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...)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Long time since a Titus 2!

Let's get back to task on Tuesday, September, 13, 6:30 p.m..  I apologize for the move from Monday to Tuesday and hope this is no inconvenience.

Our topic, Pass It On!, will continue!  Last spring, we got to know 3 amazing women of scripture who had Pass It On! attitude.  This fall will be nothing less!  Our first night back we'll address a Titus 2 issue:  the weaker sister, the stronger sister.

Looking forward to learning the Titus 2 Way with you ladies!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pass It On!

Titus 2 Women tonight at 6:30 p.m.  Thanks to Priscilla last month, we have the big picture for Pass It On! Tonight Lois and Eunice will help us out with the who, what, when and where of Pass It On!

It's a Monday.... praying for you my sisters.

Monday, March 7, 2011


We learn the things of Titus 2 so that God's Word is not dishonored.  Raising the bar, 2 Timothy 2 (notice the number 2...Titus 2, now 2 Tim 2...handy way to remember the scripture reference and the goal for the year ahead, doubling our effort and focus) motivates us on.  Verse 15, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."  It is to God that we answer at the end of the day as to how we handled His Word... will we be approved or stand ashamed?

Priscilla, introduced in Acts 18, will help us with the task at hand.  PrisCillA. P-Pass It On!, C-Culture, A-Available. 

1.  Culture.  
Starting appropriately in the middle, is C for culture.  Like Priscilla, I know I'm feeling the pressure of the squeeze all the time!  The pull of the culture, the call of biblical womanhood.  However, if we think our culture is ungodly, let's get to know Priscilla's.  Corinth was an extremely pagan city, home of the temple to Aphrodite, goddess of love.  Even by heathen standards, Corinth was over the top when it came to sexual perversions.  But beginning in Acts 18, we find a another familiar character, leaving Athens and stepping right into this bed of sin city. 

--Paul arrives in Corinth and meets Aquila, a Jew, recently come from Rome.  A thought is they may have met while in the synagogue (they did what Jews do, go to the synagogue) and Aquila already a convert.  Another thought, people sat in the synagogue according to trade... Aquila is a tentmaker, so is Paul.
--Aquila is mentioned first here, afterward Priscilla first.  They are never named without the other. 
--Paul lived and worked with them.  They were Paul's companions, I'm sure in support of the Gospel as well as leather working.  

"But when".... v. 6 turns the table for us, revealing vital info in knowing our culture, thus knowing our enemy.  "But when the Jews opposed Paul"..... As soon as the Lord moves, Satan moves too! According to John MacArthur (I've used him as a major reference), it's always the same attack on the church:  persecution, sin allowed into the body, and no unity in the fellowship.  Our enemy has the world, it's me and you and the church he's after!

Specifically on persecution, John MacArthur has an interesting analogy.  He says throughout church history, the church thrives in light of persecution.  Only when the church confronts the culture, does the church grow and have effect.  A bold church is an effective church.  A bold church is a persecuted church.  Bold you, effective you.  Bold you, persecuted you.  But the result is always the same, progress.

Back to 2 Tim 2, Paul says v. 1, to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,  v. 2, pass on what you know to others, v. 3, endure hardship...."   When the Lord is doing a work through you, Satan always counters.  For a matter of length, I'll only tell you to study Eph 6.  After Paul lays out the essentials for spiritual battle, he makes an interesting request... check it out!

In this country, we're not usually tortured or imprisoned for our beliefs.  But nonetheless, we are persecuted.  Think on how we generally react?  We stay quiet in uncomfortable situations or gather within our own ranks to be safe.  We just avoid.  I think for us, persecution seems minimal and unimportant, but it has produced great rewards for the enemy.  We've played his game.  

Back to Acts 18, v. 8-10.  During the night, the Lord came to Paul in a vision and said, "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."

