1 Timothy 1:1- 11 Part 1

There are so many lessons (or messages) we can learn (or receive) from the Scriptures. Often there are many within the same passage. And it’s really amazing, as you grow in relationship with the LORD,  and reread Scriptures you’ve read many times before, to see how new lessons emerge as you mature in your faith.

In this passage from Paul’s first letter to Timothy, who was leading the church at Ephesus at the time, the first message I am receiving is that we have to be so very, very careful to pay attention to what Scripture says, and ONLY what Scripture says. It is so easy to fall into error if we are not paying attention, studying and knowing the Scriptures, and growing in relationship with God.

At the time Paul wrote, there was a problem brewing within the Ephesian church. Paul warned against it when he was there on his third missionary journey. Luke even wrote about it in Acts. First Paul instructs the elders to, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood,” (Acts 20:28). Though this message is directed to the overseers of the Ephesian church, overseers being primarily the leaders of the church, pastors and ministers, remember that we, as believers, are ALL ministers of the Faith so it’s important for us ALL to pay careful attention to ourselves. In Acts 20:30, Paul warns, “from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” In other words, other believers (from among your own selves), who are not keeping keeping careful watch, will twist the Word and draw people away into error.

It’s so VERY important for us to be in the Word, to know the Word, so that when someone twists the Word, we know it, and we can speak against the error. (Notice I said to speak against the error, not against the speaker). This makes me think about the U.S. Treasury department and the agents that are trained to spot counterfeit money. Throughout their entire, very extensive training, they never, yes, I said NEVER, look at counterfeit bills. They only look at the real deal. They get so intimately familiar with the real bills that they can see differences in an instant.

So, dig into the Word, grow your relationship with God, and get so intimately familiar with Scripture that you see any differences in an instant. Like the Bereans, test everything said, even from the pulpit, searching the Scriptures to be sure it’s right. Even “from among your own selves” can come error. In other words, don’t just assume that everything preached from a pulpit, or spoken to you by someone in authority, is correct. Search it out for yourself. Ask Holy Spirit to guide you. And remember to look at the whole context and meaning of the original writers. Single verses, or parts of verses, can be twisted to mean whatever we want. Look to see what the author meant, and again, listen for the voice of Holy Spirit in all your study.

This week’s Scripture memory verse is Acts 17:11:
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

Day 8: Gen 16- 17 Psalm 8 Matt 10
Day 9: Gen 18- 19 Psalm 9 Matt 11
Day 10: Gen 20- 21 Psalm 10 Matt 12
Day 11: Gen 22- 23 Psalm 11 Matt 13
Day 12: Gen 24 Psalm 12 Matt 14
Day 13: Gen 25- 26 Psalm 13 Matt 15
Day 14: Gen 27 Psalm 14 Matt 16- 17

The Weekend of Mixed Emotions

My apologies. This post was written on Memorial Day, but I was unwell and not able to get my tablet to a wifi area until today. Hope you all had a good, thoughtful and thankful day.

Welcome to Memorial Day, a day of picnicking and fun, frolicking in the beautiful spring weather. But is that what this holiday is all about?

I pray that you all spent at least a short period of time contemplating those who gave their very lives to give you the freedom to enjoy this day. I find it interesting that even those who oppose war, think that it’s wrong and so very horrific (and it is, don’t get me wrong), don’t seem to care that if these fine young men and women had not been willing to sacrifice for us all, we would not be in a position to enjoy the day like this.

In the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus tells us that both a priest and a Levite pass by a man seriously injured by robbers and left laying in the road. It is the Samaritan, the one thought to be less than the Jews because they were of mixed heritage, who cared for the man, tended his wounds and paid for a place for him to rest and recuperate. He is one who took care of his neighbor, his fellow human being. I don’t care about your politics, how you may feel about our government, the individuals in office, their motives for what they do, whether what they do is legal or illegal, when it comes down to it, the United States cares for neighbors all over the world.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if Hitler had won World War II? I can’t. It hurts my brain to even try. Did we delay until it got personal? Perhaps. Did the entire world ignore the plight of the Jews in the Nazi death camps? Yeah, pretty much. I don’t know for sure, but I believe it’s against the nature of most to believe that such horrible things can really be conceived of and perpetrated upon fellow human beings. We don’t want to think the worst of our brothers and sisters until the truth of it comes up and smacks us upside the head. And whether you agree or not, it is against this general backdrop that the U.S. gets involved in conflicts around the world. As a country we are pretty much in a damned if we do and damned if we don’t situation. If we get involved, we’re meddling, and if we don’t, we are allowing innocent people to be persecuted, sometimes to the point of near extinction.

