Spiritual Maturity

Many Christians believe themselves to be spiritually mature.  In many cases, that might be so, however, there are cases in which one might be mistaken.  The qualities that people often believe are fruit of spiritual maturity fail to meet the mark.

When speaking of a Christian who is spiritually mature, one who possesses many spiritual gifts comes to mind.  If a person does not have multiple spiritual gifts, then a mature person will operate strongly in one, according to some.

The final authority as to the definition of spiritual maturity is the Word of God.  We will now see what the Bible has to say.

Be a Doer of the Word, Not a Hearer Only

Taming the tongue
Image via Pexels by Oladimeji Ajegbile

James 1:22 tells us that we must not only hear the word of God, but we must also do what it says.  People can quote the Bible, both in and out of context.  Even Satan knows the scriptures as seen in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.  Knowing the Word is not enough.  Having the wisdom to apply it to our lives and live it is evidence of true spiritual maturity.

I have lived a hypocritical lifestyle in the past.  I am far from perfect now, but I strive to seek to obey the Lord.  I say this because many people live hypocritically.  If they make it to church, they certainly do not take what they learn outside the four walls.  If this is you, simply repent and ask the Lord to help you live authentically.

How Do You Treat People?

It sad to say that many people consider themselves to be spiritual yet these same people will speak harshly to the waitress in a restaurant or demonstrate impatience with the cashier at the grocery store.  Some are mean to the members of their own immediate family.  Whatever the reasons are for this attitude, going to the Lord and seeking transformation is a must.

Social media is a soap box for some Christians to air their ill feelings toward others.  I am a firm believer that social media can be used for the glory of God, but more often, it is used to bash others.  If you derive pleasure from bashing people on Facebook, in gossip, or even speaking rudely to others in person, you need a renewing of your mind.  You need to humble yourself and see that God is not pleased when any Christian mistreats someone else.

How Is Your Love Walk?

John 13:34-35 reminds us that people will know we belong to God by our love for other Christians.  The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22).  While spiritual gifts are wonderful and God certainly wants us to have them, they are not the fruit of who we.  The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates that we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us.  We will not walk in sinless perfection, but we will not be using grace as a license to sin.

Another important point to note here is that godly love is not always a feeling.  While our emotions eventually line up with the direction in which we go, we cannot rely on our feelings to tell us whether or not we are walking in love.  It is a choice to obey God and treat people right no matter what our feelings are telling us.

Taming the Tongue Image
Image via Pexels by Rawpixel.

The Bottom Line

Spiritual gifts are wonderful!  I thank God that He gives gifts to many.  His gifts and callings are without repentance according to Romans 11:29.  We should enjoy these gifts and seek God’s leading as to their use.  However, we must realize that spiritual gifts are not a mark of spiritual maturity.  Walking in the love of God and obedience to His word are both evidence of true spiritual maturity.

The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ: A Study of Colossians

In a previous blog, I gave you Week 1, Day 1 of the study I am currently writing on the book of Colossians.  Today, I am giving your Week 1, Day 2.  Weekly video sessions will be available free of charge once the study is complete.  The e-book version of this study will be free to all. I will have to charge for a paperback copy to cover printing costs. It is my hope that you will continue this study once it is published.  My goal is help people to dig into the Word of God.

 

Day 2:  The Faith of the Colossians

“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,”  Colossians 1:3-4 (KJV).

(If you are taking the writing challenge, you could take a moment to write out verses 3-4.)

person-holding-black-cover-bible-2258240
Image via Pexels by Luis Quintero.

I am sure that you know someone personally who has great faith in Jesus Christ.  As a matter of fact, this person’s faith simply amazes you.  No matter the challenge or adverse circumstances, he/she does not seem to lose faith. This type of faith is the result of a focus on the cross.  When I say the cross, I am speaking of the work Christ completed in His death.

It is when I think about His sufferings and death that my faith is strengthened.  Take a moment and reflect on the cross considering that what Christ endured was for you.  You and I were born with a sin nature.  In that nature, we could not stand holy and righteous before God no matter how we might strive to do so.  

