Monday, November 29, 2010


In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he addressed a problem they were having at their church. The problem had to do with “commitment.” There was a need for the people to understand the significance of commitment. Commitment to provide for their families was essential. Apparently some were neglecting their families to pursue their own interests at the expense of their families.

Their church had a list of “older widows” who formed a “ministry team.” They had to meet some “qualifications, some commitments” to be on the list. They had to make a commitment to the cause of the team, to their ministry. They were to keep their pledge.

“Younger widows” were not put on the list because they may desert. They may still have children in the home or want to marry again. In either case, Paul says to refuse to sign them up. They most likely had other pressing issues in their lives as well. And there was nothing necessarily wrong with those issues that would prevent them from being totally committed to the team. If you sign them up, you set them up for possible “judgment” from the Lord if they don’t keep their commitment to the responsibilities and guidelines of the group. Paul put it this way in 1 Tim. 5:12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge.

This concern for commitment is almost “foreign” to our society’s way of thinking today. A sense of commitment is not a part of the mindset today. People place little significance on contracts anymore. Many people today think its okay to break contracts, whether it’s their lease, or job related, or a marriage, or any kind of partnership.

But according to verse 12, a “broken contract” brings problems. Apparently God views contracts as something of great value. This doesn’t diminish the fact that He forgives and is merciful to us and He heals us, but it’s also true that when we break contracts and commitments, we will have more problems to deal with.

Take King David for example, a man after God’s own heart, and yet he sinned. After his repentance and renewal of faith in the Lord, he walked with the Lord again. However God said that the sword would never leave his house from then on. He would have trouble in his home. We are forgiven of our sins, but many times we must deal with the consequences after that.

Commitment is colossal with God.

It holds great and lasting significance with Him. And He wants us to see it the way He does. Why? – Because it is beneficial to us, and it prevents pain, that we otherwise inflict on ourselves when we break our commitments. The truth is when we make a commitment or pledge, God expects us to keep it. When we don’t, He doesn’t flame us on the spot. He instead, disciplines us as disobedient children. That’s His form of “judgment” on His children. It’s just plain wise to make commitments and to keep them.


1. Know yourself.
What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? Your personality? What do you know that can trip you up? What do you know that can prevent you from being tripped up? What are your spiritual gifts? What is your gift mix?

Rom. 12:3-6 (NCV) You must decide what you really are by the amount of faith God has given you. Each one of us has a body with many parts, and these parts all have different uses. In the same way, we are many, but in Christ we are all one body. Each one is a part of that body, and each part belongs to all the other parts. We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us.

2. Know your purpose.
Eph. 2:10 (NLT) For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Learn God’s purpose for your life. Listen for His calling. Take the “game plan” He has for you and run with it. That’s the real reason you were created, and that’s where you’ll find fulfillment. If you don’t know your purpose in life, you’ll struggle with commitments. If you don’t have direction for your life, you will struggle with commitments. Or you think you’re going in the direction that’s meant for you, but it isn’t, because it’s not God’s direction for you, and so you’re always second guessing yourself.

3. Visualize what God can do through your life.
Eph. 3:20 (NCV) With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.

All things are possible with God. God designed you for a commitment to His plans for you. God has shaped you for a purpose; with all your background, your past, your experiences, your strengths and weaknesses.

Therefore serve the Lord. Excel in enjoying life with Christ. Follow through with your commitments in the here and now, and you’ll experience an even fuller life in Heaven.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Everyone has some influence. You have people around you, your family, your friends, your co-workers, your ministry team. And you are influencing them in some way.

I’ve just experienced another milestone in life with the birth of our first grandchild this past Saturday. I’ve officially become a granddad to a beautiful little granddaughter. As I held her thoughts crossed my mind of what her life will be like. What will be her personality? What joys will she experience in life? What sorrows will she go through? When will she accept Christ into her life? What events will impact her life? Her life will be full.

The issue that comes to my mind is the opportunity to influence her, to help her navigate through all that her life will bring. Granted, her parents will be the most influential in her life. But I also realize that we grandparents will have an influence too.

None of us go through life without creating some kind of influence. In every relationship you are an influence. The big question is “What kind of influence are we?” What direction are we leading people? Where are you taking others? Where is your influence steering people?

Since God’s purpose for each of us is to make more devoted followers of Christ and to facilitate their maturity so that they become more and more like Christ, and consequently experience a fulfilling life, we must take into account our influence and let God shape it to be useful in His hands.

God lists some qualities in His Word in 1 Timothy chapters 3 and 4 that we can aspire to in order to be a good influence.

The list includes:

• Good reputation.
• Honorable marriage.
• Self-controlled.
• Respectable.
• Live wisely.
• Friendly.
• Able to teach God’s truths.
• Not controlled by substance abuse.
• Not quarrelsome.
• Gentle.
• Promotes peace, not opposition.
• The love of money doesn’t rule your life.
• Manages your family well.
• Growing as a follower of Christ.
• Faithful to point out God’s truth to others.
• Take an objective look at yourself to see what others see.

We’ve got to think about how we are perceived by others. That will then lead us to not do anything that would keep others from coming to Christ or growing in Him, but do those things that would encourage them to follow Christ. The Bible says in 2 Cor. 8:21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

We can take our cue from what Paul tells Timothy:
1 Tim. 4:7 (NLT) Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness.
1 Tim. 4:15 (Mes) Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes!

