“4 Ways to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life” October 31

 

4 Ways to Make a Difference in Someone's Life - The world is full of people who are caught in patterns of sin, who are without hope, who have been hurt or disappointed by others, or who are spiritually deluded. How can we make a difference in the lives of others? Our New Testament passage show us 4 ways.The world is full of people who are caught in patterns of sin, who are without hope, who have been hurt or disappointed by others, or who are spiritually deluded. How can we make a difference in the lives of others? Our New Testament passage show us 4 ways.

Today many call evil good and good evil. So many things that are advocated today would have seemed totally illogical 10 years ago. It makes us wonder how people don’t see the truth. But it’s not just unbelievers who can become deluded. How can we avoid spiritual delusion in our own lives.

Also read about overcoming evil and the only One who is “hope worthy.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 47 & 48
Psalm 119:113-120
Proverbs 28:5
2 Timothy 4:1-22

 

4 Ways to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life

 

2 Timothy 4.1-22:

Be Ready

Verse 2:

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

The world is full of people who are caught in patterns of sin, who are without hope, who have been hurt or disappointed by others, or who are spiritually deluded. How can we make a difference in the lives of others? Here are just 4 ways:

  • “Preach the Word!” We are to be prepared to share the gospel at all times, whether or not it is convenient, whether or not there is a personal cost, and whether or not our words are accepted. This isn’t just for those in full time ministry. It’s for each one of us (Matt. 28.19-20).
  • “Convince.” We are to do so lovingly and patiently without arguing or getting upset (2 Tim. 2:23-26).
  • “Rebuke.” At other times we must rebuke, especially with a sinning brother or sister in Christ. But again we are to do so lovingly and gently, looking first at our own lives (Gal. 6:1-2).
  • “Exhort.” We are to encourage others to act on their faith and when they do, encourage them to keep going.

Is there someone in your life to whom you have been unwilling to speak truth or to share your faith out of fear or insecurity? Remember, it’s not about us. We can’t save anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. We just need to be obedient.

Is there someone caught in a web of sin that you need to lovingly and gently reprove or rebuke? Maybe you’ve thought, “Who am I to judge? I’m far from perfect!” While that’s true and we aren’t to come across self-righteously (Gal. 6.1-2), it’s not an excuse to disobey God. Proverbs 27.6:

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

When faced with a difficult situation, I sometimes start out, “I’m not talking to you because I’ve always done it right. In fact, just the opposite!” Then I might share a little of my own testimony.

Is there someone you need to encourage to step out in faith, act on what they believe, or stay the course? Do you know someone who is not using his or her gifts and abilities? Encourage them to take the first step. That might mean getting more education or being a helper in some ministry.

Or maybe they need to step out and grow more spiritually by joining a small group or attending a Bible study. Maybe they need a mentor to walk alongside them, read the Bible with them, or study a book together.

Or is there a single mom who faithfully brings her children to church after a long week of work? Or a single dad struggling to raise girls? Or a student who serves God instead of doing what everyone else seems to be doing? Let them know that you notice.

Preach the Word! Convince, rebuke, encourage … make a difference in someone’s life!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 47 & 48:

Overcoming Evil

In these two chapters the Lord speaks to the Philistines and the Moabites and warns them of coming judgment. Even though God would first use these and other heathen nations as instruments of judgment against the nation of Israel, He would also judge them.

Sometimes, in God’s sovereignty, He allows people in our lives to sin against us, too, because He knows He can use it to grow us and help us to become more like Christ.

Romans 8.28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

When it happens, we are to respond with love and forgiveness and to trust Him to deal with them appropriately. Continue reading

“Chafing Against the Bible’s Teaching on Women” October 23

 

the Bible's teaching on women“If you’ve got it, flaunt it!” We’ve all heard that saying, but this time it came from a sister in Christ sitting in my counseling office. As we continued to talk about the role of women, this time about submission, she said, “I’m an educated woman! Why should I submit to him?” Since then I’ve heard even worse, but I’ve never forgotten how saddened I was by her statement and the awareness of how much feminism had infiltrated the church of the Living God.

But the truth is, many of us, though we want to live godly lives, chafe against some of the Bible’s teaching on women or passages on modesty or authority. We’re too often tempted to think, “That’s not fair!” or question why God would give us certain commands. So how are we to understand these things?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 31 & 32
Psalm 119.49-56
Proverbs 27.20
1 Timothy 2.1-15

 

Chafing against the Bible’s Teaching on Women

 

On Women Teaching, Modesty & Pearls

Verses 9-15:

9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

I once overheard a conversation between two women at church discussing their Sunday school lesson on the role of the wife and submission. One of them said about their teacher, “I think he actually believes that stuff!”

Ladies, even though we might laugh about a conversation like that, we often struggle to understand and accept God’s Word in some of these areas. We’re a little like the king and the princes Jeremiah encountered (see our O.T. reading). Sometimes we don’t want to believe or accept God’s Word as being true or fair. We would rather lock up the prophet (Jer. 32.2) or cut that part of the scroll off and throw it into the fire (Jer. 36.20-26), at least in practice.

So how can we begin to understand, and more importantly embrace, a passage like this? I believe we need to start with some basic truths about God, His Word, and His character.

Jeremiah 29.11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Psalm 119.68 says, speaking of God, “You are good, and do good …”

And Galatians 3.28-29 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

But we must also realize that God is God! He is the all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful Creator of the Universe and everything in it, including us, and He gets to make the rules!

But if He is good—all the time—and if He loves us and calls us heirs along with men, (so much so that He tells our husbands in 1 Peter 3.7 that their prayers will be hindered if they don’t treat us as such), what does this passage mean?

First, God said to all of us, men and women, to be sure that everything we do points to Him and gives Him glory.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (2 Cor. 10.31).

 

Modesty, Gold & Braided Hair

braided hairSo let’s break down our 1 Timothy passage, beginning with “that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.” The word “adorn” here means to arrange. So, we should arrange ourselves so that our clothing and manner is modest and respectful. That doesn’t mean we must look drab or unattractive.

“… not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” In the time period in which Paul was writing women would weave gold and other jewelry into their hair in order to attract attention to themselves. Others would wear expensive clothing to show off their wealth. It wasn’t the specific hairstyle or the fact that the clothing was expensive, it was the attitude of the heart Paul was addressing.

Today we might say, “… not with tattoos or designer clothing …” Again, not legalistically saying tattoos or designer clothing are sinful, but what is the attitude of the heart? Where is the tattoo and to what is it designed to draw attention?  Continue reading