Friday, September 22, 2017
can equip me for every good work.
Its memorization I should not shirk
is valuable to teach me about the Lord.
The only way to know Him more is to know His word.
can be used to rebuke those who’ve gone astray;
to show where they err and show them the true way.
can correct the one who has fallen short;
help him back up on his feet, his walk with God restore.
is the training book for children of the Lord.
Our manual for daily life is found within His word.
helps me to be all God wants me to be;
to know His ways, to follow Him, His perfect will to see.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
by Susie Hale, Precious Jewels Ministries
I love dessert! Whether it’s a chocolate fudge brownie and a dip of vanilla ice cream smothered with hot fudge and caramel sauce or my favorite cheesecake buried beneath fresh strawberries, I look forward to a good dessert. I try to resist indulging in them, but my figure advertises the fact I’m not successful. As tasty as they may be, dessert items are not the healthiest choice on the restaurant menu.
Sometimes I treat God’s word like dessert. It’s that extra, added benefit at the end of an otherwise average day like dessert is the sweet treat at the end of a meal. After all, doesn’t Psalm 34:8 tell us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good?” I love to taste God’s word. I can taste God’s word by reading the scripture verse at the end of an entertaining, one page devotional. That’s like eating dessert. Dessert is often thought of as “comfort food” used to soothe the rough edges off a bad day. I can draw comfort from familiar verses and passages of God’s word.
However, just as I cannot be physically healthy by eating only sweets, I cannot have a healthy spiritual life by just occasionally reading the parts of God’s word that give me a warm feeling. Sometimes, like eating an appetizer, I’ll read an excerpt from the Word that should whet my appetite for more; but I have a tendency to stop after the mozzarella sticks and not go on to the main course. God’s word is compared to bread (Matt. 4:4), a staple food of the Jewish culture. The Word should be my mainstay and not just an afterthought or a starter.
Milk is the main food of the infant because of its nutritional value. I am told to drink the pure milk of the Word (I Pet. 2:2) because it will help me grow in my relationship with Christ. Just think about it…babies drink a bottle about every two hours! If the parents are slow with that bottle, the baby loudly lets them know it. I should not wait until I’m crying with hunger for a word from God. I should maintain my spiritual satisfaction with regular feedings of scripture. It might just keep me from being quite so grumpy. After all a well-fed baby is content and usually rests for a while after a bottle. Imagine resting in the fullness of God’s word.
As a child grows she needs more than milk. She moves on to baby food, junior food, and then regular meals. Ultimately, I need to progress to the point that I am dining on the meat of God’s word (Heb. 5:12-14). Protein in our diet builds muscle and strength. My spiritual stamina is developed by digesting the more difficult and challenging passages of the Bible. My faith is strengthened as I am obedient to that which I have read and as I discipline myself to read not only the comforting but also the convicting pages of the Word.
God’s word cannot be merely dessert added as an afterthought or an occasional pleasant flavor. Yes, I enjoy tasting God’s word, but a dessert portion of it will not sustain my spiritual energy during times of temptation and trial. I must move to the place where I can say as Job did, “I have esteemed and treasured up the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12 Amplified Version, italics mine). I must eat a balanced diet of all the food groups in order to be physically healthy, and I must eat a balanced diet of God’s word in order to be spiritually healthy. I challenge you to do the same. Dine on the meat of God’s word while still enjoying an interesting appetizer or a delicious dessert. I’m hoping this will be your appetizer to a scrumptious Scripture meal. Bon appetite!
Monday, September 18, 2017
HUNT DOWN HARMONY
2 TIMOTHY 2:22 (AMPC)
Shun youthful lusts and flee from them,
and aim at and pursue righteousness
(all that is virtuous and good, right living,
conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed);
[and aim at and pursue] faith, love,
[and] peace1515 (harmony and concord with others)
in fellowship with all [Christians],
who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.
