QTVOTD: Overseer qualities -> Part 3

“…not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.” 1 Timothy 3:3 -> me: Today we tackle verse 3.  For this post I am just going to jot in here my stream of conscientiousness. 

1) Not given to drunkenness – For this person, drinking never leads to being drunk.  They never desire to be drunk.  Not only alcohol, they also never allow themselves to be controlled by any substance as a vice.  The Lord alone is their refuge/retreat.

2) Not violent, but GENTLE – Does not lash out irrationally.  This person has an intolerance with any violent method.  They have a spirit that is opposed to the escalation of emotions. GENTLE – A spirit of nurturing and seeks peace in all situations.  A calming presence. 

3) Not quarrelsome – Is not baited by controversy (does not feel like every post on Facebook needs an opinionated response).  Affirms truth, but in love and with grace.  Again, a calming nature that does not put themselves in situations that play into the hands of agitators…let alone never being an agitator themselves. 

4) Not a lover of money – Money is about acquisition of things or power; its about the enablement of self-sufficiency.  This person is not motivated by wealth and is not disposed to the building of storehouses.  What this person obtains, easily slips through their hands when a need arises and that person is always prayerfully looking for the needy places that their money can go to further the glorification of God, not themselves. 

All of the negatives listed in this verse should not only be alien to the Christian spirit; they should be ACTIVELY avoided.  A spirit should be fostered that points to considerateness and patient forbearance.

QTVOTD: Overseer qualities -> Part 2

“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,” 1 Timothy 3:2 -> me:  Well, I have decided to camp out a bit here in the first 7 verses of 1 Timothy 3.  As an elder candidate (in training) I think it is good if I take the time to let these verses sink in and expound on my understanding of them to my accountability group….YOU! 

Let’s start with ‘Above Reproach’ – A person who is not only of good report but also deservingly so.  This means that even if an action or activity is allowed, if the partaking in that activity can be suspect or interpreted negatively, this individual avoids it or executes it in such a way that their stance and intent is clear.  This also means that the private version of this person matches the public version.  It means that the uprightness of the individual permeates into and through their character; not for pleasing men, but to be who God desires them to be in their conversion and grafting into God’s family and inheritance. 

‘Husband of one wife’ – There is some disagreement on what this is pointing at 1) One woman through one marriage – that a person who has been married twice to 2 different women would be disqualified.  2) That polygamy is forbidden in the Christian church and men of monogamous marriages only.  I side with the later and here is why: The Greek word used here is gune (long e) which is used for woman, wife, or even ‘my lady’.  However, when the word for husband precedes it, it appears to refer to ‘wife’ specifically.  So, from my perspective and ‘light’ study, Paul likely means ‘wife’ and not the other definition ‘woman’; which brings in the one wife in a marriage. 

‘Temperate, Self-Control, and Respectable’ – These belong together because they are all closely related -> They describe an orderly life.  Temperate is only used in the Pastorals and denotes an even approach to all situations. Doesn’t get riled up easily and is not complacent.  Self-Control also means prudent and of sound mind.  This person is not easily swayed back and forth in their thinking.  They have a gauged approach to problem solving and maintain a healthy internal dialog that keeps them upright in their thinking.  Respectable also means ‘proper’.  This attribute brings a character that is dignified.  A perception managed by the bearer that supports the aspect of being above reproach. 

‘Hospitable’ – Someone who not only accepts and takes in all, but also  fights for the feeling of all to be welcomed and at home in their church, in the overseer’s home, or in their sphere. 

Finally, ‘Able to Teach’ – I would go further to say that an overseer must be so acquainted with the word of God that they can instruct and re-align the flock.  This really comes down to Guarding, Guiding, and Growing the church body.

QTVOTD: Overseer qualities -> Part 1

“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:4-5 -> me: Today’s reading was 1 Timothy 3:1-7 [Paul’s instruction on the character of an Overseer (Pastor, Elder, Minister, etc.)]. 