Because of the cross, we are made right with God.  Because of the blood, we are cleansed from sin and regenerated.  The righteousness of Jesus Christ is given to you when you accept Jesus Christ as Savior.  The atoning work of the cross is what makes a relationship with God possible.

After you take a moment to reflect on the cross of Christ, you might notice that any wavering faith is renewed and strengthened.  In order to grow in faith, you must read and study the Word and hear the Word of God taught and preached. 

Using your favorite Bible version, write out Romans 10:17.

 

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

Paul stressed that he was thankful for the faith of the Colossians.  He also mentioned that he kept them in his prayers.  Perhaps, Paul mentioned prayer because he knew that God’s people need each other.  No matter how strong one’s faith might be, prayer and the Word are essential for us all.  

Write down the name of someone whose faith encourages you along with the reason.

__________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________

I could not speak of faith without asking you to turn to Hebrews 11.  Glance over the chapter.  Not one of the people specifically mentioned in this chapter was perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  As a matter of fact, some of them made some horrendous mistakes.  However, they are mentioned as having great faith.  This fact should encourage you.  No matter what sin you might have committed, no matter how many times you have acted rashly without using wisdom, you can still have faith and build upon it.

Choose one or two of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11.  Write down the name(s) and why this person’s story encourages you.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Let me take this moment to insert a disclaimer.  Our faith is not to be idolized.  Too many Christians have used the word faith as a reason to become carried away into false teachings and doctrines.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.  Faith is not a life free from trouble, poverty, or illness. 

yellow-roses-2859077_1920
Image via Pixabay by Artistic Operations

Many people have erroneously convinced others that their faith was weak simply because they had problems.  This is a serious error because the Bible warns us that we will have problems.   We will also be looking at some of the problems the Colossians faced. 

What do James 1:2-4 and John 16:33 say about trials?

_________________________________________________

________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

It is not the lack of problems that builds faith.  God will use our problems and other adverse circumstances to help us grow in our faith and knowledge of God and His sovereignty.

Polycarp was a martyr who lived from 69 AD to 156 AD.  He turned many people away from Gnosticism which was a popular but false teaching during the time of the Colossian church.  When the church was being severely persecuted by Rome, Polycarp was sentenced to death by burning.  History states that the fire would not consume him so he was run through with a sword.  Even with death looming over him, Polycarp refused to recant of his faith in Christ.  

Looking into heroes in our day and time, Brooke Bartz is a lady who suffers greatly from severe rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic pain.  She wrote a book entitled Chronic Love:  Trusting God while Suffering with a Chronic Illness. I listened to her testimony on YouTube.  She believes that God can heal her, but she also trusts that He is sovereign over her illness.

I mention Polycarp and Brooke because the outcome is not always what we personally desire, yet, trusting God in the middle of an undesired outcome takes great faith.  Some of you who are reading this know exactly what I am talking about.  You suffer from illness or some other circumstance that has not been changed.  Just as God was with Polycarp and is with Brooke, He is with you.  He is sovereign over your situation. He will get glory.  He has not forgotten you.

We will close today’s study by reading Romans 8:28-39.  Write Romans 8:28 below.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Paul was thankful for the faith of the Colossian believers.  I am thankful for yours.  Keep praying and studying the Word.  Keep seeking God and drawing closer to Him. Your faith has great reward.

 

The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ_ A Study on the Book of Colossians Written By_ Allison Amber Mitchell (1)Tomorrow, we will look at love, hope and the gospel.

 

Memorization:  Continue working on verses 1-2, or add 3 if you feel up to it. 

 

Back to Normal?

In many states, the percentages of those affected with COVID-19 seems to be decreasing.  Hallelujah!  What wonderful news!  Some businesses are slowly opening.  Many churches will begin having services in their buildings again.

While I am thankful for what is happening, I feel the need to remind myself and others that some of our “normal” might not be worth revisiting.  Certainly, I am not speaking of our jobs or churches.  I am not even speaking of our social lives.  What I am speaking of is leaving quarantine with a new resolve rather than clinging to old habits.

