Category Archives: Timothy and Titus

Worse Than and Infidel

1 Timothy 5:8

8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Before we look at what this all means, we must first look at the word “infidel”. According to Webster an infidel is “someone who does not believe in religion of adheres to a religion other than their own”. This is commonly what we think about this word when we come across this verse. We think Paul is saying this person is worse than an unbeliever, and in many ways that is true. But it is not necessarily someone who does not have any religion, or even who adheres to another religion. This same Greek word, apistos, is used when talking about Thomas doubting that Jesus was alive. It is used by Jesus when talking about Christians who reject the true faith. In other words, we are looking at a person who doubts the Gospel and the precepts outlined therein. He does not place his faith in the truth and therefore is labeled an unbeliever.

Are there things in the word that you doubt? Or do you adhere that everything in the Bible is completely accurate, without flaw. How about the creation account? Do you doubt that God created the world, the universe, and all that is therein in 6 days and then took a day off? Do you adhere to some of the different explanations of the “6 days”, like each day is a thousand years, or even a million or billion? Or is there a huge gap between Genesis 1:1-2 and verse 3? Or does the use of the word day constitute the limited understanding of Moses so he just made it up? Do you doubt creation?

Do you doubt Genesis Chapter 3 and original sin? Do you doubt that because Adam sinned, his seed was passed down to all men, and that seed was the seed of sin? Do you adhere to the wisdom of man that says everyone is born good and right with God? Do you think sin comes from each of us doing the wrong things, or saying the wrong things? Do you think some people can go through life without sin and therefor not need a Savior? Do you doubt original sin?

Do you doubt the 1o plagues that hit Egypt and the resulting Exodus? Do you doubt that manna came from heaven, or that God write on tables of stone, or that millions of quails came from nowhere to feed the children of Egypt? Do you doubt that God parted the Red Sea, thinking instead that it was some strong wind or an earthquake which is the wisdom of man? Do you doubt Abraham would have sacrificed his son, or that the walls of Jericho fell with a shout, or that Daniel escaped from the lion’s den unharmed?

What part of the Bible do you doubt? There Are So many outrageous stories in there it would be easy to doubt a few of them, wouldn’t it? I mean, after all, what fish could swallow a man? What man could aim a stone that good with a slingshot? What kind of person could kill a thousand others with the jawbone of an ass? There is so much we could doubt.

But when we start to doubt just one little thing, it is easy to doubt a second thing, and a third. It is easy to start questioning the Bible and its precepts and commands, instead deciding to just believe the promises and ignore the laws. I will take all the blessings of Deuteronomy 28 and just ignore the curses because a loving God certainly would not allow any of that to fall on me. A loving God would just take everyone to heaven, wouldn’t He? Who cares if the Bible says many will call Him Lord, Lord, but he will say depart from me. Jesus died so we would all go to heaven, right? I don’t have to do anything or say anything.

Just because God says that a man lying with a man is an abomination doesn’t make it true. God is love. He loves everyone, and we should not be against two people who love each other. Who cares that God says marriage is between a man and a woman? If two people love each other that’s all that counts. Who cares that God says he formed us in our mother’s womb and that he has known us since the day we were conceived? That fetus is not living so a woman should be able to destroy it anytime she wants. Right?

Do you start to see how much doubt there is in the world today, and even in the church? Do you start to see how we have justified holding onto man’s wisdom and putting aside God’s wisdom through His word? After all, if the Bible is not true, I don’t have to be responsible to an almighty God. Even if one part is not true, I can easily start justifying that other parts might be untrue as well. The church is starting to latch onto things that we are told are wrong by the Word of God. We have lost our fear of the truth and replaced it with our own version of truth and out own wisdom.

If Thomas was an infidel (the same word was used here), then are we not the same if we do not believe God’s word is truth? If we don’t believe, are we not unbelievers as well? I challenge you today to examine yourself. Examine your thoughts. Examine what you truly believe? I pray you find yourself believing the truth of God’s Word and not the lies of the enemy, or even of your fellow man. As Paul so wonderfully pout it in Romans 3:4 “Let God be true and every man a liar”

This verse tells us that we are to provide for our families or we are worse than someone who does not believe. Men have become so lax in our society. They produce babies and then just walk away. They are irresponsible and self-centered, having only their own interests in mind. It is a scourge on our society and is at the heart of all the violence we see in our country. It is not just about money and provision in a material way. It is about providing spiritual, emotional and mental guidance as well. If you are lacking in any of these areas, ask God to help you. Be the best father you can be. Lord knows we need good, strong men in our world, and we need Godly fathers even more!

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Honoring Widows

1 Timothy 5:3-7

3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day..
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

In our society today more and more children are caring for their elderly parents. Because most businesses now do not offer the pensions they used to, seniors are finding it harder to afford living on their own. The cost of living keeps rising and the social security checks just don’t rise as fast. This poses big problems for those who did not do a good job saving up during their lifetime, and that is the majority of our seniors today. Fourteen percent of adults living in someone else’s home are the parents of the homeowner, up from seven percent in 1995.

