Saturday 8 February, 2014

1 Timothy 4:6-10

6 Point these things out to the brothers and sisters. Then you will serve Christ Jesus well. You were brought up in the truths of the faith. You received good teaching. You followed it. 7 Don’t have anything to do with godless stories and silly tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 Training the body has some value. But being godly has value in every way. It promises help for the life you are now living and the life to come. 9 Here is a saying you can trust. You can accept it completely. 10 We work hard for it. Here is the saying. We have put our hope in the living God. He is the Savior of all people. Most of all he is the Savior of those who believe.

If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed (1 Timothy 4:6).

When Paul calls Timothy a good minister of Christ Jesus, He is telling Timothy to be a good servant of Jesus Christ.

To be a good servant, we need certain things; first we watch what we are feeding on. Feed on the words of faith and the doctrine we have followed.

What do we feed on daily and what do we put in our mind? Is it sports, TV, our finances? If any of these things are our daily diet, then we will be a spiritually undernourished servant of Jesus. Paul says what we feed on is what is going to determine how effective we become.

None of the above is wrong; it’s just that we need to regulate them. Anything that is dangerously distracting will easily control our thoughts.

Paul encourages Timothy to give himself to what really feeds his spiritual life, which is that we need the truth of our faith and good teaching.

Paul advises two elements: knowledge and decision. He says we need the good, sound words of the faith and good, sound teaching, and we are to follow them. First we learn, and then we do what it says. The Bible gives us God’s insight into life, of who we are, what He intends us to be and what will fulfil us.

Lord, help me to stand fast in the middle of the pressures of life that are facing me. Teach me to be a woman of faith today; give me a faith that acts, a faith that rises up and obeys what You tell me to do. Amen

Written by Cath Croft

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    Interesting, I wonder how many Hollywood movies God considers ‘Godless stories and silly tales’!

  2. logos215 says:

    Quick Word Study
    v7 ‘train’ yourself
    The word rendered ‘train’ is ‘gymnázō’ and is where we get the word ‘gymnasium’.
    It does not imply gentle effort, rather it refers to the agility, skill and endurance obtained from constant, rigorous exercise.
    The word would be used to signify the type of preparation of our Olympic athletes!

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Friday 7 February, 2014

1 Timothy 4:1-5

4 The Holy Spirit clearly says that in the last days some people will leave the faith. They will follow spirits that will fool them. They will believe things that demons will teach them. 2 Teachings like those come from liars who pretend to be what they are not. Their sense of what is right and wrong has been burned as if with a hot iron. 3 They do not allow people to get married. They order them not to eat certain foods. But God created those foods. So people who believe and know the truth should receive them and give thanks for them. 4 Everything God created is good. You shouldn’t turn anything down. Instead, you should thank God for it. 5 The word of God and prayer make it holy.

Two phrases catch my attention from this passage –

“The Holy Spirit tells us clearly…”

And …

“Their consciences are dead”

It’s in my conscience that I hear the Holy Spirit speak clearly. If my conscience is dead my walk with God is dead.

Keeping a clear conscience is a matter of life and death!

We have a fire alarm system at work. If the “whoop whoop” siren goes off we drop everything, run and get to safety immediately.

My conscience is the same. If the alarm of my conscience goes off because of sin I need to drop everything and run. My life depends on it.

Lord, help me have a correct attitude toward sin in my life. Tune my ears to hear the fire alarm of my conscience and get out of sinful situations.  Amen.

Written by Boudy vanNoppen

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Thursday 6 February, 2014

1 Timothy 3:14-16

14 I hope I can come to you soon. But now I am writing these directions to you. 15 Then if I have to put off my visit, you will know how you should act in God’s family. The family of God is the church of the living God. It is the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 There is no doubt that godliness is a great mystery. Jesus appeared in a body. The Holy Spirit proved that he was the Son of God. He was seen by angels. He was preached among the nations. People in the world believed in him. He was taken up to heaven in glory.

Timothy was not just Paul’s favour student, but also the “true son in the faith” (Tim1:2). Paul loved him very much and wanted to spend more time with him and the church in the future.  He writes to Timothy and the church so that they will know how they ought to conduct themselves in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Paul, at the mention of the living God, couldn’t stop himself breaking into poetry to praise the Lord about how amazing the revelation/secret and how great He is!

HE appeared in the flesh,

was vindicated by the Spirit,

was seen by angels,

was preached among the nations,

was believed on in the world,

was taken up in glory.

 

The challenge of this passage to me is:

1. Do I really understand “how great You are”?

2. Do I care about the household of God?

3. Do I like to share/teach how great is my God?

Dear Lord, thank you for your love by setting up the church in the world.  I love to stay in Your household forever. Thank you Jesus for revealing yourself in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. All the glory is yours. Amen

Written by Allen Leu

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Wednesday 5 February, 2014

1 Timothy 3: 8-13

8 Deacons also must be worthy of respect. They must be honest and true. They must not drink too much wine. They must not try to get money by cheating people. 9 They must hold on to the deep truths of the faith. Even their own minds tell them to do that. 10 First they must be tested. Then let them serve as deacons if there is nothing against them. 11 In the same way, their wives must be worthy of respect. They must not say things that harm others. In anything they do, they must not go too far. They must be worthy of trust in everything. 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife. He must manage his children and family well. 13 Those who have served well earn the full respect of others. They also become more sure of their faith in Christ Jesus.

