Category Archives: Timothy and Titus

The Voice of Angels

A few days ago, I shared with you a few thoughts about the four-hundred-year silence between the book Malachi and Matthew’s gospel.  What is even more fascinating is the way the silence ended.  Not one, or two, or even three, but four angelic visits within the space of about a year.  Let’s quickly review.

First, the angels appeared to Zacharias when he is ministering in the holy place.  He starts to burn the incense, and the angels comes to him and tells him that his barren wife, Elizabeth, will have a son.  The angel tells him that the boys’ name will be John and he will be great in the sight of the Lord.  He will be a Nazarite, and will prepare the way of the Lord and turn many people back to the Lord. When Zacharias asks how he will know this is really going to happen, the angel shuts Zacharias’s mouth until the baby is actually named John.

The second Angel appeared to Mary.  This teenage girl was engaged to be married to Joseph, and they had not had relations with each other yet.  The angel tells Mary that she will have a son who will be called the Son of the Highest, and that he will rule on the throne of David forever.  Mary asks how this will happen and the Angel tells her that the Holy Ghost will come upon her and she will conceive the child.

The third Angel appears to Joseph.  He has heard that Mary is pregnant and wants to out her away.  In those days, a woman who is pregnant before marriage was considered filthy, and is an outcast.  But the Angel tells Joseph that he should not put Mary away.  Her Son should be named Jesus and He will save the people from their sins as a fulfillment of prophecy.

The fourth Angel appears to the shepherds.  He announces the Saviors birth to these men who are out in the field watching their flocks by night.  He says this baby that is born would be lying in a manger in Bethlehem, and they should go and see the child.  Then a multitude of angels app7ear before the shepherds singing “Glory to Go in the highest. Peace on earth, goodwill to man.”

Four Angels.   It is thought that all of them were actual just one angel, Gabriel, although the name is only given in the encounter with Mary.  Gabriel is thought of as the announcing angel, Michael the avenging angel.  In any case, this is a remarkable series of events that we often overlook when we read the Christmas story.  We read it in pieces and don’t always put the whole puzzle together.  When we do connect the pieces, it is pretty remarkable.

Each time the angel appears, there is the same reaction.  It is called fear.  I get the feeling angels are not what we picture them to be.  Pictures of angels usually show cute little beings with soft-looking skin and tiny little wings.  They almost look cuddly on most of the pictures man paints of them.  But the reaction of fear would only come if the image they were looking at was fearsome-looking, When Joshua had his encounter with an angelic being, the angel had a sword drawn, and I’m sure had armor on and was quite large in stature.  More like a warrior than an angel to us.

Every time the angel appeared his first words are the same.  He tells them not to be afraid.  We should not fear when we have an encounter with God or one of His messengers.  We should not fear when we hear the voice of an angel, or even the voice of the Holy Spirit within our soul.  You see, God speaks to us in many different ways.  The most common way is through His word.  If we are reading the word every day, God will reveal the path He has for us through the words we read.  We must look at them as if it is a letter to us from a loving Father who wants to teach us the way of life.  We must read the words each time as if it is the first time we have read them, and accept them as a little child would accept instruction.

There have been many times during my walk with the Lord that I have felt He has become quiet, and I don’t hear His voice.  But those times are usually accompanied by times that I do not open up the book and read it. Those times are usually the time my prayer life drops off.  How can I expect to hear from God if I am not spending time with Him?  Do I think He will send an angelic messenger to me to tell me to wake up?  Hat is very unlikely.  Instead, He will lovingly allow situations to come into my life that cause me to turn back to Him.  He wants fellowship with me even more than I want to be with Him.  He spoke His word through many writers so that I would know how to have that fellowship with Him.

I, for one, want to know what God would have me to do, and I am enough of a realist to know God will not be sending Gabriel to me anytime soon. He speaks to me every day, in a quiet voice, through the Holy Spirit.  Ever since that vel was rent, there is not as much need for an Angel to come and speak to man, because the Holy Spirit has been made available to us all.  He comes to me when I still myself enough to hear Him.  Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.”  I don’t need to hear the Angels voice, because I hear the voice of God through the Holy Spirit.  I just need to listen better.

Zacharias, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds all did what the angel told them to do.  I pray we are all just as faithful to do what the Holy Spirit asks us to do!


