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Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10) Part 3

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now continuing our study of several verses in chapter six:

Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10): Part 3

II. The Specifics of Self-Commendation (vv. 4-10)

We’ve thought about a definition of self-commendation in our first post (making sure we’re not putting a stumbling block in anyone’s path and working so our ministry will not be discredited). But what, specifically, does it mean to endure in the service of the Lord? We’ve noticed the 28 items that Paul lists showing how his behavior and mindset in ministry commend him. Let’s notice the second section of those items:

These are positive qualities that mark Paul’s ministry. When you and I are serving, are we serving in purity, understanding, patience, and kindness? Can we confidently say that we are doing our work “in the Holy Spirit” and “in sincere love”? We are to be marked by “truthful speech” and we should desire to wield the “weapons of righteousness” in the “power of God.” Those are high qualities — but they are not optional IF we wish to appropriately commend ourselves and our gospel!

Today’s Challenge: Which of those nine qualities in that second list do you need to work on? What steps will you take to tackle at least one of them? (Feel free to leave a comment below).

 

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 6

 

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The Sadness of Divorce: Some Quotes from The Guardian

Several years ago, The Guardian printed some anecdotes from readers about the break-ups of their marriages. To say the stories were wide-ranging would understate things hugely. Recollections ran the spectrum from celebratory to matter-of-fact to heartbreaking.

One reader, a middle-aged Irish woman named Enda, practically exulted. “While I was totally knocked sideways by my husband’s unexpected departure, I came to realise that the situation presented an opportunity for me to focus on me and my own dreams. I moved back to Ireland from the UK, opened my chocolate business here, bought a house in the country, and I’ve never been happier … All my dramas are my own, not his. All my successes are my own, not his. All my happiness is my own, not his. My divorce has allowed me to arrive in my own life – and stay here comfortably with a smile on my face and a sense of gratefulness for my health, my happiness and my dream.”

Another divorcee, American-born Theresa, was more straightforward. “We mailed out a ‘divorce announcement’ card. The cover read, ‘To let you know that we have a new life apart …’ The picture was of two ships, one named ‘me’, the other ‘you’, traveling in different directions with a breaching whale between the two. The back of the card read, ‘What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.’ Reception to the card was mixed.”

And then came the sad experience of a young British woman who wished to remain anonymous: “I got divorced earlier this year after two years of marriage. For me, it came really out of the blue. My husband came home one night and told me that he had fallen in love with someone else; when I asked him if our marriage was over, he said, ‘Yes.’ And that was it. My parents came and picked me up and took me home. He moved in with her one week later. Finding out he had been unfaithful was a very surreal moment. He was the last person you’d expect to do that, and it sent shockwaves through our family…”

Your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2019 in divorce

 

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Stay Spiritually Fit and Healthy — Until You Are Dead! Part 6

“It just dawned on me that there are 70 pounds of you that I’m not legally married to!”  These words could be said by my wife Linda, but she wouldn’t.  But she could.  Physically, I need to lose “a few pounds” — and I’m working on it.

Diet and exercise — that’s what I’m doing.  And it’s working!  My problem (among the many that I have) is that I sometimes try to do too much exercise.  Like yesterday when I played two sets of singles tennis and then had a doubles match last night!  My legs are speaking to me this morning and saying things that Christian legs ought  not to say.

But I want to get “in shape”, to “be fit.”  And that’s going take some work.

So it is in the Christian life.  We’ve been looking at the little epistle of Titus and seeing Paul’s concern for the spiritual health of this young Christian leader.  We move into chapter three of this letter:

Paul’s admonitions to Titus in this section relate to how we treat others.  Specifically, believers have an obligation to “be subject to rulers and authorities.”  A rebellious, anti-government attitude is not to characterize the follower of Jesus.  Obedience to God-appointed authority is a sign of spiritual health.

We are “to be ready to do whatever is good” (v. 1).  The spiritually healthy believer is an active believer, one who looks for opportunities to show by his or her works that the God of the Bible is real and wants a relationship with His creation.

Our speech (“to slander no one”) and our heart attitudes (“to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone”) are healthy conditions towards which we ought to strive.  The grouchy Christian is a contradiction in terms.  The harsh believer needs to drop down and do twenty push-ups, realizing that His Savior is gentle in heart.

The Lord Jesus — God manifest in the flesh — was subject to authorities, obedient, ready to do whatever is good, slandered no one, was peaceable and considerate and always gentle towards everyone.  And I want to be like Him.  You?   (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2018 in spiritual health

 

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Back to Basics (A Study of Titus 2): Part 4

We’ve been studying the Apostle Paul’s Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 8.15.29 AMparagraph on the Christian life found in Titus 2.  There we read:

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

God’s grace is not only a SALVATION-OFFERING grace, but also a TEACHING grace.  It is a grace that FORMS OUR TASTES for the things of God.  God’s grace teaches us from two perspectives how to live the Christian life.  First, we see that His grace teaches us to DENY.  We are to deny UNGODLINESS.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.44.18 AMSecond, we are to deny WORLDLY PASSIONS!  The word κοσμικός has the meaning “of or belonging to the world.”  It can be used to mean “relating to the universe” or “earthly” or “worldly” (having the character of this present corrupt age).  The Latin Vulgate translates the world as saecularis (= secular).  The word ἐπιθυμία is used frequently in the New Testament and is variously translated “desires,” “lusts,” “impulses,” or even “concupiscence” in Colossians 3:5 (KJV) (I’m sure you use the word “concupiscence” often in your daily conversation!).

God does not want us to be passionless people!  But the same word for “desires” can be translated “lusts” (depending on the context).  Paul is admonishing Christians to deny “the worldly lusts.”  What are “the worldly lusts” in our culture which secularize the believer in Jesus?

What can  you put your finger on?

What can you put your finger on?

We are to deny, to turn away from, ungodliness and the worldly passions.  Some “worldly passions” that occur to me are:

(1) a sense of entitlement:  The world owes me a living, good fortune, relaxation, comfort.

(2) an attitude of ownership:  My life is my own; I can choose to do what I wish with my time, my money, my desires.

(3) a spirit of minimalism:  I will do only what is expected or required of me, especially in spiritual matters (church involvement, witnessing, social concern).

What worldly passions occur to you?  Can you put your finger on a specific one from which you need to turn away? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Titus 2

 

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