Friday, September 30, 2011

Touring Rome

Introduction to 2 Timothy
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 1:1

Paul wrote this last letter to his son in the faith, Timothy, who is probably in his 40's by now. Timothy was pastoring the church Paul established in Ephesus. For more details, see my last lesson summarizing 1 Timothy.
Time elasped between his first and second letters to Timothy. 1 Timothy and Titus were written by Paul after his first imprisonment. He then made his third missionary journey, visiting most of the churches he helped start. It was probably written between A.D. 67-A.D.64.
So now we find Paul in a different kind of prison, confined to chains in a cold, foul-smelling, overcrowded dungeon below ground, waiting for his final trip to Rome, where he was probably beheaded for witnessing for his Lord Jesus. During this time, Nero had begun the persecution of Christians. (Horible executions are recorded.) Unlike his first letter written with hope for release, Paul  writes to encourage Timothy one more time, and to enourage him to come visit one last time.

I know the following is lengthy, but it sets the tone for our new book, 2 Timothy. Mind you, I haven't visited Rome yet.

In his book, A Man of Grace and Grit, Paul, Charles Swindoll quoted the author Hans Finzel (Empowered Leaders) who skillfully describes the place where Paul spent his final days:
Any visitor to Rome learns immediately that St. Peter's Church is at the center of the city's attractions. I visited Vatican Square, toured St. Peter's Cathedral, and spent half a day in the Vatican Museum. I was especially impressed by the works of Michelangelo in the sistine Chapel. However, what inspired me most about my visit to Rome happened after I left those great buildings and that rich history.
On an obscure side street a few kilometers from the Vatican, there is a small building thought to house the prison cell where Paul spent his final day. Whether it is actually his prison cell or not is of course debatable. We climbed down into this cramped hole beneath the ground and spent about a half-hour in the dark cell. It was cold, damp, and musty. A small grate in the ceiling allowed a little daylight to shine through. As I sat on that cold stone floor, I imagined what it must have been like for Paul in those last day. If this wasn't the exact room, it had to be just like it. I thought to myself, "Here is where the man who wrote the greatest portion of the New Testament spent his last days. The greatest missionary and church planter of the first century died here. Wouldn't more people want to feel what it was like for him?" Obviously the answer is no. Most people visiting Rome today do not list Paul's cell as one of their top ten tourist sites. But for me it ranked as the number-one spot in Rome.

What a humbling description as we continue through this letter Paul wrote.


Now that we have this doom and gloom suroundings of Paul while writing this Epistle, let's listen to the encouraging words sent to Timothy.
1. Paul identifies himself as the author. This writing was later read to the congregation, copied several times,
    and then distributed to other area churches for their edification.
2. Paul was an apostle by the will of God.  Apostolos, in Greek, is a "messenger" or "envoy." An apostle
    was sent with a message of the promise of life in Christ. This is the preacher's message and the people's
    hope today. His call was according to God's sovereign plan and purpose. (1 & 2 Cor.1:1, Eph.1:1,
    Col. 1:1)
3. Paul had the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus. When the gospel's message is embraced by faith, the
    spiritually dead have the promise of eternal life in Christ (John 3:16; 10:10).

In't it great to know the will of God for our life as Paul did? God has a will (thelema) which means "desire" for each one's life. Just as Paul was lead by the Holy Spirit on his missionary journeys and in writing his letters, now part of our Bible, we too can have the same Spirit leading us. Isn't it astounding to think that you and I can accomplish great things for our Lord's glory as the great Paul did? Surrendering of my will to His will is what it takes, friend.


Here's what I found Swindoll to teach us from his same book:
Keep in mind that the apostle didn't write his letters in chapters. The words flowed continuously as the Spirit of God moved the seasoned apostle's weathered hand to transfer divinely inspired truth.
Chapter 1: A Clarion Call to Courageous Living
Chapter 2: A Checklist for Faithful Service
Chapter 3: A Warning list for Difficult Times

I think my appetite is wet. How about yours?


Be more appreciative of my living conditions.

Serve the Lord wherever He leads.

Heaven is just a breath away.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Squirrel Huntin'

Summary of 1 Timothy          

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5 NAS


Since fall weather is here, it reminds me of going squirrel huntin' with my brother during my childhood. We  silently trapesed through the fallen, brown leaves, swishing our way down the hill in the woods in front of our house. Talking would alert the squirrels of our arrival, which would scare them away, so I knew to be slilent. Up in the tops of trees were visible nests. Once found, we would lean against another tree, waiting for the victim to leave its home. Often it seemed like hours passed. When I saw a squirrel, I couldn't help but yell out. My brother was a good shot so we usually returned home with a  kill. Then I held the squirrel while he skinned it. I didn't mind, because I was a country girl. Umm, Mom would make squirrel an' dumplin's or fried squirrel. The venture was worth the time and energy.

I'm sure Paul had spent a lot of time writing letters, which we have as words from God.

What do we recall about this letter?
-written by Paul, who considered himself an apostle of Jesus Christ;
-written to Timothy, the one in whom Paul considered to be his own son in the faith;
-probably written after Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment (A.D. 62-64);
-Timothy became pastor of the church at Ephesus, to whom Paul sends instructions;
-one of 3 Pastoral Epistles-1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, written by Paul

The city of Ephesus was a port city under the Roman Empire. The people worshiped up to 50 different gods and goddesses. It was the location of the temple of Artemis (Dianna), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sounds like idolatry was rampid. One month a year the city officials set aside a celebration to honor the goddess. Olympic-like games, theaterical plays, and concerts lurred people to the city of Ephesus. This resulted in enormous sums of money brought in and banking institutions established.
Schools of philosophy were an attraction there. Ephesus was a city built of marble-streets, monuments, foundations.
Timothy had a lot to contend with as a pastor, did he?


Paul had a lot of instructions to give the church and Timothy. I've included some verses that are highlighted in my Bible. Shall we review?

Chapter 1: Instructions concerning false doctrine and false teachers; Paul's testimony; encouragements;

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (verse 14)

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  (verse 15)

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (verse 17)

Chapters 2-3: Instructions to the church concerning prayer, role of women, qualifications for leaders;

... that we may lead a quiet and peaceable live in all godliness and honest. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. (verses 2b-3)

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (verse 5)

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority  over the man, but to be in silence. (verses 9-12)

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (verse 16)

Chapter 4: Instructions concerning false teachers-sound doctrine, true godliness, perseverance, faithful

For every creature of God (eating meats) is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be reaceived with thanskgiving. For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (verse 4-5)

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. (verse 12)

Chapter 5: Instructions concerning pastoral responsibilities; pay attention to various age groups, widows,
                 elders, slaves, sinning members, and wisdom;

Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.
 (verse 22)

Chapter 6: Instructions concerning the man of God-maintain a balance with masters/slaves, rich/poor,
                 internals/externals; money, treasures, truth, false teaching;

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
(verses 6-8)

For the love of money is the root of all evil. (verse 10a)

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life. (verses 11-12a)

Which in his (our Lord Jesus Christ) times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. (verse 15)

Grace be with you. (verse 21b)


Let go of the world and money.

Cling to Jesus.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Avoiding "Her"

1 Timothy 6-Part 11
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.  1 Timothy 6:20-21 KJV

Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God's grace be with you all.   NLT


Grace be with you.
According to Thayer's Lexicon, grace is loving kindness, favor.
Isn't this a fitting conclusion for Paul's letter? It takes God's grace to shepherd a flock and live the Christian life. His grace is sufficient and available. Unless the grace of God is present in a ministry, service, Paul's advice is of no avail.

KJV says Amen. It's as if Paul says,"So let it be in every place, in every age."

Is God's grace prevailing in my service to the Lord? Am I a gracious person?


I recall a particular  time I was shopping  when I spotted "her." Hoping she didn't see me, I quickly turned and detoured down another isle. Yes, I was avoiding talking to "her." Why? She was known for her questions, noseiness, and gossiping. The problem was, she kept appearing down the isles where my items I needed were located. After a few successful avoidances, I had a talk with myself, realizing that I was not being very Christlike and headed straight to her. (Eventually, it would happen anyway.) I acted surprised to have met her there. It wasn't so bad, a casual conversation, and then I grabbed my box of sweetener and quickly finished shopping. Whew! I felt better after that. It was the right thing to do, not avoiding "her", I mean.