The Second Tabernacle

Hebrews 9:7-10 

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

I find it interesting that Paul relates here to the second tabernacle.  Here was only one tabernacle in Old Testament times.  Or should I say that God instructed them to build one tabernacle.  Within that tabernacle were three distinct areas.  There was a common place, where all the people brought their sacrifices to the priest and they offered those sacrifice upon the altar, washing in between offerings in the laver.  Hen there was the holy place, which was behind a veil.  His is where the priests ministered daily to the Lord by keeping the candles lit, renewing the shewbread on the table, and offering incense on the table of incense.  Last of all there was the Holy of Holies, which was not only behind a veil but had a roof over it as well.  His is where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, which was regarded as the very presence of God.  It is the Holy of Holies that Paul is referring to here as the second tabernacle.

A tabernacle is defined as a fixed or movable habitation.  It was considered a dwelling place for God.  He Cloud by day and the fire by night appeared over the Holy of Holies when the people of God were stationary, and moved to the front of the masses when the people were moving.  Hat is because the Ark was always at the front of the people, carried with gold poles that were put through gold eyelets on the side of the Ark of the Covenant.  Since the Ark represented the very presence of God, it could not be touched.  We all remember the story of the man who touched the Ark when it was being brought back from the camp of the Philistines in 2 Samuel 6.  That is because the Ark was the holiest of all things, and would be defiled by anyone touching it.  The Ark was the very prewe3nce of God amidst the people.  The dwelling place, or tabernacle for the Ark was the Holy of Holies, which Paul calls the second tabernacle here.

In Leviticus 16 God established the Day of Atonement.  It was the tenth day of the seventh month, and it was a special day.  No one was allowed to work, and all the people were to be in an attitude of repentance.  On this day, the High Priest alone would bath himself completely, put on the linen garments of the High Priest, and make a special offering.  His offering consisted of a bull and two goats. The bull was offered as a sin offering for all the people on the altar, and some of the blood was sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant.  He then separated the goats, and one goat was let go.  It was the scapegoat, and signified the sins of Israel leaving the camp.  The other goat was offered on the altar, but this time the High priest would take the blood into the Holy of Holies and offer the blood directly on the mercy city atop the Ark of the Covenant.  While this offering is taking place, there was to be absolutely no one else in any part of the whole tabernacle.  Only the high priest. Only once a year.  This was the offering that was made for the sins of all the people to have those sins forgiven by God.  All known and unknown sins.  All sins of omission and sins of conscience.  All sins.  It was the most special day on the Jewish calendar., the tenth day of the seventh month.  I urge you to go back and read about it.  Leviticus 16!

All of this was done because there was no other way that the sins of the people could be atoned for, and even this day could not make the perfect, because even the one offering the sacrifice upon the mercy seta was not perfect.  The priest had to sacrifice for himself also, because he was a sinner.  All were sinners.  They were using sacrifices that God intended, but even God knew that these types of sacrifices could not clear their conscience.  God knew that sin would still come back again and again and again.  he blood of bulls and goats, sheep and doves, would suffice for the journey through the wilderness and the appointed time, but it was not a ritual that would make a person perfect.

I find the ark most fascinating, and the items that were in it even more fascinating.  Inside the ark was some manna, the rod of Aaron that budded, and the tables of the law, the Ten Commandments.  These represent God’s provision, God/s power and the word of God.  Manna, when left for more than a day, just plain stunk.  It was not made to last more than a day.  Aaron’s rod was but a dead stick of wood, but it budded on command.  The Ten Commandments had to be heavy and burdensome to carry.  But they were in the Ark, preserved for all time.  However, they were covered by the mercy seat.  They were covered by the mercy of God.  The law, the power and the provision are all under the mercy of God.  We must remember this when presenting the Gospel.  Whether we use the law, the power or the provision of God in our witness, we must be sure it is all done under the umbrella of mercy.  His mercy is protected by the angels, represented by the Cherubim that sit upon the Ark with their wing outstretched.  God covers all things with mercy, and we should be sure to have mercy on all others, Christian or not.

Are you showing mercy everywhere you go, but making sure the law is also covered with your witness?  Are you praying for healing and seeing those prayers answered because you called on God to have mercy on them?  Are you helping people out and providing for their needs, both physical and emotional, while showing mercy to them.  It’s all about mercy, my friend.  It’s all about mercy. 

On To Perfection

Hebrews 6:1-3

 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

And this will we do, if God permit.

