walking in the truth

2 John 4 (ESV)

4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.

What does it mean to be found walking in the truth?

Is it related to Psalm 1 where it says “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked”?

I dare say it is.

Interestingly, Jesus himself said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).

A bold statement excluding all other faiths and beliefs.

Therefore, to seek God through other religions is blasphemy. For to do so denies the significance and indeed requirement of Jesus’ death on the cross.

If Jesus is not the only way then it makes a mockery of His sacrifice. His crucifixion becomes little more than an interesting, albeit altruistic, footnote in history.

To me then, this is the truth: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

And to walk in this truth is to practice it daily like the psalmist (above). Listening to and meditating on and obeying God’s word.

An active, energetic, forward moving expression of faith in God’s gracious love for us.

Kim+

prayer : help me to walk in the truth day-by-day

action : continue daily quiet times

he must manage his own household well

“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:4-5 (ESV)

Following on from yesterday’s Bible verses, Paul goes on to list in detail specifically how he expects godly leaders to behave.

The one that strikes me as particularly interesting and challenging is the call to manage our own household.

It makes sense. But it’s no easy thing. Especially when our own household involves teenagers, each with a mind of their own.

But perhaps we should look first to own behaviour before we point the finger at our children. After all, they learn a lot of their behaviour from us, like it or not.

The way we talk. The way we pray. The way we read the Bible. The way we help others. The way we bear witness.

The list is endless.

But if we want them to grow up into Christians with a firm faith and a heart that is passionate for God’s Kingdom then we need to live like that first and foremost, trusting God that He will give us the strength and the humility to discipline our children (Ephesians 6:4) as He disciplines us. (Hebrews 12:11)

In love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)

Kim+

prayer : that I would live boldly for my Lord

action : pray with my children once a day (when possible)

therefore an overseer must be above reproach

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach,” 1 Timothy 3:1-2a(ESV)

It’s no small thing to be a leader. It’s a great responsibility that needs to be taken very seriously.

All too often it’s seen as an opportunity to exercise power and influence. And this is certainly an important element of the role.

But it should not be done for selfish reasons.

Instead, as we see in Philippians 2:7, our example should be like that of Christ Jesus who chose to be a “servant King”. Not what one would expect from the creator of the universe.

And like Jesus, we should aim to lead a godly life.

Why? Not because we are saved through the keeping of rules and regulations. Because we’re not. It is only the blood of Jesus that can wash us clean.

Rather, as a leader within His body, His church, we are called to set an example. Both to other members of His body as well as to those outside the church.

It is the ultimate witness. As our actions speak so much louder than mere words. (James 1:22f)

Kim+

prayer : whether in the role of a leader or a follower I would strive to act in such a way that is above reproach

action : look at setting my goals this month with this in mind

Manhood, Womanhood, and the Freedom to Minister

1Ti 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 2:8-15 (ESV)

How sad that Scripture, God’s Holy Word, can cause such strife and division within the church.

It pains me every time I hear Christians arguing over the meaning of this text.

Yet listening to John Piper in his sermon, “Manhood, Womanhood, and the Freedom to Minister“, my understanding of these verses is now much, much clearer.

And interestingly, my view has not changed from what it was before but simply clarified. A testament to the sound teaching I’ve received in the past.

The message I take from the sermon, and of course God’s Word, is that men and women both have important, valuable roles to perform.

The “silence” spoken of in this chapter is not so much a complete absence of voice but rather a respectful quietness.

There is a ministry role for every believer. And there are countless opportunities available to both men and women allowing them to exercise their God-given gifts.

But what women are excluded from doing is exercising “authority” over men, especially through “teaching”.

This doesn’t mean they cannot teach. But the form that “teaching” will take may well differ to that performed by men.

We would do well to read Scripture more carefully and prayerfully rather than jumping to conclusions, taking passages out of context, or worse still, applying our own cultural biases to influence our thinking.

Because “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Kim+

prayer : that I would be mindful when reading and interpreting Scripture, asking for godly wisdom to provide me with insight and understanding

action : seek God’s will for the ministry role He would have me do within my church

for there is one God

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” 1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV)

I am reminded of the start to the Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods before me”. (Deuteronomy 5:7)

Yet living here in Japan, where the Shinto and Buddhist religions dominate, it’s sad to see so many putting their faith in gods that do not even exist.

They’re praying to gods who are unable to hear their prayers let alone answer them.

Silent gods. Empty gods. Man-made gods. Idols.

For there is only one way that we can connect to God: through “the man Christ Jesus”.

And, although He is the all-powerful creator of everything, He still listens attentively to our cries of anguish, weeping when we weep, and suffering when we suffer.

He understands our pain.

And whilst He doesn’t promise an immediate remedy, there is the ultimate promise of “no more death, mourning, crying, nor pain”. (Revelation 21:4)

Kim+

prayer : thank you Lord that you sent your Son to act as a mediator between us

action : pray for the people of Japan, that they would see the light

God desires all people to be saved

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)

There it is again: all people.

God is not racist or sexist. His preference is not for a particular nationality or ethnic group.

His desire is for all people to be saved.

Because we are drowning in a sea of sin, often oblivious to the peril we’re in.

Yet He is a God of second chances.

Extending His hand out to each and every one of us in the hope that we will grasp His lifeline of grace.

To “know the truth” is to understand this: that Christ Jesus is the “lifeline”, dieing for our sins, “once for all”. (Romans 6:10)

To save us. All of us.

Thanks be to God.

Kim+

prayer : thank you Lord that your love and grace and mercy knows no limits

action : pray specifically for others that they would be saved

a peaceful and quiet life

“…that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 1 Timothy 2:2b (ESV)

I’m intrigued by what Paul means by a peaceful and quiet life.

I suppose to be “at peace” suggests not being in conflict but instead being reconciled to God and fellow man.

In the context of what Paul talks about earlier in his letter about those people who are arguing and debating needlessly it could be a pointed remark at their “vain discussions” that threaten to divide the church. (1 Timothy 1:6)

Full of their own self-importance they are hardly acting “godly and dignified”.

It’s quite a chastisement for us at this time when many in the church seem intent on pushing their own agenda rather than following “sound doctrine”. (1 Timothy 1:10)

If only “love” could be our overriding desire. If only. (1 Timothy 1:5)

Kim+

prayer : help me to lead a godly life that promotes the gospel and glorifies God

action : seek ways to “love” in a real and practical way