Category Archives: Timothy and Titus

Be Content

1 TIMOTHY 6:4-8

4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

If you thought I was harsh with that last quote, just look what Paul says here. He shows no mercy on these false teachers, calling them men of corrupt minds, and destitute of truth. He tells us to withdraw ourselves from them because they think that gain is godliness. One has to wonder how people who serve our loving God could get this way. How could they one day be preaching the glorious truth of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection and then the next be teaching false doctrines designed to please the flesh? How could they turn from the truth of servanthood and start teaching mastery and dominion? How could they come to the place where they believe demanding from God is what the Bible intends?

Paul gives us the answer to these questions and many more in the first three words of verse 4. “He is proud.” Pride is at the root of all false teaching and deception. Pride instills in the individual the idea that they can do no wrong, teach no wrong, believe no wrong, and think no wrong. They believe their way is the only way and they stand by it no matter what the evidence dictates. I have had my bouts with pride through the years and have come to a point where I can usually identify it and bring it into subjection. You will never get rid of it, but you can control it to a certain extent. You also need someone to help you see it when you don’t. For me, that would be my wife. That accountability is priceless to me because I never want to get to that overly prideful state again. Do you have someone in your life who will point out when pride begins to rise up within you? If you don’t, please make that happen.

My pride manifested itself often with the words “I know.” I used these two words constantly to indicate you don’t need to tell me anything because I know everything. This was especially true when it came to Bible truths. It would be hard to teach me anything because I was the teacher and my ideas were much better than yours when it came to interpretation. So, when you start to show me something you had noticed, I would say “I know” in an inquisitive, excited fashion. This remained true after having my gross sin exposed back in 2003. At that time a Pastor took me under his wings and prayed me back to righteousness only to have me fall into the same trap again. When I got caught again in 2008 and lost my job and almost my marriage. That same pastor found me a place where I could be helped. I remember distinctly walking toward the front of the church as he said to me “Pete, you’ve got to take care of this or it will ruin you.” I said back to him in a low voice “I know.” He quickly said “No, you don’t know. If you did you never would have started up again in the first place.” He was exactly right and I realized I did not know! If you find yourself saying “I know”: a lot, perhaps you know nothing as I did. Ask God to search your heart!

Paul says these false teachers have corrupt minds and are destitute of the truth. The word corrupt is a very strong Greek word which means to be thoroughly degenerate, or wasted away by the decaying influence of moral impurity. How evident that is in the church today. Divorce and adultery are almost the norm even in our churches as they are in society. We see Pastors addicted to pornography at a high level, and others taking advantage of their congregation. We see churches rising up that profess to be preaching salvation message only top say that practicing gay people are Ok with God and will go to heaven. We see sin ignored for the most part because grace covers all sin. The decaying morals fill the church and the false teachers just preach on without addressing the truth. That word destitute in the Greek means to keep away from and this is exactly what they do. They keep away from the truth in order to please those who are listening. This can build very big churches! They even suppose that gain is godliness. That because God is blessing them financially and materially, they are godly people. They feel saved because they have all this stuff God ahs allowed them to have. Paul says we should stay away from these false teachers and followers. You can easily be lured into their version of the truth if you are not careful.

Are you content with what God has allowed you to have at this very moment? Are you walking in righteousness every day? If you are accomplishing both of these two things Paul says you are having great gains in your walk with the Lord. Not because you have a lot of stuff and money, not because you have fame, or power, or lots of friends. You see, it’s all about Him. Walking with Him. Finding our peace, joy and hope in Him. Being content in Him is the greatest place we can find ourselves. Saying “God, you have me here and I am walking with you, and that is all that matters. I am content.” If you can say that, God bless you! This is the closing thought of Paul in this portion.

Contentment had reached into Pauls’ heart. In Philippians 4:11, Paul says that he has learned to be content in all situations in life. Paul knew suffering and pain more than any of us most likely. He knew what is was like to be rejected, put down, mocked, betrayed, and disliked yet he was content. Her had found peace with God and that was wall that mattered to him. The trappings of this world were not his concern. Only Jesus crucified. Only the cross. Only Jesus! Let us all get this same mindset.

