Sunday, December 15, 2013

Qualifications of a teacher

Scripture- James 3:1-5 NASB

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.  See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

James 3:13 NASB

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

Observation -  In this book by James,  brother of Jesus , who was leading the church in Jerusalem, he obviously felt it necessary to write these words of instruction and direction likely because the early church was facing  challenges with the teachers in the church.  The challenge sounds as if they had too many people not ready to be teachers who were becoming teachers.    He points out this role of teacher is no easy task and will come with greater responsibility and stricter judgment.   This is because the delivery of teaching to the body of Christ can either lead them to Christ's mission for the church or can lead them away from it.   Harsh or selfish words can lead people away from the church, or down a path of self righteousness and self service,  vice humble submitted service to God, with a grateful heart.

Application -  This scripture hit home because I have long desired to be a great teacher.   Each year  I recall hearing James' warning and think,  am I qualified?  Often throughout the year,  I find myself disqualifying myself because of my behavior.   I understand in most cases I am simply stumbling, but of recent I realize that while grace abounds with God,  in the roles and positions he is placing me in organizations there is much less room to stumble and the consequences are greater and greater as God continues to elevate my in positions of authority and influence.   I must continue to become self aware and self regulating to ensure that the words coming out of my mouth, honor God, and are spirit led. I must ensure they are in accordance with His word, and are able to meet the truth that James lays out here in that they are delivered with "good behavior " and with a "gentleness of wisdom".

Prayer -  Dear heavenly father, thank you for your word, presented by your servant James.  I need help with this one big time.   I pray that you would have your holy spirit work in me, to continue to remove in me all stumbling blocks to being a God honoring teacher.   I pray Lord for a growing in me the gift of teaching both in art and heart.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Facing my biggest thorn

S- Titus 3:1-11 NASB

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

O -  Paul here is giving advice to the young Christian church on how to behave in their occupations, in their communities, and even in their family of non believers.   While he knows there is new found freedom in Christ, and that their lives have been changed and transformed,  he knows also that their behavior amongst non-believers should be in such a manner that allows for the presentation of the Gospel.    We must not become prideful of our new found freedom as if it was something we earned, but instead are to be humble and in awe of what God has done for us, and serve well those authorities God has placed over us. 

A -  The application for me is to understand that God is shaping me in this season as to my personal behavior that is inconsistent with who he is calling me to be.    My past has shown my disrespect for authorities in my life,   my maligning people whom I disagree with,   being everything but gentle and peaceable.   I used to take pride in the tenacity and intensity in which I would defend what I believed to be good and true.  Now I understand this is not God's will for my life.   I am to behave as Paul has instructed Titus and the church at which he served to behave. 

P  -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's inspiring  and convicting word.   I confess Lord this has been a lifelong problem for me, and that I struggle just as much today as I did when I was younger.     I know lord with you and those you have placed in my life I am to face this area in this season.  I pray Lord you would grant me the wisdom to understand, strength to make a change, and peace to endure the process of being sanctified into the God honoring leader you are calling me to be.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Developing character - through trials and tribulations

S- Romans 5:3-8 NASB

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.   For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

O - Paul is doing a masterful job  in Romans to explain the theology of the Gospel.  It is a paradoxical shift to explain to a culture that they now have  savior for whom they can not earn favor, but whom will allow them to travel through trials and tribulations.   For many the idea of a savior comes from the idea that we will one day because of this hero in our lives will no longer face troubles in the world.  The good news (Gospel) is that we have a savior who willingly suffered for us.    In return for acceptance of this gift (reconciliation) he promises eternal life with God. 

A - The application for me is understand that my salvation does not come with a free pass from trials, tribulation and suffering.   Instead , I can rejoice in these trials because they are developing in me God honoring character and perseverance.   

P   - Dear heavenly father thank you for todays lesson from your word.  May it be sealed to my heart.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.