Favorite Quote

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“Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?” (Luke 6:46)

Many people speak of the Lord and frequently talk about praying, but hardly know what the Lord stands for, stands against, or about the future He has for all.

It gets right to the point of self-service. “I want the Lord, but I want him on my terms.” For a large number of people the Lord is convenient and worthy of respect/honor, just don’t ask any of them to hear and heed what He says in those areas of life that are not convenient.

It’s a challenge to me to take inventory daily (cf. 2 Cor. 15:5). I fail frequently. Nevertheless to whom shall I go, otherwise? #bloganuary

Tattoos

NET (New English Translation) – You must not slash your body for a dead person or incise a tattoo on yourself. I am the LORD.

JPS (Jewish Publication Society) – Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor imprint any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

ESV – You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD. 

KJV – Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord (ASV is similar).

Every now and again I am asked about what the Bible says about tattoos, especially what does the New Testament say. The New Testament gives no attention to the topic, but as you can see, the words of the Lord in the Old Covenant are rather plain. As you look at the above verse, notice the Lord makes a distinction between cutting (slashing) one’s body for the dead and a tattoo, or marks of any other nature.

It has been said that tattoos have been around since who knows how long! Be that as it may, in the last 50 years it has taken a far-worse turn in direction. Some people have more ink on them than they have the color of their natural skin exposed. Evidently, they think it looks good.

At one time, the Lord did not. When did He change His mind? “That’s the Old Testament!” one might say. True enough, but so is Leviticus 19:29.

Can one be pleasing to the Lord with all the mark-ups on their body? Of course. The key to salvation is the heart’s response to His will and obedience to follow thereafter. The markings on the body, whatever may be said of them, does not have to be a true representation of who that person is.

Some Thoughts on First Timothy (12)

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Understanding

In the Lord’s church, the one church in the New Testament the Holy Spirit sanctioned to exist, there is a God-ordained role that a male has, and that a female has. For instance, when the church gathers together as an assembly to worship the Lord, the role of the female is NOT to usurp the role of the male (the male cannot grant her any liberty to do this when the Lord expressly prevents it). This is easily understood when one reads 1 Timothy 2.

It is also easily understood when we think about family roles. A woman can’t be a father or husband, neither can a male be a mother or wife. In our society, rampant with liberal and secular confusion, if there are role reversals in the family that seeks to alter what the Lord established, two things will surely occur: first, it upsets the God-ordained role for the respective males and females, which contributes in a major way to the corruption of the community, then society. Second, those who do so will answer to Him who set those roles in place to begin with.

What about the circumstances associated when a husband/father abandons the family (or vice-versa)? The disruption brought to the family by the one who abandoned will not escape the Lord’s attention/judgment. For those left behind, what is the wife/mother to do? She can only do the best she can with the tools given her. This is not something that calls for God’s judgment on her; instead, it calls for others to be compassionate and understanding. The Lord’s church can be of great help in this setting, even if there is lack of understanding about what can be done.

FRUITLESS

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If you have a competitive spirit within you, if you are driven to succeed in some endeavor in which you are engaged, then you understand the importance of receiving recognition for the work done, for placing first in a race. When a person turns to you and asks you to accomplish a hard task, it is only natural that at the end of the task you would like to hear not only “Thank you”, but something along the line, but some expression of gratitude that appreciates your willingness to do it and your accomplishment at getting it done.

This is not a matter of soothing one’s ego; it is a matter of 1) a recognition of a person’s capability, 2) a desire to tap into a person’s need to feel needed, 3) an appreciation of work done the right way, and 4) satisfaction that your efforts are not wasted on fruitless ends.

Fruitless ends? Do you not want what you accomplish to have purpose? You do, of course. Yet, if you turn around and look behind you and wonder for what purpose you did this or that, it breeds discouragement, frustration, and, ultimately, a turning away. “Why do this if there is no gratitude, no appreciation, no end result that benefits other people?”

The Lord’s wisdom cries out, willing to give counsel to all who will take the time to hear and listen to His word. To turn away from His counsel because you see little purpose because it’s restrictive, the Lord’s response to you will correspond to your lack of gratitude, appreciation for what He has done. It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the One and only living God. Your life will come to a fruitless end. RT  

A NEW START

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            As one enters a marriage, both parties begin a new life. In John 2, the marriage in Cana was exactly that, a new life for the male and female becoming a husband and wife, family, a home. A problem arose, however, that generated in Mary quickly turning and looking to her Son for relief. It was customary for the wedding host to provide for their guests. If there was a failing in this area, not only was there a social embarrassment, but, according to some, legal action could have been taken. Imagine Mary’s concern over this. Turning to her Son, she enlists His help. 

            Jesus’ initial response was not a reluctance or denial on His part, but a teaching point to His mother. Perhaps, at His age of 30, He wanted her to understand that He now must focus on His mission of teaching; He will help but let her be reminded about that which she already knew. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:32-33, ASV). 

            With Jesus’ turning water into wine, He turned a festive marriage occasion from a sorrowful beginning to a fresh start. There is a great lesson in this: When people marry, as a family unit, they start anew. The grow together in maturity and in the size of the family. As they do this, they should also give attention to their destiny. Where is the family going, and how will it get there? Those who turn from the Lord think they know where they are going. When they arrive, they quickly realize what they thought was not their desire.