Teaching What Is Right

1 TIMOTHY 6:3-5

3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

I often don’t understand this world of ours. I don’t understand how people can twist and turn words so that they fit their own agenda. I don’t understand how good can become bad and bad can become good. I don’t understand how the church can go after things that are not Biblical. It baffles me often, but then I read the scriptures and I am reminded that these things are all signs of the end times. Then I smile, knowing that the true believers will rise to meet Him in the air. What a glorious day that will be!

There are so many wolves clothed as sheep today and a deceptive gospel is preached everywhere you turn. It sound so good, so right, so on target that even the very elect are being deceived. Some would say it is not them but me who is deceived. Who is right? Only God knows this, but from what I have learned in my 40 plus years of following Christ tells me that this other gospel that is being taught lures people away from the lives God truly wants us to live. Lives of servanthood, not ruling. Lives of need, not full of worldly things. Lives of humility, not thinking God is at our beck and call. Lives of suffering, not of pleasure and all good things. Lives of continuous faith, not ask once and it’s yours. Lies of hunger, not of fullness.

I think of Proverbs 27:7 “The full soul loathes a honeycomb but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” The depth of these simple words cannot be overlooked, but it is so often today in the church. We want things to be easy. We want to be uplifted every time we hear the preacher speak. We don’t want to hear about our sin and our need for correction in our lives. We want to hear God is good and he will answer our prayers. We don’t want to hear God judges sin and we are sinners that need redemption. We are surrounded by troubles, just like the honeycomb is surrounded by bees that can sting and kill depending on the type. It is sweet to the taste, and I desire that sweetness but do not want that repentance, the humility it takes to lay down my pride and allow God to transform me into His child. The sweet things of God are the most difficult for us to handle because they change us. They cause friction in our souls. They divide our soul like the piercing sword of Hebrews 4:12. Yet we turn from the sweetness of God’s call to humility and a life of servanthood. We despise the taste of those sweet words that were the picture of Christ on this earth. He was not rich. He did not have many possessions. He gave everything He had to touch others and reach out to them. He served the masses. He was not served by them. Yet the Pharisees despised the sweet words He spoke and taught. They despised the honeycomb of His wonderful teaching because it lured people away from them. Their pride got in their way.

You see, the honeycomb is not the sweet words of grace and love that are spoken by preachers like Joel Osteen and John Hagie. Oh, they preach sweet words, but their words come from a belief that God is at our command. God will do what we want Him to do. God empowers us to become rulers on this earth, people who have all they desire and live lives of blessing and fullness. They preach a message of love and grace that comes without sacrifice and suffering. Simply have the right words in your mouth and you will be free of struggles and wants in this world of ours. God must answer your prayers because His word says He will. He must do this, and He must do that. We simply have to ask and all fullness will come to us.

These words are sweet to our ears because they satisfy our fleshly desires on this earth. They are not surrounded by the stings of the bees like the honeycomb is. There is not a preaching of the struggles, the storms, the tribulation that we will go through. Jesus promised us this, Paul emphasized it. Both of them lived it. But those who are caught up in the name-it-claim-it gospel don’t want to hear the sweet words of suffering and sacrifice. They loathe it. They will tell you that you are dead wrong. That we are overcomers. They will say our prayers must be answered because God says if we ask, He will do it. They think God is a vending machine that takes prayers instead of coins. Put your prayers in and answers will flow out. And many of them experience this prayer answering machine type existence. They are being blessed in all ways as they walk in this faith. They are reaping worldly benefits by claiming the promises of scripture. The deception is rampant. Is God answering those prayers, or is the enemy coming alongside and fulfilling the prayers to bring these believers of a new gospel to a place of unknown deception. Are they despising the real message of Christ while living a life contrary to scripture even though it seems so right.