False teachers had stirred up strife, and disagreements were rampant in Ephesus where Timothy pastored. Paul urged Timothy to pursue peace. He was to seek harmony and unity, agreement between parties when possible. Paul gave this same instruction to the church at Rome: Romans 12:18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Can we live in harmony, in unity, with those whose opinions differ greatly from our own? Not always, but most of the time, especially if both parties are believers. If two people are willing to hear each other out, there can always be harmony but not necessarily agreement. Harmony can be “agreeing to disagree” and continuing to fellowship because the disagreement is something peripheral and not essential to the truth of the Gospel message of salvation through Christ alone. Harmony in a choir involves people singing different notes that complement one another, are concordant together. As a church, we are not all singing melody, we are not in unison (on the same note) but we must be in unity, harmony with one another. If the tone becomes discordant in the church as well as music, it will not sound pleasant until it is resolved. Resolution is not always singing the exact same note but is making sure the two notes do not clash.
If you are in a state of discord, disharmony, with another believer, work to resolve the problem and restore the relationship to peace. Pursue, hunt down, harmony. Pray the Lord will help you to live at peace with everyone as far as it depends on you. You cannot control another person’s response, but you are responsible for and can control your own.
Friday, September 15, 2017
LOVE IS AN ACTION WORD
by Susan R. Slade
by Susan R. Slade
Flee also youthful lusts:
but follow righteousness, faith, charity26, peace,
with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22 (KJV)
Rather than embracing erotic love, physical pleasures, gluttonous appetites, and miserly wealth, Paul instructed Timothy to run after Christlike, self-sacrificing love.
As a pastor, one should embrace the principles that Christ embodied. A pastor should be eager to visit those in hospitals, the bereaved, and those in prison. He should reach out to those members in nursing homes or confined to homes. Paul gave Timothy explicit instructions considering widows, but today that might include single parents or grandparents caring for their grandchildren. The pastor may not be able to personally minister to each member of the congregation, but he should encourage a plan for others to do so. He may, of necessity, delegate these responsibilities. However, he needs to lead workers to lovingly minister to those in need.
The agape principle is that we choose to love. It is a love that springs from the heart of God and is relentless and passionate whether our emotions are involved or not. It is not so much loving because as it is loving despite—loving whether the recipient of the love seems worthy or even appreciative or not. No matter what their response is, the godly person continues to demonstrate God’s love. This kind of love comes from an eternal rather than a temporal perspective.
Not only paid pastors are called to demonstrate this kind of love. All of us as believers are called to share the love of Jesus with everyone within our circle of influence. Brainstorm specific ways you can spread the love of Jesus with people you know. If you have children, plan ways to include them in loving deeds in order to teach them that love is an action word.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
PASSIONATE PURSUIT OF PURPOSE
2 TIMOTHY 2:22 (VOICE)
Timothy, run away from youthful desires. Instead, direct your passion
to chasing after righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace,
along with those who call upon the Lord with pure hearts.
If the Apostle Paul were writing to Timothy in our day and time, he might say, “Timothy, I want you to a living billboard for the ‘True Love Waits’ movement.” Timothy was not a teenager but was young according to the standards of Greek culture in his day. Since a wife is never mentioned in connection with Timothy in Paul’s letters, one presumes he was single at the time. It was almost expected that young men would pursue their sexual desires, but Timothy was urged to commit to the purity the Lord Jesus commands. Paul cautioned him not to be impulsive or impetuous but to be slow and steady, not to have knee-jerk responses to challenges he faced. Paul was confident the Spirit would enable Timothy to remain faithful to all that the word of God required. He encouraged Timothy to funnel his passions into faithfully pursuing the character of Christ in his life.
Mary Slessor was a prime example of an unmarried woman faithfully, passionately pursuing God’s call. She was born in Scotland in 1848, the daughter of a drunken father and a devout Christian mother. She worked in a mill for twelve hours a day until the Lord called her to missionary service in Calabar (Nigeria). At twenty-nine-years-old she disembarked from a steamer to begin her divine destiny in Duke Town. Against all advice, she eventually pursued unreached tribes of cannibals who her friends feared would eat her before letting her share the Gospel. They practiced abominations such as killing twins and their mother because of a superstition that one twin must be the devil’s offspring. She rescued many of these twins and mothers and planted herself between warring groups to force them to talk to each other. When she could no longer walk to the villages, she rode in a cart sent to her by friends. She remained faithful to her Lord despite all hardships and stood strong and brave by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are you faithfully, passionately pursuing that which the Lord has laid on your heart?
