Sunday, February 19, 2017

instructions for 4 groups

Paul wrote a letter to his friend, Titus.

In what we call the 2nd chapter, Paul gives instructions for old men, old women, young women, & young men.

Somehow in the times I've read this chapter before, I didn't absorb these instructions for these 4 groups.

Take a look...



Titus 2

1 As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.

2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect,

and to live wisely.

They must have sound faith

and be filled with love and patience.


  3 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God.

They must not slander others

or be heavy drinkers.

Instead, they should teach others what is good.


4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children,

5 to live wisely and be pure,

to work in their homes,

to do good,

and to be respectful to their husbands.

Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.


  6 In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely.



  11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.

12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures.

We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,

13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.

14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin,

to cleanse us,

and to make us his very own people,

totally committed to doing good deeds.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

another 4 words

Matthew 28

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee,

going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

17 When they saw him, they worshiped him;

but some of them doubted!

  18 Jesus came and told his disciples,

"I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.


19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.


And be sure of this:

I am with you always,

even to the end of the age."



Jesus was fixin' to leave the disciples & go back to heaven.

He made it pretty plain & simple for them – they were plain & simple guys.


He started by saying 1 very important,operative word...


Go


Now where that “go” would take them would depend on who we're talking about.


Thomas supposedly went to India.

Andrew is thought to have gone to Russia.

Matthew? Maybe Persia & Ethiopia?

Phillip possibly went to Carthage & rest of northern Africa.


Just to name a few...


One thing is for sure – Jesus does not intend for us to remain stationary.

Go” can mean different things to different people – the trick is to just ask Jesus where He wants us personally to “go”.

But one thing is for sure – it does not mean stay like we are.



Jesus fully intended us to get more people on the bus.

iow, to impact & influence people to start to follow Jesus as we have.

There is no indication that we are to be idle or indifferent to the masses of people all around us who are going slam to hell.

Our job is to help them find their way to Jesus – that's pretty clear.



Baptism seems important to Jesus.

It was & is a public, outward sign that things are different for each of us as we follow Jesus.

As we follow Jesus, we cannot remain in the closet about it.

We must each make a bold, public statement about our intentions to follow Him.



And we're not supposed to “just get people saved”...

We're supposed to tell them about all the things Jesus taught.

And I suppose it would follow that we're to model Jesus' behavior towards others.

In short, love them as He did.



Btw - Jesus also said He'd be with us through it all.



So there we have it – the final directive from Jesus...


Go, disciple, baptize, teach.


4 words cover it.


Now, a show of hands who among us is doing that?

Friday, February 17, 2017

poignant words

2000 years ago Paul wrote many letters to various churches & people in the early years of Christianity that have ended up being a big chunk of the New Testament.

Paul was a towering influence in those early days, perhaps one of, if not the most educated man in the early church.

In his 2nd letter to his adopted son, Timothy, Paul knows he's going to be executed soon.

Chapter 4 is his closing words to Timothy.

I doubt if you or I were in that situation we would mince words.

I don't think Paul did either.

They are the words of a loving father to his equally beloved son – but they also apply to you & me, too.



2 Timothy 4

1 I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus,

who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom:

2 Preach the word of God.

Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.

Patiently correct,

rebuke,

and encourage your people with good teaching.


  3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching.

They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

  5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.

Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord.

Work at telling others the Good News,

and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

  6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God.

The time of my death is near.

7 I have fought the good fight,

I have finished the race,

and I have remained faithful.

8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return.

And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

9 Timothy, please come as soon as you can.

10 Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica.

Crescens has gone to Galatia,

and Titus has gone to Dalmatia.

11 Only Luke is with me.

Bring Mark with you when you come,

for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.

12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.

13 When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas.

Also bring my books, and especially my papers.

  14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm,

but the Lord will judge him for what he has done.

15 Be careful of him, for he fought against everything we said.


  16 The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me.

Everyone abandoned me.

May it not be counted against them.

17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.

And he rescued me from certain death.

18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom.

All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

19 Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and those living in the household of Onesiphorus.

20 Erastus stayed at Corinth,

and I left Trophimus sick at Miletus.

  21 Do your best to get here before winter.

Eubulus sends you greetings,

and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters.


  22 May the Lord be with your spirit.

And may his grace be with all of you.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

don't be afraid

Isaiah 41
10 Don't be afraid, for I am with you.
  Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.



Deuteronomy 31
8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.



Luke 8
50 But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just trust me.”



It is interesting to me that these 3 verses that I feel like God gave me to hold on to this year all have the same thing in them...


Don't be afraid...”


