Scoffers Among Us

Drive out a scoffer, & strife will go out, quarreling & abuse will cease.

Proverbs 22:10

Who are the scoffers and what does the Bible have to say about them?

Actually, quite a lot.

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What does haughty even mean???

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Haughty, Scoffer, Arrogance, all of this is rooted in PRIDE.

Pride makes us think we are better than others.  We will think our sin isn’t as bad.  We will believe that our interpretation is more accurate.  We will divide our own brothers and sisters in Christ, based our preconceived opinions that we look to prove in the scriptures.  Those who do not agree with us, will receive venom from our lips.  Because, we can’t be wrong.  It is impossible for us to believe that we could be wrong.

This is because we have put our confidence in ourselves, and our own ability to comprehend the scriptures.  However, our confidence in ourselves supersedes humility toward God.  He gives us His Word so that we may understand HIM better and not to prove our own points or agendas.

As the days draw closer to Christ’s return, the Scriptures warn us in 2 Timothy 3, that:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

These scoffers, the haughty and arrogant, are not just out and about in the world.  They are sometimes sitting in the pews right next to us.  They are always looking to a new teacher, preacher, author, etc for wisdom.  However, they don’t recognize that they are seeking out these teachers who tell them exactly what they want to hear!

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

2 Timothy 4:3

They will rely on the interpretations of others to prove their points, instead of seeking the truth in God’s Word.  They will not be sharing their own knowledge or understanding, but that which has been spoon fed to them.  They no longer are satisfied with the milk of the basic scriptures, but they don’t want the meat of the truth.  They are searching for the candy coated sweets that satiate their cravings.

They will argue against anyone who speaks otherwise, like a child who is throwing a tantrum because it’s mother took away her candy and replaced it with a balanced meal.

Even when presented with scripture, they will not recognize sound doctrine as they are too busy arguing their point.  They don’t want to hear any Truth that would counter their preconceived beliefs.

Lovers of Themselves…. I’m right, you are wrong.

Lovers of Money…. Look at what I have.  Look at my home.  Look at my clothes. Look at my purse.  Look at my shoes.  Look at my grand event.  Or … on the flipside… Oh look at how I sacrifice.  Praise my thriftyness.

Boasters….  Look at how holy I am, how righteous, how great of a Christian I am.  Look at the good deeds I do for the community.

Proud…. I am incapable of being wrong.  I have nothing to apologize for.  I am right and you are just not smart enough to understand it like I do.   I am better at…. fill in the blank… than anyone.  My way is always best.

Blasphemers… contempt to God or toward his Word when we disregard portions of the scriptures are irrelevant or worthless.

Disobedient to parents…  are we honoring our mothers and fathers?

Unthankful… for God’s blessings, discontent with what He has gifted us.

Unholy… willingly sinning or choosing to not turn from our sin, lacking repentance.

Unloving… not loving toward God, to others as we are called to do by Jesus.  (Love God with all our hearts and understanding, loving our neighbor as ourselves)

Unforgiving… not willing to forgive or reconcile with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our family members, harboring resentment, hatred, disdain, and ill feelings towards those we are called to love.

Slanderers… speaking falsely against others, particularly those who are apart of our Kingdom family.   Spreading rumors that tarnish their reputation without actual first hand knowledge ourselves.  Gossiping and complaining about them, instead of speaking to them directly.

Without Self Control… being reckless or having an inability to control our thoughts, words, behaviors in situations or towards others.

Brutal…  Do we speak truth without regard to HOW we speak truth.  Is brutal honesty or brutal attack our go to instead of gentle instruction and guidance?

Despisers of Good… Do we not appreciate the blessings that God gave us because it wasn’t what we wanted, or as big, or in the timing we desired?  Do we despise the blessings other receive out of jealousy or anger toward them?

Traitors… Do we betray God’s word?  Do we betray our friends?  Do we betray our morals and principles in order to get our own way?

Headstrong… Are we self willed and obstinate?  Do we dig our heels in against God’s desires for us, or His calling?  Do we fight for our way in our ministry service, in our marriages, our homes and jobs.

Haughty… are you arrogant, do you see your self as infallible, superior in knowledge or talent above others?  Are you prideful?  Always in the need to be right?  Always in need to be the person in charge?  Your way or the highway?  Are you incapable of being corrected, rebuked, or guided by a peer?

