Archive for the ‘1 Timothy’ Category

Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 1 Timothy 4:14 (NKJV)

Relationship experts would agree that breakups rarely happen overnight.  Often there are clues and warning signs when there’s trouble in paradise. If we choose to wait too long to deal with the underlying issues, they may develop into bigger issues and the eventual end of the relationship.  Gina Vivinetto, of  TODAY,[i] shares five warning signs that three relationship experts agree should never be ignored.

  1. Excessively busy lives that keep couples apart. This could be a sign of a neglected relationship. When people get involved in their own career, get busy with their own life, and stop making a point to spend time with one another one-on-one, their relationship starts to go sour.  They forget how to be a couple.  The solution is simple:  Be intentional about making time for one another.  Use that time to talk to each other, do activities together, get reconnected.  You may also be proactive and decline jobs and other obligations that keep you and your spouse apart for too long.
  2. Chronic nitpicking and criticism. This may be a sign of underlying disdain. Sometimes people allow negative feelings to take over and they begin to see each other through disdainful lenses.  In order to solve this before it damages your relationship, take time to recall what brought you together, what attracted you and what you appreciate about your spouse.  As one of the experts says, “The question is, are you able to dig out and resurrect what you liked that outweighed what you didn’t like? When you see your partner, do you see the positives outweighing the negatives?
  3. Not offering support when it matters. This may indicate a loss of trust. A loss of trust isn’t always the result of a dramatic betrayal. Often, it’s a matter of little things adding up.  If that is the case, couples need to recognize what’s happening and learn how to talk about it.  You should seek help from a therapist; unfortunately, couples often come to her too late.

Father God, help me to not ignore any warning signs ever.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/5-relationship-warning-signs-couples-should-never-ignore-t33981?cid=eml_tes_20150723

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But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11 (NKJV)

Traveling, with kids in tow, can be one of the most challenging experiences for all involved.  The TODAY Parenting Team[i] continues with the 13 tips for staying sane while flying with kids:

  1. Bring help. If possible, bring your parents, in-laws, friends, or a nanny along so they can help you when you need a break.
  2. Slow it down. Your time together won’t last forever. Decide whether you want to spend your time rushing or cherishing your time together enjoying the experience.
  3. Bring medicine. Beside your prescription medication, bring the written prescription in case you run out of it and need it refilled. In addition, consider bringing things like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, and Benadryl.  If your kids take any chronic medications, remember to refill them and pack them, including enough to last for a few days after your trip just in case you get delayed.
  4. New toys. Because they are a novelty, new toys can prove to be a nice distraction for your kids during the trip. Consider “quiet” toys or games which will not disturb others.
  5. Gate check the stroller. If the airline cancels your flight they may provide you with hotel in which to spend the night, but they are not always able to get your check-in luggage. If you have a small child, it is nice to have your stroller so you don’t have to carry them, and your carry-on bags, everywhere you go.  A mother suggested that having a baby carrier is even better; your child can go into the carrier and the stroller can hold all the stuff.
  6. Plan travel times during nap times. If you have a long flight, try to plan it when your little ones usually nap. At the beginning of the trip, the excitement will take over; but once they feel the vibration of the plane hopefully they will go right to sleep, and sleep for the duration. That’s when your vacation really starts!

Planning ahead can save you a lot of headaches and can ensure you and your children have a positive, memorable time together.

Father God, help us so that when we travel together we all may have a wonderful time together.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/13-tips-flying-kids-today-parenting-team-t23456?cid=eml_tes_20150530

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Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 1 Timothy 5:14 (NKJV)


In her blog, Shoshana Hayman[i] writes that, “when a child’s attachments are disconnected from each other, the child can’t orient to both his parents and to other adults who serve as the parents’ support system. This also makes it more likely for the child to attach to other children instead of to adults, and then look to these children for direction.  This influences how we pass on our values and ideals to our children, both when they are young and even more so when they are teenagers. It is not true that teenagers need to separate from their parents in order to find their individuality, and well-meaning adults easily assume that teenagers need friends more than their parents.