When I read this passage I found myself needing to know what ‘elders’ (pastor, overseer, bishop) and ‘deacons’ meant. It doesn’t define their roles here. I take it that the deacons serve under the pastor, taking different responsibilities as in Acts 6 2-4. But, that question resolved, I realise that it is not the relevant thing at all. God is much more concerned about a leader’s character.
Those who aspire to be church leaders should read the list of qualifications here. Those who select leaders are to test them against this list.  This sounds really serious doesn’t it. God guards His flock jealously, and those He places in leadership in the church must be ‘blameless’ (v. 11). Is there a double standard here? Do deacons have to have more integrity than the rest of us? I believe we should all aspire to be like this, however leaders have a greater responsibility because they are an example to us. They also reflect the integrity of the gospel to those outside the church.  They will be judged according to their personal character. The job and the character cannot be separated.
Reverent, truthful, sober, not materialistic, true to the gospel, a faithful spouse and respected parent, even-tempered, not slanderous. God will reward those like this, who serve him well, with good standing and boldness in the faith (v.13).

Heavenly Father and mentor of all leaders please keep these standards in my mind as I serve you in the church and community. Please make me into one who may be described in this way; blameless in your sight. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

3 replies
  1. Shin Liu says:

    Thanks Dimity, a timely reminder of the Godly responsibility required for leaders in church. Let us all remember to pray and support them.

  2. David Newton says:

    We live in the age of the ‘cult of personality’ where outward appearance is valued over inward character and yet detractors of the faith point to character flaws to devalue the work of the church.
    You are right Dimity, our leaders do reflect the integrity of the gospel to those outside the church.
    I for one am pleased to be part of a church that expects these standards for leadership.

  3. David Newton says:

    Quick word study
    v9 ‘deep truths’ is rendered differently in various versions of the Bible but is the ancient Greek word ‘mustérion’ meaning ‘hidden’ and is the origin of the English word ‘mystery’. In this instance it is in reference to ‘pisteōs’ the Greek word for ‘faith’.

    Practically speaking, ‘there are aspects of faith that are a mystery’

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Tuesday 4 February, 2014

1 Timothy 3:1-7

3 Here is a saying you can trust. If anyone wants to be a leader in the church, he wants to do a good work for God and people. 2 A leader must be free from blame. He must be faithful to his wife. In anything he does, he must not go too far. He must control himself. He must be worthy of respect. He must welcome people into his home. He must be able to teach. 3 He must not get drunk. He must not push people around. He must be gentle. He must not be a person who likes to argue. He must not love money. 4 He must manage his own family well. He must make sure that his children obey him and show him proper respect. 5 Suppose someone doesn’t know how to manage his own family. Then how can he take care of God’s church? 6 The leader must not be a new believer. If he is, he might become proud. Then he would be judged just like the devil. 7 The leader must also be respected by those who are outside the church. Then he will not be put to shame. He will not fall into the devil’s trap.

It is a wonderful thing that we are told that aspiring to a leadership position is good and honourable. Why? Because of the description of maturity which follows. Our goal, as Christians, is to constantly seek to grow in our ‘Christlikeness’. Here is a description of someone who has grown. Whether we become leaders or not we should all aspire to be like the person in this passage – with maturity, humility and self-control.

If we are leaders these qualities in us serve two purposes.

One is to provide a good example to those we lead, to then help them to grow. It is interesting that Paul advises against new Christians becoming leaders too soon, because of the risk of pride causing them to fall.

The second purpose is to be a good witness to the world. We are God’s representatives on earth. When “people outside the church speak well” of a leader, God is seen in a more positive light. But when we fall, although this is grossly unfair to God, people outside the church may look negatively on Him. No wonder we need maturity to lead!

Lord, please help me be controlled by your Spirit, so that I may grow more like you throughout my life. Help me to encourage others to grow too, and help me be a good witness so that “in my going I may make disciples”

Written by Megan Cornell

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    I really like what you are saying Megan. I think for many people, if they don’t aspire to leadership they don’t aspire to own these qualities.

  2. David Newton says:

    There is a vast array of literature on leadership but what this passage suggests is that ‘church leadership’ is about ‘ability’ and ‘capacity’. It is saying, if you can manage your household using these attributes and still have excess capacity then you qualify to be a leader in the church. It does not mean you will be, but that you qualify. – Home first then church.
    It is interesting that the same qualities used to manage a home are the same qualities used to manage the household of God.

