Tuesday 18 February, 2014

2 Timothy 1:1-7

1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. He sent me to tell about the promise of life that is found in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy, I am sending you this letter. You are my dear son. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy and peace. 3 I serve God, knowing that what I have done is right. That is how our people served him long ago. Night and day I thank God for you. Night and day I always remember you in my prayers. 4 I remember your tears. I long to see you so that I can be filled with joy. 5 I remember your honest and true faith. It was alive first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice. And I am certain that it is now alive in you also. 6 That is why I remind you to help God’s gift grow, just as a small spark grows into a fire. God put his gift in you when I placed my hands on you. 7 God didn’t give us a spirit that makes us weak and fearful. He gave us a spirit that gives us power and love. It helps us control ourselves.

I like how Paul mentions the faith of Timothy’s grandmother that was passed on to his mother and then on to Timothy.

I share the same birthday as my grandmother, although she had died before I was born. Sharing a birthday with my grandmother has always felt like a special bond with her to me, though I never knew her. I was told that she was a woman of strong faith in Jesus and she passed that faith on to my Dad, who passed it on to me. I can remember even as a little girl thinking how proud she would be of me following Jesus like she did.

Who are you passing your faith on to? Maybe your natural born children, or maybe your spiritual children, as Paul refers to Timothy here as his son. Paul encourages us to “fan into flame the gift of God” in our lives. Don’t lose sight of our eternal calling to leave a legacy of faith behind in the people who are following us.

Written by Shelley Witt

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Monday 17 February, 2014

1 Timothy 6:17-21

17 Command people who are rich in this world not to be proud. Tell them not to put their hope in riches. Wealth is so uncertain. Command those who are rich to put their hope in God. He richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 Command the rich to do what is good. Tell them to be rich in doing good things. They must give freely. They must be willing to share. 19 In that way they will put riches away for themselves. It will provide a firm basis for the next life. Then they will take hold of the life that really is life. 20 Timothy, guard what God has trusted you with. Turn away from godless chatter. Stay away from opposing ideas that are falsely called knowledge. 21 Some people believe them. By doing that they have wandered away from the faith. May God’s grace be with you.

This is the final part of Paul’s letter to Timothy, the conclusion and most important message. Paul asked young Timothy to “command/order” the rich people not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in money, but put their hope in God to do good and be generous, willing to share. So, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.

Also, Paul asked Timothy to take good care of that which was given to him, turning away from wrong and foolish talk and arguments of false knowledge.  No wonder King Solomon said:  “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov4:23).

The challenge of this passage to me is:

1. What do I build up my faith-foundation on?

2. Am I a generous person to church/others?

3. Do I guard my heart with God’s word?

Dear Load, thank you for giving me your word/bible, so, I can know you and serve you more. Help me to have true wisdom to seek your will for me as you said: To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding.  Amen

Written by Allen Leu

 

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Quick Word Study
    The word ‘uncertain’ from ‘ v17 ‘Wealth is so uncertain’ – is a ancient Greek word only used once in the New Testament. The word is used to indicates a quality of an object that makes the object difficult to see. It implies ‘disappearing’, ‘indefinite’ or ‘value is unperceived’.
    .
    The context being ‘this present world’ – The full implication is “Because abundant provision (riches) will be utterly unrecognized in heaven, it’s true value now is difficult to ascertain.
    reference – Strong’s Greek dictionary, Helps Word Studies.

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Sunday 16 February, 2014

1 Timothy 6:11-16

11 But you are a man of God. Run away from all of those things. Try hard to do what is right and godly. Have faith, love and gentleness. Hold on to what you believe. 12 Fight the good fight along with all other believers. Take hold of eternal life. You were chosen for it when you openly told others what you believe. Many witnesses heard you. 13 God gives life to everything. Christ Jesus told the truth when he gave witness to Pontius Pilate. In the sight of God and Christ, I give you a command. 14 Obey it until our Lord Jesus Christ appears. Obey it completely. Then no one can find fault with it or you. 15 God will bring Jesus back at a time that pleases him. God is the blessed and only Ruler. He is the greatest King of all. He is the most powerful Lord of all. 16 God is the only one who can’t die. He lives in light that no one can get close to. No one has seen him. No one can see him. Give honor and power to him forever. Amen.

The world would say “You are number one. Spoil yourself. Pursue fame and fortune.”

But God says “Run from the love of money and pursue righteousness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”

I think this is about our focus in life. It does not mean that we cannot have nice things in this world, but that our focus should be on generosity and purity before God. However, that is not always simple. It is easy to get distracted by material possessions or things which lead us away from God. That is why Paul tells Timothy to “Hold tightly to the eternal life God has given you”.

Many people criticise Christianity as a “crutch” in life for the weak. But it takes real muscle to continue to do things God’s way, and to stand up for what we believe in.