These three verses are very intriguing to me.  They remind me of building a house in a way.  First, a solid foundation, then a perfect structure to live in, all if we can just get the building permit.  There is a lesson here that many Christians don’t embrace too frequently, or at least I don’t.  You see, in this life we have to put verse 3 at the beginning of this group of verses, in my opinion.  “If God permits.”  God will permit us to do all kinds of thigs.  The word permit means to allow to do, or entrust.  Does God allow us to do the wrong thing sometimes?  Sure, He does.  Does he allow calamity to come into our lives?  Sure, He does.  Does He allow cancer or death or heart problems to creep into our lives?  Sure, He does.  If you do not believe this, you do not think God is in control.  God allows things in our lives that don’t necessarily seem to lead us to that perfection that He calls us to.  But each thing He allows into our lives is a building block to the next stage of our lives.

The other definition of permit is to entrust.  What has God entrusted to you?  To some He has entrusted riches and material possessions.  So far, He has not entrusted these things to me.  To some, He has given a stage on which to preach the gospel, either in this nation or around the world.  He has not entrusted this to me at this stage of my life.  To others He gives the ability to be great leaders and motivators, but not to me.  Should I feel slighted by God because He has not entrusted me with these things?  Heaven forbid!  I should rejoice with those that rejoice and be thrilled and grateful for what He has entrusted to me.  A wonderful family, plenty of work to do with my hands and my mind, the gift of being a Psalmist for Him, write His songs.  He has given me the ability to sing, to speak coherently, to lead in some places and to be a devoted worker.

God has allowed some things and entrusted others in my life.  That is the beauty of our individuality!  We all have a different calling, different circles of influence, different abilities and different gifts.  What a boring world this would be if we were all the same.  In each of these cases, we have the ability to show Christ to others, which should be the main emphasis of our lives.  We have not been put on this earth to exalt ourselves, but to exalt Him!  Every gift and talent He has given us is designed to do just that – exalt Him.  And we all do that in different ways, and that’s OK.  Don’t worry and complain about what He has entrusted or allowed in someone else’s life!  Be the best you can be, and do the best you can do with what He has allowed and entrusted into your life.  We are all ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and are command to preach the word! (2 Timothy 4:2).

You might say “Well, I am no preacher.”  Yes, you are, and yes, you have that ability.  To preach is to publicly proclaim or teach, or to earnestly advocate.  Each one of us, in our own unique way, have the ability to do this and the audience to share the message with.  Some might do it with words, others with actions, but we are all called to preach, teach, instruct, exhort, rebuke and exhort others (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  We all have a different role to fill, and God has chosen each one of us because of the people we are surrounded with.  He knows our circles of influence, and He has put us there to make a difference. Everything in our lives up to this very minute has put us in a position to share His grace and mercy with others.   The good things, the bad things, the wonderful things, the awful things.  These are the things that make us unique, and give us the awesome job of sharing those things with others in order to point them to Christ.

There is only one way to get to this place where we understand that even the bad things that come our way are parts of the structure God is building us into.  When Paul says move on from these basic core doctrines of the Gospel, he is not telling them to ignore them all together.  Rather, he is telling us to utilize the preaching of the Gospel to show people how Christ wants them to live life!  We can stand here and talk about these six things all we want (foundation of repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment), but if it does not lead us to a closer walk with Him, or lead others to a walk that is worthy of Him (Roman 12:1), then our talk is in vain.  Leading people in a way that helps them understand that their life is in His hands is most important.  All of us have to come to the understanding that each tiny event, and every big event in our lives, is orchestrated by God to bring us closer to Him.  Nothing is by chance, or just because of circumstances.  God is in control all the time, every time.

THis is how we come to perfection in God.  It is not necessarily that we are perfect, but we understand that God is perfect and He is working perfection into our lives.  I could spend a long time on this, but all we have to do is read James 1:2-4 to hear the explanation of this truth. In essence, it says that we should be glad when trials come our way because then our faith is tested. When our faith is tested, we gain patience, and patience will lead us to perfection.  In short, our trials and troubles are God’s perfecting agents!  Perfection in God is coming to that place where, no matter what the circumstance, we have full confidence that God is in the middle of it, walking with us.  Perfection is knowing everything we go through and have in life is there to make us better witnesses for Him.  Perfection is not memorizing the scriptures and addresses, it is not having a vast amount of knowledge, it is not found in all that we have.  Perfection is found in how much we are settled in Christ, how content we are, where we are.

