Category Archives: Faith
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Maybe like me, you have heard this verse used in a variety of ways. One example is as a promise to a hopeful young parent that their child will reach adulthood with socially acceptable ways. And another usage offers hope to desperate parents of a wayward teen that their child will return to them and to the path they were taught.
One word that stands out to me is hidden in the verse and that word is the implied You. I am to train the child. I am responsible to set the course of my child’s direction. In order to train my child rightly, I need to know the direction myself. How can I hope to train and help my child, if I don’t know the course or if I’m not prepared? I have a grave responsibility whether my child chooses to follow the path or not that I’ve set before him/her.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14,15
A child will have many teachers throughout life. Some will be good and others won’t. As believers, we have a spiritual responsibility to the children in our lives whether they are biological or not. The examples we set by our words and actions influence and impact their spiritual lives. In scripture, Paul encourages his spiritual son, Timothy, in the faith to continue in what he had learned. We, too, can encourage the children within our sphere of influence to grow up and hold fast in their faith. We can teach and instruct them in the ways of God, encourage them to read, understand, and memorize scripture, to help and love others, and to pray for themselves, their family, and their friends.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” Proverbs 1:8,9
We, the faithful, are called to pass on a legacy of faith to the next generation. Share your stories of faith. Tell of God’s goodness and lovingkindness towards you. Give God credit in the world around you. Live life as His servant.
“Love the LORD you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Warm bread and olive oil, chips, popcorn, and chocolate, these foods are the ones that I find hard to resist. I don’t always crave them. But during the middle of the afternoon, my resolve wanes and, more often than I’d like to admit, I begin to want them. The foods we crave, generally speaking, tend to be high in the trifecta of cravers everywhere: fat, sugar, and salt.
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:2,3
Those first weeks of life, an infant wants to be fed every two hours. They hungrily seek and search frantically for the milk their mother provides as their craving to be fed kicks in. Satiated, the babe passes out in what can only be referred to as a milk coma. The cycle repeats two hours later when the need to be fed returns. Peter has issued quite a challenge to believers in this verse.
What makes a craver crave the pure spiritual milk God wants us to have? The knowledge that God is good and the taste of His loving kindness. One taste triggers the craving. I want, like a newborn baby, to latch on and drink freely of His word. When you know God is good, you want more.
“O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.” 2 Samuel 7:28
The word of God is loaded with the elements of fat, sugar, and salt. The perfect ingredients for those who have cravings. When the Israelites offered sacrifices to God, they were instructed to offer fat with the offerings. The fat of the animal was the choice part, the part God desired (Leviticus 3:16). Think of the fat of His word as the rich cream of milk, the heavy whipping cream that most of us don’t use often. His word is rich, abundant, and satisfies.
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103
His word brings a spiritual sweetness to our lives. We can find encouragement, joy, and understanding within the pages of scripture that will bring a lightness to our spirits even in times of great difficulty. His word comforts, guides, teaches, and disciplines us in ways that refresh and restore our souls.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you make know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
In ancient times, newborns were salted (Ezekiel 16:4) to prevent infection and disease. Salt was also used as a preservative and a seasoning. The priests of Israel would use salt to purify the equipment used in the worship of God as well as include salt in the daily offerings by fire. The salt of His word purifies us through truth. We find words of correction and grace that season us so that we also can offer grace to others.
One taste of God’s kindness and goodness and we are no longer satisfied with any substitute. We only crave what He can offer. His word fills us and grows us into our salvation. Have you tasted that the Lord is good?
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8
Yesterday, our church had Confirmation Sunday. We welcomed new believers into the faith and into the membership of our church. These new church members are children who have participated in a nine month long confirmation process learning about our church and about faith in Jesus Christ. As we looked upon their sweet faces turned toward us, our pastor reminded us that we all must come to God as little children no matter our age.
