I grow weary of this exercise….I am waiting for this to be over, so I can stop writing down my thoughts on every little thing, but instead focus on what is going on in my head.
Q: According to verse 8, what are we to do in response to what God has done? What are some practical ways that you can “do good deeds” to others today? Be prepared to share your experiences with your small group members when you meet this week.
A: This verse says that we need to devote ourselves to doing what is good. I can’t think of any good deeds that I can do right this very second. I’ve been trying to do good deeds in a practical way around my little corner of the world lately, so I don’t know what else I can do, but I’m open to suggestions. So with that, 3 days down this week 4 more to go.
I’m out, time for class.
Q: Paul instructs Titus to both show and tell the new Christians of Crete how to live. Who can you encourage in the days and years ahead with your own example and words? How do Paul’s words in verses 6-8 and 11-15 challenge and encourage you to action?
A: Haven’t I answered this question like 18 times in the course of this devotional. So once again, I try my darnedest to do right by my actions and words, but I screw it up pretty good a lot of times. I’m often challenged to stop talking, especially when I am talking about really stupid stuff. But I grow tired of this now, so I will stop, and do some reading for my mini group tomorrow.
So I have been way busy lately, so I haven’t posted many of my devotions, but this is the last week, so I’m going to try to do better this week.
Q: Whom do you know right now that others might consider too far from God to consider the gospel? Take time right now to pray for that person. What can you do this week to demonstrate God’s love to them in a practical way?
A: Well I don’t know a lot of people who I won’t talk to. I’m not a big fan of really really dirty people, but that is usually because they smell bad, not because I’m not willing to talk to them. But usually I will talk to almost anyone. I don’t think there is anyone I’ve ever considered too far from God to accept the gospel. So, with that I’m done with the first day of the last week of my posting answers to the devotion questions on my blog, but stay tuned, I think I’ll post my thoughts on doing these devotions at the end of all this.
So today a lot is on my mind. God has really been answering some prayers, and kinda saying “HA! I told you to chill out and be patient, but you doubted.” and now I feel like an idiot. At any rate, I was reading this thing on greed and money and I don’t really feel like writing about because that is something Lauren and I have been arguing about and I haven’t had time to digest yet. Besides, I forgot to do a devotion yesterday and I feel like that is the one that is a little more important right now to write about.
Q: Paul makes it clear that our responsibility for others begins with our immediate family. Reread verse 8. Who do you most need to extend care to in your family circle? What can you specifically do today to extend God’s love to those closest to you?
A: I like to think that my family extends to my church family as well. But in my immediate family I think we take care of each other as well as we can, and I figure that my family is a good start. As I grow though it is more important to me to extend my family to my church family and non church friends. I think that I need to extend God’s love to the hard to reach people in my life. Sometimes when God slaps you in the head calls you a retard and tells you that your screwing it all up…….you should listen. And that is when you apologize for being stupid and move on again trying to be more loving and caring about the people around you. But now I am done writing for the moment, because I must check my laundry.
Q: What situations or responsibilities are you facing right now that seem big or overwhelming to you? What can you learn from Paul’s advice to Timothy in this passage?
A: Often just graduating seems overwhelming. Right now with my classes and everything I’ve been doing at the church it can be overwhelming to try to get my school work done while trying to lead a small group. It is all pretty daunting, the only up side that I really like in this passage is the part that says Timothy should move in the holy spirit and not worry about people calling him young and inexperienced. The other day my Dad said something about not being a bunch of 20 year olds project, and I was pretty offended. I’m at an age where I know that I’m not as wise as a lot of people, and I don’t know as much as a lot of people. But I do know that I’m not completely devoid of knowledge and wisdom and it is pretty annoying to have someone completely count me out because I’m 22 and he would be embarrassed to have God show him something from someone so much younger then him. But anyway enough of my whining, I’m done now, and I’m excited that LJ is actually checking my feeds more often now, so it won’t look so stupid on your friends pages. Alright….now I’m really done.
