Friday 31 January, 2014

1 Timothy 1:12-17

12 I am thankful to Christ Jesus our Lord. He has given me strength. I thank him that he considered me faithful. And I thank him for appointing me to serve him. 13 I used to speak evil things against Jesus. I tried to hurt his followers. I really pushed them around. But God showed me mercy anyway. I did those things without knowing any better. I wasn’t a believer. 14 Our Lord poured out more and more of his grace on me. Along with it came faith and love from Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a saying that you can trust. It should be accepted completely. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst sinner of all. 16 But for that very reason, God showed me mercy. And I am the worst of sinners. He showed me mercy so that Christ Jesus could show that he is very patient. I was an example for those who would come to believe in him. Then they would receive eternal life. 17 The eternal King will never die. He can’t be seen. He is the only God. Give him honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

God shows me mercy for this reason:

“So others can see that Jesus has mercy for them too, and wants to do something beautiful with their lives”.

This is wonderful to contemplate. First that Jesus would love me though I was a sinner. Second that he loves me not only that I might be loved, but so others can see that they are loved too.

So now I am entrusted with callings that are unique to me, and it is Jesus that has given me strength to fulfil them. He found what looked useless and has turned me into someone useful.

“Lord we all have unique callings, yet we all have the one calling. Lord we rest in your love, we know you love us. May people see that you love them through our lives, let your power strengthen us for this call, the universal call of your Church”. Amen.

Written By Andrew Mellor

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    Quick Original Geek Word Study – v16 ‘patient’ – An adjective
    We think it means – ‘quietly waiting’ or of people – ‘living with the gently acceptance of the shortcomings of others’.
    Its actual meaning refers to an attribute that causes a person to ‘wait before displaying anger’ or ‘delayed retribution’. It is the opposite of the english word ‘short-tempered’. Patience does not mean ‘no judgement’ it means ‘delayed judgment’.

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Thursday 30 January, 2014

I Timothy 1:8-11

8 We know that the law is good if it is used properly. 9 We also know that the law isn’t made for godly people. It is made for those who break the law. It is for those who refuse to obey. It is for ungodly and sinful people. It is for those who aren’t holy and who don’t believe. It is for those who kill their fathers or mothers. It is for murderers. 10 It is for those who commit adultery. It is for those who have a twisted view of sex. It is for people who buy and sell slaves. It is for liars. It is for those who give witness to things that aren’t true. And it is for anything else that is the opposite of true teaching. 11 True teaching agrees with the glorious good news of the blessed God. He trusted me with that good news.

Paul’s instructions to Timothy the young pastor of the church at Ephesus gives us insight into some of the people and situations which he would have to confront as the leader of the church. Paul points out that our life is to be according to ‘sound doctrine or teaching’, which of course means that the foundation of our lives is to conform to the Gospel of the Jesus Christ.

What is to be our response? How do Paul’s words relate to us in 2014? They remind us that we have been called to live righteous lives, which means we obey the laws of our country. His words also remind us that we have clear guidelines to live by. These guidelines were clearly taught and practiced by Jesus and are now clearly enshrined in the Gospel message.

My prayer is both praise to God that He has set the standard for righteous living, and a request that the Holy Spirit continue to form Christlikeness in my life.         

Written by Keith Bennett

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    As a member of a church that hosts many events each year it is to easy to say “I will attend the events and activities but will leave the understanding of ‘sound doctrine’ to the pastors”.
    The problem is, if for some reasons the church activities in your life cease, what principles will you use to conduct your life?

  2. David Newton says:

    Keith, I always appreciate being reminded that as a Christian I have a responsibility to obey Australian laws!

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Wednesday 29 January, 2014

1 Timothy 1:1-7

1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus, just as God our Savior commanded. Christ Jesus also commanded it. We have put our hope in him. 2 Timothy, I am sending you this letter. You are my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy and peace. 3 Stay there in Ephesus. That is what I told you to do when I went into Macedonia. I want you to command certain people not to teach things that aren’t true. 4 Command them not to spend their time on stories that aren’t completely true. They must not waste time on family histories that never end. Things like that cause people to argue instead of doing God’s work. His work is done by faith. 5 Love is the purpose of my command. Love comes from a pure heart. It comes from a good sense of what is right and wrong. It comes from faith that is honest and true. 6 Some have wandered away from those teachings. They would rather talk about things that have no meaning. 7 They want to be teachers of the law. And they are very sure about that law. But they don’t know what they are talking about.

