Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Elders, Encouragement, Fighting, Gentleness, Giving, Mentoring, Modeling, Money, Obedience, Parenting, Qualifications, Righteousness, Service, Testimony

KEEP AN EYE ON YOU

TITUS 1:7

“For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,”

The position of overseer or elder has often been misinterpreted as a position of authority or title. The Greek word for “overseer” actually means someone who intently keeps their eye on something or someone. In the church that man is watching over the church body to provide first-hand care and protection. It’s a service role more than an authority role.

Now, elders must help guide the body. But they do this from a position of service, not by brow beating. That is exactly why Paul lays out all these qualifications. In this verse he gives six more character traits (good steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain). He has further limited the pool of men who rise to the position, this ensuring their heart for service, not rule.

 APPLICATION

It is interesting that these traits Paul lists for an elder are traits we as parents want for our children. We want them to handle what God gives them well. Money management is an important skill for us to teach them. Secondly, we want them to think more of others than themselves. Self-willed children will face many more challenges. Thirdly, we definitely want them to know how to control their temper, to not be easily upset or angry.

We also want our children to know how to handle the issue of drinking. If you think they won’t face that temptation, you are fooling yourself. You have to model that. The next trait, not pugnacious, means not a fighter. Some kids are always ready for a fight. We want to teach them how to avoid that. And finally, we want them to not be greedy. In fact, we want them to share liberally.

So, you see these elder traits are really traits for us all. How are you living up to these? These are all characteristics of someone surrendered to Christ. It requires dying to self daily. Then you too can help oversee the flock. You can keep your eye on your brother or sister to help guide and protect. Aren’t we all called to do that in the family of God?

Father, remind me to live my life in such a way that I am worthy of “overseeing” my brother and sister. I want to live like Jesus so I can help guide others in the path of righteousness.

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Blasphemy, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Money, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF?

2 TIMOTHY 3:2

“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,”

Paul begins a long list describing how people will act and live in the last, difficult days. There is no way we can look at each word, so I looked at similarities. Guess what I found. Most of the words in today’s verse (in the Greek) were totally changed by the prefix. Yep, that little thing that is attached to the front of the word.

That got me thinking. Do I have any prefixes on me? Do I allow outside influences to change me? For instance, do I use money or love money? Do I work to improve myself or love myself? Am I obedient or disobedient? Am I grateful or ungrateful?  Am I holy or unholy? I don’t want prefixes hanging on me that move me away from the Lord.

APPLICATION

Ask your child to describe themselves to you, as if you did not know them. They can use any words they want. Write those down on a poster or sheet of paper. Now ask them to describe how they want to be seen by others in twenty years. Write those words down on the same sheet of paper.

Are there any descriptors on the first list that will conflict with the desired descriptors on the second? Talk about that with them. The Lord wants to show us through His Word how to become more of what He wants us to be. But without direction, without purpose, we tend to drift to be more like the world and just fit in.

Do you have any prefixes hanging on you? Look closely. Are you allowing the world to change who you are? If you are consciously pursuing Jesus each day, you can rest knowing that He will only lead you in a direction that honors and lifts Him up. Let your influences come from within, from your Jesus-filled heart.

I praise You for transforming me at salvation from a godless person to someone who loves You and others. Help me focus on pleasing You and leading others to do the same. You are my prefix remover.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Love, Mentoring, Money, Parenting

MISQUOTED

1 TIMOTHY 6:10

For 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.”

While John 3:16 is probably the most quoted verse in the Bible, this verse today is probably the most MISquoted verse. People leave off “the love of” and talk about how evil money is. What you can’t tell from the English translation is “the love of money” is one Greek word which means lover of silver. It’s someone who is literally in love with personal gain or having money. How sad?

Have you ever known anyone who was like that? All they think about is making more money. Again, money is not the evil thing. Their motive for making money is. They don’t want more so they can share more. They want more so they can keep it all to themselves. God can use our wealth in a myriad of ways to further His kingdom if we let loose of it.

APPLICATION

Read this verse to your children and ask them what they think it means. Then make a list with them of the things they could do with money to help others. Most children are quick to do that. They haven’t become as selfish as adults yet. But help them make that list.

Now, as much as possible, do some of those things. How about sponsoring a child through some ministry? So many children around the world are not able to eat or go to school without some sponsor supporting them. Here is just one opportunity you can look into (https://amginternational.org/product-category/sponsor-a-child/).

Evaluate your view of money today. Is it your pursuit or just a means by which you live? Does it consume your thoughts all day or is just a passing thought? Focus on what you can do for Jesus through what He has blessed you with. It will change your attitude and mission in life.

