Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I know it's been a while .... :)

It’s been wild and crazy here.  I have been keeping caught up with the reading, but have not had the time to sit and write devotionals.  :)

Today, though, let’s briefly look at I Timothy 6:11:

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.  Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (ESV)

Who is the “man of God?”  Paul is speaking to his protege Timothy.  Matthew Henry says this passage refers to Ministers (with a capital “M”).  John Wesley, in his commentary of the Bible, states this also applies to “a man devoted to God.”  For our purposes, we are assuming this applies to any who are “devoted to God”...including you and me!

Now, let’s briefly look at the “things” the “man of God” is to “flee?”  Look at verses 3 through 10 and see that it includes doctrine not based on the teachings of Jesus, conceit, unhealthy craving for controversy and quarrels about words, envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, constant friction among people, and the love of money. 

What should be pursued (“to seek eagerly”) in place of these things? 

righteousness - the condition acceptable to God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting

godliness - reverence, respect, piety toward God

faith - conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God; the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ;  a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God

love - affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love
steadfastness - constancy, endurance, the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings, a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance
gentleness -  mildness, meekness

So - how do we pursue all of these things in our everyday lives?  (Comments, as always, are warmly welcomed!)

(Definitions are from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weapons of our Warfare - 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”  (NASB)

Let’s do a short word study.  Here are some excerpts from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (for the NASB):

Walk: to make one’s way, progress; behave; conduct ourselves 

Flesh:  of natural or physical origin, generation, or relationship; the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin; the physical nature of man as subject to suffering; denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God

War: to make a military expedition, to lead soldiers to war or to battle, (spoken of a commander); to do military duty, to be on active service, be a soldier; to fight

According:  through out; according to;

Weapons:  any tool or implement for preparing a thing; arms used in warfare; an instrument;

Warfare:  an expedition, campaign, military service, fight; metaphorically, the difficulties that oppose [Paul] in the discharge of apostolic duties

Divinely:  spoken of the only and true God;  refers to the things of God; His counsels, interests, things due to Him; whatever can in any respect be likened unto God, or resemble Him in any way; 

Powerful: able, powerful, mighty, strong

Destruction:  demolition, destroying, tearing down

Fortresses: castle, stronghold, fortress, fastness; anything on which one relies; of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent

We are human beings in a spiritual battle, and we have spiritual weapons for fighting this battle - divinely powerful weapons - that are capable of destroying strongholds and addictions (“anything on which one relies”).  So why do we live as if we are in captivity?????  

What weapons do we have available to us in this war?  Let’s make a list in the comments section:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Freedom in Surrender - I Corinthians 9

Paul begins chapter 9 by saying “Am I not free?”  He then gives a discourse on the rights available to him based on his station in life.  He is a free man (not a slave of another man) and an apostle (it could easily be inferred that he is also referring to his status as a Jew and also as a Rabbinical Scholar...).  

After reminding the Corinthians of who he is and what rights are available to him, Paul says that he has not claimed these rights, but he and Barnabas (his ministry partner at the time) “endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ” (v.12).  He then says in verses 19 and 22-23:

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them...I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 

Paul recognizes the rights he has, but he freely and willingly sets them aside, enduring MUCH hardship and suffering, for the sake of sharing the gospel with the lost.  He gave up his reputation and comfortable lifestyle, and traded it for beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecks, and scorn and derision from his former peers.  All of this he willingly faced, so that he might be an instrument in spreading the gospel to the Gentiles.  All of this for people he didn’t even KNOW.  

Talk about stepping outside of one’s comfort zone!  Are we willing to step that far out for the sake of the lost?  Or are we going to turn our faces and ignore the fact that people all around us are dying and going to Hell?

All that Paul gave up in order to share the gospel with others he could give up willingly because he realized that there is more than what we see and experience right now.  He surrendered his rights to walk in the freedom of abiding in Christ, because following God’s will, being a part of His Kingdom, leading “the life the Lord has assigned” (7:17), brings a freedom unimaginable unless you’ve experienced it.

Seek Him, sisters!  Seek His assignment for your life, seek His calling, and walk confidently in Him as you fulfill the purpose He has for you.  There is no greater freedom than surrendering to His perfect will!