Paul looked at Timothy as a son and therefore as his spiritual father it was his duty to continually give advise and encouragement to strengthen Timothy’s faith and to affirm that he has authority to command folk not to teach false and misleading doctrines. This must be done with love and for Timothy to keep his life as a example.

Our lives must be the same and our talk must be true and a means of showing Christ to those we are in contact with, leading to them to Him.

Lord help me to love, live and speak only that which glorifies You. May my daily life be so effective that others will want what I have in my life.

Written by Joan Bennett

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    ‘Though you have ten thousand teachers there are very few fathers in Christ.’ (1 Cor 4:15) demonstrates the magnitude of the problem Paul faced regarding church folk wanting to correct other church folk regarding matters of ‘the Law’.
    This is the reason your prayer is so important, Joan.

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Tuesday 28 January, 2014

Titus 3:12-15

12 As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. 13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. 14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives. 15 Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

I love the fact that God used letters in the Bible. The personal comments at the beginning and end of letters remind us that Paul and the others mentioned are real people with needs like ours. Paul wanted Titus to come to him for the winter – presumably so they could enjoy fellowship and encouragement together and so that Paul could teach Titus more to equip him to teach others.

Paul also reminds us here that we need to be living productive lives so that we are able to provide for the needs of others. In fact the passage implies that one measure of the productiveness of our lives is how well we meet others’ needs. This means that we should be always on the lookout for opportunities to bless – then our lives will be worthwhile.

Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you that even personal greetings unrelated to us can bring us joy. Lord you have blessed me richly in life. Please help me to watch for opportunities to bless others. Amen

Written by Megan Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Quote of the day – “one measure of the productiveness of our lives is how well we meet others’ needs.”

    This is definitely a worthy measure to consider!
    Thanks Megan

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Monday 27 January, 2014

Titus 3:9-11

9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.
1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    All great leaders know that disagreements between those they lead, if not properly managed reduce productivity and increase disunity. At its worst, divisiveness and dissension is like a cancer in the body. This is why the military has always responded with strict discipline in these matters.
    Paul’s encouragement in v8 to ‘be careful to devote yourself to doing what is good’ is what is under threat when there is disunity.
    One of the great abilities a Christian should cultivate is to discern the difference between ‘God’s will’ and ‘religious tradition’. It is what Jesus contended with during His earthly ministry, it is what Paul is cautioning here and is still what renders churches as ineffective today.

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Sunday 26 January, 2014

Titus 3:1-8

3 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

This passage starts out with a “dos” and “don’ts” list with respect to Christian behaviour.  Paul reminds us what a Christian is suppose to look like.  Paul then goes onto explain why Christians behave differently.  We are reminded of God’s mercy and grace and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our sins have been forgiven and we have eternal life because of what Jesus has done. We don’t behave differently because of our own righteousness.

Three words jumped out at me when I read this passage.  Remind, insist and devote.  They are all verbs – doing words.  “Remind” tells me that these teachings can be forgotten, not understood or not practised.  “Insist” tells me that it’s important and not an optional extra.  Finally “devote” suggests some application and effort on my part.

Dear God, Thank you for the reminder the Apostle Paul has given us in this passage of Scripture.  Help us be devoted in doing good, day in and day out.  Amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

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Saturday 25 January, 2014

Titus 2:11-15

11 God’s saving grace has appeared to all people. 12 It teaches us to say no to godless ways and sinful longings. We must control ourselves. We must do what is right. We must lead godly lives in today’s world. 13 That’s how we should live as we wait for the blessed hope God has given us. We are waiting for Jesus Christ to appear in all his glory. He is our great God and Savior. 14 He gave himself for us. By doing that, he set us free from all evil. He wanted to make us pure. He wanted us to be his very own people. He wanted us to long to do what is good. 15 Those are the things you should teach. Cheer people up and give them hope. Correct them with full authority. Don’t let anyone look down on you.

