Wednesday 30 June, 2021

1 Timothy 3:8-13

8 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.

I like The Message version of this passage. It uses the phrase “servants in the church” instead of deacon and removes the patriarchal implications by using words like “spouse” instead of “wives.” The admonition is for both men and women with the same standards as servants for Jesus’ body with equal status and importance.

That’s the key word in this passage – servant. Being a servant of Jesus’ body, the church, is a high calling. Serious, honest, unselfish, humble, manage family well, faithful, not controlled by alcohol – these are the qualities required.  And by the way, you’ll be tested before you get the gig. Scary huh? But the rewards are huge! When we choose to be servants for Jesus, we gain high respect and we become a “real credit” to Him. We get a chance to serve Jesus himself! Who wouldn’t sign-up for that?

Lord, what an honour to serve you. And to think that You long to reward me – wow!  Like Isaiah I pray “Here I am Lord – send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Tuesday 29 June, 2021

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 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.

What an impressive list of qualities! I seldom encounter leadership material that covers such personal characteristics; qualities that truly speak volumes of one’s heart. What makes Paul’s list even more remarkable is that these qualities are not of what one should do, but rather of what one should be.

I imagine a caricature of Timothy conducting job interviews for the church after posting in the ‘Ephesus Times’. Who would be fit to serve the church? Who could, above reproach, tend to the bride of Christ? How many would fail the lofty list outlined? Of course, this is not exactly how it really happened, but the severity and weight of this ‘noble task’ still stands. The high expectations go hand-in-hand with the Biblical importance of the role.

How does this parallel to my mentoring and spiritual teaching? As I witness for Christ, may I learn that more is learned through living than through lectures. In making disciples, followers of Christ for God’s Kingdom, I need to realise that those with great responsibility must also meet high expectations.

Lord, may the leadership in Your church reflect the qualities outlined in this passage. Guide our hearts to be good stewards and servants of the church. May those who aspire to this noble task be in your favour and love. Thank you for the leadership in our church and your continued presence in the ministry for You. In your precious name, Jesus.
Amen

Written by Sven Bessesen

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Monday 28 June, 2021

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 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 will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

You have to love all the difficult passages in the Bible .. they should make us want to understand exactly what was happening in the church or place or history for the writer to communicate the way he has. What was God’s heart in this place or situation?

Many books and opinions have been offered on this passage, I take my cue today from the previous paragraph, verses 3-6 … “This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 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….”. God’s heart is that all would be saved, no disputes or anger about it, no showing off or fashion parades, no chaos in the church meeting but order, with the focus on Jesus as we come to worship together.

Father I pray today, that we may keep our focus on Jesus, his willing sacrifice for our sin and salvation, as we worship in all the various displays of your church.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Sunday 27 June, 2021

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.

Australians love to complain about their leaders. Timothy and his church had a lot more reason to complain. There’s a lot of discussion about when this letter was written, but the earliest guesses are towards the end of Nero’s reign. Even pagan historians (like Tacitus) were surprised by the unusual cruelty of his persecution of Christians in Rome beginning in 64. Even when the authorities weren’t actively looking for Christians, they would execute any who were denounced by their neighbours and refused to renounce Jesus and make an offering for the emperor.

Paul doesn’t urge Timothy and his church to pray against those hostile authorities. He asks them to pray for them. Not only that, to give thanks for them. Peaceful and quiet lives are a hoped-for consequence of their prayers, but the reason to pray is because God wants all people to be saved – even people who use authority to hurt us. Those prayers for our leaders (part of our prayers for all people) should start with praying for them to hear the truth about Jesus and be saved.

Lord, thanks that we have leaders who mostly work very hard to serve us. Thank you that we can “live peaceful and quiet lives” and that we are allowed to live “in all godliness and holiness”. Thanks that we have a Prime Minister and many parliamentarians who love you. Bring your truth to all in authority so that they might all be saved – especially the leaders of countries that are most hostile towards you and your people. Transform their whole lives to do justice and love mercy as they walk humbly with you (Micah 6:8). And please give us the courage and grace to speak that truth to them, like Paul.

Written by David Cornell

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Saturday 26 June, 2021

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.

At the beginning of a sea voyage the course is charted on a map, decisions are made upon roughly where the stopovers will occur, ‘dangerous waters’ are also clearly marked so that they can be avoided. Once out on the seas, the clarity of the map is contrasted with the vastness of the ocean. With diligence and skill, the map and the ebbing reality of the voyage can be merged, and although nothing will ever go perfectly to plan, the intention of the voyage can be fulfilled and the critical dangers avoided.

However, bad weather, time pressures, weariness can all cause a captain to forgo their trusty map for a more expedient course of action. A beautiful island may entice a stopover against better judgment. Suddenly the dangerous waters don’t seem so dangerous until the hull crunches against rock and the ship is destined never to sail again, the destination and purpose of the voyage now shattered.

