Titus chapter 1

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Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,

To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Appointing Elders Who Love What Is Good

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Rebuking Those Who Fail to Do Good

10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.”[c] 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

(O)

Paul leaves Titus in Crete to take charge of the work there and continue what has been started. Paul is calling Titus to stand up and be courageous. There is false teaching and lying going on and Titus is being challenged, as the leader, to stand up to it and call it for what it is. And it needs to happen fast before the lies spread any further. This will be tough for Titus, because the success or failure of this falls on his shoulders. As the leader, there is no one else to defer this responsibility to.

In our workplaces, our homes and our churches, as the leaders we need to be aware of lies and falsehoods being taught. But it is a tough thing to confront someone because we don’t want to upset them, offend them or leave, especially in the church. However, it doesn’t do anyone any good to skirt around the issue, and it is best addressed directly and immediately. This can be very emotionally draining and discouraging to the leader.

(A)

Encourage your leaders today. Whether that be your boss, your parents, your team leader, your pastor or the church elders, give them a note of encouragement today. Tell them you are praying for them. Or even better, actually call or visit them, and pray for them.

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Lord, how can I encourage my leader(s) today? Give me words of life to speak into each of their lives today. In Jesus name, amen.

2 Timothy chapter 4

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In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Personal Remarks

Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

19 Greet Priscilla[a] and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.[b]

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.

(O)

Paul the encourager. He knows Timothy is young and is facing much opposition. But he gives him words to strengthen him, and at the same time very straightforward instruction.

Paul seems to feel his life is very short at this point. He is obviously taking some tremendous physical abuse. The verse that always makes me wonder is vs. 14 where he mentions that Alexander the metalworker did him a great deal of harm. I picture a big strong man, and being a metal worker, having all kinds of items that could be used to hurt you. But it seems that during these bad times, his support abandon him. He was alone, and I think this is why it was very important to him to encourage Timothy, to make sure he knew that he was not alone. And to ensure he knew that God was at his side at all times and would help him through these tough situations.

(A)

All around us are people that are struggling with something. Maybe they feel alone, or afraid. Maybe they are struggling with life, addictions, anxiety, depression, conflict, family, finances or any of a multitude of things. If you know someone like that, encourage them today that they are not alone. Sit with them, listen to them, encourage them. And remind them God is always by their side.


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Ask God who needs encouragement today.

2 Timothy chapter 3

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But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

A Final Charge to Timothy

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(O)

If you read the first few verses, it’s easy to see how society today could fit right into that description. Looking around the world, watching the news, and even in our own towns, we can see every one of those things playing out. There are many who have turned away from God and it’s all about “me”. Paul writes these things will happen in the last days. Are we in the last days? I’m not sure, we might be, but I suspect that every generation since Jesus probably could compare what was going on around them to those verses and think that this must be the end.

What I think is much more important in this chapter, and one of my favorite verses, is vs 16. I believe this is one of those critical verses that we must understand and believe, especially the first few words. “all scripture is God-breathed” or some versions say “God-inspired”. The whole bible hinges on these words. What I mean be this is if we don’t fully believe that the words in the bible are straight from God (written by human authors) through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the bible becomes a very useless book. Essentially, it would be a book of human opinion or interpretation. And we know that we are all flawed and have all made mistakes. It is critical we understand that when we say “God’s Word”, it is actually meant quite literally.

(A)

Meditate on that thought today. Study and memorize vs. 16. And this goes hand in hand with what we talked about yesterday as vs 17 tells us why the Word of God is so important to know. “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we need to know the Word. Read it, study it.

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Father I thank you for your Word that came from your own mouth. Thank you for the people you chose to write down those words so we could so easily access them today. God help us all to understand it, and give us a sense of urgency to read it and know it. God bless each one reading this today. amen.

2 Timothy chapter 2

The Appeal Renewed

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
    we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
    we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
    he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
    he remains faithful,
    for he cannot disown himself.