At the same time, more and more adult children are living with their parents due to various reasons. Lack of jobs, affordability of housing and coping skills are all causing young adults to move back home. And in many cases, grandparents are taking custody of their grandchildren due to a lack of social structure in the home of their children. This is the case with my wife and I. We have our fourteen year old granddaughter living with us because our daughter was in a situation that defied all sensibility and put our granddaughter at risk. We are thrilled to have her and she loves being with us but it does put a strain on our household budget.

I bring all this up because we now live in a society that doesn’t really see its widows. We rarely use that word – at least I hardly ever hear it. It seems there is a negative connotation associated with the word widow and that is so wrong. Women live much longer than men on average so it is very likely we will have a lot of widows around, But the fact that women are aging much better and looking very good well into their 80’s leads us to think of them as still vibrant and able to care for themselves. They just don’t look like widows, if you know what I mean. I know a lot of ladies who are widows that lead very god lives and seem to be doing very well in society. I know they are hurting deep inside, but they do well to rise above that and be active in the community.

In Jesus day, it was a different picture. The woman was a housekeeper and her husband provided everything for her. There was no social security or welfare she could fall back on if her husband died so she was left to fend for herself and it was very difficult. People felt sympathy for them, but most households had enough to do just to keep their own house running smoothly. It was hard for them to give of their sustenance to help someone else out. So, the widows had to trust God to provide for them.

We read a couple stories in the Bible about widows that really show God’s provision and faithfulness. In 1st Kings 17, we can read the story of Elijah coming to the widow of Zarapeth. She was fixing bread from the last bit of meal that she had. Elijah asked for the bread she was making. She felt that once this bread was eaten, her and her son would die because they were out of food. But Elijah blessed the bread and the widow found that her meal never ran out. The widow was provided for.

In 2nd Kings 4 Elisha went to a widow’s house and she was about out of oil. She just had a cruse of it left. Elisha told her to go get all the vessels she could find and bring them to the house. She did that and the cruse filled every vessel she brought into the house so she did not run out. Again, the widow was provided for.

Throughout the Bible we read that God cares for the widows. Psalm 68:5 tells us that God is the Father of the fatherless and the protector of widows. Psalm 146:9 says God upholds the fatherless and the widow. Jeremiah 49:11 says the widows should trust in God. And James 1:27 says it is pure, undefiled religion to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to stay unspotted from the world.

It is fascinating to me that widows are so often mentioned along with the fatherless. And they are both mentioned as ones whom God has a special heart for. What intrigues me is that God is our heavenly Father and he is also the bridegroom waiting for His bride. To me this is not mere word play, but a truth that we should all pay close attention to. The fatherless can be seen as those who do not have Jesus Christ as their Savior, thus never becoming adopted into His family as children and heirs. And the widows can be seen as those who have not married the bridegroom after they have divorced this world. They have not come under is authority and become obedient to Him. These are people in desperate need of attention. They need provision from the word of God to help sustain them and lead them in the right path.

It would be easy for us to overlook these scriptures about widows because the landscape of our society has changed. But God always has a purpose and a vision for the future and He wants us to pay close attention to everything he has to say. We cannot ignore this charge to care for the widows. Whether they be true widows who have lost their husbands, or whether they be spiritual widows who have left this world behind and married the Bride. Both need our attention and our help.

On the other hand, Paul writes if a widow is living in pleasure then she is dead while living. In Paul’s day, this would be looked upon as slandering her husbands name. Today we often see widows go on to remarry or lead very good lives after their husband dies. So once again the picture has changed. But if a person who has died to this world by accepting Christ and lives a life of fun and games that are not spiritual, they face the same fate. They have not come under the arm of a protective Savior, but rather have decided to turn their backs on the one who saved them. This is a very dangerous place to live. Once we turn our backs on this world, we should never return to the ways of the world. Christ calls us to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are to have no part of that former life or of a life filled with gaiety. We are to become obedient to Christ and His commandments if we expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21)

Do you know any widows who are struggling in their faith? This is a call to all of us to provide the truth to them. The bread of life and the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. Just as Elijah and Elisha provided for widows in their day, so we should bring the word of God to those who are trying to find their way once they have died to the world. We are not to condemn them, just as Christ did not come to condemn (John 3:17). We are to love them and nurture them, bringing them alongside so they can taste and see that the Lord is good. This is our calling!

Mentoring

1 Timothy 5:1-2

5 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

We all need mentors. Not just in spiritual matters, but in all of ways of life. Elders are any people that are older than us and younger men are just that. The same goes for both men and women. It is an essential element in our growth as human beings and as Christians, as workers and as people of commerce. The world is full of people who can be our mentors and people who we can be mentors to. All we have to do is be open to the possibilities and we will see this all around us.

