Preach the Word!

2 Timothy 4

This is the last chapter of Paul’s letters to Timothy. He starts this chapter giving Timothy a charge. Not a request, not a suggestion, a charge. Preach the Word!

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 1-2 ESV)

Many times we tell our children “remember whose you are”. This is in essence what Paul was telling Timothy when he tells him “in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus”. He reminds him that Jesus is the only one to judge the living and the dead, that by his appearing and his kingdom “preach the word”. Yes that is a charge for pastors, to be ready in season and out of season. But I think it is a charge for all of us. We should all be studying the word in order to be ready in season or out of season. For we never know when we may have to defend, or to tell a seeking person, what we believe. It is our responsibility to study the word so that we can know good doctrine when we hear it.

Paul goes on in this chapter talking about a day when people will have “itching ears” to hear what they want to hear. Well I think we can say that we are living there too right now. People will turn away from truth and wander away into myths. Sound familiar?

I think this letter is beginning to sound a little like maybe Paul isn’t so sure He is going to be rescued from this prison. In the next paragraph Paul tells Timothy he has already been poured out as a drink offering. What he is saying here is I have given all I can give. I have nothing left in me to give. But he also lets it be known that when it’s his time he is ready.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7 ESV)

Paul is letting Timothy know that if this is the end of his earthly ministry that he is ready. He is claiming his crown of righteousness and acknowledges that there are others who have and worked and loved also.

Paul also goes along to request a face to face with Timothy. He asks him to come to him and to pick up a few things along the way. He asks him for a cloak that he had left behind and his books and scrolls. This tells me that Paul is not finished learning. He may know that he is nearing the end of his life but he still hungers to learn. As we should all do. I pray that the Lord will allow me to learn right up until the day he takes me home.

“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” 2 Tim. 4:22

The commentary I read made it sound like this may have been Paul’s last written words. I am not sure if they are but I can tell you that should be our prayer for all people. So for today I leave you with this.

The Lord be with your spirit and Grace be with you! What more could we ask.

Please pray for your service industry, small businesses and let’s add to this to please pray for our first responders.

Last days?

2 Timothy 3

Who knew that 1 and 2 Timothy were so fully relevant to the times we are living right now? I sure didn’t when I started this. But then the Bible is always relevant isn’t it? This chapter starts out talking about the last days. But this is not just talking about wars and rumors of wars as is pointed out in scripture as signs of the last days. This one is talking about people and their hearts..

“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Tim. 3:2-5 ESV)

Sound familiar? We have a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world right now, but I can’t help but think there have been other times in history that people had to think they had a lot of crazy stuff going on. I am no scholar so I can’t tell you this is it, the Lord is coming back soon. And scripture says that no one knows the time but God alone. But what I can tell you is that God is not surprised by the things that are happening. God still has a purpose and a plan and whether this is the last days and Jesus is coming back tomorrow or a hundred years from tomorrow we have things to learn about the times and yes we can identify with what Paul is saying here. Paul tells Timothy to avoid such people. He also gives an example here from Moses day and the people who opposed him. And as he is telling Timothy to avoid them he also assures him.

“But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” (2 Tim 3:9 ESV)

Our take away from that is this that as we look at the people who follow the descriptions in verses 2 – 5 we can know the those people will not get very far and their folly will be plain to all. I know that it seems like they are getting very far but remember who is still on the throne and none of this can happen without filtering through His hands. Next Paul is very emphatic with where Timothy’s focus should be.

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra – which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 2 Tim. 3:10-13

Paul is talking about how the Lord has rescued him from prison in the past. Mind you, Paul is sitting in prison and telling Timothy of his rescue yet at the very moment he is in chains. Paul no doubt is realizing that Jesus can rescue him again, but at this point he doesn’t know if he will or not. He went on to tell Timothy that if you are going to be a believer in Christ you will be persecuted for it. So why are we so surprised by the persecutions that come now? What are we to do with them? Paul tells Timothy to hold on to the heritage of his faith. Timothy has the benefit of having a legacy that dates back to his childhood. But not everybody has that. But I think, and this is just my thoughts here that once you become a Christian we all have a legacy of faith that has gone down through the ages. You may not have a library of scriptures in your head but you can start where you are with learning and memorization and God can and will use them for comfort and peace.