Dealing With False Teachers

14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

(O)

There are certain verses in the bible that, to me, just prove the authenticity of Christianity. Verse 15 is one of them, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

The gospel message is one of forgiveness and grace. What other religion would say “do your best”? The bible tells us we are not perfect and are sinful. In the law, you had to be perfect, but in this time of grace, we are to do our best. very different and very hard for some people to take, especially those who either don’t know the gospel or are very self righteous with their knowledge of the Word. But the phrase “do your best” also implies we need to put in effort. It’s something to strive for. if we look at the next 3 words, “to present yourself”, we will stand before God to give account for our actions and words. i don’t know about you, but I want to have God’s approval. And not just because I accepted Christs forgiveness, but because I honestly desire to do what is right.

(A)

The verse gives us some clues on how to do this. It says we need to “correctly handle the word of truth”. By doing this we will not be ashamed and will be approved. And how else can we correctly handle the Word of truth? Study it, read it, talk about it, pray for understanding, ask others to help explain it, and all the while live it out each day. At least, do your best.

(P)

Ask God for understanding for areas you are not sure about in His Word. Pray for a desire to really know what His word says and how to use it. Ask Him to help you do your best each day.

2 Timothy Chapter 1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my dear son:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thanksgiving

I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Appeal for Loyalty to Paul and the Gospel

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 the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Examples of Disloyalty and Loyalty

15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.

16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.

(O)

I want to share a devo I read this week

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. vs. 7

More than once since I committed this verse to memory I have had to embrace it as truth and pray that I not give in to a “spirit of fear.” I have come to believe that the word “fear” really is a four-letter word and should be considered profanity. Wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow have it censored from all of our thoughts and feelings, like bleeping out a bad word? But instead, fear is very much a part of our reality, even more so than we realize or want to admit. I know there are times when being fearful can be a good thing, such as being afraid of doing something that might bring harm or danger. My husband bought me a motorcycle. I spent a significant amount of time preparing to ride it, taking courses, getting my license, but the bike still sat in the garage. I was hindered with fear from riding it.

The spirit of fear as mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 is a different kind of fear. This fear hinders what God has given us: His power, love and sound mind. This fear grips us with doubts and insecurities, waging war with our thoughts and feelings. This kind of fear is not of God but of the enemy, the devil. Fear is one of the greatest weapons Satan uses against us, as it attacks our minds. He tells us that we are no good, not worthy, unloved and useless. These thoughts affect us all, he picks on everyone, no one is spared. How can we fight against such thoughts? By believing the truth of the second part of the verse. God through His Holy Spirit has given us power, love and a sound mind, not in our strength but in His.

(A)

Are you dealing with fears today that are gripping you so tightly that you feel helpless and hopeless? How can these fears be conquered? Start by praying for the Lord to open your mind and help you understand how to use the power given by His Holy Spirit. The power precedes love, so next pray for your heart to be filled with His loveknowing that His perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). What a great pair…power and love! Then, ask the Lord to clear your mind and bring to your thoughts His words, taking captive those thoughts not of Him. 

1 Timothy chapter 6

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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 should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare[a] of their slaves.

False Teachers and the Love of Money

These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

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. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 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.

Final Charge to Timothy

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.

Grace be with you all.

(O)

I want to talk about the first couple verses. We don’t have slavery around here anymore, but often the master/slave relationship is compared to the employer/employee of today. I think it is very fitting and let me give you an example of this in my life. I worked for a company for 20 years. It was very quickly apparant that the owners were Christians, and they were not afraid to have that as public knowledge. I was not a believer when I joined the company, but they treated me very well and I really felt compelled to work hard for them. When I became a believer a few years into my employ there, they were really supportive. When myself and others would evangelise in the shop, they gave us full reign and were ready to supply us with bibles, study material and so on for whoever might be interested. We decided to run an Alpha program during lunch hour, which the company supplied catered meals once a week for the duration. I could go on, but the fact is, it was my joy to work for a company with such incredible passion for Christ and who stood up for the Lord, even if it could have got them in legal trouble by today’s standards.