What she means is that parents need to be the compass point for their children.  She suggests parents can do three things to reclaim their rightful place in the lives of their children:

  1. Assume responsibility to be your child’s compass point, their guide, their comforter, and their safe home base. You don’t have to have all the answers, but it is more important to believe that you are the answer for your child, because no one cares as much as you do.
  2. Provide your child with secure and deep attachment, and continue to protect and nurture this relationship during all the years your child is growing up. This will give them the context they need to internalize your values while they develop more maturity and find their own reasons to believe in these values.
  3. Make room for your child to express their own thoughts, ideas, opinions, questions, and feelings. This will give them the room they need within the relationship to become their own individuals. Listening to them without being judgmental will open discussions that give you a window into what they are exposed to and what they think about it.

Your children need you to be the compass to your children need as they cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood.


Father of love, you are our compass, our true north.  May we play the same role to our children during their growing up years.

[i] http://attachmentparenting.org/blog/2015/01/28/parents-need-to-be-the-compass-point/

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For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV)


Before marriage, people have their own finances established.  They have individual bank accounts and complete control of their budget.  But once they get married their finances take on a different view.  They have separate incomes and separate bills that they will have to decide whether to join them or not.  They also have to decide who will responsible for keeping the household budget and paying the monthly bills.

Often, couples don’t talk about these things until after they have become husband and wife which can cause tension and arguments.  One or the other may want sole control of the budget. Many of the financial disagreements stem from lack of understanding how the finances will function in the household.

Mayra Bitsko[i] offers four tips on how you and your future spouse should decide your finances.  Discuss together the following questions:

  1. Who is more discipline with the budget? In most relationships, one person is a saver and the other a spender. Also, usually one person is more laid back on making full payments and pays the bills late. Therefore, the person who is strict with keeping a set budget should be the one to manage the finances, pay the bills, and take care of the budget. At the same time, both you and your spouse should be involved in the decision-making and the budgeting process. Both should know where the funds are going. This way no one person has complete control and knowledge but both are fully informed.
  2. Do you continue with separate or joint accounts? Some couples join their monies after marriage and others prefer keeping their own accounts. Though there is nothing wrong with either decision, it is important to discuss the matter before marriage so there are no surprises or false expectations. One option some have taken is to open a separate joint account solely for the household bills. Marriage should be about relinquishing rather than asserting power and control.


Father God, when we get married we become one flesh.  Remind us that our finances are part of the intimacy designed for us to enjoy.

[i] http://familyshare.com/4-tips-on-how-couples-should-decide-their-finances-before-marriage

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The buck stops here

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV)


  1. Money

Many couples report that the number one issue of conflict in their lives is their finances.  For some, their problems with money begin before they get married when they bring a lot of debt into their relationship.  Student loans, credit card debt, or not having a budget may have contributed to their financial challenges.  The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends that couples who have conflict over money have a serious conversation about their finances.  What can you do?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Be open and honest about your financial situation before you get married. Surprises later lead to conflict.
  • Be realistic about your situation. Continuing the same lifestyle is unrealistic and will only
  • Set aside to talk about it when you are both calm.
  • Don’t hide income or debt. Provide all financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, checks, debts, and investments to the conversation. Don’t point an accusing finger.
  • Together develop a realistic budget that includes a plan to eliminate debt and also a way to have savings. Every pay period, sit together to pay the bills so that both have control over your finances.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals for your future as a family.
  • Use a snowball method by paying first the small debts, one at a time, and adding those payments to the next until all are paid off.

Father God, help us to remember that we are just stewards but that everything belongs to you, an help us to manage all faithfully and carefully.