Have you moved on to perfection?  Have you come to the place where nothing seems to bother you in this life?  Are you walking with Him, and witnessing His grace to others, in the middle of your storm?  If so, Praise the Lord!  Give Him glory!  If not, it’s time to move on from the place where you are to the place where He wants you to be.  Move on to this perfection that can be found only in Him.  Not the perfection the world says we need to have, but the perfection that God has ordained for us.

A perfection that has troubles, tests, faults and discouragements, yet still trusts in His grace and mercy. A perfection that does not grumble, complain, boast, become jealous or greedy, or expect too much of others.  A perfection that is content to live with what God has allowed and entrusted in our live.  This is God’s perfection!

Concluding with Grace

Titus 3:12-15


12 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.

13 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

14 And let our’s also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

By my count, Paul uses the word grace around 90 times in his letters to the various churches in the pastoral letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon.  His emphasis on grace is apparent matter where you look.  He opens every letter with grace be given to the reader, and closes every letter the same way.  I would not be surprised if he said “Grace be to you” as his official greeting when he met people.  As I think about that, perhaps that would be a good way for all of us to greet people or say good-bye.  I understand that in Hawaii it is common to say “Aloha” as a greeting or as departing words.  Why not do the same thing with grace!

Today, we say “Hi’ or “Hello” or “How are you today” as empty words that we really don’t expect a truly honest response from.  Imagine if someone actually told you exactly how they are that day.  Would you take time to listen?  Would we even want them to tell us what was really going on in their lives?  If they did share with us, would we take time to listen?  Would we take time, right there in the convenience store, to pray with them or would we just leave them and say those empty words “I will pray for you,” or do we actually take the time to pray for them.  Then there is the common “Have a good day” wrapped up all in one word almost, as it is said so fast like a mantra, said with little meaning or caring.  I have said that to a young girl at the cash register that I knew.  Her response was I will try, and I responded back, “Don’t try, just do it!  Have a good day.  It’s your choice.”  Now she says “I will” when I say that.  Her perspective has changed.  There is power in our words.

Imagine if we just started saying “Grace be with you” as a greeting and a conclusion to our conversation, instead of just a dull “Hello, how are you?”  I think it would turn a few heads, don’t you?  People would think us a little odd, wouldn’t they?  After all, we don’t hear grace being talked about much in the world around us.  In the church, yes, it is talked about a lot.  But out in the street, the supermarket, the gas station, the dentist’s office, the bank, there is little talk of grace.  It seems there is more doom and gloom going around than grace.

I think the world needs to hear about grace more from the children of God.  I’m guilty, I admit it.  I don’t share His grace enough with those around me.  I talk about Covid, about work, about my day, but rarely about grace.  If I lead the conversation with grace and close with grace, people might start asking me what this grace thing is all about.  Why have I started saying that?  What is it about grace that I want to talk about?  Oh, what a door would be open then!  A door that all need to open if they want to find their home in heaven.  Then I can freely tell them about the grace of Jesus Christ.  How he came to earth to be a sacrifice for their sins.  Heaven is not earned.  It cannot be bought.  It has to be entered into through the blood of the Lamb.  By His grace alone we are saved.  We did not earn it. We certainly do not deserve it, no matter what good deeds we have done.   His grace is our admittance to eternal life in heaven.  Without His grace, we are headed for the Lake of Fire eternally.

His grace allows the fruit of the Spirit to grow within us as we mature in Christ.  Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.  Who of us do not want more of these things alive in our lives?   I know I can always use more of each of these, and there are some of these I really struggle with, like temperance and longsuffering (patience).  I need to be more fruitful and the only way I get there is by His grace.  His grace gives me a door to all of the ministry gifts.  His grace allows me to sing, to worship to preach, to teach, to evangelize, to encourage and edify.  If His grave is not in these things, they are non-productive.  When I walk in grace and minister grace, His Holy Spirit will touch the hearts and lives of those I come in contact with.  After all, we are told to speak with words that minister grace to the hearer (Ephesians 4:29).  That verse has become one of my favorites because it challenges me to watch my words much more careful.  Minister grave wherever you go!