Out with the Old

Add a subheading (1)
Image via Canva.

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, I heard many people say that things would be different once the stay-at-home orders were lifted.  People missed being able to attend church.  People missed their families and loved ones.  In light of this, I do hope that many things will not return to normal.

Our nation and our world need revival.  During the pandemic, people were seeking God and concerned about their souls.  As we return to church, work, and other social arenas, let’s keep seeking the face of God. Let’s press through in prayer as we intercede for our lost loved ones and our government.  The return to “normal” should be a new “normal” and not the old.

Examining Ourselves

Many of us spent the time in quarantine examining ourselves and drawing closer to the Lord.  This should continue.  We must continue to stir up the gifts of God that He wants to manifest in our lives (2 Timothy 1:6).  We should return to church and other social arenas of our lives with a renewed zeal to shine the light of Jesus Christ into our society.

Do not stop examining yourself, and I resolve to do the same.  While we do not live in condemnation, we should not become careless in our walks with the Lord.  We want to keep our relationship with the Lord fresh.  We do not want to end up like the five foolish virgins who let their lamps run out of oil.  As you know, oil represents the Holy Spirit.  We need to keep ourselves in the love of God and build ourselves up in our most holy faith (Jude 20-21).

A Different Mindset

Let’s re-enter the “normal” parts of our lives with a godly mindset by renewing our minds with the Word of God on a regular basis.  In doing so, our lives will be anything but normal, and this is good!

Personally, I believe we could be living in the season of the Lord’s return.  People are

_But, ye, beloved building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Image via Canva.

hurting and looking for something to fill the voids inside their souls.  Jesus Christ is the only one who can fill it.  Let’s resolve more than ever to point people to Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Let’s refuse to let the mundane of everyday life drain us of our excitement for the things of God.

The fields are white with harvest (John 4:35).  People need Jesus, and we can point them to the cross.  Jesus said in John 12:32 that if He is lifted up, he will draw all men to him.  He was lifted up on the cross to pay for the sins of lost humanity.  It’s time we remind the world of this beautiful, wonderful hope.

No, we should not go back to normal.  Christians should run back to the outside world leaving all sin and weight that besets them. We should go into the harvest fields of our lives looking for people to bring to the Lord.

Can Women Teach the Bible?

Of course, I would choose one of the most controversial topics in Christendom to address; however, it is one in which we need to take a close look.  Certainly, there are scriptures stating that a woman should be silent and should not teach in mixed company.  Those scriptures are in 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 2 Timothy 2:12.

Not only are we going to look at these scriptures, but we are also going to take a look at a Greek word and the culture in the days of the New Testament church.  While I do not subscribe to the idea that you need to have deep knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek to understand the Bible, I do suggest that you take a moment to remember that the original manuscripts were written in these languages.  Understanding the culture and languages of the Bible days helps uncover truths that we normally overlook on the surface.

Taming the Tongue Image
Image via Pexels by Rawpixel.

Let me say before I go any further that I am not a feminist.  I do not believe women are better than men nor do I believe women are more intelligent than men.  My husband and I will often joke about these issues, but in all seriousness, God has purposes for both genders.  I love and respect all the godly men and women in the Body of Christ.

Women Did Teach and Minister throughout the Bible

Scripture records many instances of women teaching both men and women in the Bible.  First of all, it was a woman who delivered the first resurrection message to the disciples after finding that Jesus had risen from the dead.  What message could be more important?  Secondly, Deborah was a judge over the nation of Israel during the period of the Judges.  Check out the book of Judges in the Old Testament.

In the days of the early church, Philip’s daughters prophesied (Acts 21:9).  Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, taught the Word of God and was highly regarded by Paul.  Lydia spread the gospel to many in Acts 16.  Phoebe was a deaconess in Romans 16.  Junia, who is also mentioned in Romans 16, was a female Apostle.  Other women are mentioned in the scriptures in similar ways, but I do not want this post to be too lengthy.

