Category Archives: Kindness / Gentleness

Instructions for All Who Follow Christ

1 Timothy 6 contains timeless wisdom for us to consider and apply in our lives. As you begin to read, consider that though the slave / master guidance may seem obsolete, perhaps you should consider it in regards to employee / employer perspective as I believe it still applies in that context or others where you are subject to proper authority.

1 Timothy 6

Instructions to Those Who Minister

     1All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. 2Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.

      3If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 6But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

      11But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

      17Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

      20O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— 21which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.
Grace be with you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Leadership Qualifications for the Church

Paul provides some timeless guidance on how carefully we should choose leaders within our church body. They high standards and appropriately so. Someone not only needs to meet these standards to lead in the church but also to remain in leadership within the church. If they fall, even if they repent, one must still consider very carefully if they are “beyond reproach” and if it is appropriate for them to retake a leadership position again. The emphasis is really about helping those they lead to grow closer to YHWH and it is not about maintaining the career interest of the leader.

1 Timothy 3

Overseers and Deacons

     1It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

      8Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

      14I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

16By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

I think this is an valuable standard to consider for all of us who wish to lead lives pleasing to YHWH, whether or not we take a formal position in the church. Prayerfully reflect and ask the Spirit to show you, without bias and defensiveness, how you and your household stack up to this standard. Ask him help to lead you in change as needed or continued growth in these areas. Pray for one another in this regard, that we would grow toward this standard.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Scripture Define the Truth of Who God Is, Not the Teachings of Man

Let us allow scripture to inform us about the character of YHWH rather than our own assumptions and what we have learned from the teaching of man. We know that YHWH is love. For those that study the word, we also know that we do not define how to love his way. All of the law and the prophets are based on loving God and loving one another. These are not my words, but rather the words of Yeshua in Matthew 22.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

This is very different than today’s common view where loving others is taken to mean accepting them as they are in whatever sin they embrace, no matter if they rebel against God or not. That is not the truth revealed in God’s word.

God loves people, but he hates sin and rebellion against him. He is not only love, but also holy and righteous. Sin will carry with it a price. For those of us who accept Christ as savior and repent of our sins to follow him, our price has been paid. For those who reject Christ, there is no other path. Living in a constant state of unforgiven and active rebellion is not pleasing to God. Don’t assume he is ok with it just  because he may be patient in bringing it to an end. He waited hundreds of years before bringing the Israelites into the promised land to punish those living their who rejected and rebelled against him. I would say that is far more patient than any of us. However, ultimately there was a time for judgment.

Joshua 11

Northern Palestine Taken

     1Then it came about, when Jabin king of Hazor heard of it, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon and to the king of Shimron and to the king of Achshaph, 2and to the kings who were of the north in the hill country, and in the Arabah—south of Chinneroth and in the lowland and on the heights of Dor on the west— 3to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the Hivite at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. 4They came out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5So all of these kings having agreed to meet, came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

      6Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” 7So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them. 8The LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east; and they struck them until no survivor was left to them. 9Joshua did to them as the LORD had told him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.

      10Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the head of all these kingdoms. 11They struck every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. 12Joshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed them; just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. 13However, Israel did not burn any cities that stood on their mounds, except Hazor alone, which Joshua burned. 14All the spoil of these cities and the cattle, the sons of Israel took as their plunder; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them. They left no one who breathed. 15Just as the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses.

      16Thus Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir, even as far as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them down and put them to death. 18Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. 19There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

      21Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. 22There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained. 23So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.

Perhaps the toughest verses for us to absorb are the following:

19There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

The time for mercy had past. The Lord himself saw to it that he would make sure no other groups came in peace to Joshua, so they could be fully destroyed.

If this makes you uncomfortable, that is ok. But take care to start with an understanding that God is right and just and without error. Take care that he is also unchanging though time in his character.

Now ask him to show you how to process this truth about him in a way that increases your knowledge of his character rather than allowing yourself to just dismiss it and continue to think of him as nothing but a cuddly grandpa in the sky. Sin has serious consequences. If we don’t recognize that it is very offensive to him, we may make poor choices in how we live or encourage others to live. In the right context we must acknowledge that accepting people as they are in sin so as to avoid offending them is actually not loving them. For any of us whose lives have been transformed by Christ, we realize that it changes us in this life and brings more joy and fulfillment in addition to leading us to heaven.   Thus to encourage people to accept sin in their lives rather than repent is like encouraging people to stay in a burning building. True love and concern for them demands that we tell them the truth of God’s word, even if it offends them. Let us each seek to find an effective way to do so and pray for boldness and wisdom in how we approach it.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Yeshua Sets A Powerful Example For Servant Leadership

Leaders in this world most often want to be treated well by those they lead. Yeshua turns this upside down. He is the servant and the leader. He sets a powerful example to show us how we should serve one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

John 13:5-20

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

     5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

      12So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ 19“From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Are there areas in your life where you should make changes to lead more like Yeshua did? As you reflect on leaders around you, even in the church, are there some who do not follow the example of Christ? Take care to vet those whom you follow and test them against God’s word and His example. You do not seek perfection in leadership, but you should seek to discern the wolves from the shepherds.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Guidance and Encouragement for the Church

There is actually quite a lot packed into a fairly short chapter in 2 Thessalonians 3. Read through it and meet me on the other side to unpack it.