The last two verses are my favorite of this chapter and have been favorites for a long time.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim. 3:16-17

No matter what kind of people you come up against, no matter the last days or not, no matter what kind of crazy you come in contact with today, you hang onto God and the scriptures and you will be complete and equipped for the work He calls you to do. If you are just starting the library in your head that one might be a good one to memorize!

Please pray for the pastors and for our churches today. I am so excited to be back in mine.

A Good Soldier

2 Timothy 2

Have you ever thought about why when someone enlists in the military they go off to basic training? I am not as versed in this as others but it’s my understanding that when in basic training they take cell phones away and pretty much while in training to be a soldier they have very little contact with the outside world. The soldier eats, sleeps and works with fellow soldiers under a commanding officer. A good soldier is aiming to please his commanding officer. Much the same with athletes. A good athlete trains and competes by the rules and then may win the crown. He is not going to win the crown if he doesn’t train and play by the rules. Paul is using these as an example to say that we are to aim to please the one who enlisted us (Jesus) that we train and learn from Him in order to play by the rules and with it we will win the crown (which is winning others to Christ). Yes I truly believe that we are to be in the world and that we are to let our light shine among men. But maybe what Paul is saying here is that there is also one on one training we need to be doing with our commanding officer in order to lead others to Christ. (vv 1-5) The next verse kind of threw me.

“It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” 2 Tim. 2:6

I had to read that verse over and over because I thought we were supposed to offer back to God the first fruits. I read some commentary and I read this verse over and over in other translations. What I think Paul is saying here is that when you are working hard in the harvest like the hard working farmer, you will receive the first knowledge, and the first blessings. We can’t feed others if we are not in training ourselves, whether it be as an athlete, or a soldier or the farmer who is digging to learn so that we can go out and teach and lead. You will have to spend time in prayer and in study in order to be a good soldier for Christ.

Paul carries on to bring reference to the fact that he is still in chains.

“But the word of God is not bound!” (2 Tim. 2:9)

There is one of those exclamation points. I love looking for them in scripture now. Paul is saying that while he is in prison he still has a purpose. That God still has a purpose for him. Oh how encouraging to me that even when sometimes I wonder if I am where I should be in life that God still has purpose for me and His word is not bound. What I am to do is to be obedient to Him and speak his truth and write and teach when and where He calls me to do so.  Whatever “prison” I think I am in, God can still use me.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)

That is my prayer for today, for me and for you.  What I want more than anything is for God to approve of me. I want to rightly handle His word. I pray that I am rightly handling His word. Paul goes on again to talk about “irreverent babble”. Be careful who and what you are listening to.

Paul lays out another charge at the end of this chapter:

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22)

God is calling us, Paul is challenging us to live with these things in mind. We are to pursue righteousness, we are to have faith, love others and do our best to live at peace with each other. Paul is not just telling Timothy how to live at peace and what he should be doing he is also goes on to tell Timothy to have nothing to do with arguments, ignorant controversies and quarreling. As the Lord’s servants we are not to be quarrelsome but kind to everyone and to be gentle. When I started this study of Timothy I had no idea how much of it would feel relevant to the times. (Why does that surprise me?) I do not think we are called to bury our head in the sand. Please hear that is not what I am saying here. I believe we are supposed to see what is going on around us but as it says in this chapter we as Christians should be kind, we should handle things with gentleness.

Lord help us today to handle your words with truth, help us to pursue righteousness, have faith, love others, live at peace with others and to be kind and gentle to those who may not see eye to eye with us.

Please pray also today for the educators and students. Decisions are being made about what to do with next year.

Guard the Deposits!

2 Timothy 1

Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy and the church and starts it out sending his grace, mercy and peace! As I was studying I ran across in a commentary that when Paul was writing to the church he would send grace and peace but when Paul would send letters to the church and to the minister of the church he would always include mercy. Hmm maybe that means we should be including mercy to our ministers too. The first thing he writes to Timothy in this letter is to remind Timothy that he prays for him night and day. He states he remembers Timothy’s tears. According to commentary it could mean that Timothy cried the last time that Paul and Timothy were together face to face. When I read it my first thought was that maybe Timothy had somehow communicated to Paul how hard ministry was and that he shed many tears for the people of his church. At any rate Paul is letting him know that he prays for him, he longs to see him and he is telling Timothy again to hold onto his faith. Faith that has legacy in his life with his mother and grandmother. Oh how important it points out to me to know that the faith that we walk today can and will be carried down to our children and our grandchildren.