This year, I also feel like God gave me all of Psalm 37 to hold on to – He's never given me a whole psalm before. And a big chunk of it talks about how we should worry about the wicked – they will come to naught, & how the godly will be taken care of.



Do you think He may be trying to tell me something?


I don't know think it means I'll be immune to difficulty.

But I do think it means He's gonna take care of me, no matter what happens.

And remember that God is very creative – what He considers “taking care of me” to be has a MUCH wider spectrum than what I have.



Maybe these verses apply to you & your life, too?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

we're missing it

We're not living up to the challenges of this passage...



Matthew 25

31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.

32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence,

and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

  34 "Then the King will say to those on his right,

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father,

inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry, and you fed me.

I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.

I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.

36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing.

I was sick, and you cared for me.

I was in prison, and you visited me.'

  37 "Then these righteous ones will reply,

'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?

Or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality?

Or naked and give you clothing?

39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'


  40 "And the King will say,

'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

  41 "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say,

'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

42 For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me.

I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink.

43 I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home.

I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing.

I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'


  44 "Then they will reply,

'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?'

  45 "And he will answer,

'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'

  46 "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

just read it...

This is Jesus speaking...

Just read it...



Matthew 24

1 As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings.

2 But he responded,

"Do you see all these buildings?

I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished.

Not one stone will be left on top of another!"

  3 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said,

"Tell us, when will all this happen?

What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?"


  4 Jesus told them,

"Don't let anyone mislead you,

5 for many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah.'

They will deceive many.

6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars,

but don't panic.

Yes, these things must take place,

but the end won't follow immediately.

7 Nation will go to war against nation,

and kingdom against kingdom.

There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.

8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.


  9 "Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed.

You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.

10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.

11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.

12 Sin will be rampant everywhere,

and the love of many will grow cold.

13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world,

so that all nations will hear it;

and then the end will come.

  15 "The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place."

(Reader, pay attention!)

16 "Then those in Judea must flee to the hills.

17 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack.

18 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat.

19 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days.

20 And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

21 For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began.

And it will never be so great again.

22 In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened,

not a single person will survive.

But it will be shortened for the sake of God's chosen ones.


  23 "Then if anyone tells you, 'Look, here is the Messiah,' or 'There he is,' don't believe it.

24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones.


25 See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.

  26 "So if someone tells you,

'Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,'

don't bother to go and look.

Or, 'Look, he is hiding here,'

don't believe it!

27 For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west,

so it will be when the Son of Man comes.

28 Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby,

so these signs indicate that the end is near.

  29 "Immediately after the anguish of those days,

the sun will be darkened,
  the moon will give no light,
the stars will fall from the sky,
  and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.


30 And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens,

and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth.

And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet,

and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world;

from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

  32 "Now learn a lesson from the fig tree.

When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.

33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.

34 I tell you the truth, this nation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place.


35 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

  36 "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen,

not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.

Only the Father knows.

  37 "When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day.

38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.

39 People didn't realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away.

That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

  40 "Two men will be working together in the field;

one will be taken,

the other left.


41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill;

one will be taken,

the other left.

  42 "So you, too, must keep watch!

For you don't know what day your Lord is coming.

43 Understand this:

If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming,

he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into.

44 You also must be ready all the time,

for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Monday, February 13, 2017

instructions from a father to his son

Paul always thought of Timothy as his son – there was just this connection between them.

As far as we know, Paul never got married, so he didn't have any children.

There is a brief mention about Timothy's mother & maybe his grandmother, but nothing about his dad, so we don't know the details of whether Timothy had one around much.

What we DO know is that Paul & Timothy had this father / son thing going.

Paul wrote 2 letters to Timothy which are included in the new Testament.

In this first letter, Paul is wrapping things up in chapter 6.

Paul doesn't mince words with Timothy – the dad shoots it straight with the son.

Here's what Paul said in those closing verses of chapter 6 – words that are as appropriate today as they were 2K yrs ago.



1 Timothy 6

6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.

7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world,

and we can't take anything with us when we leave it.

8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

  9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil.

And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God;

so run from all these evil things.

Pursue righteousness and a godly life,

along with faith,

love,

perseverance,

and gentleness.

12 Fight the good fight for the true faith.

Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you,

which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.

13 And I charge you before God,

who gives life to all,

and before Christ Jesus,

who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate,

14 that you obey this command without wavering.

Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.


15 For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

16 He alone can never die,

and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him.

No human eye has ever seen him,

nor ever will.

All honor and power to him forever! Amen.

  17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money,

which is so unreliable.

Their trust should be in God,

who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

18 Tell them to use their money to do good.

They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need,

always being ready to share with others.

19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.


  20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you.

Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.

21 Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.

  May God's grace be with you all.