The full soul loathes the honeycomb. Full of themselves. Full of what appears to be Godliness only to see underneath dead men’s bones. Looking all adorned and ready to be fruitful only without fruit, like the fig tree that Jesus withered away because it appeared to have fruit and did not (Matthew 21:19). So many appear to have fruit and do not. Do these two preachers, and so many others who teach this prosperity gospel, have large churches? Of course they do. The preach a message that appeals to the flesh. Just pray and it’s yours. Believe and you shall have it. God loves you and will do whatever you ask. Just come to Him and ask Him to take you as His child. You don’t need to repent or change your life. Just know He loves you and that’s enough. It sounds like honey, but it is deception. A life that comes to Christ and does not change is not His! The preaching of Christ and John before Him does not change today. Repent was their cry. Turn away from the world and it’s trappings. Give yourself to serve others. Forgive all men their trespasses. The sweet words of repentance are loathsome to them.

But to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet. Everything that brings us to humility is sweet. Everything that tears me away from my flesh so I live more in the Spirit is sweet. It may not be pleasant, but it is sweet. These are the words I need to hear to fully follow Christ. They do not make me proud or boastful about what God is doing in my life. They do not make me have a need to tell everyone how God is blessing me. In fact, most of what Jesus taught on the greatest sermon ever preached is not satisfying at all to our flesh. Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, blessed are those that hunger, blessed are they that mourn, forgive others, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, seek forgiveness from those you have wronged. He did not preach a message of worldly gain, but of giving our lives away! The hungry soul heeds His every word and follows it as closely as he can. We do not become the proud, boastful ones who God is seemingly blessing at every turn. The bitter things in life are sweet because we know God is working to perfect us through the trials.

As you navigate this life, look at the entire message of the gospels and of Paul and see what they emphasize more. You will find that they talk of a suffering life, one that is filled with opportunities to serve, not to be served. A life filled wit hope, not with the riches of this world. A life of sacrifice, not of prosperity. A life of submission, not domination. A life of humility, not boasting. It is not a popular message in today’s church, but it is the truth. It can be bitter to our ears, but it tastes good to our spirit if we are in Christ. Please do not be deceived! Ask God to open your eyes to the true Scripture meaning. Ask God to show you what the calling of God on our lives truly means. Look at all the people God used in the Bible and see if you find any rich, demanding and proud people. You will not find them. God uses ordinary people like you and me. People who love His word, even when it is bitter to the ears. Come, sit at His table. He’s waiting for you.

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Honoring Your Masters

1 Timothy 6:1-2

6 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort

Paul now turns his attention to servants and their masters. One could read this and wonder how it applies to today’s world. One of the things we have to realize is that, in Paul’s time, there were not companies who hired employees to work for them. Each man worked at his own trade or they were apprentices or servants of others. From what I read the word employee is from the French word “employé” and started to be used in the US around 1850 to describe one who works for another. But isn’t a servant one who works for another? I would say that today’s employee is similar to Paul’s servant in these verses, and thus the admonition he gives here is very relevant, and also very ignored!

I have worked for many different “masters” or bosses and supervisors over the years. I have also been in that position myself. One of the things that always drove me crazy was the number of employees who would put down, disparage, mock and ridicule their bosses behind their backs. I saw a never ending stream of this at one company where I worked for twenty years, I have to admit I was even guilty occasionally. I would put my boss down for always being late om everything. I remember times we didn’t even leave the office until after the meeting we had 30 minutes away was supposed to start. She was impossible when it came to timetables. She was also a wild driver. She would have the phone in one hand, a pencil in the other taking notes and her leg on the steering wheel. Oh my, it was a wild ride on occasion.

No matter what she was like, the word of God says I should honor her. Do you have a boss that is hard to honor? I gave honor to her because she was my boss (and a part owner of the company) and because she deserved it most of the timer. Sure she had her quirks, but don’t we all? What gives me the right to disobey God’s word and hold back the honor that my supervisor deserves? There is no justification for dishonoring a master, or boss, or supervisor, or in my case a coordinator. I sell Aflac insurance. I am an independent agent. I am not employed and assigned tasks on a day to day basis. I make my own business happen. But I do have a Coordinator who helps guide me if I have questions. I am supposed to report numbers to her on a weekly, and sometimes daily, frequency. If I do not give these numbers to her, I am dishonoring her. I am refusing to do what she has asked me to do.