To illustrate this, I am going to share some of the mentors I have had in my life and also some of the people I have mentored. None of this is being done out of a boastful heart, but rather out of a heart that desires each and every one of you to take on the role of a mentor ads well as finding a mentor, no matter how old or how young. No matter what decade in life we are living, we can still learn new things and take on new challenges. I hope I continue to learn well past 100 and that I also continue to teach just as long.

One of the first mentors I can recall is my Grandpa. He was a rugged man who worked hard and long hours. My fondest memories of him was as a farm hand in Freeport, Maine. He would rise early in the morning to call the cows in and feed them while milking them at the same time. We used to go out early with him and call in the cows when we visited on vacation. “” Come Bawsss. Come Bawsss” was his call. The call would go ringing out through the fields and they slowly but surely would make their way in. they knew his voice.

We had the wonderful honor of helping hook up the milking machines and the undignified honor of pushing the mess out from the trench behind the cows. I remember once pushing so hard I went sliding down the chute with the mess, landing in a pile of manure. It took a while to clean up after that morning. I never wanted to do that chore again, but I learned that was not an option. I was much more careful after that. We also had the hard chore of helping bale the hay. Getting up on the bale wagon was a hot chore as we piled those hay bales as high as we would. We also had the chance to help run the pasteurizing machine and see the m ilk get picked up and go to market.

We often visited during calving season and got to name the calves when we did. This was one of our favorite jobs. The little guys were so cute and we would watch them grow through the years. My brother and I loved to compare how well our cows are doing and how much milk they gave. We also enjoyed the rope swing my Grandpa had extended from high in the rafters down across the barn floor. We would swing down from the hayloft and into the hay piles on a regular basis. Summers and Grandpa’s house were always much anticipated events.

Grandpa also had a lobster boat. Just behind his farm was Casco bay, one of the best lobster fishing bays in all of North America. We would go out on the boat with him and bring in the traps. I can still see the seagulls flying around waiting for the bait to be thrown out. They would call out regularly “Mine, Mine” just like in the movie “Finding Nemo.” Most of the lobsters we caught were already sold, but every once in a while, we would get one to eat that night. I have never been able to duplicate that taste. Fresh lobster is my favorite food!

When he retired from that job, he got married and moved to a little berg near Blue Hill Maine. There he started a big garden and worked on it all the time. We would go down to the seashore and dig fresh clams out of the mud at low tide. We would then bring them back to the house and have them steamed for supper. My oh my, what a feast! Grandpa died with his boots on, taking down a tree in the front yard. My mom told me later that was the way he should have gone as he was always a hard worker.

As I look at his life, I can see the work ethic he instilled within me. Not only him, but my mom as well. My mom had my dad leave her when I was five. She was the church secretary at the Congregational church where we grew up. She worked long, hard hours as she was involved in every aspect of the church, which required some night meetings as well. She raised us three kids alone and did a great job. Later she took a job at Norton Company in the HR department and eventually I landed a job there after wandering through life for a few years. That was a great job that I stayed with until I moved to Iowa 7 years later. Her hard work ethic paved the way for a good career for me.

In lasing on the torch, my kids have also garnered a strong work ethic, as I have become a mentor for them. They work long, hard hours and are faithful to their employers, something they have learned from both me and my wife. She has worked for the same company or a subsidiary in the same building for the last 30 years. And she has worked in a local restaurant for the same amount of time. She is a hard worker as well, instilling this into her children and now our one grandchild that works.

Yes, we are mentors to our children whether we realize it or not. We will instill in them virtues and bad habits as they grown and watch us. They learn from everything we do and go on in life to mimic much of it. Our children saw us working hard and being loyal to our place of work and they have done the same for the most part. Our grandchildren have seen the same and we pray they will have the same drive and ambition.

Spiritual mentors have been many for me and I am not going to point one or the other out at this time. One taught me to worship, one taught me to use my talents, one taught me to study the word, one taught me to rid myself of pride and one taught me to be a leader of men. All of them had different and meaningful impact on my life. I, on the other hand, have not been the spiritual leader I wish I had been. I was good at studying the word for myself, but not very good at letting my children see me doing so. I did not instill; in them a love for God and His word, but instead they saw someone who was inconsistent with the truths he espoused.

You see, I was a negative influence for God in their lives while I was a positive influence for others outside my home. None of my kids are now in church, although they all; confess a belief in God. They will all ask me for prayer when things are going on in their lives, and they will all ask me for advice. I wish I had been a better mentor for my kids through their growing years and realize I can still have that effect on their lives, but not with as much influence as I had in in those formative years. There are still many that I mentor in spiritual things, and I am indeed a disciple at my Pastor’s feet.