Paul makes a final plea to Timothy in verse 20. What does he say?

(1) Keep means to guard in the military sense. (Phylasso in Greek) Guard that which was committed to
      thy trust. Paul pleads for Timothy's faithfulness as the requirement of a steward (1 Cor. 4:2). To each of
      us are given "gifts and callings" (Rom. 11:33). They are sacred; they must not be taken lightly. None of us
      dares let up his guard for one minute. We must all be found faithful.
      What was committed to Timothy's trust? This translates one Greek word, which means deposit. The
      deposit Timothy was to guard is the truth-the divine revelation that God committed to his care. He's
      talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

(2) Avoiding means to turn away from, to shun a thing, to avoid meeting or associating with one.
      Paul says to avoid the detours of profane and vain babblings and science falsely so called. Avoid what?
      Avoid the philosophies of false teachers. Stick with the fear of the Lord and His wisdom. We have the
      Bible to show us spiritual understanding. Am I avoiding false teachings or the Truth?

(3) Don't err concerning the faith. (astocheo in Greek) It means to deviate from, miss the mark. False
      teachers miss the mark of God's purpose for them now and they miss the mark of God's prize for them in
      heaven (Phil. 4:13). Believers must seperate themselves from those who depend on worldly wisdom.
      Don't go astray from the faith in Jesus.
[Resources: MacArthur Bible Commentary, Liberty Bible Commentary]


Stay committed to God's Word, The Truth.

Avoid other teachings, cults' doctrines.

Keep my faith in Jesus Christ.

Pass on the grace of God.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


1 Timothy 6-Part 10
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  1 Timothy 6:19 KJV

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


About once a year, while visiting my mom, I would go through her cabinets and refrigerator, throwing out food with expired dates. Experience taught me not to make a big scene doing it. When I opened the frig for something, I'd do my checking in a casual way. Same thing with canned goods. (The freezer was a different story-major project to tackle.) I wanted everyone eating from her kitchen to stay safe. This was a technique I had developed over the years. Now I realize that these food items were some of her "treasures."

Oh me! I find myself being the same way. Not with food items, but "stuff" or "junk." I look around. Oh me, do I have too much stuff!
So what are the things I  really treasure? As I contemplated the question, I found my answer. My "treasured  things"  are located in my house and not in a storage building nor a bank.They are the things I use everyday for Bible study. They are commentaries, devotionals, Bible translations, concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, books about people's Christian walk of life, and internet resources. Now, these are only the physical things I treasure.
But there are other things I treasure. Not annimate objects, but things like children, grandchildren, family members, friends, church, God's promises in my heart, prayer time alone with God, beauty of His created nature. Yes, innanimate objects that can't collect dust or rust, that moths can't decay, nor thieves can steal. Say, that reminds me of scriptures.
Matthew 6: 19-21 tells us where we are to lay up our treaures-in heaven, not upon earth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Liberty Bible Commentary says:
The proper attitude toward riches and the use of money lays up treasure for the future. The age-old expression, "You can't take it with you," is still true. But the believer can send it on ahead of him in the form of rewards. To do this is what it means to lay hold on eternal life.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus  tells us concerning wealth:
  • Don't be conceited. The Lord sovereignly gives to each person whatever is needed to cultivate a heart of righteousness.
  • Don't fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches. Money can be the means of God's provision and protections, but it is only one. He is our safety and our strength (Ps. 91)... and He never runs out of sruprises.
  • Do become rich in good works. 
  • Do be generous and ready to share. The kingdom of God is not an emergency savings plan; it's an investment opportunity. We are invited to cast all that we are and all that we own into the Lord's grand venture, and as full partners, we have complete access to everthing that belongs to Him.
What and where are my treasures?


Did you notice the phrase "good foundation?"
Foundation can refer to a fund. The idea is that the rich in this world should not be concerned with receiving a return on their earthly investment. Those who make eternal investments will be content to receive their dividends in heaven. (MacArthur Bible Commentary)

Foundation refers to a solid and stable spiritual possession, on which resting as on a foundation they may strive to lay hold on eternal life. (Thayer's Lexicon)

Either way, I need a good foundation for my life, just as a building, wall, or city needs a good foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:11 (NLT) says For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have-Jesus Christ.

Is Jesus Christ the foundation of my faith? Is He the foundation of my life? The One that my faith is built upon? Yes is my answer to all three questions. How about you?


Make Jesus the foundation of my life.

Treasure Jesus and His Word more than anything in this world.

Monday, September 26, 2011


1 Timothy 6-Part 9
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in this living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.  1 Timothy 6:17


Two automobiles to drive, two televisions, a computor, cell phones, vacations-all are luxuries. Extra food in the cabinets available anytime to eat, new clothes to wear each season, a comfortable house with clean running water and electricity available constantly-these are things I take for granted. Are you with me? However,  most of the world does not experience them now and  never will. I've seen people who do not have their basic needs met. They live in shanties, get some food on a daily basis, wear what they have on their back. I think how sad, but what am I doing about it? My description is of foreigners, but there are Americans with the same needs. Am I helping my neighbors?

Will they come to know the God who provides for all needs; the God who gives us richly all things to enjoy? Those are words Paul said to Timothy at the end of our verse 17. Do I enjoy all the things I have?

According to Thayer's Lexicon, richly, plooseeoce in the Greek, means abundantly;enjoy, apolowsis in the Greek, means enjoyment.
The living God gives us abundantly all these for our enjoyment. Am I thankful for all the little and big things?
Do I enjoy, give thanks, share all that God has blessed me with, or do I hord it selfishly, or strive for more and never satisfied?

The theme in Ecclesiastes is "Enjoy the blessings of life now, because life will end one day," See Ecc. 2:24;
3:12-15, 22; 5:18-20; 9:7-10; 11:9-10.
Wiersbe says, "This is not sinful 'hedonism,' living for the pleasures of life. It is simply enjoying all that God gives us for His glory."

The path to true happiness and contentment is found in this verse.
Also, Matthew 6:33 says, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Psalm 37:4 says Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren says:
God also gains pleasure in watching you enjoy his creation. He gave you eyes to enjoy beauty, ears to enjoy sounds, your nose and taste buds to enjoy smells and tastes, and the nerves under your skin to enjoy touch. Every act of enjoyment becomes an act of worship when you thank God for it. God even enjoys watching you sleep! When you are sleeping, God gazes at you with love, because you were his idea. He loves you as if you were the only person on earth.
What God looks at is the attitude of your heart: Is pleasing Him your deepest desire? This was Paul's life goal: More than anything else, however, we want to please him, whether in our home here or there.
(2 Cor.5:9 TEV) When you live in light of eternity, your focus changes from "How much pleasure am I getting out of life?" to "How much pleasure is God getting out of my life?"
Will you make pleasing God the goal of your life? There is nothing that God won't do for the person totally absorbed with this goal.

Am I seeking God first? Is He the delight of my heart?
How rich we are with His gifts of grace and mercy, love and forgiveness!


Paul added a special charge for Timothy to give to the rich. I may not think it applies to me, but it does. My standard of living would certainly make me "rich" in the eyes of Timothy's congregation. Paul calls the rich to be good stewards of their God-given resources (Deut. 8:18; 1 Sam. 2:7; 1 Chr. 29:12).

What is it that Paul says to the rich?
  • Be humble, not highminded.. (verse 17a)
  • Trust God, not wealth. (verse 17b)
  • Enjoy what God gives you. (verse 17c)
  • Employ what God gives you. (verses 18-19)
   [Resource: Warren Wiersbe's Be Faithful]
"There is nothing wrong with being rich, if those who are rich are 'rich toward God' (Luke 12:21) and are willing to communicate or give of what they have to those in need. Then God will give 'richly all things to enjoy,' " states Liberty Bible Commentary.