(A)

We all have jobs, and some of our jobs may not be exciting or maybe you aren’t where you would ideally like to be. But I want to encourage you today, you are exactly where God needs you today. I had breakfast with a guy today who drives truck for a living, and therefore is not home regularily and not able to volunteer at the various church programs like he would want to. So he decided to start on online bible study for whoever wanted to join, so many truckers and people from right across the country and even into South America I believe, joined this study. He is right where God needs him right now, because those followers need what he is giving them. Look around you today and ask God how you can make an impact in your workplace today. Can you be more cheerful? Can you put more effort into your work? Maybe you steal the company’s time with extended coffee breaks or looking at your phone while working. Is there someone in your workplace that is a loner and needs a friend? The workplace is our greatest mission field, ask God to open our eyes to it.

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Lord help us to see the needs all around us. Give us contentment in where we are and give us love in our hearts for our company and co-workers today. Amen

1 Timothy chapter 5

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Widows, Elders and Slaves

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 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. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”[b] 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

(O)

Some very interesting instruction in this chapter. The first thing that caught my attention was vs. 2 where Paul says to treat the younger women like sisters, ‘with absolute purity’. I don’t think I ever caught that before. Until you decide to marry, speaking from a guys perspective, we are to treat the young women like sisters. That line of thinking would definitely help keep opposite sex relationships appropriate.

But what really is clear in a majority of this chapter is the importance of work. Not just work, but not being a burden to the church unnecessarily. What Paul instructs almost feels opposite of what we are so compelled to do. It’s almost a bit harsh. First he instructs them to not put any widows on the list until they are 60. And to add to that, they had to have been a woman of good character and was known for living her faith and doing good deeds. But if the woman has children or grandchildren, they need to be taught to take care of her. Not a bad policy, society would be way ahead to listen to advice like this.

And a couple times, Paul says to pay attention to the widows who are ‘really in need’. If a widow is being looked after, that person should remain the caregiver, and not burden the church (and I dare say the government), as well as the if the widow does not fit Pauls criteria, they should not qualify for help. That way there is resources available for those who really don’t have anywhere else to turn.

(A)

I don’t think Paul was intending to be legalistic by saying we need to scrutinize everyone’s life and lifestyle if they are asking for help. But what I think Paul is saying is we are stewards of His resources and we need to be wise with how we handle them. From experience, we all know when there is easy money or free handouts, there are those who need it and those who don’t need it but are willing to take it. Don’t stop doing good for others, give and give generously, love generously and pour out grace. But be wise, money isn’t always the answer that someone needs. Often is guidance, wise counsel and putting your foot down are sometimes much more helpful. I remember having to fire a guy one time, after giving too many chances which we thought was being full of grace. He came back months later and thanked us for firing him, because it was the best lesson he ever learned.

(P)

Pray our hearts will always be full of love and grace for people, with a willing heart to help those in need, having the wisdom to know the type of help that would be the most beneficial and whatever it is, to give it generously and with a joyful heart.

1 Timothy chapter 2

(S)

Instructions on Worship

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women[c] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

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I think it’s easy to get distracted by the potentially controversial verses at the end of this chapter, but Paul has an incredible challenge to us all right from verse 1. And that is the priority of prayer.

verse one tells us that “first of all” we need to be praying for our authorities and “kings”. Prayed for our prime minister lately?

Then he goes on to challenge us as men to lift holy hands in prayer, in unity. Women to adorn themselves with good deeds rather than with fancy dress.

The point is that we need to humble ourselves and pray. Pray as a church family, pray united, take our eyes off the world and focus on Christ. Be ready to jump into action as God directs. Our world is in chaos right now, and there are people who need the Lord desperately, and we are the ones to light the way to Him.

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Pray with urgency. Make it a priority in your day if you don’t already. Pray for our authorities, even if you don’t agree with them. Pray humbly and be prepared to do what God places on your heart

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Help us all to lift our holy hands humbly and in unity today. Amen

1 Timothy chapter 1

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Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy my true son in the faith:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Timothy Charged to Oppose False Teachers

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

The Lord’s Grace to Paul

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Charge to Timothy Renewed

18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

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Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. Some glitch, couldn’t get on the site.

