Truth or Consequences

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3, NLT

In his book Unpacking Forgiveness, Chris Brauns wrote, “Forgiveness does not mean the elimination of all consequences. If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are saved (Acts 16:31). As far as east is from the west, so far does God remove the transgressions of his children from them (Psalm 103:11-12). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Nevertheless, these truths do not teach that those forgiven by God face no consequences for sin. On the contrary! This side of heaven, we will continue to work through the consequences of our rebellion against God. One of the most famous examples of this involves the consequences that David faced for his adultery with Bathsheba….”

Perhaps, like David, you’re grappling with painful consequences of your past. Remember, God can use those things to deter future sin; to teach you holiness and godliness; to equip you to counsel and to help others; and work all of it together for your good when you commit it all to Him. Put the sin under His blood, and put the consequences into His hands.

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities. Josiah Stamp

Confident About Salvation

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Salvation fills believers with joy, but the devil tries to diminish its effect by sowing doubt and confusion. One of Satan’s purposes in doing so is to make your faith unattractive to others. Confidence about your salvation is essential to counteracting the enemy’s tactics—and it involves a what, a who, and a how.

First, you need to understand what salvation means. Though physically alive, all people are born spiritually dead—in other words, separated from the Father and lost in sin (Eph. 2:12). According to John 3:3, the only way to see the kingdom of God is to be “born again.”

Second, you must understand through whom this new life comes. Jesus shed His blood on the cross to pay the sin debt man owed (Rom. 6:23). His substitutionary atoning death provided forgiveness of sins for everyone who trusts in Him (Acts 10:43), and His resurrection is proof that He conquered death. When you trust in the Savior, your sins are forgiven and you cross over from death to life (John 5:24).

Third, you must know how to live in a God-pleasing way. This is impossible in human strength. That’s why God sends His Spirit to permanently indwell everyone who places faith in Jesus (Rom. 8:11). As we let the Holy Spirit have control, He’ll guide us into all truth (John 16:13) and empower us to achieve whatever God calls us to do.

Sin separated mankind from God, and we were spiritually dead. Jesus is the way to eternal life (John 14:6), and the Holy Spirit provides the divine power and guidance to live righteously. What blessed assurance!

The Whole Counsel of God

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)

Evangelical churches have preached the gospel message and have given attention to the return of Christ and our hope of heaven. Sometimes, it is good to step back and look at the “big picture”—the foundational perspective upon which the whole of Scripture is based.

Four foundational passages in the New Testament provide pillars for the whole counsel of God.

John 1:1-14—The Word (our Lord Jesus) was and is God; the Word made everything that was made; the Word was made flesh and dwelt among men.

Romans 11:36—All things are of Him, through Him, and to Him.

Colossians 1:16-20—By Him all heavenly and earthly powers were made; by Him all things are saved from destruction; by Him all things will be reconciled.

2 Peter 3:1-13—He destroyed the first world because of evil; He will destroy this present universe by fire; He will create a new heavens and new earth.

We can lose the reality of the forest because we are looking too closely at each tree. Sometimes it is helpful to back away from the technical aspects of theology or denominational policy and review the “whole counsel”—the overall sovereign purpose of our Creator, Lord, and King.

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10). HMM II

“The Lord preserveth the simple.”

1 Samuel 18:3, 4

Saul’s fierce enmity was a sore trial to David, but the Lord found him a solace even in the kings family, for both his eldest son Jonathan and his daughter Michal loved David.

1 Samuel 18:3

Yet Jonathan knew that David was to be king, and that he himself would never wear the crown. His was disinterested affection, most beautiful to witness. Such ought to be our love for Jesus; we should be knit to him in bonds of purest love.

1 Samuel 18:4

Thus should we delight to strip ourselves for Jesus. Let him have all, for he deserves all.

1 Samuel 19:1, 4-18

1 Samuel 19:1

He was now worse than ever, or he would not have spoken to others to aid him in a dastardly murder. When God leaves a man, the devil comes to him.

1 Samuel 19:4, 5

Thus Jonathan proved himself a real friend. We ought always to be ready to speak up for those who are falsely condemned.

1 Samuel 19:6

Little however did his oath bind him. He was never in a good frame of mind long together. Envy cannot be quiet.

1 Samuel 19:10

 

“Not a single shaft can hit

Till the God of love thinks fit.”