We can develop an influence that is good and right in the eyes of the Lord that will be good and right in the eyes of others. Or to put it another way – Do what’s right in your own life and you’ll rightly influence others.

Monday, November 8, 2010


There is war that has been going on before any other war ever began, and it continues today. It’s a war that “propels” all other wars. It’s the “catalyst” for all wars. It’s the war “in the spiritual arena”. And it’s the source of all war and conflict.


1 Tim. 1:18 (Amp) This charge and admonition I commit in trust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with prophetic intimations which I formerly received concerning you, so that inspired and aided by them you may wage the good warfare,

Paul reminded Timothy that he had been entrusted with a calling from God. This God-given purpose had been committed Timothy. And in waging war on the spiritual battlefield, Timothy could get inspiration and strength from his life purpose from God.

You have a calling from God. He has called you to a specific purpose in life. He has a mission for you. He has equipped with spiritual and natural gifts. He uses your past, your experiences, and your hurts to shape you for the purpose He created you for.

When you’re confident of God’s purpose for you, you become more confident in your spiritual battles.

1 Tim. 1:18 … fight the good fight,

The “good fight” is the spiritual fight. It’s the spiritual war. It is the “right” fight. When we find ourselves in conflict, we must remind ourselves that there is a spiritual battle going on too.

You must also engage the spiritual enemy on the spiritual battlefield.

1 Tim. 1:19 holding on to faith … Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

In Ephesians Paul talks about taking up the “shield of faith.” Faith is taking steps to do what you believe God has “called” you to do. Faith is acting in “advance” of feeling like it. Faith is “obedience” to what God says to do in His Word. Faith is choosing to believe that what God promises will happen as we are obedient. It’s the “premise” before the “promise.” We do our part, and then God will do His.

Exercising faith in God protects you against doubt and discouragement.

1 Tim. 1:19 holding on to … a good conscience.

A “good conscience” is a conscience that approves of what you doing because you’re doing what is right. It’s directly connected with our behavior, our actions. A “bad conscience” weakens your resolve to be strong in the Lord. It “condemns” you. And you feel judged and condemned. Satan will play up your unconfessed sin. And you can then be easily defeated.

A good conscience protects against condemnation.

1 Tim. 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.

In the days of the early church, the Roman Empire was the government. And the Christians prayed for the Emperor and the government. Pray should come first before action. Ministry will not be productive without the ministry of prayer.

The most important ministry that I have and the most important ministry that you have is “prayer.”

Eph. 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

Every morning put on each piece of armor by thanking the Lord for what each means.

Rom. 13:14 (Amp) Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts).

The flesh wants to sin and feed the fleshly ungodly appetites. Don’t give it the chance.  Monitor what you watch, what you listen to, where you go, and who you spend time with.  Don’t do anything that would give the flesh an in.

Counter the desires of the flesh.

Phil. 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

Win the battle with God’s truth and power.

Monday, November 1, 2010


The Apostle Paul says in 1 Tim. 1:5 (NAS) The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

One of the goals in teaching and learning from God’s Word is that we mature in God’s love.

3 Essentials are Necessary to Grow in God’s Love:


“A pure heart” means a heart that is sold out to Christ. Your heart belongs to Him first and foremost. You are true to the Lord. Jesus said in Matt. 5:8 (Mes) “You're blessed when you get your inside world--your mind and heart--put right. Then you can see God in the outside world”.

Our hearts must be right with the Lord first before we can see reality from God’s perspective. Before we can see Him at work and before we can recognize His truth and His wisdom, our hearts must be totally committed to Him, without holding anything back for ourselves. We must be faithful to Him with all our heart, not just part of it.

My son Andrew was having trouble with his car. It wouldn’t take gas from the pump, or it would only take very little and then the gas pump would shut off. When he had it repaired he learned that the problem was the “canister” that filters impurities from the gas deteriorated and came apart, and debris went into the fuel lines. The lines had to be purified and the canister replaced.

If we allow impurities to come into our hearts and remain there, God’s power will not flow through our lives. We may try to apply God’s Word to our lives, try to put it “into” our hearts and minds, but it will be a very “limited” application. Or we simply reject it. We can’t take God’s truth in, except in very small quantities over a very long time, if we have impurities floating around in our hearts.


That means a conscience without sin. It’s a clear conscience toward God and people. As you influence others and impact their lives, make the goal – love. Teach others because you love them. Influence others because you love them. Instruct others because you love them. Paul says in Rom. 12:9-10 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

A good conscience means you don’t try to hide anything from God, as if we could. You’re totally open to the Lord and you confess your sin and you let Him rule in your life. And that means that you “obey” what He says in His Word. You put what the Bible says into practice in your life.

1 Peter 3:15-16 In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

The key to having a clear conscience is to set Christ as The Ruler in your heart. Let Him be the ruler over your heart and tell your heart what to do, instead of you or the culture or your feelings or your tendencies telling your heart what to do. If we’ll let Him rule our hearts, our minds, and our will, then we will live with a good conscience.


That means your faith is real. You live by faith. It’s who you are. You’re a man or woman of faith. You’re real with God. You’re real with people. To live true to God means that we must let His motives override our motives in all we do.

Heb. 11:6 (NLT) It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

God rewards your steps of faith. But you must venture out, against your selfish will, and trust and obey the Lord. And the result is that He will deliver on His promises to you.