Psalm 147:11 (CEV)  states The Lord is pleased with those who worship him and trust his love.


Trust and love God foremost.

Be thankfouls for what He has given me.

Share with others.

Friday, September 23, 2011

He's my King

1 Timothy 6-Part 8 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.   1 Timothy 6:15


As a child, I would often climb the big pecan tree in our backyard. I would stand in the fork of the two huge branches, ruling my kingdom as queen. There I was, high above the land, gazing out the window of my castle, ruling my vast domain.  Could I see any enemies that might be lurking below, who were wanting to capture my castle and kingdom? No, all was well. My servants were managing everything; my soldiers were monitoring and protecting the grounds. Yes, all was well in Queen Linda's kingdom. Oh, the imagination of a child.

Yet I realize that there is a kingdom, an invisible spiritual kingdom to our eyes, where Jesus reins as King of kings and Lord of lords. The only difference is the place He reins is not on earth as of yet, but in heaven. One day He will rein on earth, establishing His new earthly kingdom.
When Jesus was here the first time, He stood before Pontius Pilate, made His public declaration as the King and Messiah (John 18:33-37). Jesus knew such a confession would cost Him His life, but it was true.

Is Jesus the "reigning king" in my heart?

How does Paul describe this King?
  • God is the only Ruler, Potentate, which comes from a word that means "power"; "a prince used of God," which is Jesus. God is sovereign over all (Ps. 2).
  • King of kings and Lord of lords makes us think of Jesus Christ (Rev. 17:14; 19:16), but here in verse 15,  the title is applied to God the Father. Jesus Christ reveals the Father to us, so He can justly claim this title.
  • Only He is immortal, which means "not subject to death." This describes Jesus' uniqueness. God is not subject to death like mankind is. 1 Timothy 1:17  describes Him as the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God. Because God is not subject to death, He is Life and the giver of life. He's incorruptible and not subject to decay or change. In this life we have mortal bodies, but when Jesus Christ returns, we shall share His immortality (1 Cor. 15:50-58).
  • God dwelleth in the light which no man can approach. Exodus 24:17 states And the sight of the glory of  the Lord was like devouring fire. John described heaven as the glory of God that gives light to the city (Rev. 21:11, 23-24; 22:5). Light is the symbol of holiness (1 John 1:5-7).
  • No man has seen nor can see God. John 1:18 says, No man hath seen God at any time, which refers to seeing God in His essence, His spiritual nature. We can only see manifestations of this essence, as in the person of Jesus Christ.
  • Only God has  honor and power everlasting. Jesus Christ alone is worthy of worship and complete devotion.   
[Resource: Be Faithful by Warren Wiersbe]

Who is on the throne of my heart and life? Is Jesus Christ or myself?


Verse 13 begins with Paul issuing Timothy this "charge." According to Thayer's Lexicon, to charge is to command, order.
Paul speaks on behalf of God the Father, to whom everyone owes his or her life, and God the Son, who became the pastor's ultimate example when He stood before Pontius Pilate. (Swindoll)

Timothy is to keep this charge, not for Paul's sake, but before God who quickeneth or "preserves life" and Christ Jesus. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

In verse 14, Paul tells Timothy to keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Commandment probably refers to the initial command of 1:3-5. This whole book is a charge to be alert to the false teachers and their doctrine.

Rebukeable means not apprehended, that cannot be laid hold of; not open to censure. (Thayer's Lexicon)
Verse 14 reads this way in NLT: that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

In other words, I am to only teach this doctrine of Jesus Christ, Him crucified and risen from the dead, not teach fables or genealogies. I am to do so with a pure heart, a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned, or not as a hypocrite. (1:5) Then no one can find fault with what I say.


Prepare to meet my Maker.

Allow Jesus to be ruling King of my heart and Lord of my life.

Recognize that one day I will have an immortal body. Yes!!!!

Give God the honor He deserves.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting a Grip

1 Timothy 6-Part 7
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.           1 Timothy 6:12


During my junior high years, my summers were often spent riding my bicycle. It was an old bike that had belonged to my sister, who is 10 years older than I am. Dad put on a new seat, new tires, oiled the brakes, and added handle grips with streamers. He even painted it red for me. I thought I was riding in style as I rode up and down on my country road. Why, I got so good at riding that I'd stand up to pedal faster. However, sometimes my hands would slip on the handlebar grips and I lost control. Of course, you know I'd wreck. Another thing I practiced was riding without hands. The problem there was the road going in both directions from my house was on an incline, which made it a challenge to ride without hands. Eventually, I conquered the task, which boasted my confidence. Just as I got a grip on the handlebars, so Paul says to get a grip on something. What was it?

In verse 12, Paul tells Timothy to "lay hold" on eternal life. Timothy was already save and possessed eternal life. The idea here seems to be "get hold" of this eternal life that you have until "the things of earth grow strangely dim."  Let it grip you until you get into this race and wine the prize. Every believer has a "high calling" in life-sharing Jesus with others. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Am I getting a grip on the reality that I have a heavenly home awaiting me? As I go through the day, where is my heart focused?


Look back with me in verse 11. I see a continuation of something in verse 12. A Christian is known by what they:
  • flee from
  • follow after
  • fight for
  • is faithful to.
Yesterday's lesson told us what to follow after, as does verse 11-rightiousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness.
Paul instructs us to "fight the good fight." The word fight, agonizmai, is an athletic term meaning " to engage in a contest." This contest is the whole life of the believer striving to win "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:13).
In the phrase fight the good fight, the first fight means to contend, struggle with difficulties and dangers antoganistic to the gospel. The second  fight refers to any struggle with dangers standing in the way of faith, holiness, and a desire to spread the gospel. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

MacArthur's Bible Commentary says : The "good fight of faith" is the spiritual conflict with Satan's kingdom of darkness in which all men of God are necessarily involved.

Corrie ten Boom said, "I've learned that we must hold everyting loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me."

Am I fleeing from the love of money? Am I content with what I have? What am I following after? Is my faith growing? Am I fighting the good fight of faith? How do I hold things-tightly or loosely? These are some things to ponder.


Am I gripping onto something too tightly, so it consumes my thoughts, time, money, heart?

What do I need to let go of so God can be first in my life?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tree Roots

1 Timothy 6-Part 6
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things: and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
1 Timothy 6:10-11


There's a big hole in our backyard. It was dug by our granddaughter. She enjoys playing in it very much. When I add water to it she splashes in it on a hot summer's day. She plays with all sorts of sand toys in it. She makes mud pies and even fills up a dump truck. There's one thing I've noticed about that hole.  Although it's several feet away from the 60 year old pecan tree, there's a small root running through it.  So she digs around the root, paying it no never mind.

What about this root? We all know the tree's roots are under ground, unseen.This tree's roots must be deep and long for the pecan tree  to have survived such a long time. I ask myself, "Where are my spiritual roots growing?" Are they running deep in God's Word, sprouting love, faith, godliness, patience, meekness? Or are the roots of my heart growing around money? Am I loving money more than God?
See Jeremiah 17:7-8 and Psalm 1.

Paul says that the love of money is the root of all evil. Riches in inself isn't good or bad. It's my attitude toward them that can be good or bad. In verse 9, Paul said it was the "wanting to get rich" that leads people into temptations, resulting in foolish and harmful desires, ruining and destroying lives.

So I need to keep my attitude about money in its right perspective. Don't let it consume my thoughts,always thinking how I'll spend it. Use it to help meet needs of others, to further God's kingdom work. Shun the love of money. Don't let it take root in my heart. Keep Jesus as the love of my life. Make sure His Word takes root in my heart. What's taking root in your heart?