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Tim. 1:6-7)

I have often heard verse 7 quoted many times. We use this verse (as we should) when we fear things that are put before us, when we are uncertain about our next steps or when we are struggling with thoughts and our own actions that we don’t seem to think we can control. But I like the way it goes with verse 6. Paul is telling Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God” that Paul himself had laid hands on him to do. What does it even mean to “fan into flame”? We all have gifts and purposes that God has put us here for. But those gifts and purposes can lay stagnate and dormant in our life if we are not using them. That’s the basic precept here. I know for me if I listen too much to the thoughts and voices coming at me, I can hear the “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not smart enough” “I could never do that” so loudly that I feel crippled in what I think or feel the things God may be calling me to do. The fanning into flame is simply doing the thing that God puts before you. It may be rocking babies in the nursery, it may be teaching the Sunday school class. It may be simply opening the door for someone. What are the gifts that God is putting before you? Fanning them into flame is taking the next right step. And see where God leads you next.

Paul also tells Timothy not to be ashamed of his testimony nor of Paul being in prison.

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God (2 Tim. 1:8 ESV)

There may have been things that people were saying about the fact that Paul was in prison. We have the benefit of the rest of the story. We know that God’s intent with Paul was to use him through the ages. But I wonder when Paul and Timothy were living it could there have been doubts? Maybe Timothy was at the time having doubts about his own calling because well, look where it got Paul. Paul seems to be pretty steadfast in his calling but the words here to encourage Timothy make me wonder a bit if Timothy was doubting. Paul is encouraging Timothy to be steadfast too. In verses 8 – 11 Paul is laying it out there telling Timothy, don’t be ashamed of the gospel, share in the suffering of the gospel, that God has called each of us to a purpose and grace and that Jesus abolished death. Paul is very emphatic when he says

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Tim. 1:12 ESV)

I find this to be a very encouraging chapter if you are a christ follower. But I know that for me the only way for me to battle the voices that I feel tell me I am not worthy, and the wondering about my calling or the doubts that can fill my life is to guard what I feel He has put right in front of me. To guard the deposits he has entrusted to me, the things He has called me to do.

“By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Tim. 1:14 ESV)

Please pray for the medical professionals today. Pray for a cure or vaccine. Pray for Covid-19 to go away!

Godliness with contentment

1 Timothy 6

Paul starts out this final chapter of 1 Timothy talking to how slaves should respond to their believing masters. He is telling them that if their master is a believer that they should treat them with respect and honor. This can also be translated into our workplaces today and that we as believers are meant to treat our employers with respect and honor especially if they are believers too.

The next thing Paul addresses in this chapter is false teachers. Paul is warning Timothy and the people at the church of Ephesus to beware. When people do not value the Christian faith and the words of Jesus they will go on and on with their words in ways that will tear others down and will bring themselves up. Paul says it best here.

“he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” (1 Tim. 6:4-5 ESV)

Unpack that, can we see that happening in our world today or what? There are people puffed up, there is an unhealthy craving for controversy and quarreling and all of those things envy, slander, evil suspicions. But, the next verse is what we as believers should hold onto.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” (1 Tim. 6:6-7)

In other words when we are content with Jesus and do not put our hope and faith into material possessions and the talk of this world then we are practicing “godliness with contentment.”  Paul goes on to warn here that when you desire money and you put your hope and your peace into money that you may fall into temptations and wander away from the faith. This is not to say that having money or having material things is bad, but where is it in regard to your heart. Is money and wealth what brings you contentment or is it your faith in Jesus?

The charge is this:

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim. 6:11-12 ESV)

Paul is encouraging Timothy to hold tight to his faith and while he is at it, he is encouraging the people of the church to hold tight to their faith. One of the good things of the pandemic to me has been the re-focus on the things that are truly important in life. We are not to set our hope on riches/money or on our jobs or on people. If we have been blessed with riches we should be ready to be generous and to share, but above all, the rich and the poor should be setting our hopes on God.

“O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’ for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.” 1 Tim. 6:20

The noise of this world has been so loud lately that it surely feels like irreverent babble. We have also seen contradictions. But we as believers must guard what has been entrusted to us. My hope and my prayer is that as we guard the words of Jesus in our hearts and lives that we can be light to others!

Please pray for our country, our President, Vice President, Governor, and all our leaders. They/we surely need it!