The one young man I most admire now is Bob. I met Bob as a teenager, a little wild and reckless, but with a heart for God. He would be around the tent meetings we went to, and would often attend the services during the day when I helped lead worship. Through the years I kept in touch with Bob, encouraging him in the Lord and watching him grown in his own right. Bob is one of the leading tent evangelists in the country right now, on the road 35 weeks out of the year carrying the gospel top the inner cities. I am so proud of what he has become and am humbled that I had just a little hand in that. I now learn a tremendous amount from him every time I am able to be in his services.

In business, I trained many salespeople, and had many trainers. But my very favorite trainer was Larry. He was such a good friend and such a solid influence in my life. I will never forget the many lessons on sales and persistence that he taught me and they have carried on through the years. He taught me to never burn a bridge, to keep good call records, to always follow up quickly, to send thank you cards and to be persistent all the time. We had a great friendship which was recently renewed as he came to visit me at a book signing. I cried when he walked in, so glad to see him after about 20 years apart. We reminisced for a while as he told me lessons, he had learned from me! All the while I thought of him as my mentor, and here he had learned from me as well. It can go both ways!

One of my favorite employees became a mentee of mine. Craig came straight from a factory job, never having an ounce of sales. I could teach him everything Larry taught me and he would eat it up. Craig became a top sales rep with our company and has moved on to be a leader for another company in sales. I like to think I had something to do with his success and am thrilled every time we have a chance to get back together. It is a blessing to know you helped someone start a career and become successful, and now they have moved on to greater things.

These are just a few examples. I could go on for another hundred pages of all the people who have ben mentors to me and who I have mentored. I would like you to give thought to all the people in your life that you have mentored or who have mentored you. If you feel so brave, leave a note in the comments about such people. It is good to acknowledge them and thank them. We owe our life to them in many ways. Seek out mentors and seek out people to mentor.

Jesus told us to make disciples of all men. Isn’t that what mentoring in the faith does? It teaches all men (and women of course) about the disciplines of our faith. Making disciples and mentoring someone in the things of God is the same thing. Let’s all find a way to make this happen, for these were some of Jesus last words to the disciples and to us before he finally arose to heaven to sit with His Father. Wouldn’t His last words seem to be the ones He most wants us to adhere to?

Take Heed

1 Timothy 4:14-16

14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee

Do you have a spiritual gift? Maybe you have never used it, or even realized you have it, but I can guarantee you that you have a gift from God. We seem to take it for granted that this verse is talking about a spiritual gift., and that very well could be true. But there are so many gifts that God gives us we should not limit ourselves to thinking this way.

First. There are the gifts of the Spirit which are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

There are some who say that these gifts are no longer needed in the church, or that they are no longer in operation. I am sad that they believe this because these gifts were given to edify the church and to show the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I have personally seen all of these gifts in operation and have been used by the Spirit ion several of these gifts. My own personal belief is that the Holy Spirit can use anyone who is willing to listen to Him and step out in faith, and that he can use them in any one of these gifts at any time. It does not have to be in church, or some revival. Gpd can have the gift of miracles alive in my life when I am walking through Walmart, or he can give me a word of wisdom at the grocery store. We are so quick to limit God and put Him in a box that we can understand.

God wants these gifts in operation in every church. But many churches now shut their ears and mouths and don’t even want to work in these precious and powerful gifts. They do not know what they are missing and do not want anyone to tell them. They want to keep God in a place where they can understand His every move and not be awed by Him too much. It is sad to see these gifts neglected, especially when Paul tells us specifically not to neglect the gift that is within us. We have a responsibility to utilize what God has given each and every one of us. The parable of the talents makes that very clear. If the church would start to operate in these powerful gifts we would see revival sweep across this land and throughout the world. Are you neglecting the gift within you?

But the spiritual gifts are not the only gifts. In Romans 12:6-13, Paul list many more gifts that are given to the church.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

There are things on this list that each one of us is gifted with and just refuse to be used in that area. There are other things that you may not completely understand and you are already working in that gift. So let’s take a closer look at these gifts.

Prophecy – this is not just foretelling a future event, as many think it is. It can also be expounding about things in the present, or applying the word of God to a particular situation for someone else. Have you ever given someone a scripture verse that they needed at that time? Then you used the gift of prophecy. It is simply proclaiming the word.

Ministry – this would include praying for others or participating in some type of ministry to others like providing food or shelter. Ministry is a broad subject that most of us have some part in it. It is a gift that many have.

Teaching – this does not even have to be spiritual teaching necessarily. It can be any kind of teaching. Don’t even try to tell me the teachers in our schools are not gifted to do that! They deal with kids every day, and that is a gift. It definitely includes teaching biblical principles,. But please do not limit it to that.

Exhortation – This is also proclaiming the word, and would line up more with preaching or declaring God’s ways. When we share our testimony, which we all should be doing, we operate in this gift.

Giving – this is someone who gives over and above the tithe, or gives them self unselfishly to help others. It can be a talent we have, or our time, which is so precious.
One author puts it this way. “God loves a cheerful giver. How much He must be pleased when someone cheerfully gives of themselves.”