            On the other hand, those who start with Jesus, know where they are going, how to get there, and are sure of their desired destination. Their marriage and family is long lasting. When the years come and go, when the body with its tight skin and no blemishes begins to be less tight and with a few more scars, even beyond the grey hairs, wrinkly skin, and bent-over postures with time, those who started with Jesus always have a fresh and new start. RT

Some Thoughts on First Timothy (11)

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What role does the preacher play or have in the local congregation? Looking at 4:11-16, we notice the following:

First, everything Paul wrote up to this point (1:1-4:10) must be taught.

Second, if he is a young man (as Timothy was), he must not allow others to look down on him because of his youthfulness, he can best “combat” this by giving attention to the way he speaks (preaches), the life he lives in action, the love he shows to others, the faith that he exhibits in his handling of life’s ordinary problems, the purity of the way he lives his life, and is he an example to others. People pay attention to things like this. They will note failures, but if these qualities abound, the failures will be passed over without much thought.

Third, he is to be a “man of the book” or, in other words, a man who puts much emphasis on a “thus saith the Lord.” He is not to preach opinions, politics, feel-good stories – unless they have a direct connection to what the Scriptures teach. Anything that has man has the source-origin is not worthy of attention, or very little attention. e is not to preach his opinion 

Fourth, he is to take the necessary time to give attention to these things. That means, he must devote hour on hours to study so he is prepared to teach others. Recommendation: Bible reading: 10 Old Testament chapters daily, 15 New Testament chapters daily, then exegetical work.

NOTE: Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 4:14 is an exclusive point of application to Timothy, not those in today’s pulpit (cf. 1:18; 2 Tim. 1:6).

Some Thoughts on First Timothy (10)

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As one gets older (I am 61), the mind changes with regard to what is important. When I was a good deal younger, I made it a priority in life to exercise, trying to satisfy my ego on the bench press and incline press. Having achieved my goals, which were rather modest compared to others, I took a new approach. It was less about the heaviness of the weights I did and more about the technique. Now that I am in the early stages of my 6th decade moving toward my 7th decade, it is both technique and reps.

Paul wrote to Timothy: for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come (1 Timothy 4:8, ASV).

I can’t outrun age; my body’s strength, the skin’s appearance, and the bulging of my muscles … well, they all are less impressive each year. This is the way it is and will always be. While my body deteriorates, my mind, on the other hand, can stay strong in the Lord. I don’t have any physiological or neurological problems of which I am aware, so I will stay with the course of exercising my mind in the Lord’s way.

Some Thoughts on First Timothy (9)

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Some will fall away from the faith, the Holy Spirit said. How does this happen? 4:1-3 gives clarity to how this happens. First, those who fall pay attention to a source not of God. How can one know what is of God? Everything taught must be measured by the words of the Holy Spirit, just as the apostles John and Paul said (1 John 4:1, 6; Gal. 1:6-9). If something that is taught is not in accordance with the will of God, then it needs to be set to the side, laid on the shelf, then burned. Secondly, those doing the teaching are not genuinely motivated to know and teach the will of God. Earlier in this letter (1:6-7), Paul said many people think they understand when, in fact, they understand little. Third, some forbid marriage, teach the importance of staying away from some food. There is a context to this in Paul’s letter, for sure. Yet, though the context may be easily determined, there is an application for us today, as realized in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Sadly, to circumvent the clear teaching, apologists of the RCC, say something like this: “When we condemn priests for marrying, it is for breaking their vows and promises made to God of living unmarried, and of leading a more perfect life; we condemn them with the Scripture, which teaches us that vows made are to be kept; with St. Paul, who in the next chap. (ver. 12) teaches us, that they who break such vows incur their damnation” (Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary).

“Priests” in the New Testament church refers to all Christian, not select people. The Holy Spirit’s teaching applies to the whole of any group or ethnicity, even if that group is relatively small in comparison with a larger group. A second point for consideration is the abuse of Scripture applied by this commentary. In chapter 5, this was a voluntary commitment of the individual widow, not a compulsion action of a larger entity, such as the RCC.

Doomsday

Like doomsday preachers, doomsday doctors wear people out. Dr. #Fauci is one of them. Both groups are convinced they are right, but 88 reason the world will end in 1988 and the health scare Fauci promotes is tiresome. It’s not long, probably already arrived, that in many circles ears are no longer open.

Some Thoughts on First Timothy (8)

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There is a church on “every corner” so it seems. If you don’t like this one, be sure to check out that one over yonder. If that does not work, then take three additional steps and check out a third location. Finally, if that does not work, then move another block down the road and, surely, you will find one that meets your desires.

As unfortunate as this sounds, this is not far from how people look at the various churches. We are a country that gives a great attention to personal liberties. If we don’t like this, let us try that – and this philosophy is applied to church attending or church hopping. Is this the place to start in determining where to “go to church”?

A better place to start would be the New Testament. Begin with Matthew 16:13-19, considering what the Lord said about the church He would build. The one point from this passage that is important to learn is this: the church belongs to the Lord Jesus; it is not the creation of any man. Why is this important? Because, when man creates something, he sets forth his own schematic diagram, his own rules for those who attend and/or what to become members.

This is not the way to approach it.

Here in 1 Timothy 3:14-15, the Lord’s apostle gave clear points to Timothy (in chapters 1-3) relative to the church in a community’s location. We have learned, just in this chapter, holy men are to serve as elders / bishops and holy men are to serve as deacons. We also learn the church of the living God is the pillar and ground of (for the) truth (3:15). Yet, if the church of which you’re a member does not follow the Holy Spirit’s structure, simply as put forth in this chapter (to say nothing else of any other chapter), then how can it be a pillar and ground of truth?

Does it matter? The Holy Spirit said it did. RT