2 Thessalonians 3

Exhortation

     1Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

      6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

      14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

      16Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!

      17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

There is a lot we should take note of and apply in our own lives today.

  • Paul begins this chapter by asking for prayer not only for him to be protected from wicked men, but also for the word of God to spread quickly and be glorified.
  • Paul expresses faith and confidence in the Lord not only for his situation but for that of the believers in Thessalonica. He has confidence in God’s protection from Satan as well as the need to ask God to help direct our hearts to love Him and be steadfast in Christ.
  • Paul takes time to encourage other Christians.
  • Contrary to what many would teach today, we are not to befriend and be close to unruly, undisciplined people just because they may claim to follow Christ. Their behaviors and attitudes bely the fact that they are not truly submitted to Christ.
  • Paul makes special emphasis of saying they should not grow weary of doing good.
  • Right before saying this, Paul comments quite a bit on how they set an example by working for and paying for what they needed to survive. He makes two points, both of which seem at odds with what is normal in our culture today.  We should take note as our culture may be out of calibration with the early church. First, that even though he could expect the people to provide for him while he ministers to them about Christ, he thought it important to support himself as an example. Second, those that refuse to work “shall eat their own bread”. He clearly states that those who are unwilling to work (not talking here about unable to work), should not be subsidized in their laziness or stubbornness by others but rather encouraged by even their own hunger to work and be productive.
  • Paul also makes a point to instruct the church to discipline and admonish  members who refuse to live according to the proper instruction in these matters. Too often today churches do not admonish anyone effectively, if at all. All are invited to sit in church regardless of their outward sin and rebellion. Pastors rationalize that “at least they will hear the word”, but individuals take home the message that living in sin as they are is just fine and they are “saved”. Those outside the church can no longer see that the church is any different than they are.  People in the church behave the same way that people outside the church do. Effective rebuke is desperately in need, even though it should be done with respect and love. Pastors are too concerned someone may get mad and leave, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. There is no trophy for having the biggest crowd sit in church and not follow God. Quite the opposite. Leaders will be judged based on how they accepted sin and offended God instead of man.

Pray and reflect on this message from Paul to Thessalonica. It is still relevant today. Ask God to show you what changes you should make in your life.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

When Scripture Is Difficult To Understand, Start By Assuming YHWH Is Right

I certainly have to admit that the laws on domestic relations seem as if from a faraway time and place… because they are. They are not only far away in location but also in time.  The culture was very different. It is easy for us to jump to the conclusion that they are somehow wrong and barbaric. I think that is so easy or simple a view and is not correct. To truly understand we need to study to understand the cultural norms and lifestyle of the time. We must think about it in context. We do well to start with the faith that YHWH is correct and His instruction is righteous and then seek to understand how it applied then and how it may apply still today. In this way we gain wisdom and understanding.

Deuteronomy 21:10-23

Domestic Relations

       10“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13“She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14“It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.

      15“If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, 16then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn. 17“But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.

      18“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. 20“They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21“Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.

      22“If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

We can certainly have a robust and interesting discussion regarding taking a captive as a wife. I am not sure how to practically apply this to be frank. However, one can easily understand that other cultures of the time would not be so gracious to a captive as to give them time to grieve and treat them well. There is explicit instruction to avoid abusing them. There is protection for those who are vulnerable.

We can ponder again about the instruction regarding two wives, one loved and one unloved. I do not believe YHWH wants a man to have two wives. He intended one man to one woman as with Adam and Eve. We could have an interesting discussion on why He did not outright ban it. Perhaps like divorce, He allowed it because of the hardness of their hearts. Similarly, I don’t believe He intends for any wife to be unloved by her husband. However, we can see that He provides protection for those who may be unloved and may be vulnerable to abuse or neglect.

In the third example, we can see that YHWH expects even perhaps adult children to still respect their parents. How many of us assume the scripture is calling young children gluttons and drunkards? It sounds like older children who are being rebellious. In this case it refers to rebellion to both YHWH and parents. YHWH is not tolerant of evil and rebellion. He instructs that there should be accountability and a stop should be put to the sin before it spreads to others.

The last example probably seems to most of us abhorrent. Why would we hang those who were executed in public. This was likely not a pretty site. Again, though we could have a very interesting discussion on this case, ultimately I think we could agree YHWH wants to discourage sin and rebellion. He wants to discourage  seriously bad behavior from becoming accepted and normalized. We can perhaps prefer not to take this approach, but in reality looking at the sin rampant in our culture today, perhaps we would benefit from a bit more punishment and accountability a few generations ago and we would not have normalized so much sin in our culture which is now praised as acceptable or good.