WOW!  Don't avoid or keep quiet!  God said Paul if your silent, they won't hear and I have many that will come to salvation.... keep on speaking, they've got to hear it before they believe it!  It's like saying Corinth is a bed of sin and it seems like nothing bright or good can come from such dark and evil.  But God said watch, I'm gonna shine!  Just keep on speaking!  I know, I have people in this city!

The Matthew Henry commentary on Acts 18, says God gave Paul a prospect of success.  Many in the city of Corinth would be called as a result of Paul's ministry.  The Lord knows those who are his.  "Yet in this heap, that seems to be all chaff, there is wheat;  in this ore, that seems to be all dross, there is gold.  Let us not despair concerning any place, when even in Corinth, Christ had many people."  

2.  Available.  
Priscilla was available, flexible, even moving when necessary.  Her home was open, the Ephesus church met there.  But I have to say, my favorite available Bible character is the Good Samaritan, Luke 10.

In v. 33, the Samaritan was about his day, on a set course with a sure purpose.  Scripture says he was traveling.  Ahead of the Samaritan, lay a man who had been beaten and left in the road.  No one would stop and help him.  Knowing those things, I think the key to this scripture isn't what was said, but what wasn't.  After the Samaritan "came upon him;" there's that punctuation mark, a semi-colon.  It's job, connecting two separate thoughts.  It's a pause.  After the semicolon, it says "and when he saw him, he felt compassion."  I believe the ; or the pause, is the choice.  He came upon the man and he had a decision to make, a choice, just like the other travelers.  He chose mercy.  Being available is never about my comfort or my schedule.  Availability is mercy.  (The Samaritan was prepared, or at least had the cash to be available, paying for the man's care.  I think money is the main reason, or excuse, we're not available.  Please pray and ask God to reveal if this is a problem area for you.)

I can't leave Luke 10 without giving a couple of my favorite girls a shout out!  Immediately following the story of the "Good Samaritan" is "At the Home of Martha and Mary."  Jesus is so gracious, he knows how to keep us ladies balanced!

One more point here.  Acts 18:26, Priscilla and Aquilla heard Apollos speak, they invited him to their home and explained the way of God more accurately.  This verse will lead us into our third point, but for now, Priscilla saw an opportunity and she pounced.  She didn't go home, make a casserole.  Time was of the essence and too much at stake.  She needed to speak truth boldly and fearlessly and Apollos needed to hear in order to understand the Way.  She invited him to her home....

3.  Pass It On!  
Priscilla invested in Apollos and Corinth and Ephesus and Rome.... we are part of that lineage.  Acts 18 points out that Apollos was highly educated in scripture and very gifted in public speaking, and yet Priscilla corrected him.  I must point out, this was done aside.  She didn't call a committee or put it on the prayer chain.  She had confidence in her knowledge of the Holy One and approached Apollos square on.  Don't miss this either, Priscilla and Aquilla were a tag team.  

Again borrowing from John MacArthur, there are no simple formulas for a pass it on attitude.  The churchy word here is discipleship.  MacArthur helps us out, listing some common characteristics of what healthy discipleship looks like:
--first and foremost, it's about sharing the gospel.
--it's about relationship, but with the purpose of spiritual growth.  
--humility must always be present on the side of teacher.  
--love the other person without condition (remembering Titus 3:3-5, "At one time I too was foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures...But when the kindness and love of God my Savior appeared, he saved me, not because of righteous things I had done, but because of his mercy...).
--be an example in all areas of your life, 1 Tim 4:12b
--if your going to teach the Word, you have to be a student of the Word.  

Priscilla has done an excellent job at helping us get the bigger picture of Pass It On!  Ladies, we must begin to incorporate this practice into our everyday lives.  It's just too important and too much to lose.  I often wonder how many older women have crossed my path, paused and just didn't think I was worth it.  How often do I too choose the path of least resistance.  The ripple ending where I stand silent.  

In Romans 16, Paul sends a big hello to all his people.  He says, "Greet Priscilla and Aquilla, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.  They risked their lives for me.  Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them."

That's you and me sister... be grateful for those bold and fearless shoulders on which we stand.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pass It On!