“He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-5
I remember the day I was confirmed in the church many years ago. The day was special and filled with hope and promises. I’ve walked with my heavenly Father for many days now. Sometimes, my posture towards Him is more like a rebellious teenager that believes I already know all the answers and don’t need any help. Those times have brought about swift disciplining from God. He disciplines me because He loves me and knows that I need true fellowship with Him (Hebrews 12:7-11). He also knows, as I do, that I need to change and be transformed into a child who reflects her heavenly Father. I find that only when I approach Him as a little child do I find that sweet communion. With a humble heart filled with trust and faith that my Father God will forgive, protect, correct, teach, and train me in the ways of righteousness, I come to Him as His child. This posture is not always easy but is always best.
In our study, Entrusted: A Study of 2 Timothy by Beth Moore, we’ve been introduced to Timothy and Silas in our lessons and our scripture readings. Here’s a few more external sources of information about these men.
- Saint Timothy:Wikipedia
- Timothy: Patron Saint of Stomach Disorders Prayer
- Timothy: Catholic.org
- St. Timothy, Paul’s Associate: Christianity.com
- Silas: Wikipedia
- Saint Silas: britannica.com
How was your first week in the study, Entrusted: A Study of 2 Timothy by Beth Moore? If you’re a first time visitor to the site or haven’t ordered a workbook yet, I’d love for you to join us as we work through this series. I have a Facebook group set up for a more private discussion. If you’d like to be a part of that group, please leave a comment or send me a message. I will need your email in order to include you in that group. If you’d like to order a workbook or would like to know a little more about this study, the information can be found by clicking here.
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 2 Timothy 1:1,2
In this first week, we began to construct what Beth Moore has termed a ‘Divine Triangulation’ between three different cities, three different lives, and one circle of time. We first became acquainted with a man named Saul, who later became known as Paul, in Day 1. We learned of his religious leanings, how he studied with the great Rabbi Gamaliel, and that he was brought up among the conservative Pharisees like his father [Acts 23:6,26:5]. Reading through the cross reference scriptures, we outlined Saul/Paul’s life. We discovered that he was of the tribe of Benjamin [Philippians 3:4,5], from Tarsus in Cilicia, and spoke Aramaic [Acts 21:39;22:2,3]. Although Saul was born in Tarsus and therefore a Roman citizen, we learned that he was raised in Jerusalem [Acts 21:17; 22:27]. He, additionally, spoke Greek and Hebrew. The first day’s assignments were brought to a close as we considered the bits and pieces of our own stories and how God could be fine-tuning our lives.
In Day 2, we discovered more about Saul’s life. He didn’t spend all of his time in religious studies but earned his living by tentmaking [Acts 18:3]. We also learned of a strong influence in his life; his mentor and teacher, the great Rabbi Gamaliel. Gamaliel was a Pharisee and served on the Great Council called the Sanhedrin. He was a man honored by all and able to appeal to both parties of this council. We read and answered questions pertaining to an event found in Acts 5:12-42 which involved the apostles and the Sanhedrin. When questioned why they continued to teach about Jesus, Peter and the other apostles replied that they must obey God and not men [Acts 5:28,29]. The Sanhedrin were furious with their answer and had every intention of having the apostles killed until Gamaliel spoke up. Gamaliel advised his colleagues concerning the apostles;
“Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5:38,39
This day’s lesson came to a close with Beth Moore highlighting that Jesus and Saul were contemporaries but from different geographical origins. In our third lesson for the week, we continued considering this thread of connection. Beth Moore suggests that Saul was possibly in Jerusalem during the crucifixion of Jesus. Through our cross references, we traced Saul’s footsteps to determine his location around the time of the crucifixion. This possibility, however, is not without issues. The strongest of which is why Saul/Paul never referenced being there in any of his letters. We did read two other passages which place Saul as part of the opposition to Jesus. In the first, we read that he observed Stephen being stoned for his faith while he kept the cloaks of those stoning him. This event changed something within Saul. His demeanor according to the biblical record began to change. Saul began to arrest followers and seek to destroy the Church. He even asked for permission to hunt followers in Damascus in order to arrest them and return them to face consequences in Jerusalem [Acts 9:1,2]. His teacher Rabbi Gamaliel must’ve wondered what fueled his student’s zeal to hunt down these followers of Jesus. The Lord Jesus, however, intervened and Saul had an encounter he would never have imagined.