Q: How do the qualifications for leaders given in this passage encourage and challenge you? Which ones do you meet right now? Which qualifications do you need to grow in?
A: I would say that in general these passages tend to challenge me more then encourage. I often think that it would be better not to lead in any fashion because you are held to a higher standard. I don’t like being in the public eye so that people can judge me and make hypocritical decisions about me and the things they don’t like about me. I grew up with this going on constantly and so I tend to shy away from that sort of thing now. But sometimes you are called to do things that you don’t particularly want to do, and that is one of the tough parts about being a Christian, and sometimes you have to just do it. I actually think I could grow in most if not all of the qualifications Paul lists for being a leader. So I won’t spend much time on that, and just call this a wrap.
Q: In the opening verses of this passage, whom does Paul say to pray for? What does he say to pray for them?
A: Easy enough. Paul tells them to pray for Kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I like easy questions….short simple and to the point.
Q: Paul was an extremely devoted and religious person before he met Christ, yet he says in verse 15 that he was “worst [sinner] of them all.” What did Paul look to for salvation before he met Christ? What did he rely on after encountering Christ? As Paul did in verses 12-14, take some time now to thank God for showing you his lavish mercy.
A: Before Christ revealed himself to Paul he was seeking to be a religious zealot. Perfect in all the rules, a great fighter for his faith. But Jesus showed him that he didn’t need to kill people to show them the truth. I liken this today to more of the “good person” syndrome that is so present in America. Everyone thinks that if you are a “good person,” which means not killing anyone, and not stealing, or being sorry for the things you did wrong that it will be all OK. But seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever met a “good person” but I have a little tougher definition. I think that a good person always cares about others before themselves, and never holds selfish pride and their egos over the people around them. Good people love everyone as Christ loved. They treat everyone better then they expect to be treated. They know how to say everything in the most kind and compassionate way, i.e. they don’t make mental mistakes that, or run their mouth until someones feelings are truly hurt unless it is the truth that someone needs to hear (and even then they will say it in the best way possible). I think that good person would never have to censor themselves, what would go through their head is the right and most caring thing to say. Also they would never move in sin purposefully, i.e. no sexual impurities, have never lied or deceived anyone, never manipulated anyone. So I challenge the reader now. You find me a “good person” that fits my definition, not just someone who hasn’t killed anyone, and I will reward you with a special place on my webpage, but I am willing to bet that no one fits my description that is alive. I believe that the only guy who was ever a good person was Jesus. Paul tried to be a “good person” but screwed it up and became obsessed with glorifying himself and increasing in status in his culture. So, now I have ranted about the “good people” syndrome annoyance I have, and I’m tired of writing…so I will leave you with my challenge and go to class.
Q: Summarize in a sentence or two Paul’s teaching on work and laziness found in verses 6-15. How does this teaching speak to your current work (or study) habits?
A: Paul is saying here that while he and his companions were with the Thessalonians that they worked to earn their keep. And he is saying that everyone should work so that there is no one free loading and being completely lazy. I think this is saying that it is good to work hard in anything you do. I try not to be too lazy in the things I do, but it seems that the tendency toward laziness is bred into my genes. I know a lot of my family is prone to workaholism, but somehow I would rather be sitting on my butt enjoying quality movies like “Super Troopers.” So maybe if I didn’t sit on my butt watching movies and studied more I wouldn’t have such a crappy time taking tests. But Sometimes I’m torn about what God is telling me to work hard at, but I think this is a good indication that you should work hard at whatever you are doing. So, now I am tired, and going to sleep. But first I want to say thanks for posting your thoughts after my little rant the other day. It is good to know that I’m not just doing this to entertain myself and that people do actually read it. As always, feel free to respond to any of these posts with thoughts about what I wrote or with your own answers to the questions. G’Night
Q: What do you find most encouraging in verses 13 through 17?
A: I like how this passage is building up the reader by saying that they are saved by the work of the Spirit. I like the fact that this whole part is like that. Paul is thanking God for the work he has done in these people, and can be also translated into us today. I think Paul would be very very thankful for all the Christians that God has reached today through the Spirit. I like a lot of this letter. I think it is very encouraging in general. Now I have to go to class, I’m out.
