruction in ministry

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse six of the fourth chapter of First Timothy.

A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

1st Timothy 4:6 (ESV) If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Paul ties up his previous thoughts and gives the exhortation that if he instructs (or put these things before the brothers) then he will be doing what he is called to do and be a good servant of Jesus Christ. He was calling Timothy to instruct in words, deeds and actions. He had already stated the standard of conduct in chapter three.

For me the greatest leaders or best pastors are those who lead from the front, who not only instruct the word but they live the word and let their lives be a testimony, they pray hard, they trust more and they are more likely to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, they will be mentors, they will be trainers, they will be teachers and they will be shepherds.

Being trained in the words of the faith

This is just the foundation though; the important part comes next…

V6b …being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed…

Timothy will do well if he follows those principles, but he has to remember the main thing that he has to do all these things but he has to use the good doctrine, the doctrine that he got straight from Paul and minister to where he has been planted. He must remain grounded in God’s word, much like a ship with an anchor; he has to use this as his sure foundation. The next part shows what Paul means…

Nothing to do with silly myths

V7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;

As stated prior; we (Timothy also) have to have our priority on God’s word and not the daily rumor mill that will change from day to day. If we have our foundation on something that is so changeable as the words of man, whether it be what we call news, whether it be entertainment, whether it be philosophies that have no eternal value. That is really the crux of what he is saying to Timothy that he has to stay on point. This point that he has to remain focused on God’s infallible word. God is truth and God never changes and man’s word is so unreliable.

Train yourself for godliness

You have to ask yourself, would you base your life’s philosophy on what is said on Fox News? Or what is on the NFL channel? Or is it based on your favorite sports team’s results? Or what movies are playing? Or what your favorite celebrities are saying?  These things will all change tomorrow; it is easy to get caught up in it. (My hot buttons are politics and sports)

What I am asking is “Are you passing time or are you fighting the LORDs fight?” Is your focus on the eternal things or the earthly temporary things? Paul covers this when he states to “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths” and Paul states what should replace that. Paul states that you should “train yourself for godliness” and then explains what he means by this using a culture that was prevalent at that time and one that we can recognize today.

Godliness is of value in every way

V8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Paul is speaking to a culture that placed a lot of credence in body sculpting and personal fitness. The Roman army chose the finest specimens in the empire to serve in the Imperial army! So much so that in that culture having a fit body and becoming fitter and fitter was an overriding passion and an idol in so many people’s lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to drop a few pounds (or 50/60) and I am covetous of (or certainly admire) those who have kept better shape than I have and I do have it as an ambition of mine to become in better shape, but I want to do it for my service to the LORD and in order to better serve my wife and daughter rather than wishing to compete in any competition. This is not the only time Paul talks about training like an athlete, Let’s look at Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth…

Perishable prize

1st Corinthians 9:24 (ESV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Explains what I explained although much better!

Finding Godly contentment

We have to be careful that we don’t find our contentment in things that are not Godly! Paul talks about an idol of the day and whilst that gives a temporary accomplishment, it will eventually not be as fulfilling as before.

Paul has a great attitude about this; he equates the training that one does for a competition as how we should train ourselves for godliness. We should have that same desire, same drive for success and same discipline that an athlete has when they are trying to better themselves, not for a crown or a piece of gold, but for eternal reward!

Paul promises that godliness is the only life that holds promise both in this life and the life to come, to those who believe. Our life has meaning and has eternal value once we believe and have faith that Jesus did in fact paid it all. God does not desire that any should perish but have everlasting life. We won’t all be in heaven because some men have hard hearts and will not believe in the lifesaving power of the cross. Which is how Paul finishes this passage…

Set your hope on the living God

V9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

It reminds me of a story that my father told me about a man who was evangelizing in a big city and wished to find out the effectiveness of handing out flyers for his Christian event, so he and a friend handed out flyers promising that if people met them in a certain place in about 6 hours from when they received that flyer they would receive a free gift of 5 pounds (UK money) all they had to do was turn up at the appointed time with the invite (the flyer) and accept the free gift.