 

Too quick to judge

1 Timothy 5

In this chapter Paul is telling Timothy how to treat others in his congregation.  He specifically addresses how to treat people who are older, widowed as well as the younger generation who may also be widowed. First he tells Timothy to treat the older men with respect as he would a father, treat younger men as a brother, older women as mothers and younger women as sisters. He also addresses that if there is a member of the congregation who is “truly a widow” meaning she has no one for the church to care for her. But that if an older woman or man has family that the family should care for them.

Paul also addresses that a younger widow who can care for themself or remarry should do so that it is not the church’s responsibility to care for them. Paul is saying in this chapter that there is always work to be done. The older people who truly need help from the church should be helped but in so doing they still have responsibilities to the church in prayer, if nothing else. Paul has set out here as well as Jesus did during his earthly ministry that it is a good thing to work and to not be idle. I’ve often heard the phrase “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”.

Another theme I have seen in this chapter is gossip and accusations.

“Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (1 Tim. 5:19)

We should be always careful about what we say as well as about what we believe. Just because one person said it does not mean it to be truth. Are there witnesses? Is there evidence? We have to be very careful of prejudging and showing partiality.

“Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. (1 Tim. 5:22)

And here we are, the sum of it all. “keep yourself pure”. You know most of the time if we just simply worry about ourself then the rest will work out and I think that is one of the things Paul is telling Timothy here. Don’t judge too quickly the actions of others. One man may come in and act rightly in the beginning and yet he does not have the depth of character to sustain his actions and yet the other man may have people gossiping and telling all their sins outright and yet, the heart and what lies deep may be more pure than the one who looks to be acting rightly. It takes time to truly learn the character of another.

The last two verses of this chapter could sum up the whole.

“The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden. (1 Tim. 5:24-25)

Another saying I have heard a lot “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. We must realize that making a judgment with one look can result in judging wrongly. We shouldn’t judge others too quickly. What is in a persons character will not remain hidden whether it be bad character or good. If a person is in the habit of sin and bad character, time will bring it to the surface, but the same with good works and good character. Time will be the true test to that as well.

Please pray for small businesses and the service industries today. But not just pray, shop local if you can and tip well if you can!

A Good Servant

1 Timothy 4

This chapter starts out talking about how some people in latter times will depart from the faith. We all know that 2020 has been the craziest year. We have had a pandemic, then all of the things that have brought on the protests, rioting, looting. We are only a few days into hurricane season and we are already on our 3d named storm. I know my area alone has seen multiple tornadoes. Easter Sunday we had two go within 2.5 miles of our house, one on the north side and one on the south side. These days you hear things about people choosing their gender and coming up with their own truths. I hear it all the time that we are in the latter days. And we could be, but the truth still holds clear that only God knows the day and hour that Jesus will return. We could be in the latter days but these latter days could take years, decades even centuries before they are done.

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. (1 Tim. 4:6)

Above all else, whether we are in last days or not, we know this has been a crazy year. We know that life brings us all sorts of challenges. So I want to know what I can do to be a good servant of Christ. I want to be trained in the words of the faith. That is why I am studying and writing. To learn myself. And if I can encourage someone along the way, then all the better for it. Paul is telling Timothy in this chapter to train himself for godliness (v. 7). Paul tells him that godliness has “value in every way” because It holds promises for today as well as promises for the future.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness, for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Tim. 4:7-8)

Paul ends this chapter by telling Timothy to teach. Timothy is to teach the church. Paul brings attention to Timothy’s youth, yet that is not to be a deterrent to Timothy, nor should it ever be a deterrent to anyone. We as believers, no matter our age, are to set examples “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”. (v. 12)

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  (1 Tim. 4;13)

All throughout this letter to Timothy and the church, Paul mentions his return at some point in time. But what he is saying to Timothy and to the church is simply read, learn and live the scriptures. The same holds true today. I believe going to church is a good thing and I am glad ours is back and I pray for all public houses of worship to be back in full swing. I know that God has blessed us even during this all but I believe we are made for community. That is where I believe the devoting to public reading and to teaching comes in. It’s biblical, so it will be back in full eventually. Then in verse 16 he simply says

Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Tim. 15-16)

I love that “practice these things”. We aren’t expected to have perfection, just practice and persistence. And with practice and persistence maybe then we will be saved and maybe, just maybe someone else will be too.