Paul then shares that if the person who is our master, (boss, supervisor, coordinator) is a believer in Christ then this principal of honor should be carried out without any hostility or anger toward them. He says “do not despise” which means do not get angry at their ways or resentful of their position. We should never be seen saying “I could do a better job then them” or “What a rotten decision that was.” Instead, we should be lifting them up and making them feel like our master, not just some other employee.. The reason for all this honor is simple. If we are showing dishonor to our supervisor by saying unkind things, that ruins our Christians testimony. It shows people that we are no better the world in the way we treat our superiors. We grumble and complain just as good as everyone else, even though the Bible tells us we should not grumble and complain (Philippians 2:14)! This is something the Christian community needs to work on – big time!

I see people who have gone to my church, or those I know are committed Christians, showing a lack of honor to their masters every day it seems. How can we be so naïve to think that God would look the other way? Doesn’t the word say in one place that when we do something to the least of those around us, it is the same as doing it for Christ (Matthew 25:40)? If that be the case, would you so talk about Jesus that way, or do such things behind His back? I hardly think so. I hope that you would show Jesus extreme honor as our Savior and Lord. And we should do the same to those we serve. God has put me in the role I am in. he has put those people in authority over me whom he thinks will help me be successful and who will teach me the lessons I need to learn. Why would I ever even think of showing dishonor to this one who guides my career?

How do we show honor to these masters of ours? There are several ways to show honor and most of them are right in the Bible! God doesn’t leave us single handed to try and figure this out ourselves. Let me share a few of the ways we can show honor.

1) Pray for those in authority over us (1 Timothy 1:2-3) We discussed this verse a few months ago (I have been slow in writing this blog). I know a lot of people hate Donald Trump, and a lot of people hated Barak Obama before him. Completely different crowd of haters. I wonder how many stopped complaining and started praying under either one. True, they are not our masters. But they are our leaders, whether we like them or not. They deserve honor and respect no matter what side of the aisle you are on. Our masters at work are the same way. They need our prayers every day. Maybe then we would change so that we would give them the honor God asks us to give to them.

2) Speak gracefully about them (Ephesians 4:29). Our mouths can be sewers, repositories for all things unclean. Way to often we allow ourselves to be overtaken by the enemies voice, who speaks to us things that are hurtful and abusive. We, in turn, bring those thoughts up from the depths of our heart to attack those around us, including our masters. All manner of corrupt communication comes out which is exactly what this verse tells us not to do. That is never God speaking. God speaks in words of grace, love and mercy. He speaks faith, not doubt. He speaks life, not death. What will you speak?

3) Be kind (Romans 12:10) Our world is running away from kindness. People want to be able to advance their agenda and they don’t care who they have to run over to do it. Etiquette has gone out the window. Please and thank you are a lost art, especially among our youth. We tell someone to do something instead of asking politely. Being kind is something that will show Christ to others about as fast as anything will. It shows others that we care about them and want what is best for them. It shows honor and respect for the other person. Be kind!

4) Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you (Matthew 7:12). The most basic of all human rules yet we miss it so much. If you were the boss how would you want to be treated? You will probably answer that question by saying I would want to be honored, respected, followed and regarded highly by my employees. If that is what you would want then why aren’t you doing that? That is the basic heart of the matter. Apply the golden rule to everything you do and say. Ask yourself constantly “Would I want someone to do or say that to me?” if your answer is not, then stop it immediately!

That’s a good list to start with. If you can accomplish those 4 things you are well on your way to bringing honor to those in authority. It does not matter how you are treated or what the boss is like. This is your responsibility. Do not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).

On Treatment of Elders

1 Timothy 5:16-21

16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”[b] 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

We now end the discussion about widows with an admonition to those women who may be taking care of widows in their own homes. These women are special to me. Either their husbands have allowed them to have such a ministry, or they too are widows and have decided to give of their substance to help someone else in need. As we discussed before, widows were in trouble back in this day if they had no means passed down from their husband. They could not own land and often other possessions would go to the brothers of the deceased and not necessarily to their wife. The women who took in widows are indeed a rare breed, filled with mercy and compassion. This helped alleviate the church of the burden.