Now he had money to pay if everyone turned up, and he estimated that he handed out about 500 flyers and he stood there and waited at the appointed time and very few people came to claim their prize. It cost them nothing and the price was bared by the man who offered the free gift!

Jesus offered us a free gift too, eternal life! It cost us nothing but cost him everything! The Christian life isn’t easy, when we accept Jesus we are not no longer affected by toil and strife, we will still have earthly issues distracting and getting us down. So Paul is correct, we do toil and strive in this life, being a Christian doesn’t mean an easy life it means that we are forgiven in our sins and will still have issues.

But this life is no longer the end of the road for us; we have our hope set on a heavenly existence eternally with our creator God, for me it sounds awesome and a much better alternative to an existence in the lake of fire!

From my point of view, I have tried a life of sin and it left me really unfulfilled, when I was in alcohol I had a temporary high (that felt good, I am not going to lie) and then came a huge low (when the after effects kicked in) it profited me little as I was destroying myself and it also had no heavenly value.

Which is the question I leave you with, do you live your life in a way that has eternal worth? All that the earth offers, wealth, fame, fortune, notoriety none of that will matter when you pass from this earth, as Greg Laurie says “you don’t ever see a U-Haul following a funeral car!” Which is the truth, you can’t take it with you! What will your legacy be? Will it be a life lived for you or a life lived for Christ?

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Pray with holy hands and women be modest

image

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the second chapter of First Timothy.

1st Timothy 2:8 (ESV) I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Constant state of prayer

Paul continues in his “conduct for the church” thought by stating that “every place the men should pray” which tells us Paul’s attitude towards prayer and how normal it should be for us as followers of Christ to be in a constant state of prayer. There is no caveats, no allowances for time, other things that the men have to do or even where the men were in the region, the expectation was that the men should pray and they should pray in every place.

Looking at this from an application standpoint I feel convicted on this area as (much like many of us) I could really be doing with spending more time in prayer. By western standards I have a fairly healthy prayer life but I do long for more time in prayer, but the biggest barrier to more prayer is me and trying to please myself.

The heart of the church service

Paul is speaking about the church as a whole also and it is imperative that prayer and communion with God are at the center (or heart) of any church service. Prayer is vital, not just for our individual communion with God, but praying corporately as a body is vital with a group of believers who have their hearts in a state of submission to God glorifies God in ways I cannot even fathom to describe.

Lift holy hands with no strife

Paul tells us that the men are to lead this; they are to lead and be “lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” this also leads us into the next chapter which talks about the qualifications for leadership in the church and Paul advises that the ones leading, the deacons, the overseers, the ones beginning the public prayers should all have one thing in common, they should all be men.

They should be raising hands that are holy, ones that are set apart for God, not prone to evil. We are all sinners and we do all sin, some greater than others and I am grateful for the grace of God that I am not deemed holy based on who I am or what I am done. I am holy because of what Christ has done for me when he died on the cross at Calvary.

We are to pray without anger or quarreling, we are human we will have and will hold grudges and we all have different “hot buttons”, something that annoys me may fly over your radar and something that irks you to the point of frustration I may have no quarrel with. We cannot use prayers to target people, especially if we are praying in a group or corporate setting. I have heard (and heard of) prayers that were so obviously aimed at another in the group and you could feel the seethe emanating from the person, this is what Paul is talking about! We may dress it up as “holy concern” or however we dress it up as, but we are not praying in a holy way and most certainly not lifting up holy hands. It may be a case you may have to check your heart to see where your true motives lie.

Pray for those who despise us

This may seem like a contradiction as we are also told to “pray for those who persecute you” but it is not really. This command was talking about praying for those who were against you, not in a vengeful way but pray for things that are both temporary and eternal for that person. I know I have in the past prayed for people who have despised me and prayed that we would have at least a civil relationship (temporary) and also as I grew in prayer for them I prayed for their salvation or for them to grow in God if they were a Christian. (Yes Christians can be jerks too!)