What are some directives Paul gives Timothy in verse 11?
  • Flee these things (love of money, snares of the world).
  • Follow after righteousness. Follow (dioko) means "to run."  This righteousness is is a state of the heart and mind that operates in harmony with the mind of God as expressed in His Word. Be clothed in the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Run after godliness. Godliness is the authentic and abiding desire to glorify God through every thought, reaction, word, and deed.
  • Run after faith. Faith is the resting in God's promise to provide, protect, empower, and guide.
  • Run after love. Love is seeking the highest, greatest good of other people.
  • Run after patience. Patience or perseverance, is a deliberate, steadfast obedience despite pressures, difficulties, or temptations.
  • Run after meekness.Meekness or gentleness, is a controlled, confident, firm strength that offers reassurance to weak or wounded people. (from Swindoll and Wiersbe)

What am I running after?

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus states:
The tighter you clutch your possessions, the greater hold they have on you. I encourage you to adopt three short statements and then reslove to make them true:
  • I'm grateful for what I have.
  • I'm satisfied with what I earn.
  • I'm generous to those in need.
I think those three short statements sum up what Paul is saying.  Time for some soul-searching?


Keep the love of money from taking root in my heart.

Keep Jesus the love of my life.

Be grateful, satisfied, and generous with what I have.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What do You Want?

1 Timothy 6-Part 5
But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9 NAS


What do I want out of life? What do you want to be when you grow up? What are your goals for your future? These were questions I remember pondering when a senior in high school. My goals were to be a loving wife and mother,  a teacher, live in a nice house, and drive a new car. I had plans to attend a local college and become a home economics teacher, like my sister did. But my wants changed when I fell in love with the new guy in school. We married in November following our graduation. We moved from place to place. We changed jobs and lived in several different houses. We had two children. I was happy and content with my life. Then the Lord began calling us into the ministry, to be missionaries in our denomination. My wants changed. Like Isaiah, I wanted God to use me for His kingdom work.
The first step was for both of us to complete college, then seminary for my husband. I became an elementary school teacher and a Bible teacher to children. As it turned out, my husband has served the Lord in the pastorate for 31 years. He has gone on voluntary mission trips to 4 foreign countries and two states. I have gone to two countries and two states. Now I write Bible studies sending it around the world, so I feel I am still a missionary. My wants changed over the years.
What do you want to do with your life? If you're older, have you achieved it? Was it what the Lord wanted you to do? If not, it isn't too late. Surrender to His will and watch Him work in your life. It's such a blessing.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus informs us of this:
The way the word want is used in this verse is boulomai in the Greek, which describes its natural tendency. Paul's word choice suggest that humanity naturally tend to pursue material wealth, so an individual must exercise his or her will to choose otherwise. Those who follow their inclinations toward temporal comforts fall into a four-step decline.

Step 1: Temptation-means to test, attempt, examine. The idea of temptation is to determine the ture nature
             of something by putting it to the test. The Bible doesn't command us to resist temptation; it instructs
             us to flee temptation. (1 Cor. 6:18, 10:14; 2 Tim. 2:22)

Step 2: A Snare-meaning a trap. One compromise leads to the wholesale loss of integrity, bit by bit.

Step 3: Foolish and harmful desires-foolish means mind or think. Literally, it's "non-thinking." Desires
             refers to passions or lusts. Secular Greek uses the term most often in conjunction with food or sex.
             Non-thinking passions lead to treacherous destinations.

Step 4: Ruin and destruction-These two terms picture corruption or internal corrosion, followed by utter
             destruction. The New Testament frequently uses the latter word to mean eternal damnation.

So where's the encouragement? I found it in these verses:
Psalm 37:4-Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
(God will place His desires into my heart whenever my delight is in Him.)

Psalm 23:1-The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
(I will not lack in haveing my needs met.)

Jeremiah 29:11-13-For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. and ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
(If I will seek the Lord with all my heart, and pray, then He will hear me.)

1 Corinthians 10:13-There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
(God will make a way for me to escape the temptation of sin if I will ask Him.)


Verse 9 starts out saying in the King James Version: They that will be rich...
The word will is not just an emotional fancy but indicates a calculated and planned procedure to get rich.
I causes a temptation, snare, and hurtful lusts.
Fall indicates that those who have such a desire are continually falling into temptation. Greedy people are compulsive; they're continually trapped in sins by their consuming desire to acquire more.

Destruction and perdition indicates that such greed may lead these people to suffer the tragic end of destruction and hell. These terms refer to the eternal punishment of the wicked.
[Resources: Liberty bible Commentary, MacArthur Bible Commentary]

This sounds serious. As a Christian, my desires, wants, should be to please the Lord, not my flesh. Are they?


Let go of the desires to be rich and go with Jesus.

Be on the lookout for the temptations around me, trying to grab my wants, tempting me into sinful lusts.

Desire Jesus more than things and money.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Can I Find Contentment?

1 Timothy 6-Part 4
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1 Timothy 6:6-8


What used to make me content? I found it in a big paycheck (security in money), shopping and buying new things (time wasted), my status in a respectable job (pride), driving a new car (admiration of others), wearing new clothes (appearance gave self-confidence)), big house (sign of wealth), dinning at expensive restaurants (glutany). Need I go on? You know something, I only thought those things made me content and happy. Along with those things came worry about paying the bills. I was only feeding my flesh. Oh, I attended church everytime the doors were open, read my Bible, and prayed. But looking back, I kept seeking contentment and didn't find it. That's because I was walking down the wrong path that God had for me. I was seeking contentment in the worng things. That's it, I was seeking contentment in things, not in God and my relationship with Him. Yep, sadly, I have wasted many years. I can't get them back, but I can do right today.
I have found contentment. I have found it in Jesus, living for Him, walking with Him daily, submitting to His will for my life, depending upon Him to meet my needs. I pray that you will find contentment too in Jesus, dear friends and loved ones.

Now, what did Paul mean when he told Timothy that godliness with contentment is great gain?
"He encourages the younger pastor to find contentment in Chrits rather than in the world (6:7-10), to let that satisfaction fuel his striving for excellence (verses 11-16), and then to reproduce his contented striving in others (verses 17-19). This is the joy at the core of Christian ministry, " states Charles Swindoll.

Contentment is defined as a sufficiency of the necessaries of life: a mind contented with its lot, according to
Thayer's Lexicon.

I looked for other scriptures in Young's Analytical Concordance and found none. However, content was found. It means to be pleased, desirous; to ward off, help, suffice. Scripture references were Judges 19:6, 2 Kings 6:3, Job 6:28. We are told to be content with wages (Luke 3:14), food and raiment (1 Tim. 6:8), and such things as we have (Heb. 13:5).

MacArthur Bible Commentary says "Christians are to be satisfied and sufficient, and not to seek for more than what God has already given them. He is the source of true contentment (2 Cor. 3:5, 9:8; Phil. 4:11-13, 19).

The word indeed properly signifies "self-sufficiency", which in its strict sense, only belongs to God, who is
"El-Shaddai", God all-sufficient and self-sufficient. The godly man has enough; and such a man is content with what he has, and thankful for it, submits quietly to the will of God, and patiently bears every adverse providence.  Gain which godliness brings with it, makes a happy man indeed, letting his circumstances be what they will. (from The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible)

The word here used for contentment is autarkeia...By it they meant a complete self-sufficiency . They meant a frame of mind which was completely independent of all outward things, and which carried the secret of happiness within itself. Contentment never comes from the possession of external things. (Barclay)

If contentment isn't found in material things or the getting more of it, thus shopping and to satisfy "the itch for more," how do we get it? Where is it found? It's found in spiritual things, in godliness.

Am I making a priority of material things, shopping and buying, a priority above spiritual things? Am I content to have my basic needs of life, food, clothing, and shelter, met with simple things? Am I thankful for what God has provided me?
2 Corinthians 3:5, Paul states, Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.


What did Paul say that along with contentment was great gain? Godliness is the word he used.

"Godliness" is not meant any particular grace, but all the graces of the Spirit of God; as faith, hope, love, fear...the whole of internal religion, as it shows itself in outward worship, and in all acts of holiness of life and conversation; this is gain, very great gain indeed. (John Gill)

Before I became a Christian, I was in debt to God and could have never paid for it as God requires a sinless sacrifice.  I was spiritually dressed in rags; my righteousness was filthy rags. I was in a starving condition spiritually. Now that I'm a Christian, I'm debt free because it was paid by Jesus; I'm clothed in His robe of righteousness; I'm feasting on the Bread of Life and Word of God; I am a joint heir with Christ in His eternal kingdom. Wow!

