Monday, February 23, 2015
The Holy Bible (The Good News Translation – 1 Timothy 3:1-7): This is a true saying: if a man is eager to be a church leader, he desires an excellent work. A church leader must be without fault; he must have only one wife, be sober, self-controlled, and orderly; he must welcome strangers in his home; he must be able to teach; he must not be a drunkard or a violent man, but gentle and peaceful; he must not love money; he must be able to manage his own family well and make his children obey him with all respect. For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of the church of God? He must be mature in the faith, so that he will not swell up with pride and be condemned, as the Devil was. He should be a man who is respected by the people outside the church, so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the Devil's trap.
Thoughts: Because the 'church' is the bride of Christ, I believe that instructions for its leadership must be closely adhered to in order that it be pure, legitimate and representative of God's image. I believe also that anytime we want to validate, or answer any questions regarding God's intent for us, we should look to His Word for guidance and instruction. In my study of the Word this morning the highlighted verses were part of my study plan, and I felt impelled to share these verses. I have no reason to feel like any of my Pastors or Elders are faulting and specifically need to be reminded of the standards set by God for themselves, although they should always have this in the forefront of their minds. However, I don't believe that God had Paul include these qualifications just for the purpose of our leaders, because it is incumbent upon the lay persons of the church to responsibly elect those leaders who truly qualify for the said positions, without allowing the overriding factors of wealth, community leadership or worldly skills to force an election, regardless of their spiritual or Biblical based qualifications. Furthermore, I believe you will agree that these are some very stringent guidelines in character, and involve personal decisions and choices over a lifetime. So it is vitally important that we, laypersons, keep these gentlemen foremost in our prayers, asking for God's constant hand of mercy, leadership, guidance and protection from the Evil one. These guys are a prime target for the Devil, because they are given the task of leading God's work in this world. However, we know that God's power is greater than any attempts by Satan, so as we plead the hand of Jesus upon them, we are actually raising the only worthy shield against Satan. Friends, if we are to obey the full extent of God's Word, then we are to ensure that God's leaders are properly chosen based on His instruction, for we will be held accountable by God. Once elected, we are then to lift these leaders up in constant prayer so that they may be protected from the Evil one and continue to live Godly lives, and lead God's church in ways that will magnify Him and win the lost to Him. All of this will lead to the preservation of the church, God's bride, all for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ! Leaders, Elders, Pastors, only you and God know what happens in the closets of your lives, May you stand boldly before God, as an open book before Him, and without blemish. May His bride flourish through your leadership!
Prayer: Thank You Lord for the Elders and Pastors you have blessed us with at my church! Thank You for the opportunities given to pray for these gentlemen! May I always take my responsibility seriously to pray for Your work in my area, and for the leaders given the responsibility to organize and promote Your cause through my church. May Your church be the church You intended for ministry to this area and as we travel abroad in mission work. May Your work never be hindered by leaders that disqualify themselves because of Satan, for that will not only constitute a failure on the individual(s) but also on laity for not doing our job of praying sufficiently. I pray that You will always have wide open access to the hearts of men, women and children who need to know You, and that no distraction by our leadership might intervene in Your work. Thank You Lord for Your Word, and for the assurance of Your protection as You build a hedge around our leaders who are determined to fulfill Your kingdom work in our community. May I always be a part of Your work and not a detractor. Bless my friends who will read this devotional with the same determination to pray. Please continue to bless our Pastors and Elders with Your will to live holy and upright lives that can be used by You. I pray believing, and in thanksgiving, in the name of Jesus, my Savior, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!