Lovers of Pleasure Over God… Where do you put your treasures?  Where do you spend your time?  What takes your time away from Bible Study, Prayer, and going to Church?  What takes your money away from tithing?  What activities outside the church keep you from serving in the church?  What are your pleasures that steal you from God?

Having a form of godliness but denying it’s power… What is the mask you wear?  What is the image  you project to the world of your godliness, holiness, righteousness… that is false?  How do you pretend for others, when in your heart you know it’s false?  Do you preach the words to others but not apply them to yourself, do not believe in them for yourself?  Do you stand above others as sinless, while hiding your sin behind cloaks?  Are you a modern day Pharisee?

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SEMINARY? How can I justify it?

 

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Autumn comes, and your church starts making announcements regarding the upcoming Small Groups and Bible Studies.  Sign up sheets are at the information desk, emails come from the church with more information about the studies.  You find yourself looking through the menu of possible studies…

Beth Moore’s Daniel Study

Lisa Harper’s study on Malachi.

Dave Ramesy’s Financial Peace class.

Love & Respect for Married Couples.

The MOPS group is doing the “Frazzled Female” study.

A women’s expository study on the book of Acts.

and the list goes on and on.

They are all good studies, and you wish you could make room for them all, but you can only choose one!

For one second, did it ever occur to you that you shouldn’t study the bible, or what the bible has to say on certain topics?

Did you question if you could afford the book?

Did it ever cross your mind as to whether or not it would be worth it?

I mean, really, what would you do with it?

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You may think those are ridiculous thoughts, but I would like to tell you that those questions are the exact ones I heard when sitting in a workshop about women in seminary.

In the New Testament, we had women sitting at the very feet of Jesus to learn from him.

In 2015, we have women questioning… trying to justify… getting formal biblical training.

There were women in the workshop who were trying to grapple with the commitment it would require to get formal biblical education.  Do I have enough time for it?  Can my family spare the time it would take for me to study?

There were women who were trying to justify the cost of seminary, when we live in a time where information is just a few clicks away.  They were wondering if the family could afford, and if they were being good stewards with their money, by investing in seminary.

The number one question asked:  “What would I do with it?”

So, let me get out my soap box for a moment.  And, let’s talk.

Ladies….

You are teachers of God’s word, every time you give scriptural advice to a friend, teach a Sunday School class or lead bible study.

You are messengers of God, when you show up at the homeless shelter, fly into another country to install water filters, or lean into a coworker who is struggling.

You are image bearers of God, charged with being godly women, honorable wives, and shapers of your children.

If all of our thoughts, words and actions should be God centered, revealing God to the world around us…

… how better is it then, that we get to know God’s word in a deeper way?

We should NEVER have to justify digging deeper into the scriptures.

It shouldn’t need to be justified, it should be a PRIORITY.

Can we afford NOT to?

And the good news is this… if God’s calling you to formal biblical training, God is making that more and more possible every day.

You can download a bible app for your phone or device, for FREE.  We have access to commentaries from trusted sources, at our finger tips, a google search away!

We have books that we can borrow from libraries, download into our kindles, and buy off of amazon on every subject from Early Church history to Apologetics for Women In Ministry.

These are all the right steps to take to digging in deeper.

And if God is calling you to formal education, there are affordable options out there.

There are certification programs and degree programs online, which are less expensive than brick and mortal schools.  Christian Leaders Institute offers a certification on a donation based model.   You give what you can afford.

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Christian Leaders Institute, as well as some other online colleges and seminaries offer degree seeking programs.  The cost for these degree programs are a less than traditional schools, and offer you the ability to work at your own pace.  You can take one class at a time, or a full course load.  There are payment plans and scholarships available for seminary education.

For some, there will be the option of attending seminary on a campus.

The point is that there are options out there, for those who are being called. 

I can not believe that God would ever admonish any of his children for investing money, time and energy into formal biblical knowledge.  Too much of the scriptures instructs us to not just listen to The Word, or read The Word, but to CONSUME it.

If you feel God is calling you, pray that He will reveal to you how to go about it.

Even if it begins with you, a couple of friends, and an open bible.

If there is WILL, there will be PROVISION

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There is a belief that I have always held on to when making big financial decisions, it’s really quite simple:

If it is God’s will, then God will provide.