Women be modest

V9… likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works…

Paul is saying in laymen’s terms “Women, don’t be a distraction” now we can pull this text apart in all manners of ways that it was never intended to be pulled in. Really what Paul is stating is that the female of the species is a very attractive being, that they should show beauty in the things that really matter. Paul advises that they should be modest; they should not draw away or cause distraction from the worship which of course is the point of them being there in the first place.

They should be in respectable apparel, now people have tacked on many things to this which some are good and some are not so good, for a time in church women wore hats, (some denominations or creeds demanded the covering of heads) they wore sober business type suits, some wore long flowing dresses some wore long skirts all of these are good and acceptable but what I believe that Paul is saying is dress appropriately for the occasion, if you are spilling out of your clothes or trying to draw attention to you rather than God then you are a distraction.

Which leads us into “modesty and self-control” it is fairly obvious what Paul is driving at here. We have to be careful not to lower our standards to the world’s standards. The world would have you exposed in a heartbeat and I will be honest and state that until I had a daughter of my own, I really hadn’t pondered too much what this meant. Really we should be looking for moderation because in some ways, the way we present ourselves does give an idea into how we view ourselves and an idea what is in our hearts. If we have a heart given over to self-glory and self-gratification then that will show in the way we dress.

Paul gives two examples of how women used to dress themselves up in those days, that we shouldn’t be looking to adorn ourselves with things that draw attention to us. Costly attire is something that we even do today, we call it “designer clothes” and whilst it is not a sin to own nice things, we should not let our things be elevated to a place they should never be.

Profess godliness with good works

And then we get to the point of what Paul is saying…

V10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

Paul states that we shouldn’t be eternally adorning ourselves, remember in that culture you could “rent” gold rings before you went into meetings or the temple to make you look more affluent than you actually were. He states what makes real beauty “godliness and good works” which unlike jewelry and temporary looks, that will not fade.

We read that the women are to learn quietly, without contention and not causing a distraction to the men chosen to lead in the church. The idea here is that they learn in a submissive nature and not try to grasp authority from the leaders. They are to learn in submission, not as second class citizens but under the respect of those chosen to lead.

Oppress the womem?

People get this impression that women are oppressed and that is not correct, it is like all forms of life. When I was in school, I had to submit to the authority of my teachers, when I joined the Territorial Army in the UK I was under the jurisdiction of the Corporals and Sergeants that were training me and when I sought employment I had managers that were above me so it is not unusual to have a ranking system. If the church allowed a melee or free for all then it would be chaos!  

Women not to exercise authority over a man

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Paul reveals a doctrine that is contentious in today’s Christian church that “women are not to teach or exercise authority over a man” Paul is being clear in what he says here and I do accept that many women are gifted teachers, my wife is one of them but I know that my wife would never go to the front of our assembly and teach a bible study and explain doctrine in a room full of men. Paul states the same in the letter to the Corinthians (1st Corinthians 11:1-12) I would take both passages side by side to show the full counsel of God’s word. Below is that text…
 

1st Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.

Head of the home

Paul states in both places that the men are to be “head of the home” and the wife is to be in submission to her husband. It goes without saying that when the families come together to make up the congregation it would be out of order for the woman to then rule over the man in the assembly of God and take the place of those qualified to be overseers or deacons. (More on that in chapter 3)

Paul cites the order of creation as the reason behind his statement; God created man first and delegated authority to him. From that authority Eve then was in submission to Adam but Paul cites the fall of man and Adam is blamed for the fall of man due to the authority he had over his household. (Romans 5:12) Eve is not blamed because she was tricked, but Adam took the fruit from his wife even although he had a direct command from God not to do so. Eve was tricked and turned around; Adam rebelled against a command of God.

Romans 5:12 (ESV) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

Childbearing and the health of the church

Paul lastly talks about a role for the women through childbearing, Paul does look at the health of the church and if the women are neglecting an opportunity to grow their family by seeking offices they were never intended to be in (see chapter 3 regarding overseers and deacons)  then that is a problem. Paul reiterates that they are to be in faith, love and self-control (again speaks of the attributes discussed above)

Not all women are meant to have children and my wife and I have had issues in this area (infertility) and we have been blessed by a daughter who truly is a gift from God, but even if God had not blessed us with a child we would still have praised him.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Fifty shades of what…?

image

Fifty shades of what?

