1 Timothy 6:6-10 ~ the Love of Money

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“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 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.”

Christianity is the worst career, but the best calling in the world. Being a Christian doesn’t pay the big bucks, but the gain is greater than anything the world has to offer. The Christians who have achieved the highest contentment with their godliness are the happiness, because wherever there is true godliness, there is contentment. I don’t think at all that this means you can’t have dreams and goals of your own–but I DO think it means you should learn to be content with what God gives you, and know that it’s best for you. He sees a bigger piece of the canvas than you do, remember.

If you think about it a little, it’ll dawn on you that trying to become a big shot on earth is kind of a stupid goal anyway, because eventually you’ll die and you won’t be so much of a big shot then, will you? Whatever we receive in this world is from God, because He allowed us to have it, and on the flipside, He can take back whatever He wants. If we were born with just ourselves and our lives, shouldn’t we be content to live with just ourselves and our lives? We can’t be poorer than we were when we were born, and yet God provided for us. Ecclesiastes is a rather depressing book to read, but it does put things in perspective, and verse 5:15 says, “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” Like that old saying goes, you can’t take it with you, and the fact that you have it now is purely by God’s grace. If that’s not a call to humility and gratefulness, I don’t know what is.

If God gave us what we need for life, we should be content, even if we don’t have all the pleasures available to us. Matthew Henry’s Commentary says, “If nature should be content with little, grace should be content with less.” Back in Proverbs, a few special dudes get their own chapters to share a little bit of their wisdom (don’t ask me how they wheedled that little privilege out of King Solomon). One of them, a guy named Agur, prayed, “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” (Proverbs 30:8) He not only didn’t ask for blessings, but he asked for no more blessing than the bare minimum! He could have asked for something from each section of the food pyramid so he would have an almost impossibly well-balanced diet, but instead, he asked only for bread, just enough to keep him alive. Job was pretty darn humble, but I think Agur is a pretty good humility role model too.

What happens when people die and lose all the worldly possessions they have worked so hard to achieve? Let’s take a happy little hop to another section of the Old Testament, Judges 18. Israel didn’t have a king at the time, and the tribe of Dan was trying to find somewhere to settle. They sent five warriors out to explore, and they spent a night with a guy named Micah. Then they went and found a place called Laish, and they saw that the people there were safe and prosperous. They returned to their tribe and encouraged them to attack, which the Danites did. Or, at least, they were planning to. When they reached Micah’s house, the five warriors went inside and stole all of Micah’s valuable possessions while the whole of their army was standing outside. They even convinced Micah’s priest to leave with them. But Micah gathered all of his neighbors and went after the Danites. When he caught up with them, they asked him why he was so ready to fight them. In verse 24, Micah said, “You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have?”

See, when Micah got home, he found all of his possessions gone, as well as his priest, who had clearly put up no fight to stop the intruders. He felt so lost without all the things he’d gained and created over the years that he gathered an army and went after an army of 600 Danites. It didn’t do him any good in the end; he realized that his army wasn’t all that big and he went home, and the Danites went on to ransack Laish and pillage and plunder and so on and so forth. But you see what I’m getting at with this story, right? Micah didn’t know what to do when his things were taken from him. It drove him to ALMOST do something that would have been really stupid and it probably would have killed him. But as for us, we don’t need to concern ourselves with worldly riches, because we’ve got infinitely better ones coming when we die. And BOY, is it a relief when you stop worrying so much about where your money is coming from! When you just give your finances to God, you’re able to live a much happier life.

Notice that the verse in 1 Timothy doesn’t say “those who ARE rich fall into temptation,” but rather, “those who WANT to be rich.” You can have money and not love it, but people who crave worldly wealth are eager and violent while trying to achieve it, and when the devil sees where their focus is, he will bait his hook accordingly. Some people are determined to be rich and will be satisfied with nothing left, and therefore put themselves in danger of being ruined forever. But worldly desires are foolish and hurtful, and we should be both ashamed and afraid of them because of what they can do to us. Many Christians have been drawn away from the faith because they coveted money, such as Demas, who is mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:10, and those who depart from God only rack up sorrows for themselves.

Believe (2014)

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“We have to believe that we are exceptional.”

Believe is a show with only one season, which is one of the reasons I watched it. (Don’t you hate having shows that are 12 or 14 seasons long and you just don’t have time to finish them?) It’s about a little girl who is a very powerful psychic, powerful enough that everyone wants to capture her and use her powers to rule the world. Of course.

The guy who took care of little Bo, Martin Winter, broke her father, William Tate, out of jail, where he was on death row for a murder he didn’t commit. Of course, neither Tate or Bo knew that he was her father until later in the series. Winter charged Tate with looking after Bo, which is an interesting choice because he’s a fugitive and he’s rather on the run himself. But anywho.

It’s a pretty interesting show for its length, and entertaining enough to at least finish. It’s more like a long movie than a show. The cool thing about it is that along the way, Bo pretty much forces Tate to help people. Tate has a little bit of the cool sidekick vybe, but he’s also a good father figure. So they’re not just running from bad guys, they’re taking the time to be good guys. And that’s a really good thing to see, because there isn’t a lot of goodwilling happening in shows anymore, at least not the innocent kind.