I want to be rich in faith and good works. I want to be a godly person having the fruit of the spirit shining in and through me. I'm headed to a city whose builder and maker is God for an incorruptible inheritance.

How can I have godliness? I must be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Rom. 12:2).
Confess my sins (1 John 1:9).
Keep a humble heart, content with simple things.
Be thankful for God's provisions (1 Thess.5:18).
Allow His Word to penetrate my life by memorizing Scriptures.
Submit to His will for my life daily.
Pray according to His will.
Surrender to His Spirit.
Keep believing in Jesus.


Let go of my attitudes toward material things.

Give God first place in my life.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Going with God's Word

1 Timothy 6-Part 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;   1 Timothy 6:3


I felt the Lord directing me to be the Children's Church director at my church this year. So I decided to teach these children this month a fundamental doctrine-God is our Creator. I am reading from the first chapter of Genesis, teaching about each day of creation. We can see Jesus in the scriptures as He is Maker of heaven and earth, the light of the world, our Living Water. God planned out each day of His creating. Likewise, He has a plan for our world and life today.

Verse 3 in New Living Translation  says: Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life.

Like pastors and teachers, I don't stand on my own authority, but on the truth of God's Word. We all must submit to the authority of the original and pure teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Otherwise, what we say is only our words.) In Paul's day, they had verbal teachings of the apostles. In our day, we have the 66 books of the Bible, which are God-breathed words preserved for us. (Swindoll)

Even though Paul's writings in our Bible are actually letters he wrote to churches and individuals, they were inspired words from the Holy spirit. They have been living words down through the ages, preserved for us now.

2 Timothy 4:16 says: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

As I have said before, I believe God's Word is turth, not just another story book. Paul says these are wholesome words (hygiano in the Greek), from which we get our words "hygiene" or "healthy." Any other teaching is unhealthy and doesn't lead to godliness (Liberty Bible Commentary)

I will strive to make sure that my words are from God's Word and not my own opinions, so I'm going with God's Word. I want to read what He has to say to you and me. It's my authority to live by and I submit to the Bible's teachings. Will you?


Paul is stongly warning Timothy about anyone who teaches something contrary to this orthodox teaching of Christ.
Here is what is said in Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus:

The Greek word is a compound of heteros (different, another, foreign) and didasko (to teach).
This isn't someone who differs with a pastor or ministry methods. Paul is talking about someone who has strayed from God's Word in forming his or her beliefs. If someone's doctrine does not lead to good deeds, then it fils the first test of orthodoxy. They are a heretic.

Paul describes this one who doesn't submit to the authority of Scripture as:
  • proud, conceited, puffed up, in a fog, head-in-the-clouds, lofty view of himself and his own ideas towers above everything and everyone else;
  • knowing nothing, the Greek term is epistamai, which is "epistemology", the study of knowledge gained through formal education and personal study; so he's a know-nothing;
  • controversial questions, refers to philosophical investigation;
  • disputes about words, word-fights, debates.
Five church-killing effects of the heretic's activities are:
  • envy, jealousy
  • strife, divisions
  • railings, slanders
  • evil surmisings or suspicions
  • personal, monetary gain
The heretic's mind is corrupt and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
Am I watching out for those who ride in big cars, wear expensive clothes and jewelry?


Submit to God's Word as the authority in my life.

Teach His Word as turth.

Beware of false teachers and their teachings.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blessing Believing Bosses

Timothy 6-Part 2 If the masters are believers, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. Those slaves should work all the harder because their efforts are helping other believers who are well loved. Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.
1 Timothy 6:2 NLT


Sometimes it's easier to work for a boss that is a believer in Jesus and sometimes it is not. Certainly we have all had some bosses that made it questionable as to which they were. Either way, Paul continues to give Timothy instructions concerning the matter of how slaves, or employees are to treat their bosses. Yesterday, we read about how to treat non-believing bosses, with submission and respect, doing quality work, so the gospel is believable and witnessed.

Continuing with words from Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 &2 Timothy, Titus:
One might expect him to have written, "Christian master, do what is right and set your slaves free immediately!" But he didn't for at least three reasons:
(1) The circumstances of slavery varied. Some slaves had been captured from conquered nations and sold.
      Many people sold themselves to pay off debts or in exchange for room and board. Others did it out of
      devotion to a family. Any way, the issue of submission didn't change based on the circumstances.
(2) Paul addresses the issue from the slave's perspective, not the slave owner's.
      Elsewhere, he commands believing slave owners to grant their slaves "justice and equality" (Col. 4:1,
      Philem. 16). Perhaps he presupposed their fair treatment.
(3) The topic here is submission to authority, not the morality of slavery. Christian principles might
      revolutionize human institutions eventually, but not before changing their character first. Paul calls slaves
      to offer their Christian masters respect and to serve them all the more, not to avoid punishment, but to
      accept the circumstance as an opportunity to love a brother. Service, after all, is the cornerstone of
      Christian virtue (Matt. 20:26-28; John 13:4-17).

Am I using my position as an opportunity to shower a Christian brother with blessings? Is my  work a gift of service to a fellow believer?


We should be just as respectful and work just as hard for a Christian boss as a non-Christian, according to verse 2.

Here's what Liberty Bible Commentary had to say:
KJV uses the word despise, here meaning "to look down on." Employees aren't to have this attitude toward believing bosses. All people are not the same in respect to being a leader, a boss. Some are not cut out to be one. (If so, we wouldn't have any workers, would we?) In another light, some people will always have more than others by working harder or inheritance.
Paul tells Timothy to teach and exhort these things. He's referring back to the doctrine and duty presented by Paul so one behaves in the right manner in the house of God, the church. The believer is to seek godliness and not gain of worldly goods or glory.

MacArthur Bible Commentary said, "Working for a Christian should produce more loyal and diligent service out of love for the brethren."

So I should watch my behavior, making sure it is becoming to Christian principles.


Be respectful to believing bosses and serve them like a brother.

Submit to their authority, obeying their instructions.

Give my best at my work, honoring Christ.

Let my life be a witness of my faith.

Be a blessing to my boss.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Authority and Attitudes

1 Timothy 6-Part 1
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the anme of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 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.  1 Timothy 6:1-2


Throughout the thirty-eight years following high school, I have had many jobs. They have included: seemstress at 3 different sewing factories; researcher in a college library; teacher of preschoolers,  pks, transitional 1st, 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th graders, at Christian and public schools; seller of jewelry, of  home products; worker at a print shop. During those times I had Christian and non-Christian bosses. Looking back, I wonder what kind of witness I had as a Christian employee/worker. Did I show respect to those in authority over me? Did I honor them when they weren't around? Did I follow their instructions? If so, then I honored my God and His teachings, according to Paul.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus states:
The first six verses of chapter six can be divided into three distinct part:
  • submission to a non-Christian authority (verse 1)
  • submission to a Christian authority (verse 2)
  • submission to the authority of God's Word (verses 3-6)
First, let's talk about the submission to a non-Christian authority.
The "yoke" was a powerful symbol of subjugation. Farmers laid a carved wooden beam across the shoulders of a abeast of burden, cinched it right with leather straps, adn harnessed it to a plow or some other kind of implement. In the context of slavery, however, the yoke illustrated dehumanizing servitude. Slaves were human tools, subject to the whims of their masters. Whereas citizens of the empire enjoyed remarkable protections and Roman suabjects lived in relative harmony with their government, slaves had few rights.
Paul calls on slaves to "regard"-that is, "to lead, think, believe"-their owners "worthy of honor." This is to be a choice on the part of the slave, a decision sourced within his or her will. Regardless of outside circumstances, slaves are encouraged to alter their thinking to accept that their masters are better than they actually behave.
In this case, of course, the honor is not monetary, but in the form of respect.

