Abundant Life

Teaching: The Pillar & Bulwark of Truth

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

At Spirit & Truth Fellowship we believe strongly in the first-century model of the “home church,” that is, a group of Christ’s followers who get together regularly in whatever format they choose, for the purpose of spiritual growth and support. The home church most closely follows the pattern God provided for basic relational interaction, which is the family. God has provided the best foundation for both families and churches, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).

1 Timothy 3:14 and 15
(14) Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that,
(15) if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation (hedraioma) of the truth.

Robertson says of hedraioma: “Probably it means stay or support rather than foundation or ground.” [1] Moffatt translates this word as “bulwark, a defensive wall.” [2] This verse establishes the purpose of the Church in the context of relationship (how people ought to conduct themselves). The Church is to be a pillar where the truth is displayed for others to see and a bulwark defending the integrity and veracity of God’s holy Word. Both the “pillar” and “bulwark” rest upon the foundation, who is Jesus Christ.

God has always related to people through the prism of family. He goes to great lengths developing the narratives of family dynamics to convey truth. Examples in the Old Testament are many and varied. A few poignant examples are: Ruth, Naomi and Boaz; Esther and Mordecai; and David’s family. One of the most dramatic, perhaps, is the contrast between two families in 1 Samuel. The book opens with Elkanah, whose wife Hannah was barren. As Hannah beseeches the Lord earnestly, her prayer is answered and a son is born. In gratitude, Hannah dedicates the boy, Samuel, to the Lord. Even though Hannah is the main character in this drama, we have a snapshot of this family where Elkanah, the husband, is serving as the head.

1 Samuel 1:21
When the man Elkanah went up with all of his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow,

Many times when this record is considered, the heart and commitment of Hannah is the focus, and with good reason. Yet, as we look closely we see both of Samuel’s parents steadfastly ministering to the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:3 tells us that Elkanah went up to worship at Shiloh year after year. It is very obvious that Samuel received a solid foundation of faith from both parents. The family of Eli the priest however stands in stark contrast.

1 Samuel 2:11 and 12
(11) Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest.
(12) Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD.

God devotes 40 verses to display Samuel’s family, a godly couple who dedicate their only son to the Lord. Then, in one short, terse statement God reveals the tragedy that defines Eli’s family. The consequence of Eli’s failure as a father is dramatic. By the end of chapter four he and his sons are dead and the ark of God is captured by the Philistines. Just as with these two families, every family is defined in significant ways by parents fulfilling their calling to lead their children in God’s ways, or by the tragedy that results from not doing so.

Both aspects of the pillar and bulwark of truth are evident in the life of Samuel. As prophet to Israel, Samuel spoke for God and thus clearly set forth truth from God for Saul, the man who would be king. Later he had to defend the truth by confronting Saul.

1 Samuel 15:1
Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:26
But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!”

God has always needed great people like Samuel to set forth, and stand for, the truth. Jesus Christ was the epitome of this, and so it follows that God would make it clear to all of us in Christ’s Body what qualifies a person for leadership in His Church. In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to his protégé, Timothy, qualifications for positions of responsibility within the Church are listed in chapter 3. These qualifications for both overseers (episkopos) as well as servants (diakonos, “deacons”) have several qualifying traits common to both. This is quite logical since overseers will have previously proven themselves as ones who serve well.

In effect, Paul’s letter to Timothy provides us with a developmental track of training for church leadership in reverse order, because he covers overseers first, then those who serve in official capacities in the Church. Paul, with authority from Christ (1 Tim. 1:11), is mentoring his replacement, Timothy (1 Tim. 1:18) as to how leaders in the church will be identified from among those serving (1 Tim. 3:1-15). One of the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3 for both those who serve, as well as those who oversee the work, is related to the management of their personal families:

1 Timothy 3:12
A deacon (diakonos) must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.

A prerequisite to holding positions of responsibility in any church is managing one’s own family well. This is true of a diakonos, one who serves in a given capacity on behalf of the church, and then later for those who are called to be overseers (episkopos) within the church.

1 Timothy 3:4 and 5
(4) He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.
(5) (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

Paul closes out this section on qualifications by reiterating the basic premise of how God views the Church of Jesus Christ in light of the family unit (1 Tim. 3:14 and 15). Both aspects of pillar and bulwark are vital to the health of families and churches. If one is lacking, eventually the other will be in jeopardy. God has given His Word so that we might know what His family looks like. In that picture will be seen a pillar and a bulwark of the truth resting firmly upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, The Rock of Ages.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

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More from Write From Karen

Cruise 11, Vacations

Obligatory Vacation Summation Post

Disney World Souvenirs. We only went to two parks. Two was enough, trust me.

I’m sitting here, trying to organize my thoughts enough to list some bullet points and I’m swaying. Not literally, though at times I might be, but rather because I haven’t gotten my land legs back yet. This is an actual “condition,” or a by-product of spending several days aboard a boat.

Finding one’s “land legs” refers to a condition where a person has an imbalance or rocking sensation after spending time on a boat. In its extreme form it is known as “mal de debarquement,” which is French for disembarkation sickness. There is really no proven way to find one’s land legs, other than to give it some time.