I thought that the girl who played Bo was pretty good considering her age. I liked the fact that they added her turtle Stanley, because it reminds us that Bo might be a psychic with awesome superpowers, but she’s also a ten-year-old girl, and, like many ten-year-old girls, she has a stuffed animal that she treasures. It’s really cool that they worked that in. (Also, let’s appreciate the name Stanley for a moment. Just say it once or twice. Slow. Let the letters roll of your tongue.)

Anyway, I don’t want to say too much about the show because I don’t want to spoil it. But it’s a good show. And well worth the 13 episodes.

Everyone deserves a second chance.”

1 Timothy 6:3-5 ~ the Result of Believing False Doctrines

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“If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”

Paul thought it was important to warn Timothy about people who believed in things other than Jesus, and it’s a warning we should all take to heart. It might sound a little bit narrow-minded or stuck-up, but we shouldn’t consider any instruction wholesome except that of Jesus, and we should give complete consent to His instruction. I’ve read all sorts of books, and they’ve been bogged down with stories about Christians, some of them nameless, changing the world and turning people’s hearts completely around by refusing to stop believing in Jesus Christ. Those stories make me excited to meet them in heaven one day, and they inspire me to live my own faith undeniably. Jesus’ doctrine, as Matthew Henry’s Commentary well says, “has a direct tendency to make people godly.” Following Him simply makes you better in every way–a better friend, a better spouse, a better sibling or parent…a better person.

Now check out what happens otherwise.

People who believe and teach doctrines other than Jesus’ are, as Paul rather bluntly puts, “conceited and understand nothing.” It’s interesting how those who are proudest tend to know the least. Just look at the Pharisees during Jesus’ lifetime–for all their knowledge, they didn’t understand truly how God wanted them to live, and they couldn’t even see their own pride and deceit. They were so busy debating and displaying their superiority that they didn’t even realize that they were actually DISobeying what God had told them to do. They added all these rules and regulations to law, twisting it so much that it hardly even looked like the same thing God had written on those stone tablets and handed down to Moses all those generations ago.

Debating was one of the Pharisees’ and chief priests’ favorite things to do, by what I’ve seen. But instead of doing good, their controversies only served to eat the life and power out of the religion that they were supposedly trying to follow. The same sort of thing was happening when Paul wrote this letter to Timothy. People must not have really understood what Jesus had been trying to tell them, and whenever that happens, they make up their own ideas and plant them in the minds of others, and because these ideas aren’t rooted firmly in God’s Word, they turn into mischief and essentially break the church by turning people against each other–people who SHOULD be loving and helping each other. These “men of corrupt mind” are destitute of truth; the reason their minds are corrupted is that they don’t stick to the truth in Jesus. It has never gone well for the church when people started imposing their own ideas.

The words of Jesus are wholesome and healing, and bring great contentment, as we will see later in the next post of this section, and as we can see in Isaiah 50:4 (in case you want to look that up). The words of Christ prevent ruptures in the church, because no one with faith in Him will deny the truth of His words. When people leave the faith, they won’t agree with others, and will constantly question them. They become jealous and suspicious, and envious when they see that someone else’s (Jesus’) ideas are preferred to their own adopted maelstrom of beliefs. And, of course, they start thinking more and more about money, that all-too-common faith-killer that has stolen many people’s souls through their concern for it. But let me leave you with this thought, as a precursor to the next few verses: gain is not godliness, while godliness is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:1-2 ~ Slaves

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“All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.”

We don’t have slavery in the United States today–at least, not in so many words (though segregation definitely still exists, and some people might consider their jobs forms of slavery!)–but I think we can still apply verses about slaves and masters to our lives, because we do, in fact, serve others, and are called to do so. God’s law makes us servants. These verses go a little in depth about how we should do it. I might also point out that the Bible doesn’t demand that all slaves immediately be freed upon their master’s conversion to the faith, though I won’t talk any more about that because I don’t want to start a media war. Paul was instructing Timothy in these things because ministers should preach not only a Christian’s general duties, but also specific relationships between the different people in our faith-family.

Y’all have probably learned by now that I like to find the meaning behind all the words, which is why I really enjoy using Matthew Henry’s Commentary to study with. The phrase “under the yoke” reminds me of oxen pulling a plow or a wagon, and I never envision them standing still. The same thing applies to us when we are contracted to work. When we go to work, we pick up our own “yoke” of responsibilities that we bear for the day. The word “yoke” implies both subjugation AND labor–slaves (and the working class) were meant to work, not to sit around. My working experience showed me that not a whole lot of people take this seriously, and I think it’s kind of rare for someone to really, truly WORK when they’re at work, without taking unscheduled breaks, which is all the more reason for Christians to put their shoulders to it and show the world that no people group in the world works harder than us. (You can consider that a very calm rallying cry.)

