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Monday, February 27, 2017

How To Handle Doctrinal Spats

How To Handle Doctrinal Spats

240 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Ti 2:23-26, “ But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Tim 2:23-26) Oh the battles that have been fought in congregations over the most absurd things! What color should the carpeting be? I have read stories on the internet about actual church splits over the spelling of alleluia! Some wanted it with an “H” others did not. Some have argued over what brand of coffee should be served! Another biggie is they style of worship. Should it be contemporary or traditional worship or a mix of both. And when you hear the words, “we've never done it that way before,” brace yourself, another battle is about to begin. These preceding examples are silly of course, and Paul's advice to Timothy and us is to not get drawn into these silly battles, rather keep the main thing the main thing! I know of fewer things that can turn people off concerning the church than serving on a board where many of these arguments take place. But I think Paul is talking about more than adiophora here because he uses the word ignorant, which means the uninstructed, and he speaks of the need of repentance unto salvation. The uninstructed speaks of new believers, a little wet behind the ears, yet very zealous for the faith and what they believe. Many times in their healthy quest for knowledge, they will garner it from unhealthy sources. They'll read books and listen to teachings that seem really cool and plausible to them, and no one is going to tell them otherwise! These often spectacular speculations are nothing but straw, chaff that will be blown away under the careful instruction in the Word of God! And this is Paul's encouragement to Timothy to fight these dangerous teachings. No need to quarrel with these troublemakers, rather continue to humbly and patiently teach the truth of God's Word and let the Holy Spirit do the rest!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Getting Out of the Maze

How to Get Out of the Maze of Pursuing Youthful Lusts

239 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Ti 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” How do we get out of the self-inflicted maze produced by following our youthful lusts? As we mentioned last time, the first step is to repent. Turn around! To keep entertaining these lusts just leads you deeper and deeper into the maze! Once you have decided to turn around, start walking. As you walk, read God's Word with a humble heart that is open to instruction. Pay attention to those words that define right behavior and wrong behavior. (Righteousness and unrighteousness) As you seek to walk out of the maze, you will be faced with corners where you will have to make decisions about right behavior and wrong behavior. Pursue right! As you continue walking out of the maze, you will be faced with opportunities to exercise faith. These are blind alleys that you choose to go down, by trusting the promises of God;'s Word. An example might be something from Mal 3:10 which says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” That's a faith building promise! Pursue faith! And as you continue seeking your way out of the maze, you will also be faced with the choice of exercising love. Will you pursue love or will you walk on the other side of the road ignoring that person in the ditch? Pursue love! Finally pursue peace (oneness) with those crazy born again Christians that you once disdained as you blindly pursued your youthful lusts. Connect with them by finding a Bible believing church. A church that will help you discern right from wrong. A church that will challenge you to exercise faith, and a church that will give you opportunities to love on one another. Be that kind of a righteousness, faith, and love pursuing church, and those millennials who have disappeared from the pews will have the opportunity to find their way back to the path of life they have been seeking.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Help Me Out of This Maze

Help Me Out of This Maze

237 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Ti 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Flee those youthful lusts! Leave them in the dust! You know what they are! You understand the rebellion of the youth! You were there once yourself. David sums them up in his prayer from Ps 25:7, as he pleads with the Lord, “Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O LORD.” There is much lamenting in the church today about the exodus of the young people from the pews. And this Psalm of David's provides useful instruction for us all in this regard. As I was reviewing this Psalm, I have a note that subtitles this Psalm “Help Me Out Of This Maze.” The path of following youthful lusts inevitably leads to a life of distress, desolation, affliction and pain. See Ps 25:16-18! Picture this as being deep in the bowels of a maze, because the word “paths” shows up twice in this Psalm, and the word “way” shows up three times! Then we read phrases like this in this Psalm, “Show me,” “lead me,” “teach me,” “He teaches,” (twice) “teach in the way,” “He will show,” and finally, “bring me out.” This young person (David) is lost in a maze and he desires to be led out of his distress, desolation, affliction, and pain. This is where we find many of the millennials today. They want out of this self-inflicted maze, but they don't know where to turn. They try returning to church for a while, but for some reason, in many cases there remains a disconnect. There may be a lot of generalities being preached, but general instructions won't get anyone out of a maze! What millennials need, indeed, what we all need is specific instructions to find our way out of the maze. God promises that instruction to those who humbly admit they are sinners and plead for His mercy and grace which is a recurring theme of PS 25. Isa 30:19 says, “You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you. And in Isa 30:21 we read, “ 21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left. This is what the church needs to be steadfastly proclaiming. “This is the way!” “Thus saith the Lord!” Specifics, not generalities! Then in a spirit of humility and repentance, we and the millennials are ready for God's A Maze Ing grace!