Once again, Paul is addressing the issue of false teaching. It seems by what he says that there are some teaching the law, rather than grace.

let me share a devotional by Pastor Ed, an online blogger. I thought this was great food for thought today.

vs. 15-1615 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

This familiar axiom, “to save sinners,” emphasizes that Jesus Christ did not come to redeem those living under some illusion of their own righteousness, but self-aware sinners. As Jesus said when He was criticized for sharing a meal with sinners, it is the “sick” who need a physician (Luke 5:31). Being a sinner, recognizing that you are one, is the first qualification necessary for becoming a child of God.

There is a grave danger in taking the terms sin and sinner out of our vocabulary, a growing trend among many pastors in the church today who are deliberately leaving out these terms and ideas because they don’t want to offend anyone. Paul was not afraid of the term, because he realized that all men are guilty sinners. And when the apostle says, “of whom I am the worst” we take that to mean: “The worst sinner has already been saved, so you don’t have that excuse!” He was arguing that God saved a sinner such as him, so that he would be an encouragement, “a pattern to those who are going to believe,” that no one is so great a sinner they can’t be saved by Jesus Christ’s shed blood. Songwriter and former slave trader John Newton said it this way: “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me!”

There is an old story of a man who came upon Michelangelo chipping away with his hammer and chisel at a huge shapeless piece of rock. The man asked the sculptor what he was doing. “I am releasing the angel imprisoned in this marble,” he answered. Jesus Christ is the only one who can see and release the hidden hero in every man. A hero in the faith is an example to others, leading them to know the God that hero serves and follows. Paul was a hero to young Timothy and to many others in the 1st century, and he continues to be so almost 20 centuries later.

“LORD, please conform us today just a little bit more into Your image.

2 Thessalonians chapter 3

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Paul’s Request for Prayer

Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.[b] And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you. May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.

An Exhortation to Proper Living

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.

14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.[e]

Paul’s Final Greetings

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

17 HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. I DO THIS IN ALL MY LETTERS TO PROVE THEY ARE FROM ME.

18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Allow me to share some stuff I read today

Idleness is not something that we often give much attention to. Why does it matter? Is it really important that we are not lazy? But here Paul discusses the importance of not being idle and why it is so important that Christian believers are people who live on purpose for the glory of God. We have here a warning, an example, and an instruction.

First, the warning. In verse 6, Paul strongly warns them – “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you…” – to stay away from those who are idle and disruptive and do not live according to the teaching that they had received. Why such a strong warning, indeed a command? Because if someone is lazy and does not actually put into practice what they have heard, then they end up being disruptive. An old phrase was: idle hands are the devil’s workshop. It means that if you are not busy about doing good things, then it it is easier to succumb to temptation to do bad things.

Second, the example. From verses 7 to 10, Paul reminds them of his own example. He certainly could have lived on the generosity of these Christians – the famous apostle Paul could have ensured he was treated as a celebrity – but instead he worked hard. He didn’t even allow anyone to pay for his food. He worked night and day so he would not be a burden to anyone. And as he lived like this, he also gave them a saying in this regard to remember: The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. He would not let Christians sponge off other Christians; you must be willing to work.

Third the instruction. Those who are busybodies – not busy with work but busy messing with other people’s business, gossiping and causing problems – he urges to settle down and earn the food they eat. Someone who has too much time on their hands should work, find a job, earn a living. And Paul says all of us, brothers and sisters, are to never tire of doing what is good.

All of this means that the gospel has a surprising corollary (a result that should naturally follow): work. Justification by faith alone, the gospel of grace and mercy, must nonetheless lead to work. And this is such a serious and necessary corollary that if someone is idle or lazy, they must be warned, and if they refuse to receive such a warning, then – Paul is saying – stay away from them. Don’t be drawn into gossipy chit chat. Instead, work hard for the Lord, and never tire of doing what is good. For the more we are realize what Christ has done for us, the more we will want to do whatever he asks us to do.

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Lord, help us all to never grow weary, but that we find our rest in you. Help us all to work hard and not have idle hands. Amen.