 

We are safe anywhere while the Lord has work for us to do. Be it ours to live with the harp in our hand, praising God and blessing our fellowmen, and we shall be preserved from the javelins of our foes.

1 Samuel 19:16

We cannot admire Michal’s deceit, nor yet her having idols in her house. She was Saul’s daughter, and came of a bad stock. The Lord, however, overruled her love for David, so that the persecuted one escaped. God will preserve his own.

 

Whatever Happens in a Person’s Private Life Affects His Public Life!

1 Corinthians 4:1

I want to devote today’s Sparkling Gem to the private lives of potential leaders. In particular, I want to talk about their marriages, their children, the physical condition of the houses where they live, and the manner in which they manage their personal finances. These four points are extremely important when you’re considering someone to be a leader.

What happens in a person’s private life affects his job or his public ministry. Someone may argue, “But my private life and my home life don’t have anything to do with my ministry at the church, my ability to serve, or how I perform at work. You have no right to dig into my personal life.”

This way of thinking is wrong. What happens in a persons private life spills over into his public life. What goes on behind closed doors in a leader’s home will tell you exactly what kind of blessings or problems he will bring to his public ministry or job. This is precisely why the apostle Paul urged Timothy to take a deeper look at the personal life of a potential leader before inviting him to be a part of his leadership team (see 1 Timothy 3:4, 5). You see, God designed the home as a honing instrument for many of the qualities required to be a leader in the Kingdom of God.

Paul told Timothy that a leader must be “one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:4, 5).

The Greek word for “ruleth” is the word proistimi, a compound of pro and istimi. The word pro means before or in front of and the word istimi means to stand. When compounded together, the new word depicts someone who is standing up front before others in order to lead, guide, direct, or manage a situation. It conveys the meaning of a leader who is responsibly giving oversight and direction to a group of people or to a project. Paul uses the word “well” to describe the way this person rules. It is the Greek word kalos, which means good, well, or skilled. Thus, it pictures an individual who has shown that he is able to successfully give oversight to a group of people or to a specific project.

Paul says it is required that a spiritual leader rule well his own “house.” The word “house” is the Greek word oikos, which is the word for a physical house. However, as it is used here, it includes the management of the house and everything that happens in that house. Thus, “ruling” one’s household would include how a leader manages his home life, his children, the upkeep of the physical house or apartment where he lives, and his personal finances. All of this would be part of his oikos—his house.

Important information about how well potential leaders will serve at church or at work can be ascertained by delving into these four points. So let’s briefly review these four critical areas of concern.

 

Their Home Life:

Paul said a leader must be “one that ruleth well his own house….” As noted, the word “house” is the word oikos and includes everything about a person’s home life. One of the most strategic factors to consider when selecting new married leaders is the condition of their marriage. What kind of relationship do they have with their spouse? Is it a supportive, healthy marriage, or one that is full of problems? Does the relationship reveal good communication between the husband and wife? If that potential leader cannot successfully communicate with the most important person in his life, how do you know he will be able to properly communicate with others at church or at work? These questions may give you great insight into the pluses and minuses that come with new potential leaders.

 

Their Children:

Paul said a leader must be one who has his “… children in subjection with all gravity.” If potential candidates have children, perhaps nothing gives you clearer insight into what kind of leaders they will be than the example of their own children. Although you can’t make this a hard and fast rule, most often the children of potential leaders are a reflection of the kind of leadership those candidates are currently exercising in their own home.

Since people can impart only what they have in their private lives, it is good to observe what potential leaders have imparted within their own homes. What is the visible fruit of their influence and leadership in their children’s lives?

  • Do the children speak respectfully to elders?
  • Do they speak respectfully to each other?
  • Do they understand authority and submission?
  • Do the children do what they are told, or do they ignore their parents’ instructions?

The answers to these simple, basic questions are important indicators to let you know how potential candidates are leading their own homes. If they’re not leading their own homes with excellence, why would you imagine they could lead an entire division of the ministry with excellence? That’s why it’s important to never overlook a potential leader’s children. They will always be one of the clearest signals to alert you to the kind of leader this person will be.