The first thing Paul says is that ‘If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task’ (vs. 1).  When Marianne and I were called on by our Pastor to pray about entering into the church’s eldership candidate program, I was very humbled and spent a lot of time reading all I could about Biblical Eldership.  I didn’t necessarily ‘desire’ to be a church elder but what I did desire was to serve my Creator with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength; to glorify Him.  Here are my thoughts on this ‘desire’: The desire comes from a call.  The desire is pure in the action of being a servant to the Lord; only wishing to be used by God (as an apparatus) to Guide, Guard, and Grow the flock.  Therefore, glorifying God in every action, intent, and motivation.  There is no possible way of doing this effectively without embracing God’s strength and wisdom that only He can give; embracing through dwelling on God’s word day and night and seeking His will and purposes for His church. 

So, if you overcome that hurdle, there is another big one -> A man who cannot govern his children graciously and with good discipline, is no man for government in the church.  Potential in a greater sphere can be indicated only by a similar skill in a lesser sphere.  This is just as important today as it was in Paul’s day.  These words do not apply to just overseers; they apply to all professing Christians.  More simply stated: Lack of proper management at home-life disqualifies a person from leadership in the church.  Paul uses the same Greek verb for fathers ruling their children (prohistemi) that he used later for elders ruling the church -> 1 Timothy 5:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, and Romans 12:8.

QTVOTD: Are you distracted/a distraction?

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:8-10 -> me: Today my reading was 1 Timothy 2:8-15.  For some people, this passage is very hard to read as it goes against everything our society and culture is trying to tell us right now.  For Timothy this part of Paul’s letter spoke right to the heart of what he was dealing with in Ephesus.  For us, in 2020, it has relevance as well.  Let me focus on what the Lord has been revealing to me as I have pondered this passage over the last couple of days.  The nitty gritty of what Paul is getting at is distractions.  Distractions from the power of the gospel and the power of the Christian witness to not only those inside the church but outside as well.  Paul starts out this section with “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling”.  Then he says a very important word -> ‘likewise’.  It is about focus (lowering the distractions around us) so that we can give all of our attention to the only One that matters – our Father in heaven through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Men are to lift holy hands without anger or quarreling and women are to not be distracted by focusing on their own appearance.  I also feel that another phrase from Paul is super important about his direction to women that we can all take away – “with modesty and self-control…with what is proper for women who profess godliness”.  What is proper for women who profess godliness?  It is the intentions of focus of the new creature they have become in the Lord.  What is proper becomes clear when we understand the role we have here on earth in light of a gospel that must get out before the end of the age comes.  Proper becomes clear when we throw away our wants and desires of the fleeting world in order to focus on the example and hope that is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Uber point -> Don’t be distraction (to yourself or others) in your worship of the One Who gave Himself for you, the One Who purchased you with the ultimate price.

Marianne’s Notes: Patience…

I am stuck.  I’m reading (powerful stuff too!) but I’m not “hearing”.  My heart isn’t stirred, convicted, or impressed by what ‘m reading.  So I take my que from David and I “wait patiently for my God.”  He is here; I am here.  He loves me; I love Him.  He has plans for me; I want to follow His plans.  So I wait in expectant faith…meditating on His word until He calls after me.  I’ve been continually brought back to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

LOVE is patient: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

synonyms:  forbearing · uncomplaining · tolerant · long-suffering · resigned · composed · serene · even-tempered · tranquil · accommodating · understanding · considerate · persevering · persistent · tenacious · diligent · · resolved · resolute · single-minded · purposeful

Being patient with others, patient with myself, patient with God is love and loving.  Patience requires me to serve others with endurance from a posture of humility.  Patience requires me to not consider myself greater than I am, but to consider others greater than myself.  Patience requires me to not consider myself God, rather to recognize that God is God and my trust/obedience/faith are in Him/His timing/His ways and He “owes” me nothing. 

This is my mediation today…Love is patient, Lord show me this is deeper and more full ways today. 