Ruler – this can apply to anyone in a position of authority. This can include deacons and elders, people who serve on a Board if Directors anywhere, people in management within the workplace or leaders in government. The ones who fill these roles are gifted by God to do so.

Mercy giver – We should all operate in this gift. We should always show mercy to others. But some are gifted above and beyond with the ability to show mercy to others with a cheerful heart, I am so glad for these people.

Love without dissimulation – This is a gift we should all practice and desire. Love without hypocrisy. Love your enemy. Love your neighbor, no matter who they are. Lover all the same. Don’t play favorites. Our love should be that of 1 Corinthians 13. This is a tall order, but we all need to strive for it.

Abhor evil and cleave to good – to abhor means to regard with disgust and hatred. We should hate evil and be disgusted by it. So much so that we stay as far away from it as possible. It is a gift to have this type of hatred for evil and to cleave, or become attached to only good. I want this gift!

Kindly affectioned one top another – there are some people who are much better at kindness than others. They always have a kind word and deals with others in a gentle way. These are not only fruit of the Spirit, but are also gifts given to the church. Don’t discount these kind, gentle people. They are mighty through their meekness.

In honor preferring one another – this gift is sorely lacking in our churches today and is one that I strive for on a daily basis. Putting the other person first is a lost art in our society where it is every man for himself and do whatever I can to get ahead. Let us not be so, but let us do all we can to help others succeed.

Not slothful in and worldly success. – I am sure you can recognize those who work hard and those who do not. This gift also usually brings with it prosperity. This is a remarkable gift to have and can benefit the church in so many ways business. Through the tithe and offerings, through help in making wise decisions, through leadership and mentoring programs – all of these take people who are not slothful.

Fervent in Spirt, serving the Lord – we all know those people in our church who have a heart for ministry. They are fervent about their work for God and take it very seriously. They are true servants of Christ and we depend on them to get things done in our churches. If you are not one of these, I ask you why not?

Rejoicing in hope – some people are always in the joy of the Lord because they see the hope that is set before them. They are not caught up in the day to day struggles we all face. The rejoice because they are saved and redeemed and it takes no more than that to bring their joy to the surface. I think I am blessed with this gift!

Patient in tribulation – I know that my trials are God’s perfecting agents (James 1:2-4). I know they strengthen my faith. I know I am on His timetable and he is in control. So I can wait in those troubling times. I can wait on the Lord!@

Continuing instant in prayer – with out our prayer warriors, our churches would fall. This is a category I need much help in. Oh I am good at praying when God brings someone to mind, or when I am told that prayer is needed. But I am not good at setting aside time to pray on a regular basis. I need much work on this one. I thank God for the silent prayer warriors.

Distributing to the necessity of the saints – I give when I can but most of my income goes into my own monthly needs. I wish I had more to distribute and I am thankful for those who can give more. Our church would fail without them, and many of yours would as well. But this also talks of giving of our time and talent. I do a little better there.
Given to hospitality – My wife and I have always been people who kept pretty much to ourselves. We don’t have people over often and don’t visit others much. I am thankful for those who each out to others and give of their homes and resources to make them feel welcome.

This is just one list of gifts that are given to the church. There are others but I have gone on long enough. I think you get the picture. People who have gifts like these need to step up on a regular basis and share them. We should all desire to be sued more often in these ministry gifts. We need to give ourselves wholly to the gifts that we are gifted with, stirring them up and not neglecting them. When we all do our part, we will see our churches grow both spiritually and physically in numbers. That is the purpose of the gifts. Let us utilize them for that purpose.

 

Pay Attention

1 Timothy 4:13

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Paul has given all the instruction we have studied so far to help Timothy care for the church at Ephesus until he would be able to return. Paul had no idea how soon he would return, so he decided to write this letter rather than wait until he could return. He knew of the background of the churches at Ephesus and that there could be trouble with doctrine and choosing leaders so he entrusted Timothy to make sure all went smoothly. Timothy carried out his charge well.

Paul wanted to make sure that the major areas were covered so he told Timothy to “give attendance” to three things. This is the same as saying to pay attention to these three things. When I look at this list, I wonder why Paul did not include prayer in the list. It would be my guess that Paul did not worry about Timothy’s prayer life. He knew he had told Timothy how important it was to stay on his knees before the Lord in prayer. He knew Timothy would be praying much.

I must admit that my prayer life is not quite so trustworthy. It seems I get going on a good routine only to have it interrupted by the affairs of this life. I wish for a better prayer life all the time. I make plenty of prayers throughout the day as God brings things to my attention. But I am not good at having a set time of prayer. Paul would not have had so much confidence in me. This is an area I need to work on.