Lord, Help us to stand firmly, ”fighting the good fight”, clinging to purity, perseverance, generosity and gentleness so that we can be prepared for your return. We honour  “the blessed and only almighty God, the King of Kings and Lord of lords”.

Written by Megan Cornell

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Saturday 15 February, 2014

1 Timothy 6:2b-10

Try hard to get them to do them. 3 Suppose someone teaches ideas that are false. He doesn’t agree with the true teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. He doesn’t agree with godly teaching. 4 People like that are proud. They don’t understand anything. They like to argue more than they should. They can’t agree about what words mean. All of that results in wanting what others have. It causes fighting, harmful talk, and evil distrust. 5 It stirs up trouble all the time among people whose minds are twisted by sin. The truth they once had has been taken away from them. They think they can get rich by being godly. 6 You gain a lot when you live a godly life. But you must be happy with what you have. 7 We didn’t bring anything into the world. We can’t take anything out of it. 8 If we have food and clothing, we will be happy with that. 9 People who want to get rich are tempted. They fall into a trap. They are tripped up by wanting many foolish and harmful things. Those who live like that are dragged down by what they do. They are destroyed and die. 10 Love for money causes all kinds of evil. Some people want to get rich. They have wandered away from the faith. They have wounded themselves with many sorrows.

Verse 10 says that some people wander from true faith, because of their craving for money. ‘They pierce themselves with many sorrows’. Paul reminds Timothy to keep teaching the wholesome teachings of The Lord Jesus Christ, because they promote a Godly life. There are others at this time who are promoting their own interpretations of the truth, arguing about trivialities. They are trouble makers with corrupt minds. They teach and gather followers in order to make themselves rich. So greed and arrogance underlie their words.

I suppose I think of cult leaders and some of the tele-evangelists who have fallen from grace when I read this.  Enticed by money and status, they distort the gospel and defraud people.  The result of this is that they pierce themselves with many sorrows. They forget that Jesus is our ‘man of sorrows’.  When we keep our eyes on Him and His truth, we will be blessed with contentment. Contentment is a place of peace where we give thanks for having enough; for the gift of what ever God has placed in our lives. When we acknowledge that ‘Christ is enough for me’.
Don’t pick up and carry the sorrows that Jesus bore for you on the cross, instead give thanks for the large and small gifts in your life, receiving the joy of His goodness.

Dear Lord please don’t let me love or crave worldly things because I don’t want to be lured away from you. Help me to continually thank you for what I have today. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    An awesome Quote of the Day
    “Don’t pick up and carry the sorrows that Jesus bore for you on the cross, instead give thanks for the large and small gifts in your life, receiving the joy of His goodness.”

    Thanks Dimity I will be thinking about this all day!

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Friday 14 February, 2014

1 Timothy 5:23 – 6:2a

23 Stop drinking only water. If your stomach is upset, drink a little wine. It can also help the other sicknesses you often have. 24 The sins of some people are easy to see. They are already being judged. Others will be judged later. 25 In the same way, good works are easy to see. But even good works that are hard to see can’t stay hidden. 6 All who are forced to serve as slaves should consider their masters worthy of full respect. Then people will not speak evil things against God’s name and against what we teach. 2 Some slaves have masters who are believers. They shouldn’t show less respect for their masters just because they are believers. Instead, they should serve them even better. That’s because those who benefit from their service are believers. They are loved by them. Teach the slaves those things. Try hard to get them to do them.

No-one can hide their character from God; however, it can remain unknown to others. Why do some people who live sinful lives, appear to be blessed, and others who live honourably for God, do not appear blessed?

Those that live open sinful lives, generally in time, their lifestyle will show they will end up eating the fruit of their sin.  But the sins of some will follow later; these are people, who are living an apparent abundant life, but they have secret sins. These sins will eventually be brought to light and the fruit of their sin will catch up with them. Some are such notorious sinners; there is no need to ask about their character, they would never be considered for ministry. But others who may be considered have hidden sins; but their sins appear afterwards. Many people think they are hiding their sins, but God will bring to light the things that are hidden.

Be assured, the person who continues to live faithfully before God, eventually, the fruit of their living will catch up with them causing the goodness and blessing of God to overtake them. His blessing may start as a trickle, but as we are faithful, the trickle becomes a stream which eventually over time will be a river that others will see. Their goodness will not be overlooked by God.

The good works and character of some are evident, and there would be no hesitation in having them in leadership. So we need to take time to pray and not be too hasty to appoint people to ministry.

Lord, help me to walk in the power of Your Spirit, remind me to keep the doors and windows of my life open to allow Your truth and love clear away any hidden agendas and secret sins.