A Look at the Scriptures Forbidding Women to Teach

There are only two references in which women are given a red light when it comes to teaching the Word of God.  Those two references are 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 2 Timothy 2:12.  Throughout the remainder of the Bible, both Old and New Testament, women were not forbidden to teach, prophesy, etc.  When two instances appear in scripture that do not match other instances, it is important to understand that there is more than meets the eye.

In 2 Timothy 2:12, the Greek word that is used for authority or usurp authority (depends upon which translation you are reading) is authenteo.  This word has some interesting meanings.  They are as follows:  one who kills another with his own hands, domineering, and acting on his own authority.  Incidentally, this Greek word is not used at any other time in the New Testament.  The Greek word for authority that is used at all other times is exousia which means just what you think it does.

worshipping-god-2101347_1920
Image via Pixabay by 4653867.

Paul was letting the women in some of the churches know that they were not to be domineering toward the men.  They were not to speak on their own authority.  As a matter of fact, no man or woman should speak concerning the things of God on their own authority.

It is essential to understand the culture in the Greco-Roman world.  Before coming to Christ, many of the women in the churches had been involved in pagan worship in the temples.  Some had been temple prostitutes.  Feminism was on the rise during this time as it is now.  It just was not known by that name.  Before these women could teach, they needed to be taught just as any Christian must be taught before stepping out into gifts and callings.

The second scripture we will look at is 1 Corinthians 14:34.  A great deal of questions surround this one in many Christian circles.  Why?  In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul had just given a discourse about women prophesying with their heads covered.  A head covering  for women was a cultural practice of that time period.  Paul had said women could prophesy if they covered their heads as was appropriate for that time period.

In our Western culture, women do not usually wear head coverings except for fashion reasons.  However, I do believe that it would behoove women in ministry to have a spiritual covering.  What do I mean?  We all need people to whom we can be accountable.  If you are in a position of any type of ministry, you need someone to whom you can answer.  God designed it to be this way.  Yes, Christ is our ultimate covering, but accountability with other trusted Christians is beneficial.

Another fact that I will mention about the women in Corinth is this:  In the church, men sat on the opposite side from the women.  Some of the women had no tact and would loudly interrupt the preaching to yell across the room to their husbands asking what the minister meant by something that was said.  This makes sense in light of the fact that Paul commends many female teachers throughout his writings.

When It All Boils Down

Truth 2
Image via Pexels by Pixabay

Personally, most of the Bible teaching I do is for women.  In our church, there are times when I do teach in mixed company.  However, they will tell you that I am not domineering.  I do not speak on my own authority.  I simply relay to them what the word says.  They are free to agree or disagree.

If you do not agree with me on this issue, then you do not agree. I love you as a brother or sister in the Lord.  My advice is to avoid churches where women teach and preach.  Frequently, I visit churches that do not believe women should be teaching in mixed company.  When in their churches, I do not push my beliefs on them.  I worship with them and love them, and I know they love me.

Ladies, if you are called to teach the Word of God, teach sound doctrine.  Rightly divide the word of truth.  Most of all, do not speak on your own authority but the authority of Christ.  If you are in a church in which women are not permitted to teach, do not sow discord.  Pray and ask the Lord for direction.  I have seen a well-known denomination split nearly into over this very issue.  God is a God of peace, and we must follow His leading.

God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will

True Christians know and understand, at least to some degree, that God is sovereign.  In other words, He is in control.  He has a plan, and His plan will not be thwarted.  However, varying degrees of belief can be found throughout various denominations and Christian circles.

The issue of God’s sovereignty becomes confusing when the free will of man is mixed into the equation.  Reformed Christians tend to hold to the view of Predestination, or Calvinism, and believe that free will does not come into the equation.  Christians who hold to Arminianist views believe that man’s free will comes into play.  A third group falls somewhere in between.

Predestination and Election vs. Free Will

sunset-4060437_1920
Image via Pixabay by Rauschenberger

People who hold to the view of Calvinism generally believe that God has foreordained that certain people will be redeemed and certain people will be lost.  This belief comes from the writings of John Calvin, one of the theologians from the Reformation period.