The first thing Paul wanted Timothy to pay attention to was the reading of scripture. At this time the only scripture they had was the Old Testament Torah and that on a limited basis. It is unknown how many copies and of which scripture would have been available. Plus there were Paul’s letters which were not considered scripture yet, but were filled with great wisdom. It is also stated that Timothy was well versed on the scriptures from his youth, so he had been taught well how the scripture of the Old Testament pointed to the life of Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul says that Timothy had known this from infancy.

I am also sure that Paul imparted a great deal of wisdom to Timothy while they travelled together. Paul would preach and Timothy would probably sit and take notes on the way the Old testament pointed to Christ. This was also a part of his reading. I have a lot of notes on old sermons that I heard through my Christian walk. Occasionally I go back and read through them, many times spurring new insights into the relevance of scripture in my life. We need to pay regular attention to the Word of God and good biblical preachers in order to keep abiding in the vine!

The second area Paul tells Timothy to Pay attention is in exhortation. An exhortation is an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something. Paul never wanted Timothy to lose his zeal for the things of the Lord. He did not just say to communicate or to preach, but used the word exhort to express his desire that Timothy would be urgent in his preaching and in his message. Timothy was responsible for making sure the churches were following correct doctrine, assigning Bishops and Deacons and making sure they ran smoothly. His message had to have an urgency about It that they maintain the standards that pointed to righteousness and holiness. Nothing short of this was acceptable to Paul.

Is our preaching done with this type of urging? I have to ask myself this question all the time. Am I conveying the truths of God in a way that makes people be compelled to follow? I was at a conference last weekend where a good friend of mine was ministering to a group of pastors and evangelist. I watched him before the service and noticed how he looked like a caged tiger just waiting to be unleashed. There was no doubt he was well prepared to deliver what God had given him and he delivered it with a strong sense of urgency. I have known this young man since he was a teen and was amazed at how he had grown in the Lord, and at how his preaching had improved so much. God is with him because he preaches with a sense of urgency. I need to do the same!

The third area God tells Timothy to pay attention is to doctrine. Much like today, Timothy faced many challenges in this area. The Judaisers were one of the main groups trying to impose doctrine on the churches back ion that day. They believed that to be saved one had to be circumcised. They were widespread in this preaching and scared people into believing their lie. Timothy had to fight this doctrine all the time and make sure that no other doctrine came in except that which was given by Jesus, Peter or Paul. Timothy’s task was to keep the church pure and undefiled, a bride waiting for her groom!

Today there is false doctrine everywhere we look. Jesus said in the last days even the very elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24). It is not just the church, but all false doctrine we have to be wary of. Islam is a false doctrine, as is Hinduism and Buddhism. Eastern mysticism is finding it’s way into the church today, with many so-called Christian leaders selling trinkets, charms and other things that they call sacred. Yoga, martial arts, transcendental meditation, and other such things do not belong in the church.

The grace movement is a scary thing and has birthed the New Apostolic Reformation. While it is true that we are saved by grace and we are under grace, we should not sin so that grace may abound. The grace movement says it’s OK, just confess and do what you want to do. This is not what Jesus said. The NAR assigns bishops, prophets and apostles who can add to the scripture or subtract from it because they are “ordained” to do so. This is nonsense but they are very deceptive.

There is also Mormonism, Jehovah’s witnesses and other so called Christian sects that follow a man’s doctrine and don’t even know the scriptures and what they say. I had a couple of them come to my door this winter. When I started to share scripture with them, they marveled I knew scripture so well, but tried to change the subject back to their way of thinking. Of course, I did not go there.

We must stay in sound doctrine, and we must teach sound doctrine. I could give many more examples, but the main thing to look at is scripture. Is there anything in scripture that says we should pray to the dead? Is there anything in scripture that says we should worship any other than Jesus Christ and God the Father? Is there any place in scripture that says an earthly priest can be our intercessor to absolve sins? False doctrine is all around us. It is so entrenched that people overlook it easily. The famous phrase “we have always done it this way” allows this doctrine to continue. The thought that we must have something new and exciting allows false doctrine to become main stream.

Let us stay with Biblical principles, not man’s doctrines. :Let us preach with urgency the truth of the Gospel. Let us keep reading the scriptures and absorbing ourselves in the truth. If we maintain solid doctrine and stay in the word, we will not be deceived.

1 John 1:7
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin

Be An Example

1 Timothy 4:12

12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Here is the Lord’s heart cry to all of us. Be an example. Let others see what Christ is like by all that you do. The word example is defined two ways in Webster’s dictionary. The first is a thing characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule. That means this example needs to be in the image of what it is trying to show to others. We need to conduct ourselves like Christ would. Remember the old saying “What Would Jesus Do?” This became very popular in the 1990’s and actually became part of pop culture. Unfortunately, it just became a popular saying, not a popular thing to do necessarily. People wearing WWJD bracelets and T-shirts would be just as sinful as the world, and that is not what Jesus would have done. Our example must be like the spotless Lamb of God.

