A Place of Refuge

I have a new appreciation for 1 Timothy 3:4-5.  In context, it says from the KJV:

  • 1Ti 3:1  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
  • 1Ti 3:2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
  • 1Ti 3:3  Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
  • 1Ti 3:4  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
  • 1Ti 3:5  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)


Because to me, these precious verses have become more than just a demonstration of an elder’s leadership capability.  Yes, they ARE that.  But, they also describe a place of refuge.  I’m SO glad I’ve come to see this.

The last two years have been the most difficult of my ministry.  Although we have happy saints and wonderful worship and discipleship opportunities, the level of spiritual warfare has been beyond anything I’ve seen previously.  However, as hard as it has been, it hasn’t been as hard as it COULD have been.  Why?  Because of the home God has allowed my wife and me to build.  My home is a place of refuge, and I praise God for it.

An elder must “ruleth” his own house well.  He must manage his home unto the glory of God.  This verse doesn’t imply some sort of heavy-handed patriarchy.  Rather, it describes a well-ordered, albeit imperfect place of love, hospitality, education and discipleship, fun, exciting food, and peace.  :)  Paul describes the environment well to the Colossians and to Titus:

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:1-8)
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Col 3:12-17)

By God’s grace, He has strengthened Donna and me for 24 years to guard and protect our marriage and home.  We take NO credit.  Glory and honor belongs to Jesus alone.  In recent years, the oasis I enter through my front door has meant more and more.

I think Donna is mostly responsible.  LOL!  I praise God for my wife, who doesn’t fight God’s commandments for order in the home (Eph 5:22-33).  She is gentle, kind, easy to lead, hardworking, and absolutely gorgeous.  Her heart is homeward, focused on me and our children.  So by God’s grace, she has created a beautiful environment for our entire family.

Friends, protect your home.  Just start where you are.  Build it with love and Scripture and prayer and holiness and fun. 

May your home become a Place of Refuge.

Thy Word is Truth!

"Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth." John 17:17

I don't understand the all resistance by God's people to God's Word.  Ok, maybe I do: our sinful, rebellious nature is the root cause, enflamed by hellish powers. So maybe more accurately, I'm saddened by it.  I'm saddened by the tooth and nail fight instead of the childlike acceptance when Scripture is read.  I'm saddened by our censorship of many Passages because of our cultural idolatry.  I'm saddened by it first in my own life (I'm a rebel at heart) and deeply hurt by the pain the refusal to obey God's precepts causes so many families and churches.

William MacDonald wrote:

To sanctify means to set apart. The Word of God has a sanctifying effect on believers. As they read it and obey it, they are set apart as vessels suitable for the Master's use. That is exactly what the Lord Jesus was praying for here. He wanted a people who were set apart to God from the world, and usable by God. “Your word is truth,” Jesus said. He did not say, as so many do today, “Your word contains truth,” but “Your word IS truth.”

Amen!  Through a life of studying and applying Holy Scripture, God's people ARE SUPPOSED TO CHANGE!  We SHOULD NOT be the same as when we first believed.  Our thirsts, thoughts, appearance, character, disciplines, love...our everything...should become and more Christ-like.

Why does this bother us so?  What are we afraid of?

There seems to be a deeply rooted resistance to changing and bringing our lives in alignment with Scripture.  Our sin nature fights God.  Yet the great promise is our sanctification via the Word of God if we would, with the Spirit's help, obey!  Our great joy should be to become more and more as unto our Lord!

Oh the wonder of the Word of God!  Oh the love of God that He would reveal Himself via the Scriptures! Oh that we would live, not by bread alone, but my EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matt 4:4)

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7-11)

Sanctify us oh Lord, by Thy holy Truth.  Give us a humble heart to obey.  There is NO other path worth following.

In Jesus' Name.