While Ephesians 1:3-5, Romans 9, and a few other verses seem to indicate truth in this belief, further study and context shows that Calvin and others are mistaken. The verses in Ephesians 1 that are in question are saying that God wanted people to be saved and redeemed before the foundation of the world.  He had foreknowledge of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden yet He created us giving us the choice of whether to accept or reject Him. Romans 9 discusses God’s choice of Israel and inclusion of the Gentiles in His plan.

Many portions of the Bible point at man’s choice.  Man’s free will does not negate God’s sovereignty.  His purposes will continue with or without our cooperation.  Galatians 5:13, John 7:17, 2 Peter 3:9, Mark 8:34, and Joshua 3:15 are a few that confirm man’s free will along with God’s sovereignty.  John 3:16 is clear proof along with 2 Peter 3:9 that God desires for all to be saved, yet, we know in His foreknowledge, He knows who will accept in Him and who will reject Him.

TULIP Acronym Vs. Arminian Beliefs

Calvinist use the TULIP acronym to explain their beliefs in what they call the doctrines of grace.  T stands for total depravity.  U stands for unconditional election.  L stands for limited atonement.  I stands for irresistible grace. P stands for perseverance of the saints.

The Arminian belief agrees with total depravity, but differs in other aspects.  The other portions of the acronym would change as follows:  conditional election, unlimited atonement, resistible grace, and falling from grace.red-purple-and-yellow-tulip-fields-69776

Some Christians hold to either Calvinist or Arminian beliefs.  Others agree with some points of Calvinsim and some points of Arminianism.  A chart is available that goes into more detail of the beliefs of each side.

What I Believe

I am not going into the details of all the teachings concerning Sovereignty and free will in this post, but I will be discussing this in a video which I will post at a later date.  However, my belief leans more toward Arminianism although I agree with some points of Calvinism.  I know and understand that God is sovereign, but I believe he gave us all free will to choose whom we will serve.  Our free will in no way negates His sovereignty.  He is God!  He is capable of giving man free will and completing His ultimate purposes.

God has no desire for any to perish.  To believe that God chooses some to be damned while saving others would negate the scriptures in which He says that whoever believes on Him would have everlasting life (John 3:16)  and whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21).

On the flip side, I love studying the history of the Reformation period.  Martin Luther and many others revived the doctrine of Justification by Faith during a time when the Roman Catholic church dominated and taught works-based salvation. I also listen to many Calvinist ministers such as John Piper and others and have Calvinist friends. I simply do not agree with much of the Calvinist acronym.

IMG_4193The following quote is from A.W. Tozer’s book, The Knowledge of the Holy:  “The attempt to answer these questions has divided the Christian church nearly into two camps which have borne the names of two distinguished theologians, Jacobus Arminius and John Calvin.  Most Christians are content to get into one camp or the other and deny either sovereignty to God or free will to man. It appears possible, however, to reconcile these two positions without doing violence to either although the effort that follows may prove deficient to partisans of one camp or the other.  Here is my view:  God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil.  When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice man should make but that he should be free to make it.  Man’s will is free because God is sovereign.  A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures.  He would be afraid to do so.”

Colossians Bible Study Day 1

Currently, I am working on a Women’s Bible study covering the Book of Colossians.  It will be several weeks before I have the study completed, but I am giving you a preview.  The following is the introduction and Week 1, Day 1 of this study.  Keep in mind that the first day is introductory and the more in-depth study will come in the following  days.

God’s Fullness in Jesus Christ:  A Study of Colossians

 

Introduction

The deity of Jesus Christ is often questioned and debated.  I find this somewhat surprising because the scriptures are abundantly clear about Christ’s identity.  On the other hand, it is not surprising because Satan desires to plant doubt as to who Jesus is. If he is successful, he has people in his grip of deceit.

Understanding that Christ is God in the flesh is essential to knowing who we are.  Our spiritual identities are completely dependent upon Christ. When we begin to become aware of who we are in Christ, fullness comes.  Fullness in Christ keeps us from searching for fullness in other avenues which lead to complete dissatisfaction.