I would simply encourage you to not disregard any scripture and not assume that YHWH was wrong because we live differently than He instructed His people to live. Pray, study and reflect on what we can learn about Him from His word. Then seek to apply it to your life.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Your Actions Match Your Statement Of Faith In Christ

We should all strive to live in such a way that our actions match our statement of faith in Christ. For those who would simply acknowledge Christ in name but live according to the world, you are worse than those who just reject Christ outright because you fool yourself and others so that they may not find their way to Him.  We are to be a light, which is to say that we must be very different from the darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Christian Conduct

      12But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not quench the Spirit; 20do not despise prophetic utterances. 21But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

      23Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

      25Brethren, pray for us.

      26Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.

      28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Love One Another

We are indeed called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and to behave properly toward outsiders.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

     9Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

The mistake that many make in this regard is that this does not mean accept everyone as they are without calling them to repent of their sinful actions and attitudes. We are to repent and turn away from sin. To love others does not mean to accept their sin and let them remain in it. To love someone is to help them out of illness and suffering… and like it is to help them out of sin. YHWH has elaborated throughout the Bible in the law and the prophets as well as the teaching of Christ to show us how to love one another. It all points to repenting, to turning away from sin, and calling others to do likewise.

Even in 1 Thessalonians 4, before Paul addresses loving one another he addresses some areas of sin in which they need to avoid certain behavior.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

      1Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

Paul first speaks to sanctification, being made holy and set apart for the purposes of YHWH.

Loving one another is the guidance, but we are called to do so YHWH’s way, not our own way. Just like with our own children, loving them sometimes means we tell them what to do and what not to do. YHWH does the same for us. We should share what He has taught us with others. This will help them far more than simply being kind to them and leaving them suffering in their own sin and separation from the Father, even if it is hard for them to hear. And yes… some will reject the message… but that is no reason to avoid our delivering the truth just as Yeshua did and the prophets before Him.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Characteristics of Worthy Men and Women

Neither a husband nor a wife can truly be evaluated as “great” or “worthy” by simply looking at their “careers” or “accomplishments” without first considering what kind of husband or wife they are and what kind of father or mother they are if they have children. How do they treat the poor and needy?

These are elements that must be valued far more than just another independent person who accomplishes much in the eyes of the world, but in they eyes of YHWH neglects their responsibilities for the family. Men may celebrate worldly accomplishments, but YHWH looks to see if we took care of our primary responsibilities to Him and to our family first.

Proverbs 31 is often quoted for its description of a worthy woman, but there is solid guidance for men as well in the first part which describes the advice of a mother to her son. Don’t dismiss these things as outdated because they are addressed to people thousands of years ago. Neither human nature nor YHWH have changed.   Rather consider how to update and apply the concepts in our lives today.

Proverbs 31

The Words of Lemuel

       1The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him:

      2What, O my son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?

      3Do not give your strength to women,
Or your ways to that which destroys kings.

      4It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

      5For they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

      6Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to him whose life is bitter.

      7Let him drink and forget his poverty
And remember his trouble no more.

      8Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.

      9Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

Description of a Worthy Woman

     10An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

      11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

      12She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

      13She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

      14She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

      15She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.

      16She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

      17She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

      18She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

      19She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

      20She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

      21She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

      22She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

      23Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

      24She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

      25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

      26She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

      27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

      28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:

      29“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

      30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

      31Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

There is one more perspective through which we should consider these verses. For a man, consider if you measure up to the advice given to Lemuel. For a woman, consider how you measure up to the description of a “worthy woman”.  Take this as an opportunity to pray and reflect on whether there are any changes you should make in your life. Discuss it and pray over it with your spouse if you are married.

Do not submit to the world’s definition of greatness, but rather that of YHWH. Consider also how Yeshua described greatness.

Matthew 23:10-11

10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Encouraging And Strengthening Fellow Followers of Yeshua

Paul had a great love for the believers in Thessalonica  and wanted to come back and visit them and encourage them. In 1 Thessalonians 2 he indicates that he was hindered by Satan from coming to see the them. It is wonderful to read in chapter 3 that although Paul was unable to go, he was able to send Timothy. He so cared for those he shared the gospel with that He wanted to remain connected with them. He could have asked Timothy to stay with him, but rather desired to seek after the welfare of others and not just focus on himself. It is also a good example of the believers working together to accomplish what one alone, even Paul, cannot.

1 Thessalonians 3

Encouragement of Timothy’s Visit

      1Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, 3so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. 4For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. 5For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.

      6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, 7for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; 8for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, 10as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?

      11Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; 12and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

What a beautiful closing prayer… that YHWH would guide them to be reunited with their brothers and sisters in faith, that the followers of Yeshua would increase and abound in love for one another and all people so that He may establish their hearts without blame in holiness before YHWH. This is a righteous prayer indeed. I am encouraged to pray this for followers of Yeshua and for my family and I invite you to do so as well.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.