BTW LiveJournal is now only picking up my RSS feed once a day, so you will get two or three things together if I don’t post at the right time of day. If I don’t post before they pick up my feed it will lump two of them together the next day. Anyway, now I really have to bail.
Q: What situations(s) are you facing right now where God is calling you to persist in faithful obedience to him?
A: There are a ton of places in my life that God is calling me to be more faithful in my life. I feel like over the past year and a half he has been just telling me to get one area after another in order. A lot of the areas require too much back-story to explain why God wants me to work on them, and some other ones are just a little more personal then I wish to publish on the web. Thats right, I said there actually is something I won’t write about online, and as most of you know I discuss my life pretty openly, but some stuff just isn’t meant for my blog. But I know that God does not call us to do things without giving us the strength and endurance to accomplish them. One of the things I’ve had to be persistent in is writing in this blog for my devotions. Does anyone read all of these things besides Janine and Lauren? I have wondered if I should even keep doing this. Everyone I talk to says they like it, but no one (except Janine, have to give props where it is due) ever chimes in with their thoughts or responses to what I write. So, I propose, that people click on the link that says “Post a new comment” which is to the left of the word “Devotions” and to the right of “Comments (0). Do not click on the “Comments: Add Your Own” linke because that is something Livejournal adds and I cannot respond to comments made that way. But Anyway, write something, what you think about my posts, what you think about this question, or whatever. Just let me know that more then 2 or 3 people read this and enjoy it. Ok, it’s late, I’m tired, and tired of writing and ranting. So I’m calling it a day. Night
Q: October is Pastor Appreciation Month. In verse 12 we are encouraged to “honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work.” Consider who your spiritual leaders are right now – your small group leader(s) (or coach, ministry team leader, or Cross Training leader) and pastors. Take time now to write on of them a note or send them an email to express your appreciation for their service to you.
A: There have been several pastors over the years who have been important to me. I really love my former small group leaders Bob and Kelley, who are getting married in a couple weeks. I really like all the leaders right now in GodSearch. The coaches Liz, Tony and Sarah, Brent and Val, are all awesome and doing great stuff. Jeff and LeQue, our pastor and his wife, are totally awesome and they work really hard to make sure everything is moving smoothly, and Jeff is a great teacher and speaker. I would say LeQue is too but I haven’t heard her personally, but through the grapevine she is really great at teaching too. But sometime this week I might just try to send some cards to some people this week. But with that, I have written a lot today, so I’m done.
So I’m sitting here watching “A social history of Virginity” on MTV which is kind of funny because today the devotion is about how your sex life is. Paul says in this passage to be pure and holy in your sex life, and most people who are honest with themselves will tell you that this is not easy.
Q: Paul’s first nitty-gritty instructions to his friends probe their sex lives, inviting them to “live in holiness and honor – not in lustful passion as the pagans do, in their ignorance of God and his ways” (4:4-5). How is God speaking to you right now about purity of heart and mind? How can we help on another as believers to live “in holiness and honor”?
A: God tells me to get my crap together all the time. I need to pull it together and improve my mindsets. I had a discussion the other day about admiring woman for their beauty. The question was can a Christian man look at a woman and admire the beauty that God gave her without lusting after her. I had a two part answer to this. First, yes you can look at her and admire her beauty, but it is better in a lot of ways not to. For me and a lot of other guys you can look around admiring people with the best intentions but it inevitably leads to lusting, there is almost no way to avoid that unless you have the best iron will. I think this is an area that requires accountability for a lot of people. As Christians we have to provide encouragement when people are doing well and advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of lust. If I had any good on how to live in “holiness and honor” I would be better at it myself, but this is an area that I believe requires lots of will power and lots of prayer for strength and endurance. So with this I will stop because this topic is touchy for most everyone, and I’m not immune to that and I don’t really like writing about it.