Written by Cath Croft

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    There are many christian who believe drinking any form of alcohol is a sin and most likely this is what Timothy believed. There are practical reasons why abstaining from alcohol is right and yet v23 Paul suggests Timothy relax his view on the subject. It is worth noting that wine was generally less alcoholic then it is now.
    .
    C3 Churches have a general guide for Pastors that is worth considering. – Drinking alcohol is acceptable up to the legal driving limit. – The reasoning is that a Pastor can be called out for an emergency pastoral visit at any time.

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Thursday 13 February, 2014

1 Timothy 5:17-22

17 The elders who do the church’s work well are worth twice as much honor. That is true in a special way of elders who preach and teach. 18 Scripture says, “Do not stop the ox from eating while it helps separate the grain from the straw.” (Deuteronomy 25:4) Scripture also says, “Workers are worthy of their pay.” (Luke 10:7) 19 Don’t believe a charge against an elder unless two or three witnesses bring it. 20 Elders who sin should be corrected in front of the other believers. That will be a warning to the others. 21 I command you to follow those directions. I command you in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the chosen angels. Treat everyone the same. Don’t favor one person over another. 22 Don’t be too quick to place your hands on others to set them apart to serve God. Don’t take part in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

I love that God gives us instructions. He doesn’t just tell us what to do – He tells us how He wants us to do it. How well He knows us! So well we are reminded of the manner in which we are to undertake these instructions. God is the God of details. We don’t have to figure out too much – being obedient in both our actions and our attitude is what is required. I’m not sure why I make it more complicated than this so often.

For me these verses are a reminder of the manner in which my obedience should be undertaken. Verse 26 is so strongly stated regarding not taking sides or showing favouritism. When I do what God is asking me – is it completely unbiased? Am I serving and loving unconditionally or am I seeking to attend to my agenda? These are good questions to ask myself regularly about my world and my relationships.

Lord help me still myself to hear your replay when I ask and then give me courage to hear what you say and allow you to reshape my thinking and my acting. Thank you for promising to do this when I ask.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    This passage is part of a much longer list of ‘highly practical’ instructions Paul gives to Timothy for the running of a Church. This wisdom transcend cultural context and is still relevant today.
    In v21 Paul instruct to equally apply these rules to all people. This is significant because in a culture that lived by the ‘class system’ and accepted slavery as the ‘norm’, Paul is promoting ‘equality’. It may be obvious to us, but was most likely a revolutionary in their context and reveal the heart of God towards His people.
    .
    This leads me to wonder how often I favour some people over others. I suspect I engage in favoritism far more than I realise and unless I consciously monitor my interactions I will never know. The easiest way to challenge this is to pick a person you would not normally bother with and spend some time with them.
    .
    Lord, I ask you to make me aware of those who I do not favour and help me to bless their lives in some way! Amen

  2. logos215 says:

    Much of the Old testament and some of the New testament is veiled in symbolism and knowing the meaning of the symbols greatly enhances your understanding of the Bible.
    There are few rare instances in the Bible where you are actually told the meaning of the symbols.
    In this case Paul indicates that ‘Ox’ can be symbolically used to mean “elder, pastors, preachers and teachers”. This is because these people do much of the work in the Kingdom of God. If you go back over the Old testament references to ‘Oxen’ you will find meaning holds true.

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Wednesday 12 February, 2014

1 Timothy 5:9-16

9 No widow should be put on the list of widows unless she is more than 60 years old. She must also have been faithful to her husband. 10 She must be well known for the good things she does. That includes bringing up children. It includes inviting guests into her home. It includes washing the feet of God’s people. It includes helping those who are in trouble. A widow should spend her time doing all kinds of good things. 11 Don’t put younger widows on that kind of list. They might want pleasure more than they want Christ. Then they would want to get married again. 12 If they do that, they will be judged. They have broken their first promise. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of having nothing to do. They go around from house to house. They waste time. They talk about others. They bother people. They say things they shouldn’t say. 14 So here is the advice I give to younger widows. Get married. Have children. Take care of your own homes. Don’t give the enemy the chance to tell lies about you. 15 In fact, some have already turned away to follow Satan. 16 Suppose a woman is a believer and has widows in her family. She should help them. She shouldn’t let the church pay the expenses. Then the church can help the widows who really need it.

Paul is giving Timothy some very specific instructions in how to administer his church. Good advice for Timothy, but what is in this passage for me?

There seems to be a theme of responsibility running through it: families take responsibility for their relatives; and the whole church takes responsibility to care for those widows who have no one else to care for them. But also responsibility by those who are being helped: the young widows look to serve rather than being served by marrying and forming another family; and the older widows being generous in their godliness, hospitality and acts of kindness. Through generosity by all, all are enriched.

Why such firm rules about the widows’ list? The very first dispute in the church (Acts 6:1-7) was over perceptions that the distribution of food to widows was not fair. The apostles acted quickly to make things obviously above reproach. I suspect that Timothy is being encouraged to set down clear rules so that there is no room for jealousy to become a distraction.