No matter where you are in this walk called life, I believe this study will benefit you. I will take you through the book of Colossians verse by verse to get the complete picture of Paul’s letter to the people of Colossae.  Not only will you receive verse by verse study, you will find personal touches and stories that I hope will encourage you.

Although seven weeks might seem to be a  lengthy time for study, I believe your commitment will help strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ.  You will see what He wants you to have in Him. Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are just a few of the gifts that Christians are to receive in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you wish to know more of the kind of life we are supposed to have in Christ, this study is for you.  If you simply want a little in-depth study, you are in the right place. If you are new to Bible study, I believe you will enjoy Colossians.

Join me for the next seven weeks. Together, we will explore Paul’s letter to the Colossians and see how it complements his other epistles and leads us to a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ.   I look forward to this time with you.

God’s Fullness in Jesus Christ

Week 1:  Thanks and Prayers

Colossians 1:1-8

Challenge:  If you are up for a challenge, you could spend time each day writing out the Book of Colossians as well as practicing the memorization of Colossians.  I would suggest that you write 2-3 verses per day and memorize 2 verses per day. Of course, you can take the memorization at a slower pace if you wish.

Week 1:  Thanks and Prayers

Day 1:  Background and History of Paul, Timothy, and Colossae

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae,” Colossians 1:1-2 (ESV).

(If you are taking the writing challenge, you could take a moment to write out the first two verses.  You can use what I have above or write from your favorite translation.)

Throughout Paul’s letters to various churches and individuals, he uses the same greeting.  He states his name, and if someone is dictating the letter for him or with him on a regular basis, the name is mentioned.  In the case of Timothy, it is definitely the latter and possibly the former.  

Timothy was considered Paul’s son in the faith.  He traveled with Paul on some occasions. More importantly, he was discipled by Paul.  Two of Paul’s letters are addressed to Timothy.  

Before we delve into the background of both Paul and Timothy, let’s compare and contrast some of the greetings in Paul’s other epistles.  Look up the following references and compare or contrast the greeting given by Paul with Colossians 1:1-2.

 

Ephesians 1:1  ________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

Galatians 1:1 ________________________________________

___________________________________________________

___________________________________________________

 

Philippians 1:1 ______________________________________

__________________________________________________

__________________________________________________

1 Thessalonians 1:1 _______________________________

_______________________________________________

_______________________________________________

Although the greetings were typically similar, a few differences arise from time to time.  For example, Timothy’s name is often mentioned. Other times, another name is mentioned which informs us that Paul mentored many men during his ministry.  Incidentally, it is beneficial for each of us to have accountability. We need someone to help us stay on the right track. We are human and prone to wander.  Accountability brings us back where God would have us. If you do not have such a person in your life, write a prayer for the Lord to send someone to you. If you already have a mentor in the faith, write the name below along with a prayer of thanksgiving for this godly person.  You might have more than one.

 

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

If you read through Acts 7-9, you will discover that Paul was formerly referred to as Saul.  He was a Pharisee with a Jewish background and strict adherence to the Mosaic law. When the gospel began to spread, Saul (Paul) and other religious leaders became concerned.  Fear coupled with anger led them on a tirade of persecution. Saul was responsible for the arrest of many believers in Christ. He stood by and consented to the stoning of Stephen, who was the first recorded martyr.

Happily, Saul did not remain a stranger to Christ. He encountered Christ on the road to Damascus.  Turn to acts 9:1-18. Record anything different you observe while you are reading this passage.

 

______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________

 

Briefly record your own conversion experience.

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

Timothy was born in Lustra in Lycaonia which was a large region in Asia Minor. Some believe it was in present day Turkey.  Timothy’s mother, Eunice, was a Jew, but his father was a Gentile. Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, along with his mother contributed a great deal to the life of Timothy.  It was during Paul’s second missionary journey that Timothy joined him. Timothy traveled with Paul to Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.

Although Paul did not visit Colossae, he was close with Epaphrus, the founder of the Colossian church.  Although Timothy learned from Paul, he contributed to Paul’s ministry as well which is possibly the reason Timothy’s name is mentioned in the introduction.