So, this forms the base of my weekend of mixed emotions. Add to it the military tradition of my family, a relative in every war fought by the U.S., even to the point of wars that were before the U.S. existed, (yes, back tot the French-Indian war), the nearer history of Grand-Uncle Everette who was a POW in Burma during WW II, my brother who passed away 7 years ago due to complications that stemmed from a disease attributed to Agent Orange, inflicted in Vietnam, the upcoming retirement of my nephew from 20+ years of service to the United States Marine Corps, and a wonderful time of fellowship with a newly formed small group from my church at Cantingy, a wonderful place of recreation and education at the First Division Museum. Oh, and yesterday would have been my parents 65th wedding anniversary were they still alive.

I have a tough time every year on Memorial Day weekend. I’ve always considered myself a war mongering peacenik. I tried, multiple times, to join the military, only to be rejected due to hearing loss. Finally, I simply minored in Military Science when I went to college. I got some of the training, but did not get to serve. And yet, there is a part of me, grown stronger since I came to know and love Jesus, that does not understand how we can allow ourselves to be driven to kill for the sake of land, or gold, or oil. Part of me says that it’s okay in order to save another, as Jesus did, or to liberate the Nazi death camps. And yet, God says, “Thou shalt not kill,” and that we should turn the other cheek, or go two miles when only one is demanded of us. Men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr died adhering to their non-violent ways. So how do we justify a nearly non-stop history of war? And my family’s been involved in them all.

So this is my weekend of pride in a family history that has protected this country’s freedom from the very beginning, thankfulness for those fought and died to keep me free, and massive confusion, wondering if it’s right to be proud. (I know it’s right to be thankful. THAT is not an issue!!)

Thank you to all who fought for my freedom and the freedom of so many others around the world. Thank you especially to those who paid the supreme price. You are not forgotten.

Learning More Every Day

I knew there had to be a way. And I finally figured it out. Now I don’t have to worry about how to get content off of the tablet word processor and into some form, place, format, someTHING to get it to post online. I knew there had to be a way to write right in WordPress in an offline mode, and today I found it. Unfortunately, that is one of the benefits of being sick. There’s actually time to figure out things that you don’t normally have the time to work through. So now, I have no excuse for not posting. I can write whenever I want, and then post when I get to a wifi area.

I love being inn learning mode, even when I’m not sick. Hmmmmm. That doesn’t sound quite right, but I think you know what I mean. I just love learning. I always have. It’s a great, cheap thrill when I get that “AH HA! moment.” There’s a special satisfaction that comes when you finally figure out something that you’ve been trying to figure out for quite some time. Or the general pleasure that comes from the continuous learning mode of taking a class. It’s all good. I love it all.

And I’ve been in learning mode again as I’ve moved on to my next class at Berean School of the Bible. This class is an overview of the life of Christ as written about in the synoptic gospels. (The synoptic gospels are Matthew, Mark and Luke. Though they are written to different audiences, they are similar in the way they are written, detailing the things Jesus did. John is a bit different, dealing more with theology. John wrote later, from his exile on the island of Patmos, having more time to reflect over the events of his time spent with Jesus.) I’ve been praying about a topic to write about here, to again fulfill my class requirement. So far there has been no specific theme recommend itself like there was for Old Testament Survey. But there’s been so much to learn. Jesus said and did so much. It’s really amazing. John even says at the end of his gospel, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 ESV).

That is such an awesome thought, a world full of books! It makes me think of an old Twilight Zone episode. Burgess Meredith plays a meek banker who loves to read. He’s reading all the time. His wife bullies him, his boss and co-workers bully him, everyone makes fun of him for reading so much. One day he goes to the bank’s vault to read during his lunch break. While he’s in there, the then feared atomic war happens, but he’s protected by the vault. He comes out to a completely devastated world. He wanders aimlessly through the rubble until he happens upon the library. Books upon books upon book, and no one left around to bully or disturb his reading. With glee, he starts lining the books up on the steps of the library, stacking them up in anticipation of uninterrupted reading. He sits, leans forward to pick up the first book, and his glasses fall off, hit the ground and break. The final scene is him sitting there crying, muttering, “It’s not fair. It’s not fair.”