Please pray for the pastors and their teams today who are deciding what is best for their congregations.

The Mystery of Godliness

1 Timothy 3

This chapter in Timothy is laying out the qualifications for people who held positions of service in the church. Paul gives a list of things that, at first glance can seem like they are a list of dos and don’ts which goes against the grain of grace. But you have to read that this is for those who feel called and led to high positions, whether it be deacon, teacher, or pastor.

This list however is not meant to scare you away or to say that those who hold these positions have to be perfect people. That is an impossibility as we know, Jesus was the only perfect human. Jesus was fully human and He was fully God which is why He was the picture of perfection. But what Paul is laying out here is that the person who serves the church must be someone who is striving for these things. When Paul lists out the list of dos and don’ts that he lists here he is saying this should be someone who has been following Christ for a time and his faith has stood the test of time.

They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. (1 Tim 3:9)

Again, I believe that what Paul is saying without saying it is that it must be someone who is walking in relationship with Jesus.

Paul also addresses the wives of the church leaders. Some translations actually stated women who were serving as well.

“Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. (1 Tim 3:11)

Oh ladies can we just skip over that word slanderer? (I wish) I know myself and I know my mouth can get in the way of myself, my ministry, my friendships, QUICK if I am not careful. The NIV says “not malicious talkers”.  The AMP says “not double-tongued”. TPT says “not known as those who gossip.” I tried and tried to look for a different way to look at that. But the bottom line is I know that my mouth will get me in trouble a whole lot quicker than the rest of this list here. So before I get up on a spiritual high horse let me just get right back down on my knees and ask the Lord to forgive me and to help me to be more dignified and oh I pray that He will find me faithful in all things. But I can promise you it only happens in any semblance of faithfulness if I spend my time with Him on my knees.

My favorite part of this chapter is the last verse. I am not sure I have ever picked up on it before but it is a praise to Jesus and it is something I want to memorize and keep in my heart always.

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. (1 Tim 3:16)

I believe I would end that statement with an exclamation point!

Pray for the educators today and the students. No one knows what everything is going to look like in the Fall. There are lots of decisions to be made. Please pray for wisdom for the ones making those decisions.

PRAY!

I Timothy 2

Paul starts this chapter with a “first of all”. In other words as he is setting Timothy up to lead the church of Ephesus he wants Timothy and the people to understand, before you can have success in church, in life, In anything, this is what you do “First of all”. PRAY!!

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. (1 Tim. 1)

Supplications, are requests. We are not supposed to pray to God simply to ask for things. But we are supposed to come boldly to the throne to ask for what we need. Oh what a war that can be going on in your mind if you think on this too hard. I do think the Bible gives us direction to ask God. I think though where we, where I get tangled up is what is my motive for asking. I have to check myself over and over why am I asking. One thing I try to do when I am asking God for something that I can’t clearly see to be His will, I add if it be Your will Lord”. And then I ask God that if what I am asking for is not His will, for Him to change my heart. And I can honestly say I have seen Him answer my prayers with some of the things I asked for and I have sure had Him change my heart too. So ask God for what you need, for what you want, but also ask Him to only give it to you if it would be for your good and His glory and if it is not to be to change your heart in the meantime. He will answer!

Prayers is communication with God! This prayer thing is a 2 way street. As you ask God for your needs and your wants, you must also tune your ear and your heart to listen to Him. That is what Prayer is. We have the Holy Spirit living inside us to lead and to guide us, to communicate with us and to be with us all the time. Ask God to help you tune your ear and your heart to what He wants to say to you. He longs to communicate with us.

Intercessions are for other people. Who in your life do you need to be bringing to the throne of grace. If you have been following these devotions we have had a different people group that we are praying for daily. But we all have people that we need to pray for daily as well. It’s biblical, it’s right here. Pray for others, bring them to the throne and lay them at His feet in your mind. When Paul points that out here He was putting high importance on it for the church.

Thanksgivings is just what it says. Acknowledge to God the blessings He gives. How has He answered a prayer for you. What little blessings can you acknowledge to Him that He has given you. I have a journal that I try to write 3 blessings down every day. I read Ann Voskamp’s “1000 Gifts” where she counted her blessings daily and wrote them down until she reached 1000.  I have started and stopped this many times. Well I started back last summer and I am almost to the 1000 mark. I have probably missed a few days here and there, possibly but I have kept after it and I want to continue even after I make 1000. It has made me more aware and it has made me more grateful for all of the little things and the big things that God does for me daily.