The city of Colossae was located in Phrygia which was southeast of Laodicea.  Colossae was approximately 832 miles from Rome. False teachings were spreading throughout Colossae. We will explore some of those teachings throughout this study. Paul wrote a letter proclaiming the deity of Christ as well as the truth of the gospel.  You will read Paul’s commendations as well as his warnings.

I realize that I gave you quite a bit of reading today, but knowing the background of the writer and the church receiving the writing is helpful in understanding the book of Colossians.

Close today’s study with a prayer of thanksgiving for the gospel of Jesus Christ and ask Him to give you the boldness to spread it in your own community. 

Memorization:  If you are going to memorize the book of Colossians, I would suggest working on verses 1-2.

Conclusion

In my next post, I will share Day 2 so you can get a better idea of the in-depth study you will do.  It is my prayer that the Bible Study will be a blessing to you.

 

 

Renewing of the Mind Project– Book and Bible Study

Beginning Monday, April 20 to June 1, I will be doing an online book study of The Renewing of the Mind Project by Barb Raveling.  Bible study will be involved in the book study as well. You can choose what your project will be. Some examples include weight loss, procrastination, overcoming worry or fear, etc. Ladies, please feel free to join the Facebook group by clicking on the following link:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/985637161832375/

You will need to purchase a copy of the book (Kindle or Paperback)  here:  https://www.amazon.com/Renewing-Mind-Project-Habits-Emotions-ebook/dp/B00TDSMW4C/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=renewing+of+the+mind+project&qid=1586460401&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Is Written

I am writing to you, my precious reader, because the Lord has called my attention to  errors in some of the teachings I have set forth.  He has made these errors known to me through His Word.  If you have noticed that my blog posts have become less frequent, it is because I have been seeking the Lord through prayer and His word.

Often, Bible teachers have to evaluate their teachings.  If they are not scriptural, they must be changed.  During the past few days I have been going through previous posts.  On some posts I completed edits.  Others were deleted altogether.  James 3:1 reminds believers that bible teachers are held to a strict judgment.  I do not want judgment so I choose to make biblical changes.

Truth 2
Image via Pexels by Pixabay

The teachings to which I am referring are not salvation issues, but they could be misleading to people who are trying to mature in their walks with the Lord.  I do not want to lead people into error neither deliberately nor unintentionally.  I will be discussing these teachings in future posts and videos, but for now I want to discuss the sufficiency and authority of the scripture.

A Sure Word of Prophecy

While the Lord uses the gifts of other people to encourage and help us, it is the duty of each and every believer to search the scriptures for themselves.  Having a solid knowledge of the Bible is essential, especially in the day and time in which we now live.  Far too often, Christians want a minister or other believer to give him or her a “word”.  The true need is for the word seeker to get in the Word and get a word.

Taming the tongue
Image via Pexels by Oladimeji Ajegbile

God makes it clear throughout the Bible that His book is the primary way that He speaks.  I am not suggesting that God does not give us wisdom and knowledge that we need on matters not discussed in scripture such as the following:  What job should I take?  Where should I live?  Who should I marry?

Certainly, He will give wisdom, but if you are not a student of the Bible, you will find yourself confused on every turn.  In 2 Peter 1:19, we are told that we have a more sure word of prophecy.  Peter was speaking of the Word of God which you will see clearly if you continue reading the rest of that chapter.  If you need God to speak, read your Bible.  There are 66 books with loads of scriptures and true stories that will inspire you, challenge you, and correct you.

The Bible is Sufficient

Hebrews 1:1-2 speaks of various ways God spoke to His people in the Old Testament.  The writer of Hebrews (maybe Paul, maybe not), makes it clear that in our time, God is speaking to us through Jesus Christ.  In John 1, it is made clear that Jesus is the Word in flesh.  Now, we have the written word, His words.