 

Their House or Apartment:

Paul wrote that a leader must be one that “… ruleth well his own house….” As already stated above, the word “house” refers to everything connected to home life. Part of home life is the physical house where the family lives. Therefore, it’s valid to ask:

  • What kind of home does this potential leader have? Is it well-kept and maintained?
  • Is it needlessly neglected? Does it look like it’s falling apart?
  • Is the yard mowed so this candidate has a good testimony with his or her neighborhood?

What exactly did Paul mean when he said leaders must rule well their own homes? One thing is for sure: If a potential leader can’t decently take care of his own domain, you don’t want to put him in charge of your domain. That’s why this is such a serious question to consider when selecting someone for a prominent place of leadership in your church, ministry, or organization.

 

Their Finances:

In regard to finances, the phrase “ruleth well his own house” leads me to ask, “How does this potential leader handle his money and the payment of monthly bills?”

How a person handles money is very revealing. It tells a lot about his personal integrity, his character, and how he respects the rights of others. When a person doesn’t regularly pay his bills on time, he inconveniences and upsets other people’s financial plans. This failure to keep financial commitments often reflects a lack of respect for others’ needs and rights.

It also may simply be a sign that this person is immature in his understanding of money management and responsibility. Or he may not do well at saying no to his fleshly lust for material things. A person’s financial problems may also be an indicator that he’s experiencing problems in his marriage as well. Or perhaps his life is unstable due to irregular work conditions.

No matter which of these factors may be the cause for a candidate’s financial problems, they are all serious enough to require thoughtful consideration on your part. Does this person have the time, energy, or maturity to handle a position of greater responsibility in your church, ministry, or organization?

Never forget that it is impossible to separate a person’s public life from his private life. What happens in one area spills over into the other. What is in a potential leader’s personal life is exactly what he will bring into his public life. If he has order and peace in his private life, it will give him a solid foundation for public ministry. But if he struggles with disorder, chaos, turmoil, confusion, upheaval, and anarchy in his private life, it will obviously affect his ability to carry on publicly as a leader.

What happens at home really does affect one’s ability to work, serve, and follow God’s will for his life. If this is the case, what do these things reveal about those people who are being considered for leadership at church, business, or organization? Does their home life show that they are ready for larger areas of responsibility?

And by the way—while you’re thinking about the home life of these leadership candidates, it would be good for you to turn these questions around and apply them to yourself. What does your home life reveal about YOU?

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me bring order into my own personal life! Since what is happening in my private life is exactly what I will bring into my public life, I want to bring more order into my own personal affairs. Help me take an honest look at my life so I can see those areas that desperately need my attention. Once I acknowledge the areas that need fixing, please give me the courage to delve into those areas and to get things right. I want every area of my life to glorify You, so if there is a secret part of my life that doesn’t bring honor to You, I’m looking to You to help me make the needed changes.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that with God’s help, I am putting my house in order! The way I handle my family life, my children, my physical home, and my finances brings glory to Jesus Christ. I am serious about my walk with God, and I therefore invite Him to invade every sphere of my life and to bring it under His Lordship. Jesus is Lord of my marriage, my children, my home, and my money. It all belongs to Him; therefore, I want to be a wise steward for His sake—and I will!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. If you are seeking new leadership for the church, business, or organization, have you considered these deeper issues? If you had considered this before selecting leaders in the past, do you think it would have helped you make better leadership choices?
  2. Have you seen glaring problems in a potential leader’s home that you overlooked because his gifts and talents were needed? Did you later regret your choice because he brought many of those same problems to his job?
  3. After reading today’s Sparkling Gem, do you see areas in your own life that need attention? If your answer is yes, what are you going to do to start bringing order into those areas of your home life?

 

Seven Marks Of True Spirituality

1. The desire to be holy rather than happy

 

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 4:8)

 

2. The desire to see the honor of God advanced through our life even if it means suffering temporary dishonor or loss

 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

 

3. The desire to carry our cross

 

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of Gods grace.” (Acts 20:24)

 

4. The desire to see everything from God’s point of view

 

We are asking God that you may see things, as it were, from His point of view by being given spiritual insight and understanding.” (Colossians 1:9 – Phillips Translation)

 

5. The desire to die right rather than to live wrong

 

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.‘” (Daniel 3:16-18)

 

6. The desire to see others advance at our expense

 

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.” (2 Corinthians 4:5)

 

7. The practice of habitually making eternity-judgments instead of time-judgments

 

We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)