Take note of the apostle's reason for commanding this admittedly difficult attitude: to avoid giving influential non-Christians any reason to defame the Lord, or to discredit the gospel. Subversion is not the answer; godly influence is the best means of undermining the practice of slavery. The institution of slavery may persist throughout the world, but if one's own master becomes a brother, then in a practical sense, the goal has been reached.


Slave, bondservants, and servants are people in submission to others. They are used in connection with the Lord, serving the Father (Phil. 2:7), believers serving God (1 Peter 2:16), the Lord (Rom. 1:1), non-Christians (1 Cor.9:19), and other believers (Gal.5:13).
The phrase "under the yoke" is an expression describing submissive service under another's authority.
The Greek word for master refers to one with absolute and unrestricted authority.
All honor translates into diligent and faithful labor for one's employer.
How a believer acts while under the authority of another affects how people view the message of salvation Christians proclaim (Titus 2:9-10). Displaying a proper attitude of submission and respect, and performing quality work, help make the gospel message believable (Matt. 5:48).
(MacArthur Bible Commentary) *My emphasis

That sheds a new light on the subject. As I serve a non-believer, I'm actually proclaiming the gospel of Jesus. I knew there were scriptures telling me to glorify my Lord in all I do, such as Colossians 3:17, 23, but my serving is bringing the Word to life. They see that It can be applied and is true.
Whether it's in the home, church, or work place, I am to serve God by serving others.


Treat others with love and respect.

Be obedient to those in authority over me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


1 Timothy 5-Part 4
I solomnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.  1 Timothy 5:21 NAS


As a parent, I didn't want my child treated more special than his or her classmates because I was a teacher. As a school teacher, I tried not to show partiality or favoritism to my students, treating them  the same. However, often times that philosophy caused problems for me. There were always mothers who wanted their little Johnnny to be the best, in the limelight, have the most recognition, top dog, highest grades. I'm sure it frustrated these mothers when it didn't mean anything to me that a parent was on the school board, president of the PTO, rich, donated money to the school, or was a fellow teacher. I didn't make decisions based upon who the child's parent was, but on a child's capabilites. I didn't play the favoritism game.
Paul had some similar attitudes about partiality.

Partiality in the Greek means favoritism, according to Thayer's Lexicon.

Paul tells Timothy to do nothing by partiality. How often are decisions made based upon our favoritism of people? It occurs daily in families, churches, schools, businesses, and society. One person is given special privileges or not repromanded because of who they are.
This makes me stop and think. Am I showing favoritism in a given situation?


In the last part of chaper 5, Paul is giving the church's obligations in regard to honoring, protecting, rebuking, and selecting pastors (elders). Let's dig a little deeper into what he says.
1. Honoring Pastors
    Those which rule well are worthy of double honor (honor for their work's sake, paid for their labor).
    See 1 Cor. 9:9-11, Deut. 25:4.
    Double honor can be translated "generous pay."
    "It is God's plan that the needs of His servants be met by their local churches, and He will bless churches
    that are faithful to His servants. If a church is not faithful, and its pastor's needs are not met, it is a poor
    testimony; and God has ways of dealing with the situation. He can provide through other means, but then
    the church misses the blessing; or He may move His servant elsewhere," states Warren Wiersbe.

    They are teachers and preachers, expositioning Scriptures publicly.

    "If a church values excellent teaching, strong preaching, and spiritual leadership, the congregation should
    give its leaders sufficient financial provision to devote a normal work week to the church's ministries,"
    stated from Swindoll's New Testament Insights On 1&2 Timothy, Titus.


2. Protecting Pastors
    Those who make an accusation against a pastor must bae able to support it with witnesses. Rumor and
    suspicion are not adequate grounds for discipline.

3. Rebuking Pastors
   When an accusation is made, witnesses ought to be present. (Matt. 18:15-17) The same process for the
    whole church applies to pastors. It protects them from frivolous, evil accusers.

   Liberty Bible Commentary had this to say:  
   Accusation, kategoria in the Greek, is a word used of formal charges before a court. A minister has one
    solemn possession, his character. An accusation against him, therefore, is serious and must be witnessed
    before two or three persons or not at all. This would stop many rumors and save many of God's servants,
    if heeded. It must be done decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40).

4. Selecting Pastors
    Paul is telling Timothy that the ceremony of laying on of hands (blessing), which affirms his calling into
    public ministry, should not be done hastily. Hastily refers to proceeding with this ceremony without a
    thorough investigation and preparation period to be certain of the man's qualifications. (MacArthur)
    To me, this should be a time of prayer and fasting as the church seeks their spiritual leaders, getting clear
    direction from God as to His will concerning the matter.

    " Paul wanted Timothy to use wine which, because of fermentation, acted as a disinfectant to protect his
    health problems due to the harmful effects of impure water. With this advice, however, Paul was not
    advocating that timothy lower the high standard of behavior for leaders," quoted from MacArthur Bible

    "With highly effective, prescribed medicines today there is no justification for believers to hide behind this
    verse to imbibe!" quoted from Liberty Bible Commentary.

    In verses 24 and 25, Paul is talking about the sins of some men are evident for all to see, which may
    disqualify them to serve as a pastor. On the other hand, their good works are evident, which qualifies them
    to serve as pastor. Choosing a pastor should be done patiently, fairly, impartially, and purely. Then the
    right choices will be made. So, time will tell what's inside the man as his works reveal his character. Given
    time, poor character qualities will surface, as well as good ones.

Shouldn't all Christians have honorable character qualities as the pastor?


Be impartial, not showing favoritism.

Follow Paul's guidelines for honoring, protecting, rebuking, and selecting pastors.

Strive to have these same character qualities for the Lord's glory.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reneging on a Promise

1 Timothy 5-Part 3
The younger widows should not be on the list, because their physical desires will overpower their devotion to Christ and they will want to remarry. Then they would be guilty of breaking their previous pledge. And if they are on the list, they will learn to be lazy and will spend their time gossiping from house to house, meddling in other people's business and talking about things they shouldn't. So I advise these younger widows to marry again, have children, and take care of their own homes. Then the enemy will not be able to say anything against them. For I am afraid that some of them have already gone astray and now follow Satan.
1 Timothy 5:11-15 New Living Translation


Have you ever known a person who reneged on a pledge or promise? What does that mean? They made a promise and backed out on it, did not keep it. Paul is warning Timothy that young widows have this tendency. In order to be on the widow's list getting assistance from the church, the young widow would take a pledge, make a specific covenant, promising to devote the rest of her life in service to the church and the Lord. At their time of need and bereavement, they were sincere, but later on they would renege.
(MacArthur Bible Commentary)

These younger widows had a tendency to remarry, even an unbeliever. Therefore, Paul is encouraging Timothy to not put them on the widow's list, thus reneging on their promise. He encourages these to marry and have children, and be keepers of  their home. Raise up children to live for God.


Other tendencies of young widows is found in verse 13:
-lazy (idle),
-gosipping (tattlers) from house to house,
-meddling in other people's business (busybodies, prying into things that don't concern them),
-talking about things they shouldn't.

Actually, we don't have to be a widow to do these things, do we? Anythough Paul is talking about young widows, I need to make sure that I am not doing these things, too. Am I putting a stop to those who gossip, are busybodies, talk about things that are none of their business, prying into others' affairs? Is it true what they are saying? Have they asked that person about this?

Warren Wiersbe said in his book Be Faithful:
While there are times when a Christian wife and mother have to work outside the home, it must not destroy her ministry in the home. The wife who works simply to get luxuries may discover too late that she has lost some necessities. It may be all right to have what money can buy if you do not lose what money cannot buy.

In verse 16, Paul says believers should take care of their widowed relatives so the church can care for those who have no one to take care of them.
Our previous lesson discusses the requirements for such widows which the church shoud support.