The second definition of example is a person or thing regarded in terms of their fitness to be imitated or the likelihood of their being imitated. This means we should live a life that others could imitate in their walk with the Lord. Paul said that the things we have learned, have received, have heard and have seen in him we should do (Philippians 4:9). Paul set an example for others to follow. Are we setting this same example? Would we want others to live the same kind of life we do in a successful walk with Christ? This should be the pattern for our lives.

Paul then goes on to tell Timothy there are 6 areas of his life this applies to. The first way we should set an example is in our words. One of the first things God did when I got saved was that he took swearing out of my language. It was just gone. All those 4 letter words that I used in every sentence vanished from my vocabulary. It even amazed me that suddenly these words were no longer used. Those words have no place in a Christian’s vocabulary. They set a bad example. So does telling dirty jokes. There is no room for these either. Nor lying, dishonest statements or saying things with the wrong motives in mind. Gossip, backbiting, slandering and many more ways seem to be part of our culture today. Each of these creep into the church, and into our lives, at different times. All of the above mentioned issues with the words we speak show the church to be nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites. The church has become too much like the world in our words.

Our words should be loving, merciful, forgiving, forbearing, patient and reverent. They should show us to be lovers of men, ready to lay down our lives for those less fortunate than we are. Our words should give comfort, joy, peace, nurturing and grace to those we are speaking to all the time, not just some of the time. These words should be honest and truthful at all times, spoken in love to anyone we approach. There should be no hint of ungodliness or unrighteousness in the things we say. James 3 is a great chapter on taming our tongue. Basically, James says if we can bridle our tongue, we enter a realm of perfection. Let us guard our speech at all times.

The second way Paul asks Timothy to be an example is in his conversation. We can get confused if we see this word meaning the words we have between one another. In biblical terms, the word conversation means lifestyle. Our lifestyle should be one that everyone sees as pure and undefiled. We should set an example by the places we go, the choices we make and the manner in which we conduct ourselves. Do we take correction easily? Are we quickly offended? Do we forgive people if they wrong us? Do we ask for forgiveness if we have hurt our neighbor in some way? All of these things are part of our conversation.

Ephesians 4:1 tells us to walk worthy of the vocation to which we are called. It does not matter if you are a preacher or the church custodian or a clerk at Walmart or flipping burgers at McDonalds. You might be a corporate executive, or retired or maybe a CPA or an MD. Maybe you just write blogs, work on mapping, sell insurance occasionally and help out at your church (this is me in a nutshell). Whatever your vocation, whatever you do day in and day out, you should walk worthy of that calling. Our jobs are part of our calling, and we must show ourselves as an example of Christ in everything we do.

The third area Paul says we should be an example is in charity. I think we all know charity means love. I like the use of the word charity because that word means giving something without expecting a return. The word love is so misused and abused in our society that it gets a bad wrap most of the time. People don’t know what real love is. Many have never experienced a true loving relationship except with their parents, and even there a lot of people are abused by that word. When we as Christians think of the word love we should always think of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth

To translate briefly, love is patient and kind at all times. It does not become jealous or covetous and does not boast of its accomplishments but is humble. Love never portrays a non- Christian attitude and does not try to get things for itself. Love does not get angry easily and never thinks evil of someone else. Love rejoices in the good fortune of others and in the truth always being in the forefront. It bears with anything and believes in the other person with the hope that will endure to the end. Love never fails. This is the kind of love we should have at all times to set the example Paul is talking about here.

The fourth area we should be an example is in spirit. This talks about the attitude with which we live our lives. Are we positive and uplifting, or are we a sourpuss all the time. Do we speak words of grace to everyone (Eph 4:29) or are we sarcastic and cruel. Do we wake up in the morning refreshed and renewed, ready to take on the day? Or are we just trying to get through the day and bring our cloud with us as we go through our routines? All of these things reflect the spirit with which we approach life. I love the quote from Charles Swindoll, renowned Christian author, speaker and pastor.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

To me, that says it all!

The fifth area Paul tells Timothy to be an example is in faith. Do we show others that we trust God in all things, even in the most difficult of times in our lives? Do they see our faith arise as we go through those times and continue to rely on God to bring us provision, strength and guidance in the midst of the storm? Has our faith risen to the occasion when someone needs prayer and we are quick to pray with them on the spot instead of the old line “Yes I will pray for you.”

When I was going through my cancer battle for three years, people noticed how upbeat I stayed most of the time. Many would ask me how I could face such a difficult test with such a good attitude. I would tell them it is because I have an undying faith in my God! I knew he would not fail me. I knew He would use this test for my good. I knew he would sustain me and keep me even in the hardest of times. People saw my faith in action. They saw my example of faith. How often do they see yours?