It’s quite disorienting, especially when you’re prone to motion sickness, like I am. But it’s a side effect of cruising that I’m willing to endure because I enjoy cruising so much. I’ll just deal with my body feeling like a living jello mold.

With unexplained lumps. In the jello.

Never mind.

I’m going to have to squeeze these post-vacation posts in between my work. I am neck deep in emails and all require immediate attention. The school websites that I maintain are gearing up for school and their websites require a lot of attention, but I really need to document our time now or I’ll forget more and more with each passing day.

I’d like to say it’s because I’m getting older and my memory isn’t as good as it used to be, but to be honest, my memory has always been crappy, hence the biggest reason for this blog.

At any rate, I don’t have time to really go in-depth right now, plus, I haven’t had a chance to go through pictures/videos yet, but I’ll list some key points I want to talk about to remind me what to write later.

  • I am pretty sure this was the last beach vacation we take in mid-summer.
  • I’m also pretty sure we will never go back to Disney World.
  • It’s quite possible this was the last vacation the boys will accompany us.
  • Jazz was patted down at the airport.
  • We toured Disney World with LARGE groups of Brazilian teenage girls.
  • These girls didn’t speak a word of English.
  • They also broke out in spontaneous song at the worst times.
  • And they also thought Dude and Jazz were quite interesting to look at.
  • I didn’t eat a full meal for two whole days.
  • It rained on us when we were at Epcot.
  • I couldn’t wait to leave Hollywood Studios.
  • We had pretty awesome rooms on the cruise ship.
  • I seriously wanted to throttle our cruise ship neighbors.
  • Our dinner table mates on the ship were ….. interesting characters.
  • Even though we were on a beach vacation, we didn’t wear our swimsuits once.
  • This was the smallest cruise ship we’ve been on, but we were turned around and lost the entire time we were on it.
  • I say “beach”, you think “green and lush.” The Bahamas were anything but green and lush.
  • We drove a jeep around Freeport, Bahamas.
  • We were driven around Nassau, Bahamas by “Sexy” Mary.
  • We also toured Nassau, Bahamas without the boys.
  • Atlantis, on Paradise Island, Bahamas, is pretty spectacular.
  • It was hotter in Missouri than in the Bahamas.
random stuff

How Honest Are You?

You Are Honest and Open
I am going to be honest with both of you

You are a very honest person, yet you somehow avoid being brutally honest with people.

You know that the truth often does hurt, so you try to cushion the blow as much as possible. And because of your approach, people do appreciate your honesty.

You’re the type of person who compliments before you criticize. You try to put the truth in perspective and make it seem not so dire.

And whenever you’re stating your opinion, you make it clear that it’s just that … your point of view. You can only speak your own personal truth.

Right-O. This is pretty accurate.

How honest are you?

Home Movies

Testing the Johnny Jump Up

This was the first time we put Dude into a Johnny Jump Up.

I apologize for the maniacal laughter, I was delirious from fatigue. Also? His expression of like, “what do I DO with this thing??” just cracked me up. HA!

Dude soon picked up on the concept behind the Johnny Jump Up (I have a video of that for later, of course) and I have to say, this Johnny Jump Up SAVED my sanity. Both of my boys loved this thing and spent hours in it.

I’d recommend it for new parents.

P.S. The cord hanging down by his foot is from this.

Cruise 11, Vacations, Walt Disney World

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

We’re home!!!

And we’re pooped.

We all feel like this right now.

Tuckered Out

Actually, Dude pretty much stayed in this position the entire cruise.

But more on that later.

We got home about an hour ago. It was a LOOOONG travel day. We left the boat and Port Canaveral at 9:30 this morning, arrived at the Orlando airport about 10:30, and killed time at the airport until 3:00 this afternoon to catch our flight.

We got into St. Louis about 4:00, stopped to eat at Taco Bell and we got home at 8:30 pm. After going through the STACK of mail (mostly junk – yuck), and putting away a few essentials (I’m not unpacking or doing laundry until tomorrow), we all jumped onto our computers and greedily gobbled up some Internet time. We didn’t have Internet the entire week and I think all of us were feeling the withdrawals.

I have so much to talk about, and some pictures to show you (after I go through them – and just for the record, I didn’t take as many as I liked because it was SO FREAKING HOT that I just couldn’t drum up the necessary energy to CARE, quite frankly), but for now, I must sleep. I’m wiped out.

Also? I came home to a TON of emails. It’s time to update all of the school websites and work on some projects that MUST get done in the next few weeks, so I’m going to be up to my neck in work for several weeks. In fact, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, if you want the truth. Please be patient with me as I prioritize work stuff and sort through vacation stuff.

But just know, we’re home, safe and sound and I can’t type any more or my head will explode.

P.S. I’m having trouble finding my land legs again. This is quite normal and I go through this every time we get back from a cruise. It’s like my body still thinks it’s on a boat and I have this really funky swaying feeling … it’s disorienting and quite annoying, actually. No worries, it’ll go away in a few days. In the meantime, WHOA.