Sunday, November 30, 2014

Don’t Neglect Your Gift (1 Timothy 4:12 – 4:16)

Don’t let anyone belittle you because you are young. Instead, show the faithful, young and old, an example of how to live: set the standard for how to talk, act, love, and be faithful and pure. Until I get there, make sure to devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching. Don’t neglect the gift that was given to you through the prophecy spoken when the company of the elders laid their hands on you. Cultivate all these practices; live by them so that all will see how you are advancing and growing. Take care of yourself, concentrate on your teaching, and stick with these things. If you do, then you will be effective in bringing salvation to yourself and all who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:12-4:16)
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There's a great scene at the beginning of The Equalizer where a young lady named Teri asks Robert (The Equalizer) what happens in The Old Man and the Sea. Robert tells her that the old man catches a fish. She asks, "Why didn't he just let the fish go?" Robert replies, "Old man's gotta be the old man. Fish has got to be the fish. Gotta be who you are in this world, no matter what." 

It's not fatalistic resignation. It's also not parroting some silly version of, "You are perfect just the way you are!" Robert was pointing out that we are all made for a purpose, with a role to play. We gotta’ find that purpose and live it. It's an acknowledgment that we are made for some things and not others. 

You see the importance of this principle in Scripture numerous times, but I am going to point out my favorite one: Gideon (Judges 6:11-14):

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pursuing True Godliness (1 Timothy 3:14 – 4:11)

I am writing all this to you, hoping I can come to you before too long; but in case I am delayed, you will know how one ought to behave as a member of God’s family—the assembly of the living God, the pillar and foundation that support the truth— and I think you will agree that the mystery of godliness is great: He was revealed in the flesh, proven right in the Spirit; 
He was seen by the heavenly messengers, preached to outsider nations.
He was believed in the world, taken up to the heavens in glory.

 But even so, the Spirit very clearly tells us that in the last times some will abandon the true faith because of their
devotion to spirits sent to deceive and sabotage, and mistakenly they will end up following the doctrine of demons.  They will be carried away through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences have been branded with a red-hot iron, saying, “Don’t marry. Don’t eat such-and-such foods.” But God created all these to be received with gratitude by people who hold fast to the faith and really comprehend the truth.


 For everything God made is good. That means nothing should be rejected as long as it’s received with a grateful heart, for by God’s word and prayer, it is made holy.  Place these truths before the brothers and sisters. If you do, you will be a good servant of Jesus the Anointed, raised and fed on words of true belief, trained in the good instruction you have so clearly followed.

 Reject worldly fables. Refuse old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself toward godliness.  Although training your body has certain payoffs, godliness benefits all things—holding promise for life here and now and promise for the life that is coming.  This statement is worthy of trust and our full acceptance.  This is what we work so hard for! This is why we are constantly struggling: because we have an assured hope fixed upon a living God who is the Savior of all humankind—especially all of us who believe."  (The Voice)

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Because the Apostle Paul cared about Timothy and wanted him and his church to succeed, Paul gave him some important advice about what it looks like - and doesn't look like - to pursue true godliness. To build on a strong foundation, followers of Christ need to do two things: 1) believe things that are true, and 2) do the hard work of living in that truth.