Searching for a particular scripture, that's when I saw it...pass it on.  It was the title for a Bible character sketch on Priscilla.  The extent of my knowledge on Priscilla was she was the wife, right?

But "pass it on" held my attention.  I read the short description of this New Testament woman and started connecting the dots concerning Priscilla.  This woman was no small fry!  Priscilla was a giant and it's upon shoulders like hers that today's church stands.  

Titus 2 Women this year will focus on that very phrase... Pass It On!  Always under the umbrella of Titus 2:3-5 teaching, this year will be about reaching back and sharing what we've learned.  Priscilla didn't just breathe church air, she was a conduit of life for others.  

Titus 2 Women begins Monday, February 21st at 6:30pm, my house.  We will meet the 2nd Monday of each month in March, April, May, August, September, October and November.  Bring your word for the year and be prayed up.  Remember my word for 2011 is WAR and you bet I'm trying out my armor!  This ain't no pillow party girls!  We have a job to do and it's time we are about our Father's business.  Get ready to Pass It On!

Subject to My Husband

The Titus 2 Way

This month I could think of no better way to bring clarity to this final and very specific topic than to refer to Voddie Baucham's Marriage By Design DVD.  The section titled, "What She Ought to Be" takes this controversial subject and brings truth to the surface.  I have never heard it explained this well.  Thanks Voddie!

The DVD is up for check out at any time!

Home Management-Part Two

Home Management 101, look to 1 Tim 5:14.  Young women should manage their homes.  KJV says to "guide the house."  What a great phrase!

Home Management-Part One

The Titus 2 Way

This article is a little different.  It is actually an outline due to the topic.

This phrase "to be busy at home" is NIV, however, check out different translations.  It is a combo word = employed at home.  Other related words are royalty, palace, indoors, members of household and sanctuary.

-Is it OK for a Christian woman to work outside the home? Why or why not?
-What title, if any, does she give herself if she only works within the home?

Bible basis to "keeper of the home"... Titus 2, Prov 31, 1 Tim 5:14 (natural tendency to loaf), 1 Tim 5:8 (men provide).

Seasons of our lives allow for more time outside the home.  Children do grow up and ladies we do grow old.  However, I think we have it backwards.  We work ourselves to death while we're young.  Notice who does so much of the ministry or "programs" at church.  The young women with young families.  Shame on the older generations for such pressure to participate.  The older women should encourage young moms to be at home, taking care of their own families.  So many church activities, well intended,  only separate families and cause chaos at home.

Before I commit to any activity outside my home, three questions I need to ask myself:
1.  What is the reason for working outside of my home and is it honoring the gospel?
2.  How will this help my husband's calling?
3.  Where will this hinder my created purpose as keeper of my home?

Responses to those questions:
1.  My answer my require confession and prayer time.
2.  Gen 1:26-31, 2:7-25;  1 Cor 11:8-9.  Read p. 109, 107 in Feminine Appeal
3.  Read p. 111 in Feminine Appeal.  Remember the purpose for a Titus 2 life is to present the gospel attractive to unbelievers.  "Our homes can actually be a showcase for the gospel"  But we have to be home!  Remember purity is wedged between self-control and busy at home.  Interesting.

Martha Peace writes in the The Excellent Wife, "The biblical concept of a "worker at home" is not a popular one today, but I do believe that God intended for the women, especially the younger women, to stay home and do a good job of caring for their homes and for their families.  A wife who is gone with too many activities or work does not have the time or energy to keep her home as it should be kept.

If a wife is working or is thinking of returning to work, she should examine her motives.  What is it she really wants?  What is her heart set on?  Is it to avoid becoming a 'non-person?'  Is it more material things?  Is is wanting to be out from under the demands of child care?  Is it to relieve her husband from his responsibility of work?  None of these motives are for the glory of God.  They are self-serving and sinful.  Godly motives would be learning to be content, Phil 4:11, gratitude to the Lord for what she does have, 1 Thess 5:18, and whatever you do in thought, word, and deed, do all for the glory of God, 1 Cor 10:31.  Staying at home and organizing a clean, well run household is a major biblical emphasis in the God-given ministry of the wife."....  ShaZam! Go Martha Peace!