I make this clear so you will understand the importance of pouring over the scriptures for yourself and pouring over them prayerfully.  Ask God for wisdom to rightly divide His word. You will find the Word is sufficient.Contending Rawpixel

I heard a lady make a statement that made me sad.  She said she knew she had the Bible, but she needed more.  Wanting more than the scriptures can lead you to dangerous places, and from what I have seen, this lady has plunged headlong into New Age teachings which are opposite of the scriptures.  When people say they need more than the Bible, it is a clear indicator that these same people are not reading and studying the Word on a regular basis or no such statement would escape their lips.

The Bottom Line

Please do not take my words to an extreme.  The bible is clear that we need preachers and teachers as well as assembling with other believers.  I am blessed greatly by the gifts of others.  Just know that what we are told in the words of other people cannot exceed scripture.

Let’s pray for others and ourselves as we study the precious Word of God that we rightly divide it.  Read scriptures in context and avoid making a doctrine from one single verse.  Be a good Berean and study the scriptures to see if these things are so.

 

 

Now is the Time

In Ecclesiastes 3, we are reminded of the wisdom of God’s timing.  He knows when various purposes and plans must be carried out, and He knows when they must halt.  There is a time to plant and time to pluck up what is planted, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.

We are in an uncertain time in our nation and world.  The Coronavirus pandemic has many in panic and fear which is completely understandable.  However, as Christians, God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and sound mind.  Certainly, I am not suggesting that we throw caution to the wind, but God never told His people to cave and cower to fear.

Time to Pray

time 2
Image via Canva.

I understand that we are constantly being told to pray,  but it always should be our first step in any endeavor.  Prayer is a beautiful design given to us by God the Father for communication.  Prayers strengthens us.  Prayer changes our situations.  Most of all, prayer changes us.

Not only do we and others around us need prayer, our nation’s leaders need prayer as well as various state and local authorities.  As a matter of fact, the Bible instructs us to pray for them.  Sadly, I see many that want to bash and say what he or she would do if in leadership, but the fact is you do not know until you are in the situation.  The decisions they are making press heavily on them.  You can see this in the faces of many of them. They need our intercession.

Rather than hitting up social media to gossip and rant, hit your knees and cry out to God for our nation.  Cry out to God for all people!  Cry out for those who are lost without God!  People’s lives and souls are at stake.  What we do matters.

Time to Sanctify Yourself

I am a firm believer in God’s grace and mercy.  He has been so patient with me during seasons of willful sin and in my failings in general.  However, the time has come for many of us to grow up in the Lord.  It is vital that we open our Bibles along with our prayer and ask the Lord for wisdom to rightly divide His word.

When reading His word, you will discover areas of your life that need to change.  I have discovered the same.  Instead of trying to change what the Bible says or justify ourselves, let’s surrender to Christ and allow Him to change us.  It is not pleasant to the flesh, but it is vital.  The world needs to see a people on fire for Jesus and so in love with Him that we allow His love to radiate through us so others can see.

Time to Fast

Christians, it is time for us to push the plate back to show our true desire for God’s will in our lives and for the salvation of our lost people.  I love to eat as good as anyone, but I find that fasting has turned the heart of God.  It is His desire to show mercy.  It is His desire to save.  It is His desire to heal and deliver, but we have to allow Him to drive out that which is not godly in us so He can put more of what is Him in us.

Read the book of Esther and Jonah.  Fasting turned away God’s wrath and brought mercy and healing to Nineveh.  Fasting turned God’s heart to pour out divine favor on Esther as she went before the King without being summoned, which could have led to her demise.  Jesus instructed us to fast.  When giving instruction concerning fasting, He said, “When you fast…”  He did not say “If you fast…”  How you go about that process is something your should seek the Lord about particularly if you have diabetes or some other ailment.

Time to Act

love
Image via Pexels by Pixabay

The time to do more than talk the talk has come. It is time to walk the walk.  It is time to demonstrate God’s love and faithfulness to those with which we come in contact.  For some, it might be to stay in to keep from spreading the pandemic.  For others, it is to be on the front line bringing aid.  For all of us, we can pray.  We can look after the elderly.  We can encourage each other and pray for our leaders.

Yesterday is gone.  The time is not tomorrow or next week.  The time to do God’s will is now.