There are some things in the rest of this chapter that I must admit I read and was like hmmm. However I do believe I have to take the whole of God’s word and that it is not right to pick and choose what we want to grasp and hold on to. However, I also think that it is ok to ask God to teach you what is meant and sometimes that takes a little more time. The main focus of this chapter though is prayer. Paul also states in verse 8:

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling. (1 Tim. 2:8)

Watch yourself, check yourself, first of all we are to pray, but also lift your holy hands in prayer without anger or quarreling in your heart. That needs to be something you cleanse yourself of when you come to the throne as well.

There is some strong language in this chapter on women in the church. What I gleaned from this chapter as well as the whole of the Bible is that God did set up an authority for things. And that is what the directives are here. I love being a woman, I like dressing cute, and I like cute hair and jewelry. Maybe, and this is opinion and not something I can back up anywhere scripturally, but maybe the sin is putting too much focus on it. I think being a woman is a blessing and I for one will just keep having conversation with God over what I am supposed to glean from this one.

Please pray for your medical professionals today. I hear the hospitals are in better shape for sure. But they are the ones who have worked the hardest through the whole thing!

Fight the good fight!

1 Timothy 1

I’m going to unpack 1 and 2 Timothy over the next couple of weeks.  I have not worked ahead so we will be learning these books together if you care to read along and join me.

This a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy, whom he was leaving behind in Ephesus while Paul went to Macedonia.  The commentaries state that Paul meant for the letter to encourage Timothy to lead the church at Ephesus but it was also written to the church, it was not just for Timothy’s ears. Paul is urging Timothy to remain at Ephesus and to make sure proper doctrine is being taught. Have you ever wanted to run from the task that you felt God had put before you. As I read the commentary and I tend to read the same chapter in different versions that is the sense that I got. Timothy may have really wanted to go with Paul. Paul, after all looked on Timothy as a son so Timothy may have felt that he really wanted to stay under Paul’s wings and be taught rather than to be left in charge. Paul is encouraging him to stay but he is also telling him that to teach these people he must do it with love.

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  (1 Tim 1:5)

I think it is duly noted that while Paul is issuing this charge to Timothy to stay behind and teach and direct the church he also tells him to do it with love. However, Paul does not negate the law.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully. (1 Tim. 1:8)

The law is there to direct us, but mostly it is there to point out the unlawful. We are not to live in the law. We allow it to point out what is unlawful. But then we know that Christ came to save us from the law. If we are living in relationship with Christ, the law tends to take care of itself because the Holy Spirit does the convicting.

In verses 12-17 Paul is thanking Jesus who saved him, and who has given him the strength to serve him. Paul recognizes here that he was a sinner, he actually lists some of his sins.

“though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 1:13-14)

Paul is recognizing his deep need for Christ. In verse 15 he said “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” You know for years I would read some of the words of Paul and I put him way way up on a pedestal as the chief christian like he had some power or walk with Christ that I could not obtain. However, when you read and dig into what Paul was saying, he truly recognizes his own sin and his need for Christ and is trying to point us to him because of his past not just because of his state of mind when he wrote his letters.

In the last paragraph of this chapter Paul gives his charge to Timothy.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, (1 Tim. 1:18-19 ESV)

Wage the good warfare, hmm, the NIV says “you may fight the battle well”, the CSB says “fight the good fight”. I think this charge was meant to be given to all of us. I know I can personalize it for sure. The prophecies made about us when we become a child of God are the same that were given to Timothy. God made us for service to him. And because of the strength, He gives and the direction and the Holy Spirit working through us we can “wage the good warfare”, “fight the good fight” and fight the battle that is put before us, whatever it is, well.

What battle is before you today? Is it sickness of you or a loved one? Is it finances? Is it a wayward child or just parenting in general? Whatever it is:

This charge I entrust to you, (insert your name here), in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you (if you are a child of God you have prophecies over you), that by them you may wage the good warfare, (fight the good fight and fight that battle well) holding faith and a good conscience (hold tight to that faith child). By rejecting this, (don’t you dare ‘reject’ the faith) some have made a shipwreck of their faith.

Keep holding on, keep fighting well and the best way to go to battle with the enemy is ON YOUR KNEES!

Pray for our President and our government leaders today.