"Keeping a home is more than staying at home;  it is having a heart fixed on the home."  Debi Pearl, Created to be His Help Meet

I Seek Purity, I Pursue Righteousness

The Titus 2 Way

Titus 2 is a list of characteristics we are to learn and in turn teach to the next generation.  Among that list is a very specific word, pure.  Purity in Titus 2 is to be innocent, clean and having proper sexual conduct.  But attached to that word is a wonderful surprise!  The word Holy.  To be pure is a call to be holy!

The word holy, in Titus 2 context, is to be acceptable to God.  It's active dedication to the Lord.  

How awesome is that!  Purity is NOT  "just DON'T do it" or "it'll make you go blind".  Purity is NOT reactive or just stopping at some imaginary line.  Purity is so much more!  Purity is proactive and it has a plan.  It is a pursuit, it's movement... it has a goal.  It's aim is nothing less than holiness!

By the way, God's not shocked when we do the tango.  We were created to consummate that desire, but only within the boundary of a covenant marriage between a husband and a wife.  But what about the rest of the world?  The marriages that stink or the really in love so why shouldn't they do it?  What about those just born that way?

Purity calls us all, for God said, "Be holy, because I am holy."

In 2 Samuel 11-12, David provides us with exactly what NOT to do:
1.  David was not where he was supposed to be.  Literally.  He was at home and idle, not at work where he was purposed to be.
2.  David saw her.  The lust of the eyes for the things of this world may not end with materialism.  Careful what your eyes do a double take on.  For it's through the eyes that we view the flesh of others.  Before you know it, the lust of the flesh is upon you.  It sneaks up, in small... one step at a time... moves and miscalculations.  (1 John 2:15-17)
3.  David sent for her.   "We may be tempted to meet real physical needs in appropriate ways."  However, I am not my own, I was bought a price (1 Cor 6:12-20).  I am to flee from the desires of the flesh and make no provisions for it, especially in my home (Gen. 29, Ps 101:2-3, Rom 13:14).  Charles Spurgeon says what we are at home, that we are indeed.  Also, know when, where and with whom I am tempted.  "God is not impressed with my ability to stand up to sin.  He's more impressed by the obedience I show when I run from it (Kissed Dating Goodbye)."  1 Cor 10:11-13, says no temptation has seized me to the point of no return.  God will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear.  But when I am tempted, God is faithful and will provide me with a way out.  David had the choice and decided to go his way.

The rest is His-story, check out Psalm 51.  David could not remain in that sin state for long.  Romans 6 gives clarity to that point.  

Of course, Proverbs 1-10:1 is the go to for young men in need of self-control.  Proverbs 7, gentlemen is your must read for understanding purity and the wily ways of women.

For the ladies, the Bible character for a purity picture is Rebekah.  In Genesis 24, Rebekah shows us exactly what to do:
1.  Rebekah was where she was supposed to be.  Literally.  She was about her daily chores, doing exactly what she was purposed to be.  She cherished the stage of life she was in and went about it "quickly".
2.  Rebekah saw him.  Because she was spiritually prepared, she was ready for an opportunity when she saw it.  She noticed the man needed help.  What she didn't know, she was the answer to a prayer.
3.  Rebekah went with him.  A marriage made in heaven.

The rest is His-story, check out the linage of Jesus.  Rebekah became  the wife of Isaac, the mother of Jacob and the grandmother to the very tribes of Israel.  

Here are additional scripture to add to your study of purity.  They are amazing!  Note the reoccuring themes from our Romans series.  Don't ya love it!
-1 Peter 1:13-23
-2 Corn 6:14-7:1
-Rom 6:18-23
-1 Thess 4:1-8

Self-Control-Part Two

Martha, Martha, Martha.

