Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Grab A Brick!... And Fight!

Nehemiah is a story of a people returning, rebuilding, and restoring their wall of protection.  It's a perfect illustration of the ongoing battle of sin within, as well as the constant bombarding of the enemy without.

Our spring study will be:
Feb - The Wall Project, Self-Control
March - The Enemy Without:  Fear and Discouragement
April - Sin Within:  Greed, Convenience of Culture, Neglect of the Younger

February Wall Builders project assignments:
-Read Nehemiah.  Make a list of Nehemiah's character traits (prayer, knew Scripture, hand of God...)
-Memorize Pr 2:1-11
-Pick a study from Precepts New Inductive Study Series.  Find a partner.
-Grab a brick!  Write in Neh 4:14 with names of your family, church... (I have these).

The Wall Builders of Nehemiah not only had to build with one hand, but hold a sword with the other.  They had "put their minds" to the restoring process.  But in the backdrop, the enemy was ready, waiting for a moment of weakness, a time when their guard was down.  Nehemiah called out, "Don't be afraid of them.  Remember the LORD, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, yours sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."  Every time a brick went into place, they were fighting!  Building a defense!

What the ancients did brick by brick, we do precept upon precept, laying our foundation with Wisdom.  Let's put our minds to the task and fight for those within our wall of influence!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wall of Protection

Self-control is so important Paul requires it of each group he addresses in Titus 2.  It is the only virtue for all four groups, the only virtue for the younger men.  However, Paul himself says, "I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  I don't do the good I want, but the evil I don't want is what I keep on doing."  No self-control Paul.

But Paul makes a point.  This is not your self-help kind of self-control.  A dictionary definition will simply lead to discouragement, failure, and disappointment.  Jesus says, "Apart from me you can do nothing."  So it goes with self-control, nothing self-made about it.  If Scripture requires self-control from every Christian, then self-control is attainable by every Christian.  Take courage!  Where God guides, God provides!

For brevity and simplicity, self-control in Titus 2 is to be wise and prudent in nature.  How do I get self-control/wisdom:  Proverbs 9:10... the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.  What is the fear of the LORD:  Proverbs 2.


"Discretion (self-control) will protect you and understanding will guard you" Proverbs 2:11.  Self-control is not simply ceasing to feed the flesh, it is beginning to feed the mind.  Feeding the mind with knowledge of Him, His character, His Word.  Then, wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will be pleasant to the soul.  Scripture will not be laws, rules with burdens, but a beautiful boundary.  A wall of protection, welcome and necessary.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Wall Project

Titus 2 Women meets this Tuesday, Feb 7 at 6:30!  This year's theme is The Wall Project and our focus will be self-control.

Proverbs 25:28 compares us to a city with broken down walls when we lack self-control, a place of chaos and vulnerability.  Our building point for this study is Nehemiah, an amazing story of rebuilt walls, renewed faith, and restored worship.

I am beyond excited for another year of Titus 2 Women, encouraging each other in our efforts to honor God's Word!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Titus 2 Review

November was our last meeting of 2011 and completely focused on Home Management.  It was a difficult topic with lots of honesty.  But good news!  We can learn to be better keepers of our homes and difficult doesn't mean discouraging!

Short notice, but I'd like to have a 2011 Titus 2 Review before we begin our new year's study.  I want to know how Titus 2 brought about change in your lives, but especially check in with how Home Management was put in practice.  Each of us named an area for improvement and I'm looking forward to hearing your progress!

I'm praying for you!

Titus 2 Review:
Tuesday, Jan 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Nicole and Candice Beaty.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Disciple

Dorcas of Acts 9 is fascinating.  Dorcas died and was brought back life. Strange, miraclous, and true.  

My interest in Dorcas is more than just the miracle.  Dorcas was a Titus 2 Woman in the absolute purest sense of the Word.  Tabitha (Aramaic) is translated Dorcas (Greek) and her story is found in Acts 9:32-43.  She is the ONLY woman in Scripture where the title disciple is used.  Additional descriptions speak directly to her actions (fruits).  She was "always doing good, deeds of kindness, or full of good works".  She was "helping the poor, charity, almsdeeds".  To peel that last word or phrase back, it's where we get "non-profit".  And we know from 9:39, exactly how Dorcas did these things, she made clothes.  

Dorcas is the Titus 2:3 and 1 Tim 2:10, 5:9-10 model for older women.  First Tim 5 deals with widows and helps interpret Acts 9 (also Titus 2:3 concerning teach "what is good").  A woman should not be considered for a widow's list unless she is over 60, had been faithful to her husband, "and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds."  With her very hands, Dorcas correctly handles the Word of God in exactly how she lived her every day life.  Dorcas, a woman, a disciple, the Word at work!