As I follow Jesus, I must not ‘doubt in the dark, what God revealed to me in the light’. The scriptures, words of prophecy, revelations that God has given me at different moments on the voyage I must hold on to when the weather gets bad or I am enticed to make a detour. My brothers and sisters who I do this journey with, are my reminders of the truth, my compasses. I have a destination worth getting to, one that God has promised me if I follow him.

Lord, thank you that you for the promise of life eternal and glorious in your presence, with your people. Keep that destination in my mind and may I walk honestly and truthfully with your people so they may keep me on track. Amen

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Friday 25 June, 2021

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.

I wonder if you are ashamed of your past.  Do you have a past that you would prefer to hide?   Currently I am leading an Alpha group and what makes me cry, (yes I cry at the videos), are the testimonies of people who have come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and been totally transformed.  Many have had a background of abuse, drugs, crime and found Jesus in jail whilst doing the Alpha Course. 

They cannot speak of Jesus’ love, grace and transformation without tears rolling down their cheeks.  They are so grateful to have found His love, been accepted in a church and found the love of a community, a wife and a family.  They are so desperate that their lives will not be repeated in their children’s lives.  They seek to please God in every moment and share His gospel of love and grace.  They hold Christ’s message as the number one priority in their lives to live for and speak about.

As I read what Paul has written to Timothy (his spiritual son), you hear the same testimony.  I was a blasphemer, a murderer, a persecutor, UNTIL CHRIST…  The words “But God had mercy on me…” is written twice this passage.

One day when you and I stand before Jesus, He will not look at what we have done before knowing Him, He only will look on what we have done since knowing Him.

Lord with all that I am help me to declare in all situations “But God had mercy on me”.  Help me to win the lost and be your hands and feet wherever you take me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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  1. Florence says:

    Awesome message, I love Paul teaching. Always i remember, how Jesus changed me and teached me by holy spirit. It’s amazing experience. God bless you, amen

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Thursday 24 June

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.

The point of this passage is that the Jewish law is rather like a map which only marks danger.  If you want to know what not to do, the Jewish law lets you know, telling us of attitudes and behaviours we should avoid.  But it won’t tell you what you should do; it won’t encourage you to think through and live out the life of love and service which is what being a Christian is all about.  Paul adds a catch-all at the end of his list: ‘any other behaviour which is against healthy teaching’.

The point of it all seems to be the law is fine, if you want a map of where all the dangers lie.  There are dangerous behaviours out there.  But don’t imagine that by teaching the don’ts of life that we make any real progress.  What’s more important is to explore the gospel, the message which was entrusted to Paul and the other apostles.  When the law was given in the first place, God also revealed his glory to Moses (Exodus 32–34), despite the fact that the people had already broken the law.  Here Paul declares that, however good the law is, it is the gospel, not the law, which reveals God’s glory!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Wednesday 23 June, 2021

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.

When it comes to a challenging task, I can’t think of one more daunting than the one given to Timothy. Paul had come to the city of Ephesus and stayed there for a while and planted a church. Then it’s time for Paul to move on to the next city, but someone has to stay behind and lead this new church so Paul picks Timothy. No pressure.

But Paul gives Timothy some simple instructions which are really useful. Firstly, don’t let them waste time with endless discussions, which doesn’t help people live by faith. Secondly, Paul’s purpose was that all believers would be filled with Love, which comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience and genuine faith.

Taking Paul’s instruction personally, keep it simple, keep it pure, and be filled with love. Jesus said by this will everyone know that we are his disciples, by our love for one another. Jesus showed us what that love looks like, when he loved us before we loved him. His love takes the first step. It leads, so others can follow. Jesus didn’t hold back, not afraid of rejection, he already knew that everyone would reject him, but he loved anyway. And because he did, I am filled with his love and know how to love others. Simple.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving me first and showing me how to love others. 

Written by Andrew Martin

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Tuesday 22 June, 2021

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.

Would you consider yourself an ideas person, a visionary, or maybe a details person, more comfortable with the behind the scenes perhaps. I am struck by Paul’s combination of vision/encouragement /exhortation vs these verses of practical ’housekeeping’. Bottom line we need both. Whether that is in a team or with in our own lives. The vision often can’t happen without someone attending to the details.

Likewise, being trapped in detail without engaging the vision will result in smallness.

So, maybe if you consider yourself one kind of person (visionary or details) it is time to embrace some of what you feel you are not. Feel the stretch because that is where you will grow. Celebrate our differences as together we make a whole, well rounded community. 

Heavenly Father help me appreciate the strengths you have built into each one of us. Stretch and grow me Lord do that I can be more like you. May I always bring Glory to you by what I say and do. In Jesus name I pray Amen. 

Written by Christine Knight

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Monday 21 June, 2021

Titus 3:1-11

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. 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.

This passage starts out with a “dos” and “don’ts” list with respect to Christian behaviour.  Paul reminds us what a Christian is supposed 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 Ps. Ainslie Woods

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