QTVOTD: My holy place of prayer is anywhere…

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” 1 Timothy 2:8 -> me: Today’s passage was 1 Timothy 2:1-8.  Paul really moves into the meat of this epistle to instruct Timothy in ways of Pastoral-ship.  He starts with the importance that we should pray for everyone.  The wide the subjects of our prayer time the larger our vision becomes.  He then tells Timothy to pray for leaders and people in places of influence.  It is easy for us to leave out city, state, national, and world leaders in our prayer life but Paul tells us that praying for these can bring peaceable living and an undisturbed life…well, that is definitely not what we have now but praying for our leaders is no less important as it is a way that we Christians can have a part in the movement of God’s hand across a nation and world.  As we pray we develop godliness, reverence, and seriousness (holiness) and in stressful times like now these can be intensified.  Ultimately our goal as Christians, in fellowship with Christ, is to do things that please God – in our prayer, worship, and service…not to earn our salvation or God’s love (not possible) but to put a smile on His face when He looks in our direction and sees His Son’s reflection in ours.  The holy place of prayer is anywhere we are as long as we have the right attitude of mind, pure actions, and pure motives; these are essential in Christian worship. 

Marianne’s Notes: Jonah 4

Wrapped up Jonah today…Chapter 4 is full of lessons for us as Christ followers!  Once Jonah saw the tenderness of God towards the repentant Ninevites he was angry.  He told God, “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish!  I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  You are eager to turn back from destroying people.  Just kill me now, Lord, I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”  God answers with a simple convicting question, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”  God doesn’t tell Jonah all the reason he is wrong or pull the “I’m God” card…He gently asks is it right for you to be angry?  Sometimes God is at work (perhaps in our country right now) but we are so blinded by our own experiences and expectations of “justice” that when God acts mercifully to save and to restore we are bitter and resentful yet it’s the gift He gave us to which we are deeply thankful for.  Self-righteousness comes when we forget we are equal sinners to those we hate or despise.  I am them.  I am one of them.  I am called to serve them not ask for God to wipe them off the face of the earth by quoting some scripture.  God’s always for preserving life.  Always.  Why?  Because it’s a chance at redemption! We all deserve death but we were given a chance at redemption!  God sent Jesus to give “all men” a chance at redemption.  Who am I not to grieve if that chance is lost for another?!  I believe this is the heart I must have in order to truly “weep with those who weep” and to come bearing HOPE in order to “bind up the brokenhearted.”  Jonah missed this completely.  This also shows me that sometimes I miss God’s greater story in my life.  I can be used by God in a miraculous way and because of my own heart miss the miracle.  Jonah left to pout; God grew a plant outside his shelter to keep him shaded and to bring him relief from the blazing sun.  Jonah was relieved.  The next morning God sent a worm to eat through its root and the plant died.  God sent a scorching sun which left Jonah so hot “death is certainly better than living like this!”  God asks him again “is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”  Jonah misses the point again and says, “Yes, even angry enough to die!”  The final recorded word to Jonah from God was “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there.  It came quickly and died quickly.  But in Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals.  Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”  This is the perspective of God…we cry over endangered forests but not endangered babies.  We don’t weep or rejoice fully at the work that God is doing when we “don’t agree” with the principle of the people being saved.  For example, I’m hearing amazing reports from believers who are doing baptisms inside CHOP…we should be REJOICING at this news!!  Salvations!! Changed lives!!  But because we don’t “agree” with the destruction, their method of occupying, and their ideology we complain to God about “not doing something” to fix this issue.  He IS doing something!  He’s doing something through people who are looking past the pouting and offering to serve them in love then with the truth of the gospel.  Which side will we be on?  Which side will I be on?  Marianne you have been crucified.  You are Christs…do HIS work, not your own…He has plans of redemption here.