Even though I'm not a widow, make sure I don't gossip hurting another's reputation; that I'm not a busybody, prying into another's business that's none of my business.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Supporting Widows

1Timothy 5-Part 2
Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family, and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.   1 Timothy 5:3-4


She needed a car, so we gave her our red Citation to use. Later on, Mom came to visit us (in another part of the state) and we took her used car shopping. She made a good choice and that one lasted her for the rest of her days. Her worn out couch needed replacing, so we gave her ours, with a hid-a-bed. Not only did it provide us with a place to sleep when we came for a visit, it also gave her a nice couch to sit on. There were few things we could give her to meet her needs. Mom had a good retirement income from her work at the local post office and dad's cattle herd. She lived comfortably  in the only house they bought for the last ten years of her life, as a widow. Family takes care of family. Mom had watched over her dad, my dad watched over his dad, both after my grandmas passed away.
Do you have any widows or widowers in your family?

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world," states James 1:27.

What is acceptable in God's sight?
In chapter 5, we read about two types of widows: those who had relatives to care for them and those who had no living family members. Those who had family were to receive support from their family. Caring for one's own family should have high priority in a Christian's life. (Shepherd's Notes)

KJV uses the word nephews, ekgonos in Greek, which meant descendant, usually a grandson. If widows had descendants it was their obligation to care for these widows.

Piety means reverence toward God; devoutness. (Webster's Dictionary)

Honor means to show respect or care, to support, or to treat graciously. Although it includes meeting all kinds of needs, Paul had in mind here not only this broad definition, but primarily fincancial support.

MacArthur Bible Commentary states:
Children and grandchildren are indebted to those who brought them into the world, reared them, and loved them. Fulfilling this responsibility is a mark of godly obedience (Ex. 20:12).

If a relative is unwilling to help support his loved one, then He is worse than an unbeliever (verse 8).

Are we obeying this command concerning widows in our family?


Meeting the needs of a desolate widow, as was the responsibility of the church, had some requriements for her to meet according to Paul:
  • She trusted in God; a Christian giving herself to spiritual matters. She's a part of this fellowship.
  • She gave herself to supplication and prayers, interceeding for others, not in a gossiping way.
  • She is at least 60 years old. (In that day, she was unlikely to remarry at that age.)
  • She had a good marriage record; not divorced.
  • She is a witness of good works; a humble servant of our Lord; a Christian mother; cared for the needy-hungry, sick, sorrowing; hospitable.
If she was a widow indeed and had no family to care for her, this responsibility fell upon the church.
Paul urges the church to show respect, compassion, and responsibilit concerning the widow who was a widow indeed.

Is our church doing this?


Support family widows or widowers.

Encourage the church supporting them.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How we Treat our Family

1 Timothy 5-Part 1
Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 NLT


I grew up the youngest of three children, with an older brother and sister. Dad and Mom stayed married until his death. If my calculations are correct, they were married 46 years. I was a very sensitive child, so I didn't require much discipline. However, one time, I ran away from Mom, who was going to discipline me. (I didn't think she would run after me.) Now that was a mistake on my part. She ran after me, caught me, and did I learn not to repeat that behavior again! My seat became the focus of correction, and rightfully so. Looking back, I felt loved and knew my boundaries. Really, I didn't give my parents too many problems. I respected them. My siblings spoiled me since there is 7 and 10 years difference between them and me.

Each of us grew up in a different family. That's where our early attitudes toward God, others, and self were formed. Hopefully, we learned to respect our father, love our mother, and obey them both, since they had our best in mind. Of course, we all got along with our brothers and sisters. (I heard that comment.)

Paul is giving Timothy some advice about how to treat various kinds of people in the church, not showing partiality (verse 21). The church is a family. Since Timothy was a younger man, he might ignore or slight the older members, so Paul encouraged him to love and serve all ages of people.

Do I show partiality to people my age and slight the older and younger ones? More importantly, do they feel like I do?


Paul says to treat the older members like your father and mother, and the younger ones like your brothers and sisters.
First, Paul address treatment of the older men. Rebuke not is the phrase he used. This is the only place it occurs in the New Testament.
Rebuke means to chastise with words, to chide, upbraid. (Thayer's Lexicon)
It describes a verbal pounding. Such treatment would show no appreciation for age. (Shepherd's Notes)
So an older sinning believer is to be shown respect by not being addressed with harsh words (2 Tim. 2:24-25). Here, the older men is referred to in generallity, not the office of an elder. Even as one is correcting an older man, he is to be honored, respected (Lev. 19:32). They should not be rebuked with harsh words, but entreated as a family member.

Entreat means admonish, exhort. In Greek, parakletos, refers to coming alongside someone to help. Exhort relates to the title of the Holy Spirit. We are to strengthen our fellow believers in the same way the Scripture and the Holy Spirit do.

The second group Paul talks about is the young men. They are to be talked to as brothers.

The third  group was the older women to be treated as mothers.

The fourth group was the younger women to be treated as sisters, both with purity.
Purity means sinless of life.
God's servants must be so discreet. Any impropriety (especially with women) can and has ruined many a pastor's ministry. Impropriety is an improper action. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
Abstain from all appearance of evil says 1 Thessalonians 5:22.


Treat others in my church family as my family members.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

For the Sake of Progress

1 Timothy 4-Part 7
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1 Timothy 4:15

Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. (NLT)


They say it's for the sake of progress that things happen. A big chain store comes into our small community, resulting in a local store closing. Is that progress? What has been achieved by it? Is it progress for an airport to buy up land from local farmers in order to better serve the community? Now we hear planes going over at all hours, on my country road. It's progress for us to have a 4-lane highway connecting our small towns. Maybe it's for convenience for truckers of a large chain of stores. Well, lest I sound like I'm against progress, I'm not. Items are cheaper to buy; it's closer to the airport; it's faster driving on the bigger highway (passing semi trucks).
There are advantages to "progress." (Just let it happen to someone else's small town.) Sound familiar?

Do I want my life to show evidience of progress toward Christlikeness? Yes, but how does it happen? Paul tells Timothy here in this chapter 4.

Meditate means " to care for," according to Thayer's Lexicon. Paul wants Timothy to care for these things he has said previously. How important are they? He said for Timothy to give himself wholly, completely to them. Why? So everyone will see it.
"His progress toward Christlikeness will be evident to all," states MacArthur Bible Commentary.

Devote yourself fully to Christ. Timothy's spiritual life and ministry were to be the absorbing, controlling things in his life, not merely sidelines that he occasionally practiced. (Wiersbe)
"No man can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24).

Shall we reveiw what "these things" are?

*Live as a spiritual example of what a believer truly can be. (verses 7-12)
*Apply himself to reading, preaching, and teaching.(verse 13)
*Don't neglect the spiritual gift received. (verse 14)
*Be consistent in spiritual growth. (verse 15)


Verse 12b says, Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (NLT)

Verse 16 says in NLT, Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.

Every now and then I need to examine my own heart in light of God's Word. Also, when I do, be truthful. God knows all things anyway. Don't neglect my own spiritual walk while helping others.

"Moral problems, divorces, and other kinds of shameful conduct have destroyed many of God's servants," stated Wiersbe.
"Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall," says 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Am I a good servant, teaching the Word; a godly servant, practicing the Word; and a growing servant, progressing in the Word?


Study and apply the Word to my life.

Take spiritual inventory often.

What do I need to let go of so God can use me for His glory?


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dusty Dishes

1 Timothy 4-Part 6 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.   1 Timothy 4:14


Last December, I bought my daughter a set of beautiful dishes for serving dessert and refreshments at Christmas time. Because she lives so far away, shipping them to her was out of the question. (I don't want to risk  breakage.) Therefore, the dishes sit boxed in a tub, which is collecting dust in my storage building. They were not used last Christmas and won't be used again this year (unless she moves closer). My gift is not benefiting anyone, is it? So it can be with my spiritual gifts. If I neglect to use them in the church, my spiritual gifts are benefiting no one. Let's see what Paul tells Timothy about it.

"The word gift is the Greek word charisma. It simply means "a gracious gift from God." Every Christian has the gift of the Spirit (Rom. 8:9) and at least one gift from the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:11). The gift of the Spirit, and the gifts from the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) are bestowed by God at the moment of conversion
(1 Cor. 12:13). (Wiersbe's Be Faithful)

Timothy's gift was leadership with special emphasis on preaching and teaching. His gift was identified by a revelation from God and apostolic confirmation. (MacArthur)

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?