These two verses are all about how slaves should act toward their masters, so I suppose I should get into that before I ramble on forever about the values of hard work. Slaves (and us) were supposed to treat their masters (and our bosses) as if they were worthy of full respect and obedience, whether or not their master actually deserved it. I think that’s a really interesting and world-shaking way to work, because, as I’m sure all you adults are very well aware, a lot of people don’t really like their bosses and they don’t show them any respect, though of course they obey because otherwise they’ll get fired (probably). They might be polite enough to their boss’s face, but they definitely don’t show respect in the lunchroom or when speaking to fellow employees. But to respect your boss even when he’s not around? That is pretty radical, and it’s exactly what Paul is telling Timothy’s people and us to do, because if Christian slaves were disobedient, it would reflect badly on the God they–and we–serve. Our job is to shine His light to the world and lead others to Him, but how will others want to come if they see us acting badly?

If a slave’s master was a Christian, the slave should be all the more obliged to serve his master well, and why wouldn’t you? I mean, isn’t it fantastic to be around other Christians and to serve them? We should serve them even better because of the brotherly love we have for them. You feel good serving all people, but it feels especially great when they’re your faith-family.

Human Mockingjay

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“And I am not ~ repeat not ~”
“Not.”
– The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

Echolalia is when someone repeats noises and phrases they hear. This can include not only the words spoken, but the exact imitation of a person’s inflection, tone of voice, and volume. Now it probably makes sense to you why I titled this post “Human Mockingjay.” (It doesn’t have a thing to do with the Hunger Games; yes, I used the word “mockingjay” just to play with some of you.) Echolalia can be classified into two types: immediate echolalia, which occurs immediately or soon after the original words are spoken; and delayed echolalia, which happens hours, days, weeks, or months after the fact.

Echolalia is in fact a natural part of language learning and development. All children experience it at some point in their lives, generally most around 2 ½ years of age. It usually declines significantly by the time the child turns three years old. Those who have been around children probably have noticed how boys in particular tend to deliver long, blurry, dramatic monologues that don’t make a lot of sense to the rest of us. In time, this shifts into a more specific and understandable style of speaking. This is the way language skills develop, which I will describe in four stages: First, the child learns to talk. This develops into communication through use of words. Then the child learns to take the phrases they know, take them apart in chunks, and recombine them into new phrases. After that, they break it down even further to where they’re putting together single words and creating two-word phrases. Finally, the child begins to create more complex sentences and independent thought. However, some children continue to repeat what they hear as they age. They hold on to echoed expressions much longer, and though they can say lots of words, they don’t seem to completely understand what they’re saying. This is echolalia.

Autistic children are particularly susceptible to echolalia. They typically progress slower than “normal” ~ or “neurotypical,” as they are sometimes referred to ~ children. (I don’t like to use the words “normal” and “neurotypical.” I think I would prefer “ordinary.” Have you met any autistic children? They are far more interesting than other children. Watch Mercury Rising.) Apparently researchers have found that up to 85% of autistic people who speak exhibit echolalia in some form, but I’m not certain yet if I believe this. I think I’ll need to do more research of my own before I take that as fact.

Children with apraxia ~ motor planning issues ~ can also get stuck in this phase. They begin speech therapy with very poor imitation skills, and once they learn to repeat what they’ve heard, they seem to want to hang on to it for a long time. This could be because repeating may become the “motor plan” they learn best, and it might be easier for them to use a rehearsed message rather than come up with a new one. Although it is true that apraxia children can come up with spontaneous utterances better than imitated ones, this is not usually the case if they have been in therapy for a while.

Although most children grow out of echolalia as they get older, some simply don’t. As a result, they may not be able to communicate effectively because they struggle to express their own thoughts. This may eventually cause them to go mute, and if asked a question, they may only repeat the question instead of answering it. You can see how this could cause them to lead very frustrating lives.

Adults who suffer from severe amnesia or head trauma may also experience echolalia as they try to regain their speaking abilities.

Symptoms of echolalia include repetition of phrases and noises, frustration during conversations, depression, muteness, and unusual irritability, especially when asked questions. Sometimes echolalia only appears when the person is distressed or anxious.

Doctors diagnose echolalia by having a conversation with the suspected patient. If the patient struggles to do anything other than repeat, he may have echolalia. However, some patients can combine phrases to make new ones, which makes it more difficult to determine if they have echolalia or not. The key to discerning this is noticing whether or not the answer actually reflects the question, or if it’s slightly off.

Doctors generally give antidepressants or anxiety medication to the echolalic person, which won’t treat the condition, but it will keep the patient calm. They are then expected to work with people at home to develop their conversation skills. There are also texts and online training programs that help parents get positive responses from their children. Some echolalics attend regular speech therapy sessions to help them learn to say what they are thinking.

Although echolalia can be difficult to conquer, it’s not a good idea to try to prevent your child from experiencing it completely. It IS a natural part of developing language skills, after all. Rather, a parent should encourage other forms of communication and expose their child to a wide variety of words and phrases. It’s also important to remain patient while your child is having echolalic “episodes.”

I don’t really have an ending to this post. But then, I’ve posted many a post without a proper ending. So I guess I will just leave off with this encouragement: echolalia is not permanent. Everyone seems to get over it eventually, even if it takes a really long time.