When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  Martha was in a whirl and she wanted Mary and Jesus in one too.  "The excessiveness of worldly cares and pursuits is often the occasion for disturbance in families and for strife and disagreement among relation,"  Matthew Henry commentary.

But Martha was serving Jesus afterall!  Serving the Lord requires time and effort right?  And when it got tough she prayed for help right?.  But that's not how scripture paints a picture of Martha's heart.  Remember she was in "But Me" mode.  In her distraction, she made an interesting request to the Lord.

v.40b, And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her then to help me."  She demanded, Jesus make Mary help!  Henry states, "Those are not always in the right who are most eager to appeal to God"    

In Martha's out of control state, Jesus was perfect in his response.  v.41, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things." Turning it back to Martha, he points out her sin state.  Then with grace, redirecting Martha, he says "but one thing is necessary,"  time with me.  

Henry's commentary, "Serious godliness is a needed thing, nothing but this will go with us into another world.  The day will come when Martha will wish she had sat where Mary did.  Christ justified Mary against her sister's busyness, he applauded her for her wisdom.  'She has chosen the good portion' to be with Christ, a better way of honorning and pleasing him, by receiving his word into her heart, than Martha did by providing for his entertainment in her house.  It is wisdom and duty of every one of us to choose this good part.  Mary had a choice, partake with Martha in her worry or sit at the feet of Christ and prove herself a zealous disciple."   

Charles Spurgeon puts it real simple, "It is easier to serve than to commune."  ShaZam!

Scripture always provides our way and Proverbs 2:1-11 instructs me in exactly how to do the one thing necessary.  Notice in v. 11, self-control naturally follows.  

By the way, Proverbs 1-10:1 are wisdom chapters, all directed at sons.  The only thing in Titus 2 for younger men is, you guessed it, self-control (wisdom).

I beg you to spend some time over Proverbs 2.  Get the lists of action verbs in v.1-4, accept, store, turn, apply, call, cry, look, search, v.5, THEN I will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God!  Verse 11 hems it all in, "Discretion (self-control) will protect you, and understanding will guard you.  

Self-control=wise=knowledge of the Holy=wall of protection.  Only one thing is necessary, choose the better way.


Self-Control-Part One

Martha and Mary
38. Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  
39. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.  
40. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 

41. But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,  
42. but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42, ESV

The story of Martha and Mary depicts my life, parts that I desire and others I don't.  It's the good, the bad and the ugly for all us girls.  Let's take a closer look.

To begin, Martha is doing exactly what she should, serve.  The skills of hospitality, cooking and organization are very natural to her.  As women, even if we're not spiritually gifted with it,  we are all inclined to it, serving.  

v40, But Martha was distracted with much serving.  Martha was having a "But Martha" moment.  In "But Me" mode, she got distracted.  But who wouldn't, all the work and preparation required to feed Jesus, to serve him.  I get Martha.  So how did Martha start out so right and end up so wrong?  How did she get so distracted in serving Jesus?

Matthew Henry commentary says, "It does not become the disciples of Christ to take on themselves an excessive burden of waiting on others; what need is there of much serving, when much less will serve?  Whatever cares the providence of God casts on us we must not be distracted with them. Care is good, distraction is sin and folly."  
This month in Titus 2 Women we studied the characteristic self-control, one of the seven virtues of a Titus 2 woman.  Actually self-control at it's core means wise or wisdom.  Martha and Mary are our poster girls for what is out of control and what is self-control.  

Since self-control equals wisdom, then Proverbs is the go to for all things wise.  Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."  Proverbs 25:28 says, "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control."  

Self-control=wise=knowledge of the Holy One=wall of protection.  Remember self-control is the only characteristic that is listed for all groups in Titus 2.  It's the gate keeper for all other virtues.

In The Titus 2 Way, part 2, we'll see how Martha lost control and got distracted, made an interesting request and then Jesus' observation of the situation.  By grace he did not leave her in an out of control state.  Jesus offers Martha a better way.


I've had some time to get perspective.  Now it's time for focus.

