Saturday 10 February, 2018

2 Timothy 1:1-7

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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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Friday 9 February, 2018

1 Timothy 6:11-16

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might 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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Thursday 8 February, 2018

1 Timothy 6:2b-10

These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

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. Kim says:

    Amen to that. Contentment with what I have & the Lord, what a lovely space to live in…that’s my prayer today

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Wednesday 7 February, 2018

1 Timothy 5:23 – 6:2a

23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever. 6 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. These are the things you are to teach and insist on.

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 Cathy Croft

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Tuesday 6 February, 2018

1 Timothy 5:17-22

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. 22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share 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

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Monday 5 February, 2018

1 Timothy 5:9-16

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. 11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan. 16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

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

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Sunday 4 February, 2018

1 Timothy 5:3-8

3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

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

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Saturday 3 February, 2018

1 Timothy 5:1-2

5 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

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 Timothy 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 Ps. Justin Ware

1 (reply)
  1. Andrew says:

    Justin
    Great reflection. You have nailed it.
    How do we respect our elders, even when it is not easy?

    When my family travelled around AUST last year we learned much from indigenous Australians. They seem to have a deep understanding of the wisdom of elders, but to be honest are not necessarily any better at implementing that respect and passed down wisdom than we are.
    It is a challenge but we can do it better.

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Friday 2 February, 2018

1 Timothy 4:11-16

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

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 Ps. Ainslie Woods

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Thursday 1 February, 2018

1 Timothy 4:6-10

6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially 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

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