How many of us are willing to take someone in who is unrelated and in desperate need of being kept? I would guess there are not many. In today’s world, we would put ourselves in a very awkward position by taking someone in and caring for them. First of all, if things don’t work out it might be hard to get them out of our house. Second, they may take advantage of our generosity and use us, almost abuse our good intentions. Third, they could actually take over our home and kick us out – it has happened. It takes an incredible amount of courage and faith in today’s world to do something like that, and it did in those days too. If you know of someone who is caring for an unrelated person in their home, pray for them.

Next, to the elders. The word elder refers to a seasoned man who has sound judgement. I think we all would agree that elders in the church need to meet this standard. It is never recommended that a young man without much acquired wisdom should be appointed as an elder. In 1 Kings 12 we read of Rehoboams decision to follow the advice of the young men who he ran with rather than the elders that had served the country for years. The result of this split up the country to two pieces and they never got back together again until the 20th century. It was a disaster! This is a lesson we all need to heed carefully. The selection of elders is critical to the future of our churches. Make sure you are choosing men of wisdom and seasoning that will bring sound reason and spiritual understanding when a decision must be made.

This also goes true in our own lives. We all must be careful who we ask advice from when important decisions come around. Look for men with wisdom and integrity to guide you through life. Maybe a pastor, or that elder in your church who you look up to. This is one way to give the double honor to them that Paul mentions here. Trusting in them for guidance is showing them honor.

Another way to show those elders honor is to show up for church and special activities whenever possible. When services are being held, we show our Pastor and the elders honor by being there and being involved. If one of the elders happens to be a teacher also let him know how much you appreciate his commitment to the church. If he teaches your class, be involved in the discussion. This lets him know you are paying attention. Listening to someone gives honor to them. If a church workday is planned, being there to help clean and repair the things in the church shows the elders honor. These men work hard to build a spiritual foundation for the church and it is our job to make sure the physical building is in good order. The elders deserve more than lip service – they deserve our appreciation. Often, they are held to a higher standard, especially if they are teaching as well. The least we can do is show them the honor they deserve.

If someone comes up to you with an accusation against an elder, and you hear nothing else about it, then you should ignore that accusation. People are cruel, to be honest, and they will often go to great lengths to bring others down to their level. It’s not uncommon at all for someone to either make up an accusation or read into a situation something that is just not true. I was just watching an episode of “When Calls the Heart” last night with my wife (we love that show). Jack, the main character, walked into a restaurant to eat and the nurse that was taking care of his brother happened to be there going over some of her records. She motioned to Jack and he sat down at her table to discuss his brother’s situation.

Soon after, the sister of his Jacks girlfriend walked by the same restaurant and saw them sitting together. So, she came into the restaurant and Jack told introduced her to the nurse and said they were looking at his brother’s records. The sister, who did not particularly like Jack, decided to try and make an issue out of it. She made it sound like they were having a romantic dinner together, insinuating that he was being unfaithful to his girlfriend. This accusation was totally unfounded and almost cost the relationship. Fortunately, they both saw the deception of the sister eventually and made amends.

We must be careful to never jump to conclusions when we see something that seems out of place especially when it involves an elder. If we have questions about something, we should go to them first and tell them we have a concern. I have been an elder in many churches and I have always appreciated when someone comes to me with a concern about my behavior. It shows me that they care, and this is a way of showing honor. You allow me to explain what was going on instead of formulating your own conclusions. If I don’t give a sufficient answer and you have serious questions, then I would suggest you go to the pastor. Not your friend, or your neighbor, or even your spouse. An elder always deserves the benefit of the doubt and going to the pastor should keep the matter confidential. If you have a good pastor, he will know what to do in the situation.

I have been in a position of complete wrong against my pastor, my family and my employer. I was and elder in the church and the worship leader, as close to an assistant pastor as our little church would need. I did some very stupid things and wound up losing my job of 20 years over them. I told my wife and we met with our pastor. He was deeply hurt because I had been through this before with him and he had come to a place of trusting me once again. He did not go so far as to publicly reprove me, but he did insist that I should go for help or never come into his church again. It was a turning point in my life and I am grateful he took those drastic measures.

