A Higher Education: It Is Up to You

Saturday, May 19, 2012

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 KJV).

Six years ago today, I graduated high school. Consequently, we dedicate this devotional to high school students who are nearing graduation.

Are you about to graduate high school? What would God have you do afterward? Go to college? Trade school? Something else? What career should you pursue? If you do plan on education after high school, where should you attend school? These are tough questions, and while God’s Word does not answer them, you can make decisions that conform to sound Bible doctrine—that is God’s will.

In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages downcast Timothy. Timothy was considerably younger than the Apostle Paul. Older people who are teaching false doctrine are intimidating young Timothy: “Tim, you are too young to teach God’s Word. Let us handle it.” Young Timothy conceded, became silent, and allowed the (“older and wiser”) false teachers to continue teaching their damnable heresies (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 1:5-8). Paul replied, “Timothy, Speak up! Let no man despise thy youth!”

Christian youth can be just as effectual in their station in life as Christian adults. The lost world is watching us Christians, and we need to be sure that our actions are in accordance with the sound Bible doctrine we claim to believe (lest we be guilty of confusing the already-puzzled unbelievers). Whether “young or old,” our speech, our lifestyle, our acts of love, our determination, our belief in sound Bible doctrine, and our separation from that which God hates, is the way we communicate to the lost world God’s Word and its preeminence in our lives and hearts (today’s Scripture).

Above all, dear graduates, whatever you do post-graduation, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). After all, it really is not your life—it is Christ’s life in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4), so He alone deserves the glory!

*Based on a Bible study by the same name, which can be read here. Also, see the study “The Spirit-Filled Student.”

The Fire That Wood and Talebearers Kindle!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Proverbs 26:20 KJV).

What do wood and talebearers have in common? Today’s Scripture gives us the answer.

The King James Bible uses the term “talebearer” six times. Let us look at those remaining instances. What is a “talebearer” exactly? Proverbs 11:13 explains, A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” Compare Proverbs 20:19: “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.” Talebearers learn the private matters of others, and then maliciously broadcast and publicize the information without permission, usually with the intention of destroying or defaming the parties involved.

Consider Proverbs 26:22: “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Compare Proverbs 18:8: “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” These wounds strike the most sensitive areas of the human heart (soul), and causes great damage. The emotional and spiritual scars brought on by gossiping can literally be permanent.

As we know, wood is a fuel, so it can be used to start a fire. Obviously, without fuel such as wood, a fire cannot begin (today’s Scripture). But, by the same token, today’s Scripture says that talebearers can be viewed as fuel, for people who reveal secrets and gossip will generate strife (fighting). Clearly, without gossipers, there is peace—literally, no heated debates for lack of “wood.”

This is why God, in Leviticus 19:16, charged Israel, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people….” God did not want talebearers hindering His will for Israel, and He does not want talebearers disrupting His will for us, the Church the Body of Christ! Saints and brethren, the time we have been given on earth is extremely precious, so let us be about the Christian ambassadorship, and let us not be guilty of the foolishness of tale bearing.

God is Love

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“…God is love… God is love… We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:8b,16b,19 KJV).

The word “love” is used very flippantly in today’s world. Of the many who speak about “love,” few know what it is. On this Valentine’s Day, we offer sound doctrine from God’s Word to correct the misunderstandings of what love really is. What is love, according to God’s Word?

Today’s Scripture says that “God is love”—God does not simply love, but His very nature is love. What does that mean? In 1 John 3:16, we read: “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” Our Apostle Paul put it this way: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s nature is love—selfless, self-sacrificing!

God’s Word defines love and charity in 2 Corinthians 12:15: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Love is seeking the best interest of others, even if it costs you something (time, energy, resources, et cetera). Charity is love in deed (demonstrated, manifested in action). God loved us, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. It cost God the Father His Son, and it cost God the Son His life. What a selfless act!

Our nature in Adam is selfish, but our nature in Christ is not. Paul declares, “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). We who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, our Christian lives are driven and motivated by Christ’s love for us, not our love for Him. It is this unselfish love of Christ working in us that causes us to look on the things of others, to seek their edification and their benefit, not ours (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:1-11). This will result in charity, our selfless actions reflecting that love of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:15).

As the lost world observes our Christian service, they will see, “God is love.”

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.