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Time with Grammy

But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. 1 Timothy 5:4 (NKJV)


A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)[i] showed that in comparison with other children in kinship care arrangements, custodial grandchildren are reported by their caregivers to have higher levels of behavioral and emotional disturbances than children in the overall U.S. population.

In general terms, there are two major reasons why custodial grandchildren may encounter greater risk of behavioral and emotional difficulties than children in general. The first reason is that custodial grandchildren are typically placed in the care of their grandparents because of their parents’ substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, teenage pregnancy, death, illness, divorce, or incarceration. Such conditions results in adverse risks such as exposure to prenatal toxins, early childhood trauma, insufficient interaction with parents, family conflict, uncertainty about the future, and societal stigma.

The second reason why custodial grandchildren may experience higher risk of emotional and behavioral difficulties has to do with the numerous challenges that grandparents face as caregivers. For many this role presents challenges which include inadequate support, social stigma, isolation, disrupted leisure and retirement plans, age-related adversities, anger toward grandchildren’s parents, and financial strain.  As a result, custodial grandparents typically show elevated rates of anxiety, irritability, anger, and guilt.  Recently, it was found that psychological distress among custodial grandmothers results in lower-quality parenting, which ultimately leads to higher maladjustment of custodial grandchildren.

While this may sound like a negative, hopeless situation for both grandparents and grandchildren, it does not have to be so.  Grandparents also have a lot more experience, time, and love which provides a safer, warmer environment for their grandchildren.


Father God, help me to be surround my grandchildren with love and a healthy environment so they will have a better chance at a good life and a more promising future.

[i] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083282/ (accessed 1-11-15)

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Single Parents Priorities

Scripture:  But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 1 Tim 5:4 NIV


Observation:  Early Christians cared for widows in their midst, but administering this aid proved challenging (see Acts 6:1–7). Timothy is to encourage family members to care for relatives who are widows (1 Tim. 5:4, 8, 16) and to ensure that aid is given to women who are really widows (v. 5). Those who are to be placed on the list of widows approved for aid (taken into the number, v. 9) are to meet certain qualifications. Paul advises against including women less than 60 years of age and prefers that younger women remarry (vv. 9, 14). [Dybdahl, J. L. (Ed.). (2010). Andrews Study Bible Notes (p. 1584). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.]


Application:  Single parents face a number of challenges.  In some cases, single parents need to deal with their own finances and the added financial responsibility of their children in another household.  Single parents have to care for their own household entirely on their own.  This could include fixing meals, all the household chores, helping with homework, attending parent-teacher meetings, taking their children to the doctor or staying home with a sick child even when that may mean losing income for the day, and so much more.

Today’s text underscores the important role that churches should play in supporting widows with children and grandchildren.  That is God’s plan and ideal.  But we know that in today’s world it probably rarely happens that way.  When single parents consider all these heavy responsibilities, they may like to have a life partner to share in all they have to do.  And yet, much research shows that one of the most difficult dynamics is that of blended families or step-parenting homes.  Not long ago a lady spoke to us to tell us of the difficult relationship between her husband and her son, who is his step-son.  In a blunt way he told her, “I didn’t marry you to become a dad.”  How sad that is!

Many single parents, wanting the support of a partner and a parent figure for their children, enter into relationships that end up being more damaging to their children.  Children are often exposed to a revolving door of step-parents, toward whom they may develop positive feelings, only to feel abandoned again when those relationships end.  Often, many children experience emotional and physical abuse at the hands of their step-parents.

I think even Paul hints that what widows (or single parents) should devote their life to raising their children first, at least until they are adults.  He urges single parents to provide for their children the type of atmosphere where they will help them in their spiritual growth, and to put their religious principles into practical use.  While it is a difficult road, remaining single is a better arrangement for single parents than bringing other people into their children’s lives, particularly if doing so disrupts the parents’ relationship with their children, and with God.


A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, I pray you help and encourage single parents, and may they find in You their Companion and Helper so they may devote their life to helping their children come to know You and serve You.

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