My wife decided to go back to a church we had gone to before and I went on an 8-month sabbatical to get my life straightened out. When I returned, we stayed in the church where my wife was going and are still there today, 11 years later. That pastor and I have reconciled and I have ministered in his church a few times. Our God is so awesome that he restores broken relationships. I am grateful that my pastor did what was necessary back then because if he had not, I might be still travelling down a destructive road.

Paul ends by telling Timothy how important it is to stay with the instructions we he has given. As a young man, I am sure Timothy had plenty of people who would offer him advice on certain matters. Paul wanted to make sure the first priority was to say with the truths he had shared with Timothy in this letter. Still today it is important to stick with the teachings found in this letter. Let us not wander from the truths contained here!

More on Widows

1 Timothy 5:9-15

9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.
10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

I have held off on writing about this next [portion because frankly I was not sure what to say. I always rely on the Holy Spirit to give me insight, but Paul goes on and on about widows once more, and as I prayed I did not come up with a reason he did this. Oh, I could go to countless commentaries and get their ideas, but that is not my way. I .pray you’ll be patient with me as I write, relying on the Spirit to guide my words. Right now, I am not sure where this will go.

Paul begins by mentioning the older widows, those over 60. This was an old age ion those days as the average life expectancy in Israel at the time was 35-40 years old, with the rich usually living longer. So someone over 60 was rare, especially a widow. Widows had no one but their own children to care for them as women did not work in those days. If the widow did not have any sons, it would be even worse for her. So Paul is admonishing Timothy to accept the older widows into the church.

Notice the list of good works listed associated with widows. The wife of one man, raised her children well, lodged strangers, washed the saints feet, relieved the afflicted and diligently followed every good work. To me this is a picture of someone whop is faithful and has a servants hears. Remember what Jesus said to the disciples when He washed their feet? He said the greatest among you shall be servant of all. This woman served her husband, her children, strangers, the saints and the afflicted. She did not turn her back on anyone. Can you say the same thing? Do you give of yourself until there is no more to give? It would have been easy for this widow to just sit back and take care of her own and not worry about others. But she rose above her hardship and continued to serve others faithfully. God loves that!

We must take every opportunity to help others. If someone comes across our path who needs help or prayer or transportation or food if it is in our power to provide that than we should. This is the main way we witness to those who do not know Christ and also to uplift others in the body of Christ. Colossians 3:23 tells us that whatever we do we should do it with all our heart, as if we are doing it to the Lord Jesus Himself. This means buying groceries or washing someone’s floor for them. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us God loves a cheerful giver. How much He must love it when we cheerfully give of our time and resources to those that need it. Let us all be like this elderly widow and do what God asks us to do.
Contrast this praise of the elderly widow to the stern warning about the younger widow. He warns that if they do not remarry quickly, they will be come busybodies and gossips. Our world is full of people who backbite and speak degradingly about other people. A Christian should never do these things. Gossip and backbiting are just as much of a sin as rape and murder. We tend to forget this fact. Paul says not to give any occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully. In Ephesians 4:29 he states this thought even better.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

I have a strong desire to live by this verse. I never want to say anything harmful or hurting to someone. I desire that my speech ministers grace to the one hearing it. Now I admit, I am not doing great at this, but I keep growing. This is a very powerful scripture and one we should all pay careful attention to. If the church could just accomplish this, so many more would come to us and desire Christ in their life. The gossip and backbiting would stop within the church and all would be uplifted by one another. This may sound Utopian, but I think it is possible.

The last line talks of those who do not speak with this grace but are always backbiting, gossiping, arguing and complaining. He says they have turned aside to Satan. These are powerful words and present quite a condemnation to those who just can’t seem to say the right thing. They are full of put downs, jabs and satirical remarks. They think it’s funny to poke fun at people. You may think it’s funny to and be drawn in to the conversation. Please don’t let that happen! Serve God with your tongue as much as with any member of your body. You will find that tour not only being a blessing to others, but to yourself as well.

 

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!