I truly believe that if God is calling you into a new place, new ministry, or new direction in your life… and that step requires some sort of financial need… God will provide the funds for that need.

I’m not suggesting that it means you can sit around and do nothing, and your bank account will suddenly grow by the amount you need.  However, I do not believe God will call you to action if it means you will acquire debt to do so.

It may be that God is preparing your heart, head and family for the transition or change, but you are not getting the finances because the timing is not NOW.   When the time comes to take those steps, the details will be addressed.

Too often, we try to force these things because we feel the call… and then we assume that it must happen right now.

But when we rush God’s calling, we are shorting the blessing.

God put a calling on my heart quite some time ago, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to unfold.  I knew God was calling me back to school, I needed to be equipped for something.  I wasn’t sure what.  Through a series of affirming events, I found myself enrolled in a certificate program. This worked for my family in so many ways.  I could work at my own pace, they had a payment system that was within our budget, and the certificates were the equivalent of a seminary degree.

I didn’t know at the time what God wanted me to do with this education, but I did know that going back to school was part of the steps to get me there.  As a mom, with young children at home, I had plenty of time to work my way through.  I was not in a rush to get a job.  So, I was just going to do what I could… as I could.

Then just a few classes in, the news broke that the school was in the process of accreditation!  They were going to start a degree program.  I was so excited. However, this was also going to be a bit more expensive.  As I stated before, I wasn’t really in a hurry.  So, I just kept plugging away at my classes.  Each payday I make a payment into my student account, because we agreed that there would be no student loan or credit card debt.  I believed if God was calling me, the money would be provided.

My first dose of reality hit when I had my transcript reviewed.  There were some classes from my old college that they were not going to count toward this degree.  I didn’t quite understand why, and I made a request to have the transcript looked over again.  I provided a bit more information on the classes, explaining why I thought they fit the degree requirements.

After a few days, I got a wonderful email that they agreed!  They credited me for the classes I questioned, and I was just thrilled.  I sat down with my course schedule to see the impact that would make on my degree plan.  Sure enough, I would be finished in ONE YEAR.  Super exciting, but I wondered…. how are we going to get the rest of the money in this short of a time?  When I didn’t have those classes credited… the end was far enough out, I wasn’t worried.  This changed everything.

But, I still held true to the belief that if this was indeed God’s calling, then the money would come.

And it did.

Within just two weeks, I was given a job opportunity that would take a few weeks of my time….but would pay for my school balance in full.  This was nothing I had done myself, but God doing exactly what He does best….

Being faithful to those He calls.

Equipping those He calls.

Providing for those He calls.

THE LOVE OF MONEY

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For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith
and pierced themselves with many griefs.       1 Timothy 6:10

I have a guilty pleasure, I watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. At first it was out of curiosity, I wanted to know what their lives were really like. How wonderful must it be to have all that money, all of those resources to draw from. What I realized, very quickly, is that their lives are not all that wonderful.

I remember growing up as a kid, not having a lot of money. We would often play the “if money was no object” game, or “if I won the lottery” game. We would talk about the things we would buy, the people we would help. There was an illusion that by having more money all of our problems would be resolved. Life would be better. We would be happier.

That is so far from the truth. In watching the Real Housewives I have learned:

  • You can have all the money in the world, and your husband will still cheat on you.
  • You can have all the money in the world, and your business can still fail.
  • You can have all the money in the world, and still be depressed and driven to addiction.
  • You can have all the money in the world, and still have a dysfunctional family.
  • You can have all the money in the world, and not have any authentic friendships or relationships.
  • You can have all the money in the world, and still be alone and lonely.
  • You can have all the money in the world, and it still isn’t enough to make you happy.

Money doesn’t solve your problems. Money doesn’t make you happier. Money doesn’t guarantee you will be spared trouble. Because, money has no power. God has power.

God gives us all the resources we need to get through this life. There are no promises that we won’t struggle, but we know that we will not struggle alone. God fills our spirit, develops our character. God helps us define who we are & who we become.

I can have all the money and resources in the world, but without God…. I am bankrupt.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Be challenged this week to not think about how your life could be different “if only you had more…” and instead examine what you have, and how you could better use it for His glory.

* Written for the TC3 Women’s Ministry Devotion Blog