But wait, there's a bonus!  The picture of Dorcas is not complete without seeing the actions of Peter.  This passage is equally dependent on Peter.  One disciple brings out the Jesus quality in the other, as should the Body of Believers.  It was Peter who responded to the urgent call from those in Joppa to "come at once" when Dorcas died.  

In one word, Peter in this passage, was available.  Not let me check my calendar, let me make arrangements, or what would have been appropriate here by most standards ... I'm sorry for your loss.  

To be available is to be free.  I know over the years I've confused this.  This is not signing up for church ministry, although necessary and called to do at times, or packing my calendar with more "godly" activities.  Please don't mistake my heart here.  I'm talking about having the freedom to move.  If I'm tunnel vision, I won't see the opportunity.  I have to think Peter was very involved in ministry, but he had the wiggle room to GO when called.  I've heard it put that God gives ability, all we have to give Him is availability.  

Dorcas wasn't brought back for her benefit or even Peter's (Peter knew from where his power came, always giving Christ credit).  Because of Dorcas, a true Titus 2 Woman, and Peter, available to go, "this became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord."  

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Race

My kids are competitive swimmers, and a common racing mistake is looking around.  Unfortunately, in the water the position of the head controls the position body.  Looking around throws the swimmer's technique off, which could disqualify them, but ultimately it slows them down.  We remind the kids all the swimmers will end in the same place, so focus on their swim, their lane, their time.... this is their best.  

I think I could use a lesson from the swimmer.  Looking over Romans 14,15, "You, then, why do you judge your brother?  Or why do you look down on your brother?  For we will all stand before God's judgement seat... So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God."  Looking down at my sister's convictions slows my calling for the Lord and the results are disunity for the body.  The stronger then has the greater responsibility to bear with the weaker, building her up with edifying words and deeds.  

"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.....  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly..... No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."  1 Cor 8, 9

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Stronger, The Weaker

This past Titus 2 meeting I wanted to hit pause on the Pass It On! theme.  Not to linger, next month we'll pick back up with our regular study, but I know the necessity to assess and address any parts of the heart that are not in line with God's Will or His Word.

Romans 14 and 15 are where we set up camp for the night, dealing with the stronger/weaker sister in the Faith.  This is crucial for a Titus 2 Woman.  I believe that by the very nature of the relationship (older woman teaching younger woman), this tension of stronger/weaker will exist.

In Romans, Paul is addressing both Jew and Gentile in the church of Rome.  In chapters 14 and 15, he is dealing with some specific issues of stronger/weaker believers and their response to each other.  The strong respond to the weak with contempt.  This has a condescending tone to it, a superior attitude.  Perhaps a kin to hatred.  The weak respond to the strong with judgement or legalism.  They condemn to only find guilt and serve out punishment.  

In Romans 15:7, Paul says, "Accept one another."  But ultimately how do we do that?  Especially when we have such strong convictions concerning certain practices.  Is there any way to truly find common ground?  Romans 14:1 says to accept the one who is weak in faith, but not pass judgement on her opinions.  I think that's the key!  These are matters of opinion, disputable ideals.  Matters that Scripture gives liberty to or even stands silent on.  These matters, or better opinions, may not even be Bible based, but simply people pushed.  

I believe Romans 15 provides us with two ways out of this sin state.  First, Romans 15:1, says the strong are to bear the weaknesses of those without spiritual strength.  I like Colossians 3:11-17 to clarify this "bear with each other."  But the heart of this verse is in the second half, "and not just to please ourselves."  Wow.  As we bear with the weakness of our sisters, don't please the flesh.  I believe clothes have nothing to do with my salvation, making me neither good nor bad.  But if a sister is convicted to her dress style, then I should not please my flesh in her presence.  Romans 14:15, says if I distress my sister over such matters I am no longer acting in love.

Verse 3 says, "For even Christ did not please Himself."  So, bear with the weak, do not please the flesh, just as Christ did not please Himself, but became the very essence of humility.

Our second way out is to seek Christ's example in v. 7, "Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God."  Again, wow.  If Christ can accept me... how dare I do not accept another!  Verse 8, 9 continues, "For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy."  

Christ humbled himself, denied His flesh, and became a servant to both groups for the purpose of completing God's Will and to bring glory to the Father.  And I want to squabble over pants or dresses.....

Finally, the verse that simply breaks my heart.  Romans 14:4, "Who are you to judge someone else's servant?  To his own master he stands or falls."  My sister serves my Master as I.  We both love the Lord.  Who am I to judge His child?  Ha! What pride to even assume I am the stronger!

Without a Romans 14 and 15 pause, it will be impossible for me to be a Titus 2 Woman.  The air of contempt or the scales of condemnation will ever go before me and block the gospel.  Romans 14:17-18, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but Righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men."

Additional scripture concerning the stronger/weaker:
1 Corinthians 8:1-13, 9:19-23
James 4:12 (really James 3-4, what causes disputes...)