The earlier verses in chapter 2, I think, can be summed up in verse 12 – live self-controlled, upright and godly lives” .. self-controlled has been repeated in this letter 5 times up til now .. Paul is really wanting us to catch this.   I looked up that word in my dictionary and it says – “power of controlling one’s behaviour, emotions, etc.”  Not that this means we’re to be all “buttoned-up”, there is a balance, we are to control them not the other way around.

I look back at my life and think I’m doing pretty good at being self-controlled compared to when I first became a Christian, but oh dear, compared to where Jesus wants me to be …. there are still many things that I’m sure make Him cringe.  I am grateful that I have the Holy Spirit helping to train me, but I think Paul wants me to know that I need to take responsibility.

Lord, thank you that there is this constant reminder that you want us to lead the best life possible and when I align myself with your desires for me I change and grow. Holy Spirit continue to train me and find that balance of living a self-controlled, upright and godly life.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Whether you consider yourself a mature christian or new to the faith have you ever noticed the primary approach of the Holy Spirit is to teach you the way you teach young children. You never start by instructing a child to the great freedoms available to them. The very first word of instruction is always ‘No’ and it remains this way for a long time.
    Children, as with us and our christian life are quite capable of discovering their own freedoms but with in context of boundaries created for their own protection by a loving parent.
    Titus 2:11 attests to this truth!

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Friday 24 January, 2014

Titus 2:6-10

6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. 9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

Paul in his writing to Titus gives very clear instructions about differing groups of people.  His instructions are not easily misunderstood – they are clear, helpful and insightful.  The instructions include both behaviours and speech.

I wonder how often I give vague instructions; leave too much open to interpretation.  I love how Paul is so practical – no airy fairy Christianity here!

Encourage, set an example, teach, this is what Titus is to do – and he is to do it in specific areas so that these younger men and slaves know what it means to live as Christians.

I know making application can be difficult – but here I see it once again – Christian instruction that cannot be lived is not Christian.  Christianity is intensely practical and gives us a better life when we live in relationship with our Father in heaven through His Son doing that which pleases Him!

Father help me to disciple those around me with practical, clear and doable instruction!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Action consolidates faith!
    There is nothing worse than hearing a preached message that has no outward application. All christian teaching should have verbs attached.

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Thursday 23 January, 2014

Titus 2:1-5

2 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

We Australians devote an awful lot of effort to teaching young people. But not so much older people. Education tends to stop once we get to adulthood. It’s interesting that Paul begins by telling Titus to teach the older men and women. It seems that older people are just as valuable as an investment for God as younger people.

It’s also interesting that he lists more things for the older men to be taught than the younger men. It seems we should be taught more as we get older, not less. Of course paired with that is that we are to become more teachable, more ready to learn as we get older, not less. (Often not the way it goes.)

It sounds like Titus was a younger man (he’s to make himself an example to them). Yet he should not be afraid to teach older men and women, and they should be ready to learn from a younger man. (Again, not always easy.)

I think it’s also interesting that what he teaches is more about wisdom and a life lived well than facts. (Quite different to a lot of schooling.)

So much for us to learn. All of us. All the more as we get older.

Written by David Cornell

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Wednesday 22 January, 2014

Titus 1:10-16

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.” 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.

“13 This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth.”

Two things stand out to me here. The first is the warning about false teachers. The 2nd is the value of reprimand in strengthening faith. No one – especially me – likes to be reprimanded. I would prefer to get things right all the time and avoid being reprimanded at all costs. The truth is – I can’t get things right all the time. I do need to be pulled into line and I thank God for the times that He has used His people to do this. It has strengthened my faith.

God has called us to love one another to be accountable to one another and to keep one another committed to the truth of God’s word. That means at times we will need to be pulled into line – challenged about what or who we are listening to and we need to be receptive to this.

God help ME remember this – your are committed to strengthening my faith. Help me be committed to whatever it takes for that to occur.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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