QTVOTD: Faith and Good Conscience go hand in hand…

“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith” 1 Timothy 1:18-19 -> me: My reading today was only 3 verses ending chapter one of 1 Timothy.  I became caught up primarily in Paul’s use of ‘shipwrecked’ as a way our faith is impacted when we ignore or reject a good conscience.  In order for us to ‘wage good warfare’, faith and morals are inseparably linked and epitomize the spiritual side of the Christian warrior’s armor.  The Greek verb used for ‘reject’ verse 19 is a strong one meaning a violent and deliberate rejection.  The nautical imagery is interesting in that a ship usually has everything we need in it for our voyage but if we ignore the charts and essentially do what we want against our conscience, we become unstable and prone to ground ourselves or break up on the rocks.  We become stuck in an unwanted place and we miss achieving our intended destination.  Dictionary: CONSCIENCE -> an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.  This plays out in that fellow Christian who has deliberately chosen to entertain an enslaving sin, or reject the prodding of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  We see their faith consistent bashing into the rocks of doubt, confusion, or progressive unbiblical movements.  Ignoring a good conscience can be an open door to falling subject to false teaching.  Paul ends this passage with the calling out of 2 individuals (Hymenaeus and Alexander) who have been ‘handed over to satan that they may learn not to blaspheme”. Because Paul used the word ‘learn’ here it means that the handing over is meant to win them back into church through reconciliation as they learn their lesson through the reaping of the desires of their flesh. 

QTVOTD: Grace, grace, grace, grace….

“…formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:13-14 -> me: Today my passage of study was 1 Timothy 1:12-17. These 2 verses above stood out to me for a couple of reasons. 1) The reflections of Paul on Christ’s enabling power only magnified his own sense of unworthiness. 2) God recognized in Saul of Tarsus a servant of mighty potential once he was enlightened. 3) Grace is an operative and formative force dominating both thought and action. 4) Grace is super-abundant in its ability to overwhelm any sin that has come or will be. I have felt this continual unveiling of my sin the closer I get to my Savior that Paul talks about. I have come to pray for it now; asking that the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, would reveal my tendencies toward sin so that I might act against it in His strength giving power. Acceptance of grace with just a simple faith leads to a life abiding in Jesus Christ where we receive an ability to love and grow our faith. This in turn becomes the evidence of that grace that started it all. I must allow myself to stay in this cyclical place – a vortex of peace, clear conscience, and hope to be with my Savior in heaven forever. What a gift God has given us in the ability to taste a little of heaven right here on earth in the here-and-now.

A small figure to capture my thinking.

QTVOTD: How do I use the Law the right way?

“…the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,” 1 Timothy 1:9-10 -> me: Today my reading was 1 Timothy 1:8-11.  Paul is laying out the purposes of the law for the two classes of people.  1) Those who are in fellowship with Christ Jesus through the acceptance of Him through faith that He died on the cross to pay for all our sin.  2) Those who are rebellious against God and others.  God created the Law before Jesus as way to give His children a way of identifying their sin.  In fact that law served as a way to hold sinners captive to a judgement they were due because of their willingness to sin.  In verse 8 Paul says ‘Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully’.  What the heck does that mean??!!??  I have spent quite a bit of time today researching this through scripture and the help of scholars and I believe I now have a good grasp.  Rather than talk about what the Law does for the non-believer lets talk about what we as Christians should do with the law.  In Romans 3 Paul says “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” and then he says “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law”.  So what do we do if the Law is good but we should no longer be slave to the Law?  It means that the Law is no longer our means of justification.  That justification comes through faith in Christ alone.  So my focus, my whole being, should be to look first to Him for my salvation and justification…at the same time, the way I can use the law for the right purpose is to dwell on it (like it says in my life verses in Psalms 1:2) as a way to remember what Jesus has done for me.  I cannot use the law to win my salvation but I can use what the law represented in who I was before I met Jesus and use that to glorify His wonderful gospel all the more.  To remind myself of how much thanks and gratitude I owe Him for allowing me to die to that Law in order to live in HIS righteousness; a righteousness I did not earn and that I do not deserve.