The last area where we should be an example is in purity. This talks of moral and behavioral excellence. We should be above anything that seems filthy, raunchy, rowdy, or anything else that would be deemed impure. Our lives should reflect the Bible and it’s moral standard in every way. The worlds moral compass has gone haywire, and we must show what the standard should be or it will be lost to all. We leave in a world that has put purity aside for pleasure. They do not even see how they have gone wrong, or that they are even doing wrong. The low morals and impurity are out in the public eye and no one seems the least bit concerned except those who want morality brought back into our lives. If we do not keep the biblical standard it will further erode this society and Christians will be even more weird in the worlds eyes.

Christians are already being persecuted for righteousness sake, as Jesus told us we would. We should rejoice in this (Matthew 5:12) But greater persecution will come as the world drifts farther and farther away from Christian values. I am a part of Pew Research in that I take survey’s for them once a month. One of the questions on the last survey asked if I thought social media should be allowed to take off offensive material. I said no, mainly because the world is starting to see parts of the Bible as offensive and I do not want our face squashed by a social media company. Some of my own blogs would disappear! Those of us who stand up for Christian values, for pure values, must never let this world dictate what we write or preach.

With all my heart I want to be the type of example Paul asked Timothy to be. I fail often, but I must each time pick myself up and keep on going. Paul does not tell Timor=thy he has to be perfect and part of our example should be seen as a flawed human being with difficulties and challenges. If we can remember to forgive and accept forgiveness, that will go a long ay to developing us an example of what Christ would want us to be.

Exercise Unto Godliness

1 Timothy 4:7-11

7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
11 These things command and teach.

I am terrible about exercising, I admit. I can get on my exercise bike one day and then just get too bored to get on it again. My granddaughter and I got a one month pass to the local fitness center with very good intentions. But she has used it only once and I have not used it at all. I’m guessing I won’t renew the membership. I do walk the dog faithfully and this is about the only exercise I get. To my dismay, that means my weight stays where it is, which is about 15 pounds more than I would like it to be. I did lose that weight once by a combination of a good diet and more exercise, and I need to do that again. Being lazy like I have become sets bad habits into place, and I need to get rid of them. If I don’t, my health could be jeopardized even further, I will have more shortness of breath and I will have other problems with my body that I would just as soon not face.

Our spiritual life is no different. It too needs exercise and a good diet. I need to regularly exercise my spirit by praise and meditation. I need to utilize the prayer language that God has given me to pray for those needs I don’t have all the information about. I need to exercise the spiritual gifts that God has placed in my life to edify my church. And I need a steady diet on the Word of God, which is the bread of life. Not just reading it and meditating on it, but studying out principles that God lays on my heart. I must make sure I am not just relying on others to interpret the word for me, but ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me as well. There are many untruths in our world today as we have discussed. I must be able to tell the difference between what is true and what is false. This is a must for all of us.

Old wives fables can include anything that has been a doctrine or custom of the church that is contrary to the Bible. Do you have those things in your church? Are there things you do just out of habit that have been that way for a long time, yet you question whether it is right or not? When you bring it up to someone they just say we have always done it that way and you just let it rest. Or maybe it’s a teaching of your church, or a doctrinal statement that is just not Biblical, although it sounds close. Maybe within yourself you have questioned it for a long time but have never spoken up. Maybe it’s time you do! People can be misled by old habits as fast as they can from new doctrine. We must regularly exercise our faith and our spirit to abide in the vine as Jesus asked us to.

You see, when we practice Godliness it is good for all those around us, even if they don’t believe. Imagine a world where all the Christians always practice Ephesians 4:29 and never spoke a foul word but always said things that ministered grace to the hearer. Imagine a world where all Christians turned the other cheek and walked the extra mile. Imagine a world where we were never worried, but always prayed with thanksgiving. Imagine a world where we forgave every offense and put it behind us, choosing to love instead of holding a grudge. Imagine a world where we could bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endured all things. Imagine a world where we always thought on things that were true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy about other people. Do you see a better world being formed? Do you see how this would profit all men?

These things and many more should be our way of life because we know the Savior. We know the one who taught us how to live this life and how to enter the kingdom of heaven. He showed us the way to walk on this earth, loving the unlovable, reaching out to the outcast, bringing healing to the sick and maimed and bringing life to those who are dead, both in body and in Spirit. As we exercise Godliness, we touch lives. We become Jesus to them. We live through the reproaches they might bring into our life because we trust God to see us through.

Exercising our Spirit will bring us closer to God and closer to the perfection He asks for. Without it, we will wither away in our spiritual walk and not have the power God expects us to walk in. We will not have the strength to stand up to temptation. We will forget the words that can bring us through trials. Our witness will become cold and dim in a world already filled with darkness. Let us not be weary in well doing. Let us exercise the faith that we entered into as babes, yearning for more and more. He nurtured us and taught us by His Holy Spirit. He guided our steps to where we are today. It’s time we step up and do all that He wants us to do! Walk in the power and strength of the Lord!