Wednesday 31 January, 2018

1 Timothy 4:1-5

4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

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

[comments closed]

Tuesday 30 January, 2018

1 Timothy 3:14-16

14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: 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.

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 was 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

[comments closed]

Monday 29 January, 2018

1 Timothy 3:8-13

In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in 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

[comments closed]

Sunday 28 January, 2018

1 Timothy 3:1-7

3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and 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

[comments closed]

Saturday 27 January, 2018

1 Timothy 2:8-15

8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 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 womanshould 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 will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

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

[comments closed]

Friday 26 January, 2018

1 Timothy 2:1-7

2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 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.

“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

[comments closed]

Thursday 25 January, 2018

1 Timothy 1:18-20

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.

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

[comments closed]

Wednesday 24 January, 2018

1 Timothy 1:12-17

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.

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

[comments closed]

Tuesday 23 January, 2018

1 Timothy 1:8-11

8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 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.

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 2018? 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

[comments closed]

Monday 22 January, 2018

1 Timothy 1:1-7

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 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 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

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

[comments closed]