Being generous in my responsibilities. No room for jealousy. I can do that.

Written by David Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    I love the fact that the letters are full of real-world issues.
    Thanks David for the connect between this passage and Acts 6:1-7, I have never seen that before!

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Tuesday 11 February, 2014

1 Timothy 5:3-8

3 Take care of the widows who really need help. 4 But suppose a widow has children or grandchildren. They should first learn to put their faith into practice. They should care for their own family. In that way they will pay back their parents and grandparents. That pleases God. 5 The widow who really needs help and is left all alone puts her hope in God. Night and day she keeps on praying. Night and day she asks God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she is still living. 7 Give those directions to the people also. Then no one can be blamed. 8 Everyone should provide for his own relatives. Most of all, everyone should take care of his own family. If he doesn’t, he has left the faith. He is worse than someone who doesn’t believe.

The thing that strikes me about this passage is God’s care for us and in particular for those who are most vulnerable. He has placed us in families for a reason, to care, provide and support one another.

We are fortunate enough to live in a time and country where the government can provide (to some degree) for those who are without the ability to support themselves.  But God’s heart is that the family is where that provision should come from, and Paul is pretty straight forward and even blunt here about the believers role in that provision.  As believers we are to be different to unbelievers in our behaviour at all stages of life, though this certainly can be an incredible challenge and almost an impossibility with the complexities and disfunction that can exist in families, it is nevertheless God’s heart for us and he is asking for our response.

Father, thank you for family.  Help me to always be mindful of the needs within my extended family and give me the wisdom, grace and ability to give support where needed.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Quote of the Day
    ‘He (God) has placed us in families for a reason, to care, provide and support one another.’

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Monday 10 February, 2014

1 Timothy 5:1-2

5 Don’t tell an older man off. Make an appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as if they were your brothers. 2 Treat older women as if they were your mothers. Treat younger women as if they were your sisters. Be completely pure in the way you treat them.

The adage “Respect your elders” comes to mind when I read these verses.

I have had the great honour and sometimes challenging responsibility of working in aged care and with people who would be classed as being “older,” so I have had plenty of opportunity to reflect on how and why we are called to respect the elders of our community – I’m not just an appointed elder in terms of a position in church or society, but anyone who is “full of years.”

My experience has taught me that older people who act in a way that earns respect are incredibly easy to treat in a respectful way, but I think that this verse that Paul writes (and Timothy was a younger man), is meant to set a standard of treating all older people with respect, regardless of their behaviour. This is an enormous challenge in our culture where older people often seem to be undervalued. Elders who don’t take on the rapidly changing values of society are commonly treated like children. In our current context, I believe that this passage is a great call for us to be counter-cultural by maintaining the patient and respectful manner towards older people that has nearly been lost in our day.

Lord, we pray that you would bless the elderly in our community and that you would help us as the church be a part of that blessing through showing love, grace and respect to the list generations in ways that show the glory of heaven.

Amen

Written by Justin Ware

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Sunday 9 February, 2014

1 Timothy 4:11-16

11 Command those things. Teach them. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Set an example for the believers in what you say and in how you live. Also set an example in how you love and in what you believe. Show the believers how to be pure. 13 Until I come, spend your time reading Scripture out loud to one another. Spend your time preaching and teaching. 14 Don’t fail to use the gift the Holy Spirit gave you. He gave it to you through a message from God. It was given when the elders placed their hands on you. 15 Keep on doing those things. Give them your complete attention. Then everyone will see how you are coming along. 16 Be careful of how you live and what you believe. Never give up. Then you will save yourself and those who hear you.

Here is a passage of Scripture that is both encouraging and challenging to young people.  Firstly, Paul clearly tells all Christians not to discount a believer because of their young age.  In fact, the youth are called to step up and be an example to all in the following areas; speech, conduct, faith, love and purity.  A big ask for anyone really!  Paul believes in youth!

I love clear instructions and Paul leaves some pretty clear guidelines to anyone – young or old who wants to live an exemplary Christian life. The first step is not to neglect your gifting but rather devote yourself to developing it.  In Timothy’s case he was a gifted teacher so Paul encouraged him to read the Scriptures publically, and to teach and preach.  He then tells Timothy to be diligent and persevere in what God has called him to do.  It’s the diligence and perseverance that causes us to move forward in our faith.  Most, if not all of us know this on an intellectual level.  We just need the encouragement to keep going, Timothy was no different.

This passage ends with a warning to watch your life and your doctrine closely.  Know what you believe and live your life with conviction.

Dear Lord, please help me to be a good example to other believers and give me the strength and willingness to develop the gifts you have given me for the advancement of your Kingdom, Amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

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