You have blessed me so richly, Lord. Show me where to give. Show me how to give. I want only to please You.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Money, Parenting, Scripture

A BAD FALL

1 TIMOTHY 6:9

But 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.” 

Let me say up front that there is nothing wrong with money. We have to have it to buy food, pay our mortgage or rent and live in this world. What you can’t tell from the English translation is the phrase “want to get” is written to imply that it is their decision to do this. No one is forcing them. This Greek word means to aggressively plan to get something. In other words, those who do this think about nothing but getting more.

But look at the result. It is not a good one. They fall into temptation. They are caught as if in a snare. And they pursue foolish and harmful desires. All this leads to ruin and destruction. Do you think those who pursue wealth like that ever think it will end badly? Not hardly.

APPLICATION

Teaching your little Johnny or Susie about money is so important. They need to understand the value of earning a dollar, but they also need to know how to handle the money once they get it. Some kids blow through money fast. They constantly beg to go to Walmart to spend it. Other kids save every penny. There is a balance.

Sit your children down when you think they can handle it and help them make a plan for their money. Don’t forget to talk about giving to the Lord. Most importantly, talk to them about how you manage the household finances. Read them this verse and explain how money can corrupt you if you only focus on it. They will learn best by watching you, so make sure you aren’t living for wealth.

Are you? Are you striving to “get ahead” so hard that you have lost your priorities? Again, money isn’t bad. Our motives about money can be. Ask the Lord to guide you in your spending. Ask the Lord to guide you in your savings. The Lord may choose to bless you financially, or He may not. Trust Him to provide. He always does.

I am so thankful for all You have blessed me with. You have proven once again to be caring and loving. Help me manage Your resources wisely.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Money, Obedience

NO MUZZLE

1 TIMOTHY 5:18

For the Scripture says, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.’”

In the context of this passage in 1 Timothy we can understand what Paul was telling Timothy. The church has the responsibility to take care of their Pastor financially. His job is to teach and preach, not fund raise. The church should not keep its Pastor humble and hungry (I have actually heard a church member say a church should do that to keep him under control). 

Have you ever seen a muzzle? It’s placed over the mouth of animal to prevent it from feeding or biting. In this case, it was to prevent an ox from feeding on what he was threshing. How cruel would that be? In the same way, the funds of the church should support the Pastor.

APPLICATION

Why don’t you teach this principle to your kids by muzzling them? Just kidding. That would be cruel and inhumane. But you could make a muzzle or find one to show them. Kids need visuals. If you have a dog, get a dog muzzle and put on it to show what the verse is talking about. Let them see how restrictive it is for their little pooch.

Teach them the importance of giving to the church. Part of that gift goes to support the church staff. The next time you write that check to the church or put your money in the offering plate, lead them in prayer for the church staff. They may have a favorite Pastor. Let your children pray for them by name, specifically thanking God that your family can give to support them in their ministry.

Do you bless your Pastor financially by giving to your church? If not, you need to. Don’t muzzle your ox. Give so they are free to do what God has called them to do – care for you. Feed them so they can feed you.

Thank you, Lord, that I can give to support my church. I thank You for each and every person who serves to lead me and my family spiritually.

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Advice, Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Death, Encouragement, Modeling, Money, Parenting

DEAD WOMAN WALKING

1 TIMOTHY 5:6

But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.”

Have you heard the expression “Dead Man Walking”? It implies someone who is alive but living and acting as if he is dead. He has a careless disregard for life. Death is just all over him and is ready to snatch him away. Well, today’s verse says the same thing about this widow, the one who chooses “wanton pleasure.”

Now, what is wanton pleasure and how do we help the widows we know not live like that? “Wanton pleasure” means to live extravagantly or luxuriously. It’s the widow who has no regard for the cost of things. She spends money like it grows on trees. Paul is not saying it’s bad to have money. He is saying it is sin to live with that mindset. 

APPLICATION

Teach your children the value of money now. If you begin early, they will understand when you say, “Honey, we just can’t afford that right now.” Some parents don’t want to ever tell their little Johnny or Susie no, so they give them anything they want. That will lead them to live like the widow in today’s verse.

Instead, help them earn some money through extra chores or small jobs around your house. When they are old enough help them get a job in the neighborhood mowing grass or babysitting. As they get older, they will be ready for that first part-time job in the community. However you do it, teach them that money is simply a tool God has given us to live. It’s not what we live for.

How do you see wealth? Did you know that money is mentioned over 2,000 times in the Scriptures? It must be important for the Lord to spend so much time talking about it. He wants us to understand why He blesses us with the resources to live. Take some time and do a word study on money. You may just learn something. I know I did.

I know all I have belongs to You. Thank You, Lord, for blessing me with the means to care for my family. Help me be more generous with the resources You have given me.

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