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”” Acts 9:3-6
On Day 4, we jumped forward into Paul’s future as we considered the third city in our ‘Divine Triangulation.’ We were introduced also to our third person, Timothy. A young man raised by a Jewish grandmother and mother, who were both believers, and his Greek father [Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5]. Paul had previously been to Lystra during his first missionary journey. Before he returned a second time to Lystra, Paul split from his companion Barnabas over a disagreement concerning Mark [Acts 15:37-39; Colossians 4:10]. Paul, therefore, took on a new companion, Silas, for his second missionary journey. These men soon added their new friend, Timothy, to accompany them on their journey.
We explored the budding relationship between Timothy and Paul on Day 5. Before departing on their journey, Paul had Timothy circumcised. He knew that Timothy’s lack of circumcision would be a stumbling block with the Jews they would encounter since his father was Greek. During this lesson, we spent time investigating other instances of circumcision among the early Christians. We compared and contrasted their stories in relationship to Timothy’s story. We concluded our week’s lessons by considering the key people in our lives that have been crucial and have been used by God to help us live into and fulfill our divine calling.
Beth Moore wove her introductory video lesson around Acts 14. She encouraged us to remember that we were meant to be mighty and to live a life with meaning. She exhorted us to remember that we’re all called to be Christian communicators by sharing our faith. She challenged us to pray for God to ‘ramp up our effectiveness’ and to gain fresh traction on our journey. Additionally, Beth Moore reminded us that we can’t fulfill our individual callings without others. She highlighted that we need each other in order to be effective for God’s great glory and that we can’t go to the next level without faith. Faith keeps us answering the call.
If you’d like to view the introductory video to this session, the video is available for purchase by clicking here.
A great start this week! Begin the Week 2 lessons.
I’m a geeky Bible nerd girl. I love the minutiae of scripture. The beginning of a new journey in scripture is exciting to me. I like the anticipation of what God will teach me through His Word and the expectation of all that the journey has in store for me. And I absolutely can’t wait for that Aha moment when clarity and understanding break forth in my pea brain as I discover that nugget of treasure that God had in store for me. I like the sound of the pages turning in my Bible. I like the preparation of finding new pens and paper to use and taking the pens I selected to mark His words that bore into my soul. I like the rhythm, the structure, and the discipline that study brings and how I am ushered into God’s presence and before His throne anxious to be taught. Because His word is timeless, I’m always learning something new.
I was an average student in school. I struggled with some courses and did well in others but I never felt gifted or really smart. Some subjects [hello math!] were just too difficult for me. I see myself as a flibbertigibbet and an airhead. I’ve spent a good portion of my life struggling with this sense of inferiority about being intelligent. When I first began studying the Bible, I struggled with feeling inadequate and feeling really stupid because I couldn’t seem to grasp the smallest concepts and words. I prayed to have wisdom and understanding and kept showing up each day and I saw God answer that simple prayer. I kept showing up each day to read and learn and He kept showing out and little by little, I grew and felt confident in my knowledge of His word.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
If you struggle with the fear of inadequacy or failure, don’t let the fear of it rob you of the joy found when you allow God to help. Hang onto the hope and the longing to become more confident and knowledgeable in the ways of God. He will answer that prayer when your heart’s desire is Him. Just start! Even a little effort is better than none at all.
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD;” Psalm 37:4,5
Take one baby step and then another. He wants to teach you. In fact, the Holy Spirit that indwells us as believers that the Father sent to us in Jesus’ name has been tasked with teaching us all things. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from showing up. He wants you to learn and He is cheering you on to success!
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
Feeling encouraged to start? The study, Entrusted: A Study of 2 Timothy by Beth Moore, will begin on Monday, January 23, 2017. I’d love for you to join me! All the ordering and information details can be found here.