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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Spiritual Obstacle Course

In Paul’s final letter to his protégé Timothy he proclaims that he has fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7 (here @ Bible Gateway)).  Have you known those who have not done so?  Have you known those who have stumbled in their race, fallen and not returned?  I have.

Spiritual Obstacle Course

There are other passages that challenge us in this.  1 Corinthians 9:24 – 27 (here @ Bible Gateway), Hebrews 12:1 – 2 (here @ Bible Gateway), and 2 Timothy 2:5 (here @ Bible Gateway) are a few.

We know that the race is such that some do not finish.  In Paul’s circle Demas deserted, he loved the present world more than he loved Christ (2 Timothy 4:10 (here @ Bible Gateway)).  John speaks of those leaving the race, 1 John 2:19 (here @ Bible Gateway).

It is not only in the New Testament that we see this.  A cursory reading of Kings and Chronicles will yield a list of those who started and did not finish well.  Focus for a moment on Genesis 49:15 (here @ Bible Gateway).  Jacob is prophesying over the 12 sons.  Note what he says about Issachar.  He found a resting place that was pleasant, bowed his shoulder to bear the burdens of that place, and became a slave to it.  He chose to rest rather than to fight.

Peter shares a similar warning in 2 Peter 2:19 (here @ Bible Gateway), by what a man is overcome, he is enslaved.  Issachar was overcome by a desire to rest in a pleasant place.  Demas was overcome by a love for the world.

This journey is a long obstacle course.  We continually confront distractions, difficulties, detours, that would take us out or take us off course.  In a competition if we fail to win, fail to finish, there is always the next race.  In this race, this journey, there is not.

What must we do to finish, and finish strong?  We will look at that next time.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Resisting Falsehood

Truth is resisted.

Resisting Falsehood

You may have experienced this either by personally resisting truth or by having one resist you as you shared truth.  There is another level to resistance.  The enemy of the Lord resists truth in any form.  He is a liar and the father of lies.  So where there is falsehood, he is there.

2 Timothy 2:24 – 25 (here @ Bible Gateway) gives us instruction on how to confront falsehood.  A bit of context, in 1 Timothy (here @ Bible Gateway), 2 Timothy (here @ Bible Gateway), and Titus (here @ Bible Gateway), Paul calls his proteges into continual conflict with false teachers.  It is one of their main purposes as leaders.

What we find in 2 Timothy 2:24 – 25 (here @ Bible Gateway), is Paul’s prescription for confronting falsehood:
  • Be kind
  • Be able to teach truth
  • Be patient when wronged, read resisted, ignored, or worse
  • Be gentle in correction of those who oppose you
That is our assignment.  Note that we are not responsible to change the liar’s mind.  Note that it is God that does that.  He grants them repentance.  He grants them the ability to acknowledge and embrace the truth.

It is not about how well we cast our argument.  Rather, it is if God engages with that person.

Our only assignment is that outlined above.  We speak truth in kindness, with patience and gentleness.  The Lord is responsible for the impact of what we say.

Remember, the resistance to truth is unceasing.  Therefore, our assignment to meet is as Paul outlines is as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Leadership Training

The training of leaders is a continual source of research, effort, and courses.  In 1 Samuel 16:1, 7, 13 (here @ Bible Gateway), we find Samuel replacing the failed leader, Saul, with his hand-picked replacement, David.

Leadership Training

Samuel was directed buy God to go to Jessie’s domicile and to review Jessie’s sons, one of them was to be king.  Samuel was told not to look at their appearance or stature, it was the heart that the Lord was after.

Thinking through this it seems that the selection of David as king was not for David’s benefit, it was for the Lord’s purpose.  We tend to view position personally.  That is a position is mine.  That does not seem to be the case in the Lord’s economy, a position is for the Lord, for His glory.

The Lord’s standards are different than ours, mine, or the world’s.  It is not about education.  It is not about leadership traits as taught by the business schools.  It is about heart.

Anointing David in the presence of his brothers, set up a similar dynamic as that which Joseph faced.

It may be that the sibling were used to shape David as king.

Regardless, one thing that is clear, God does not follow good leadership theory in choosing the leaders of His people.