John 15:12 (ESV) “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

In case you have been living under a rock and are unaware of a “certain film” debuting this weekend (Valentines weekend) called “Fifty shades of Grey” about the best selling book series which follows the BDSM lifestyle of a certain Christian Grey.

For those of you who do not have a Christian conviction or those who do not live a Christian life will probably see nothing wrong with the movie that talks about the degradation of another human for the purposes of sexual gratification.

What is love?

The verse above talks of the purest type of love, everyone who reads this will be confronted with this sentence, the man who said these words died for your sins. His name was Jesus Christ and he died for the sins of the world knowing that some would reject him. He even knows if you accept of reject him and he also knows what decision you will make after reading this article.

The Bible talks of three types of love, two of which we will cover in this article. The loves we will cover are the love of “eros” where we get our modern day erotic word from, and “agape” which is a self sacrificing serving love and this is what Jesus is talking about here.

The rest of the article will focus on “eros”.

Lust not love

image

Here is where I differ from many Christians who feel compelled or feel led by the LORD to write about this topic. I am not going to do a “Father Ted” type protest that involves standing at the cinemas waving placards with such slogans as “down with this sort of thing”. (The British and Irish readers will get the reference to the popular TV show in the 90s called Father Ted).

What I am going to do is attempt to “in love” explain the difficulties that I have with this premise of a film. You see, as I type this I am looking at my five year old little girl playing in my living room and as a father it makes me realize that those women are someone’s daughters.

I have read a few commentaries and many are off base, declaring this as “an alternative love” and a “liberation of the boundaries in the bedroom” I find this hard as I love my wife and I would state that we are pretty liberated. I love her for who she is and our attraction is not just based on how we feel when our bodies rub up against each other.

The Bible has a definition of love also

Paul writes in the 1st letter to the Corinthians

1st Corinthians 13:1 (ESV) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

From verse 4 onwards, we learn that love has the following qualities

1)    Patience
2)    Kindness
3)    Not envious or boastful
4)    Not arrogant or rude
5)    Does not insist in its own way
6)    Not irritable or resentful
7)    Not rejoice in wrongdoing
8)    Does rejoice in truth
9)    Love bears all things
10)   Love believes all things
11)   Love hopes all things
12)   Love endures all things
13)   Love never ends (some translations say Love never fails)

Does that sound very much like the synopsis of “fifty shades of grey”? In all honesty no!

Defenses of the film

Most of the defenses of the film (or books) state that it is perfectly okay as the degradation has been administered with the consent of the “victim”.

Define “consent” because from my understanding these people have been subjected to emotional abuse to where they no longer have worth. If someone is in that frame of mind they will not exactly be consenting in a true fashion.

I really don’t see patience, kindness and I sure don’t see “not wanting their own way” I say this with all reverence of God’s word.

Will I see the film?

Probably not, there is very little in the film.for me. Am I telling you to not see the film? Actually not, I am not the Holy Spirit and would never want to be.

I am certainly not going to “get a wedgie” that the film is out,  and i would urge others not to either, the reason i say that is that it does very little good and does nothing to further decent conversation as to why you believe that the content is bad and in all reality bears little fruit.

Obviously I don’t endorse the content of the film and I do hope that it is not as successful as the filmmakers hope that it will be, regrettably sex sells and already I am reading of DIY stores having extra supplies of things such as rope and training staff on “sensitive conversations”.

The actors themselves who were acting in the film even are said to have “no chemistry” and have gone on record as being uncomfortable with what they were paid to do in this film.

The situation needs prayer

Obviously it goes without saying that this message is not a Christian one so we need to pray for the folks who feel the need to go see this movie,  pray for the singles, pray for the ones who are married and pray for their marriages.

I love you all and I pray that this page was a blessing to you and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you.
TGBTG
TTE