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Monday 3 February, 2014

1 Timothy 2:8-15

8 I want men everywhere to pray. I want them to lift up holy hands. I don’t want them to be angry when they pray. I don’t want them to argue. 9 I also want women to dress simply. They should wear clothes that are right and proper. They shouldn’t braid their hair. They shouldn’t wear gold or pearls. They shouldn’t spend too much on clothes. 10 Instead, they should put on good works as if they were their clothes. That is proper for women who claim to worship God. 11 When a woman is learning, she should be quiet. She should follow the leaders in every way. 12 I do not let women teach. I do not let them have authority over men. They must be quiet. 13 Adam was made first. Then Eve was made. 14 Adam was not the one who was tricked. The woman was tricked and became a sinner. 15 Will women be saved by having children? Only if they keep on believing, loving, and leading a holy life in a proper way.

This is one of the more difficult passages of Scripture for a modern 21st century mind to get around.

We do not have the time here to work over a theological treatise on this passage – so I will not.  Devotionally I am struck by three phrases.

‘I want men to pray’ – ‘I want women to dress modestly’ – ‘I want women to learn’.

These three phrases give us some insight into the culture of the time.

Paul gives men a push to pray – in my experience women are more given to prayer than men – and I think Paul experienced the same so he singled men out to make sure they pray.

Paul gives women a push to ensure that their ‘dressiness’ was around their beauty in Christ, not their outward adornments.

Paul gives a push that women would learn – which was revolutionary given that women in that culture were not allowed, generally, to learn.  This is a revolutionary statement because education is a great leveller!

I wonder if Paul would encourage the same today.  If my experience is generally true this remains a great encouragement to men because we still find praying difficult.  My observations lead me to believe that women are still caught on the outward beauty thing, generally, and so being encouraged to work on their beauty within remains a great encouragement to godliness.  Women may be more educated, especially in some sections of the west, but there remains a great divide here for many women.

2000 years later we can claim to be a more civilised, more enlightened, more free society – but God’s Word once again proves its timelessness by nailing us on some of the basics of faith and life.

Father – help me not to stray from the basics until I and those around me have real evidence of transformation!  May Your transforming work through Word and Spirit be at work in my life and all those I have the privilege to live this life with!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Sunday 2 February, 2014

1 Timothy 2:1-7

2 First, I want all of you to pray for everyone. Ask God to bless them. Give thanks for them. 2 Pray for kings. Pray for all who are in authority. Pray that we will live peaceful and quiet lives. And pray that we will be godly and holy. 3 That is good. It pleases God our Savior. 4 He wants everyone to be saved. He wants them to come to know the truth. 5 There is only one God. And there is only one go-between for God and human beings. He is the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave himself to pay for the sins of everyone. That was a witness given by God at just the right time. 7 I was appointed to be a messenger and an apostle to preach the good news. I am telling the truth. I’m not lying. God appointed me to be a teacher of the true faith to those who aren’t Jews.

“He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.”
How brilliant! Jesus came to save each and every one of us. And we can be part of God’s plan by praying for our family and friends. Paul urges us to give thanks for all people. That’s a big ask. It’s also something which helps us through life. Praying for those we encounter and talking to God about what we can be thankful about for each person helps us to see the world through different eyes. God’s eyes. Eyes of grace.

Lord help me to be filled with your view of the world and the people I encounter.  Thank you for my salvation and the possibility of salvation for all those around me.

Written by Therese Manning

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Saturday 1 February, 2014

1 Timothy 1:18-20

18 My son Timothy, I give you these teachings. They are in keeping with the prophecies that were once made about you. By following them, you can fight the good fight. 19 Then you will hold on to faith. You will hold on to a good sense of what is right and wrong. Some have not accepted these teachings. By doing that, they have destroyed their faith. They are like a ship that has sunk. 20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are among them. I have handed them over to Satan. That will teach them not to speak evil things against God.

Paul talks about conscience 5 times in this letter to Timothy, and again in the next one.

Here Paul warns Timothy to keep his conscience clear, going hand in hand with faith to enable him to fight the battle before him well. But those who reject their consciences have their faith shipwrecked.

Conscience is nothing like that comic character with a halo sitting on our shoulders, it is a wonderful thing. Even those who have never heard God’s law have at least a fragment written on their hearts, and their consciences bear witness both to what is right and also how we fall short (Rom 2:14-15). Our consciences can be a wonderful early warning system as we begin to walk outside God’s path.

But our consciences can become weak and inaccurate (1 Corinthians 8) either being silent when we need warning or falsely accusing. Our consciences will be desensitized and “seared as with a hot iron” (1 Tim 4:2) by sin. The deliberate deadening of God’s witness in our hearts can have catastrophic consequences, not just shipwrecking Hymenaeus and Alexander’s faith but casting them into Satan’s waiting arms.

We are often encouraged to actively write God’s word on our hearts (Proverbs 3:3, 7:3). That God writes His law on our hearts is part of His covenant with His people (Jer 31:33). The witness to His living word in our hearts guides us nimbly along His paths and reinforces that sense of pleasure when we do what is right. A strong conscience can be a real blessing and a real ally to faith.

Father, my heart is yours to write on. Please strengthen that witness in me to guide me on your paths, because that is where I want to walk.

Written by David Cornell

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