Sunday, June 29, 2014

The character of an Elder

S - TIT 1:5-9 NASB

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

O - Paul is writing this letter to Titus, one of his former disciples whom he left to lead the church in Crete.      Much like his letters to Timothy, Paul is giving instruction to Titus so he might know how to strengthen the local church, to ensure it stays holy and true to God's word and truth.     This particular passage gives instruction as to the character of Elders  Just by the fact that Paul points out these character traits of elders, leads me to conclude two things,    Elders are an important foundation in  a solid church,   and second at some point in time the wrong elders had been chosen and consequences of that were visible or discernable.    The list is a tall order to fill, but one in which is neccessary to ensure the health and well being of the church is being fostered and guarded. 

A -  The application for me is to understand that I am not to desire to be an elder but I am to develop the character of an elder.    It is a reminder also that as I build teams and put people in charge of others, I must be mindful of their character.  God chooses criteria for Elders (via Paul) so that His people will be properly shepherded.   Without good shepherds , the sheep will wander.   Jesus is the good shepherd, so our job is  to back him up. 

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart.   I pray that you would continue to shape, instruct, and convict me to have the character of a biblical elder.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Be ready to rebuke, exhort and instruct

S - 2TI 4:1-2 NASB
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

O  - This word is to Timothy as a reminder to the local church he is shepherding, that he is to be ready, and stay steady, in the word of God, and the disciplines he has been discipled on as a Christ follower.  Paul knows this likely from experience what  happens in the church after it is formed. There are challenges both in that culture and in the cultures to come.

A - The application for me today, is to be a disciple of God's word.   I need to revitalize my own participation in daily study of God's word... so that I can continue to grow and prepare for the life and ministry God is preparing for me.  To be ready for all seasons to be able to reprove, rebuke, exhort, and with great patience instruct those God places in my life.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.   I pray Lord that you would continue to encourage and inspire me to be in your word.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Guarding my family against false teaching

S 1 Timothy 4:1-5 NASB

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

1TI 4:7-10 NASB

But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

O - Paul's instruction here to Timothy comes from both wisdom of experience and discernment of God's will for the Church.    When I say will, it is to expose the fact that what Paul is stating is both happening and will happen more in the future.   Those who come to faith will fall away,   they will listen to things of the world,  stories bound in the cultural norms of the society.   The local church is to understand that and to self regulate.  Each individual is to read and head the warning.

A - For me this is a warning for me and my family,  especially my daughters who I am raising up to walk in God's ways.  This warning says despite how I manage the environment in which my girls grow up in,  there will be deceitful teachings, spirits, and cultures that they ultimately will be exposed to.   I must teach them to focus on choosing everything that comes from God, through his word and through prayer.   They can hear see and experience many things but must learn to filter and receive only that which comes from God.   They may be entertained by fables of the world, but they must not  be conformed by it.    I and they need to strive and labor to maintain the foundation that was layed by Christ in our lives.

P - Dear heavenly father, thank you for Jesus.  I thank you that your finished work is in my family.  I pray Lord for the wisdom, courage, and strength to lead myself and my family.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Take advice from wise elders, be wary of youthful misdirection

S 2CH 10:8-11 NASB

But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him. So he said to them, "What counsel do you give that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, 'Lighten the yoke which your father put on us'?" The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to the people who spoke to you, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter for us.' Thus you shall say to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins! Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'"

O - This was one of the sons of Solomon who was trying to take leadership of the nation of Israel after Solomon.  He was the less wise and humble.   He sought wise counsel, from the elders who had advised his father, but when what they advised had not matched he desire and hope, he sought advice from the younger generation of men he grew up with.  He did not head wise advice but sought advice from fools.

A -  The application for me is to understand as a leader I will face similar temptations to want to seek the advice of the young energetic youth .   Their passion and relevance is always intoxicating because they have the energy and perspective of the deckplate,  however, wisdom does not always guide their actions and words.  As leaders we must seek the wise counsel of wise men,  while also understanding the current reality of those we lead. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray that you would help me to be the leader that you are calling me to be.  I pray all this in Jesus name,  Amen.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Enjoy work, enjoy life, be content

S  -Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NLT

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

O -  This wisdom is from Solomon who had all things available to him and spent a lifetime studying wisdom.  He also spent a life advising people who came to him for wisdom.  Somehow I imagine he came to this conclusion after touring a great many parts of the country and sitting with some pretty wise people,  as well as having some pretty dissatisfied people come to him for advice.  In the dissatisfied people he likely could see a discontent with life that might come from their attitude rather than their circumstances.  I can imagine then coming to him with complaints about their past injustices and focused on fixing past wrongs, than asking him how to move forward in wisdom to a place where they could be content.

A -  The application for me is that I am that sometimes discontent individual who can't let go of a past hurt or wrong, and carries it forward as a burden for far to long.  This can be at work, at home, with friends, and even family.   I am convicted and encourage to  MOVE ON!   Today I must  pledge to eat, drink and enjoy the work the Lord has placed before me.   God has been so faithful and gracious to put in front of me work that I love,  a family that blesses me, and provision to enjoy them all.  I must be thankful and express this thanks by not focusing on the past but looking forward to the future that God has layed before me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this life you have given me.   I am truly blessed everyday by your provision, and circumstances I find myself in.  Lord I pray your spirit would guard my heart and mind from a spirit of grumbling discontent.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.