I’m going to try it.  Pray God gives me the boldness to carry it out.  That I might say “Grace be with you” everywhere I go and to everyone I meet.  Let’s spread a little grace around us!  It’s one of the best things we can share!

Some Things to Avoid


Titus 3:9-11 

But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

I am hearing a lot of foolish questions lately.  Foolish to the point of what does that have to do with how we should live our lives today.  Isn’t today the important thing?  We are never promised tomorrow. Are we?  So why is there wo much emphasis these days about what is going to happen in the future?  Why is it so important to study The Revelation of John?  Why must we know every detail, every little thing that will happen in heaven?  Why do I need to know about the crowns, and the vials, and the trumpets sounding?  I see people spending so much time on this and so little time on what they should be doing right now for the Kingdom of God.  I know I mentioned this a few posts ago, but I truly believe the ones who are all caught up in future events have missed the point entirely.

Jesus taught a gospel of today.  Read the Sermon on the Mount if you want a snapshot of what you should be like here on this earth.  The beatitudes at the beginning is a great place to start and Jesus started here for a reason.  Be poor in spirit, be meek, be merciful, be a peacemaker, hunger and thirst for righteousness. These are things we must do now – we must practice now.  Not tomorrow or the next day, but now.  These are things that can grow in each one of us and that will minister to all those around us.  Jesus starts out with these for a reason.  If we do now have these down, the rest of the Sermon goes to waste.  We will never be able to accomplish the rest.  Forgiving one another, going to our brother when we have a problem between us, going the second mile, lending more than was asked, not judging.  These things are so needed today, If we would set our minds on keeping these truths today tomorrow will take care of itself.

One other thing Jesus said, in Matthew 6:33 and 34, was that we should first seek the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God is here on this earth now.  It is living with in each one of us in the form of the Holy Spirit.  It is full of the fruits of the spirit and operates in the gifts of the spirit.  We need to seek that Spirit inside of us that would move us to good works and good words.  The Kingdom of Heaven is what is to come.  People are seeking that instead of the Kingdom of God.  I did a study about these two kingdoms years ago and it was astonishing to see how they are spoken of by Jesus.  If you have never studied that out, I recommend you do.  We are supposed to be seeking the Kingdom of God first, not the Kingdom of Heaven.  We have it backwards.  If we would just start seeking the Kingdom of God instead of the Kingdom of Heaven, the beatitudes would come alive in us and we could change the world.  We should avoid foolish questions about what is to come and concentrate on what is true today.

Avoiding genealogies is a different story, and I am not sure exactly what Paul meant by this.  If I had to guess, I would say this has more to do with whether you are Jew or Gentile.  Today, in our society, it would translate to who is black, Hispanic, oriental, or white.  It makes no difference – the same gospel applies to all of us.  We all need to be saved.  Our heritage has nothing to do with who we can be in Christ.  He has a plan and design for each life, and we need to be about our Father business when we come across any person of any genealogy or racial background.

Avoiding contention and striving about the law are Paul’s next admonishment to Titus.  We have to keep in mind that Titus was left in Crete to help a newly formed church mature. The main thing Paul wanted Titus to do was preach the Gospel – get people saved.  So many people want to bring the law into play when we ask them about their religious beliefs.  This doctrine or that doctrine are said to be the right ones.  The laws we have put in place, or the laws of the Bible, are used to separate us into fragments.  The church is weaker because of this.  We need to keep the main thing the main thing.  Get people saved and help them to follow Jesus.  Help them to see that her has a plan for their lives, even in the midst of their deepest tragedies.  God will bring it around for good. People need to know this, not be caught up in a bunch of doctrinal beliefs or laws that would hinder their growth. Jesus didn’t say we should just go out and get people saved.  He said we should make disciples.  This means that not only do we lead them to Christ, but we help them become disciplined in the ways of Christ.

I have an issue with verses 10 and 11 though.  I don’t think we should ever give up on anyone.  Paul says that if a man does not heed corrections after the second time, we should reject him.  I do see the point of telling someone to leave the church if they are doing things that would bring shame to the church or to Jesus.  That has happened to me and I totally agree with that pastor’s decision. But that Pastor continued to pray for me as I went to be disciplined, and now we are friends again and I am welcome in his church.  I don’t believe we should ever give up on anyone.  You never know what simple word might get into their spirit and change their lives. May we all run with patience the race that is set before us and allow God to work out His plan in us, so that we might be more effective in our ministry to others.