Remember perspective is to view things in their true relationship or importance.  I can only imagine the vastness of God and I know I seem to only skim the surface of my need for Him.  But calling me to more, I must focus.  

When I set my sight on that which is of utmost importance and allow my lens to adjust to that object, what results is a sharp, clear image.  The best of that image.  

So let's focus.  Titus 2: 3-5 tells us as older women to be reverent, not gossipers or addicts.  To teach what is good, train the younger women to love their husbands and children, be self-controlled, pure, keepers of the home, kind and submissive to our husbands so that we do not blasphme the word of God.  Don't misunderstand, this is no ordinary to-do list.  It stands on the shoulders of v. 11-14,

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.  
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, 
and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (KJV)

Here's what my eyes have adjusted to:  
I have been saved.  I am saved!  I AM SAVED!   God's grace brought me salvation and his great grace continues to teach me.  It shows me what sin is and his kindness draws me to repentance.  I am waiting on the hope, literally watching for the glorious appearance of my savior, Jesus Christ!  Jesus who gave himself, sacrificed himself, shed his blood... to buy me.  I was bought at a price.  I am redeemed and his blood was my exchange.  Only this would satisfy.  Now he wants to purify me, for himself.   Purify through living out Titus 2:3,4,5.  I am changing, being washed and renewed daily by his words.  He's making me a peculiar person, Great!  My life must look different from that of the world, I am his daughter.  Yes!  I want what is right and good by him!  How can I not!  I AM SAVED!  

Titus 2 Women, focus.


The Titus 2 Way

Titus 2 instructs the various groups within the church on how they are to relate to one another and live consistently with sound doctrine.  This list of instructions are also the characteristics of a healthy church, thus a healthy Christian.  

However, before we can ever begin to understand Titus 2, we must get perspective.  See the big picture.

When the LORD answered Job out of the storm He asked, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations?" and "Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?"  If you haven't read Job 38-42 lately, now that's perspective!

Job had problems.  But he came face to face with God, the same Creator who by the very breath out of his mouth were the starry host made, and Job's once very serious situation was suddenly not such a big deal.  In other words, God is God whether Job exits or not.  Sometimes life just stinks, but then again where was I when He gathered the waters of the sea into jars?  That's perspective.  A "view of things in their true relationship or importance."  After his encounter with the awesome God, Job got some perspective.

In chapter 40, Job responded to the LORD, "I am unworthy-how can I reply to you?  I put my hand over my mouth."  Again, in chapter 42, Job must respond to the LORD, "I know that you can do all things;  no plan of yours can be thwarted.  You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know.  You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;  I will question you, and you shall answer me.'  My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

When I view God in his glory and acknowledge his worthiness with my praise, I always see my correct position.  It will be impossible for any of us to get Titus 2 unless we get perspective.  I've tried to find in Titus 2 if there is some blessing or reward, just something in it for me if I do what is says.  I can't, not there.  What I come up with doesn't have anything to do with me at all.  I learn to do the things listed in Titus 2 so that God's word is not dishonored by my ignorance and that in every way how I conduct myself and my household it would bring others to His salvation!  Here's where perspective comes back.  It does not say that I can slander someone if they really are crazy or mean or since my husband is a jerk he doesn't deserve love.  Actually, it just says do it.  To give God glory above all else.

Just when I want to say "yeah, whatever" my Father lovingly reminds me in Titus 3, "At one time I too was foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  I lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved me, not because of righteous things I had done, but because of his mercy."

WOW!  Perspective!

Knowing God for who He says He is and not just what He can do for you will change your life.  By the way, notice that Job said he had heard of God but now that he had seen Him, Job figured he'd be better off to just be quiet.  Job realized he had been speaking of things he really didn't have a clue about.  I think of how often I "tickle my ears with religion" or speak of things to great for me.  When I actually stop and read the Word and spend time in prayer, I "taste and see that the LORD is good."  I too encounter and come face to face with Jehovah.  Amazing!

Titus 2 Women meets 2nd Monday of each month, 6:30pm