Liberty Bible Commentary states this:

There is a difference of opinion as to whether this (neglect not) meant stop neglecting or don't start neglecting the gift. An entrusted spiritual gift is not to be put under a bushel (Matt. 5:15) nor hid in the earth but put to use. Every Christian is gifted (1 Peter 4:10) and needs to heed this admonition.

In other words, Paul is saying, "Don't let your spiritual gift go to waste."

After spending a couple of years getting my health straightened out, I am now finally able to get back to teaching children at my church. We have children's church for the younger children and I began teaching them. I enjoy doing it and hopefully they will learn some basics of our faith.

Are we being faithful in serving the Lord and others with our spiritual gifts He has given us, or are they collecting dust as my dishes are?


What do I need to let go of so I will be faithful in using my spiritual gifts? Probably my time for prepartion
to teach God's Word.

Don't neglect using my gifts as the servant did in Matthew 25.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Squeezing Sponges

1 Timothy 4-Part 5
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 
1 Timothy 4:13 KJV

Until I come, give your attention to public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and teaching. NAS


It had been a while since I sat in my porch swing early in the morning, reading God's Word all alone. How refreshing it was, the coolness of the morning, listening to birds sing His continual praises. Usually, I begin in Psalm 1, but this day I began wigh Paslm 100-Make a joyful noice unto the Lord, all ye lands. How long has it been? My heart burst out joyful singing and giving of thanks. He is my Creator, Lord. He is good and His mercy is everlasting. His truth endureth to all generations. Yes, He is.
It is refreshing to get away from all the noice a household provides. Just to listen to His Spirit.

How many years, decades, have I spent listening to preaching in God's house? A few years as a child and a youth. Almost  40 as an adult; but there were years of straying away during that time.
And what did I learn sitting, listening to His Word?
Did It make a difference in my life? I think so. After all this time and hearing many pastors preach, I am still striving to remain faithful to my Lord Jesus. Am I like a sponge, absorbing God's Word?
How closely am I listening to the reading of God's Word? Now I take notes on what is being said.
Do I let His Spirit speak to my spirit through Scriptures? After all, He preserved His Word in order to speak and instruct me.
Lord Jesus, give me a hunger for Your Word. James 1:22 states, But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Jeremiah 9:20 says, Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord; open your ears to what He has to say.

Psalm 25:4-5 says, Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.

Psalm 86:11 says, Teach me thy way, O Lord, my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

Psalm 143:8 says, Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You.

I looked up the word listen in Young's Concordence and only found one verse in which it was used. Then I looked up the word hear and found 4 large pages listing the scriptures in which the word is used. So what's the difference in listening and hearing?
Webster's Dictionary defines listen as try to hear; give heed; be compliant. Hear means listen to; give attention to; be informed of; be told; learn by report. Stop. Paul disn't say listen or hear the Word. What did he say? Give attendance. What is that in today's words?

"Give attendance to" means "devote yourself to, be absorbed in." Ministering the Word was not something Timothy was to do after he had done other things; it was to be the most important thing he did. (Wiersbe)

How important is God's Word to me? How devoted am I to It? Am I absorbed in it?
Absorb means take in, engulf, according to Webster. A sponge comes to my mind when I read the word absorb. Am I only absorbing and not letting out the Word? Does God have to "put the squeese on me" before I let it out, teaching others? Guilty.

Word of God speak. Pour down like rain, washing my eyes to see, Your Majesty. To be still and know, that You're in this place. Please let me stay and rest in Your Holiness. Word of God speak. (Forgive me if I misquoted.)


These things were to be Timothy's constant practice, his way of life.

Reading refers to the custom of reading of Scripture in the church's worship service, followed by the exposition of the passage that had been read (Neh. 8:1-8; Luke 4:16-27). Remember, they didn't possess Bibles as we do nowdays. REading of the law and the Prophets was always in the Jewish synagogues. This practice carried over into Christian churches. Jesus read the Scriptures in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:16) and Paul often read the lessons when he visited a synagogue (Acts 13:15).

Exhoration challenges those who hear the Word to apply it in their daily lives. It may involve rebuke, warnig, encouragement, or comfort. It's the application of teaching. "It is the grounding in the truth for belief that affects behavior," is a quote from Liberty Bible Commentary. The pastor was to read the Word, explain it, and apply it.

Doctrine (teaching) refers to systematic instruction from the Word of God (Titus 1:9). It's the basis of Christian belief. "Experience" is quick and easily gotten, but doctrine takes time and a great deal of effort. Doctrinally weak believers are immature believers.
[References: MacArthur Bible Commentary, Liberty Bible Commentary, Be Faithful by W.W.Wiersbe]


Absorb the Word of God.

Apply the word of God to my life. Be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer only.

Remain faithful to the doctrines of the Bible.

Friday, September 2, 2011


1 Timothy 4-Part 4
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.    1 Timothy 4:12


My husband often says that life is wasted on youth. But who wants to go back to acne, peer pressure, or competition? Yes, I could have used some wisdom in my decisions I made as a young person, but would it have changed anything? If I had not married at 18 nor waited to enter college at 25, then I would not have my two children; I would not have become an elementary teacher; I would not have experienced God's provisions by moving away from family. So youth will be youth. I'm enjoying middle age. Well, maybe the top of the hill is around the next corner. Sometimes I need a hand to pull me up. Got one?
How important is age in the scope of things? If we are following God's leading, does it matter what age we are? Perhaps it does in the eyes of people. Wisdom comes through experience, age, so they say. Does age matter in God's perspective? I wonder.

Timothy had begun well in obeying God's commands. Paul desired that he continue in the path he had started in order to provide an example for others. Was Timothy a timid young man. It could hinder him from making a bold assertion of Christian truth. Paul warned Timothy to speak with authority. He wanted Timothy to teach these things (verse 11). (Shepherd's Notes)

This Greek culture placed great value on age and experience. Since Timothy was in his thirties, still young by the standards of that culture, he would have to earn respect by being a godly example. Because he had been with Paul since a young teenager, Timothy had much experience to mature him, so that looking down on him because he was under forty was inexcusable. (MacArthur Bible Commentary)

This is a great verse to give encouragement to youth serving the Lord. Today, I don't consider "youth" as being 30-40 years old. A person in their 20's is still  young to me, for they lack the experience that life gives. However, to the elders at Ephesus, Timothy was but a youth.

Do I find myself not listening to a young person simply because they are young? Hmm. Do I discern if they are led by the Lord? Do I look down on those younger than I am?


The wise youth will be an example of believers so as to earn the respect of his elders. Example (typos in Greek) is a pattern, type or model.
Thayer's Lexicon states an example is to be imitated: of men worthy of imitation.
Exercising ourselves in godly living is not only profitable for us, but for others. It enables us to be good examples so we encourage others.

Paul named six areas of life in which Timothy was to be an example to the church:

* in word-Our speech should always be honest and loving; speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15);
                 Matt. 12:34-37; Eph 4:25, 29, 31;

* in conversation-conduct, behavior,  righteous living; walk not talk, suggests that our lives are to be
                              controlled by the Word of God. (Titus 2:10; 1 Peter 1:15, 2:12, 3:16)

* in charity-love points to the motivation of our lives. Because we love God, we love people. Love in a self-
                    sacrificial service for others (John 15:13)

*in spirit-the inner enthusiasm and excitement of a child of God.

*in faith-trusting God and being faithful to Him, committed (1 Cor. 4:2). Faith always leads to faithfulness.

*in purity-staying pure in mind, heart, and body; pure in motives and actions; especially sexual purity.

[Resources: Liberty Bible Commentary, MacArthur Bible Commentary, Wiersbe's Be Faithful]

Godly living not only helps us and other believers, it influences the lost. However, it isn't enough to live a godly life before the lost, but we must also share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, explaining salvation.

Am I living by God's standards?


Listen to what youth have to say.

Be an example in my words and  life.

Let love, faith, and purity be found in me.