Monday, September 11, 2017
2 TIMOTHY 2:13 (AMPC)
MOST FAITHFUL ONE
If we are faithless
[do not believe and are untrue to Him],
[do not believe and are untrue to Him],
He remains true
(faithful to His Word
and His righteous character),
(faithful to His Word
and His righteous character),
for He cannot deny Himself.
Jesus must remain true to His word because He is the Word made flesh (John 1:14) and the embodiment of truth. John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus also said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” He Himself is the Truth we must know in order to be set free from sin and death.
The Lord has promised that those who believe in, trust in, rely on Jesus will be given eternal life and dwell with Him forever. He cannot and will not break His promise to His children. Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Jesus promises us that He will hold on to us and never let us go: John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Sadly, the opposite is also true. If one lacks faith, refuses to believe, and does not trust Jesus, then Jesus will deny him or her. He cannot deny His own holiness by giving eternal life to someone who has never followed Him and been cleansed by the blood of His sacrifice as the final perfect Lamb of God.
Have you entrusted your life and your future to the only One who is completely trustworthy and faithful? If not, today could be the day Jesus changes your life forever. If you have surrendered your will to His, one day I will meet you joyfully in our forever home where the Lamb of Glory will reign in majesty.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Monday, September 4, 2017
Paul repeatedly told Timothy to stick to the gospel message as he had taught him. Do not detract from or add to it in any way, shape, or form. He should remain strong in his faith in Jesus, his total reliance on Him for salvation, and continue to faithfully, confidently preach the truth with boldness. However, intertwined with his boldness he should share the compassionate love that Jesus so perfectly exemplified. He was to speak the truth passionately with love as the foundation. His loving concern for those who needed Jesus should be his paramount motivation.
T. L. Osborn, who was an encouragement and blessing to me, preached with a heart full of love and compassion for those who needed the message of Jesus’ love. He traveled many countries for over 50 years faithfully proclaiming the gospel and seeing the Lord heal many people in Africa and Asia. The first time I met T.L. was on my way out of the International Gospel Center after worship. He was in a full-blown conversation with a man as I was being rolled past him on my way out. He briskly came after me and said, “Excuse me. When you walked past me I felt the power of God all over you and your life. May I pray for you?” I did not even know who he was at this point but the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. I bravely braced myself to have yet another person try to cast demons out of my life, but this was nothing like the experiences I had previously. He bent down on one knee to get eye to eye with me, and prayed, “May all the dreams and visions according to God’s will for your life come to full and complete fruition.” The proclivities of my cerebral palsied earth-suit were not his focus. Instead, he dwelt on God’s calling and anointing on my life. I was almost out the front door when he stopped me and said, “God wanted me to let you know that you are loved and beautiful just the way you are.” T. L.’s compassionate heart was demonstrated to me once again when I asked him to explain whether there was something that I wasn’t putting together in order to receive God’s healing for my earth-suit. To my amazement, he did not know why I was not healed; but I was comforted by that because if a man whom God had used mightily in healing ministry did not understand, then I did not have to. My question brought great tears to his eyes and down his face, and he said the one thing he did know was that I saw myself well, whole, and productive at that time and would continue to do so in the future. He felt that I knew many truths about healing that he could not possibly understand. He felt my unique perspective of walking it out day to day would enable me to teach people things regarding healing that a person whose earth-suit was sound could not.
As we present the gospel, we need to do so looking through the compassionate eyes of our Savior. We need to see past the challenges a person has to the soul in need of love.
Friday, September 1, 2017
1 TIMOTHY 6:11
THE PURSUIT OF PATIENCE
But thou, O man of God, flee these things;
and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, patience, meekness.
Another word for patience is “constancy” which according to Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language means:
Fixedness or firmness of mind; persevering resolution; steady, unshaken determination; particularly applicable to firmness of mind under sufferings, to steadiness in attachments, and to perseverance in enterprise. Lasting affection; stability in love or friendship.
Patience as applied to Timothy here could be any or all of the following: 1) perseverance under trials and persecution, 2) unshaken determination to combat false teachers by presenting the truth of the gospel, and/or 3) patience or longsuffering toward those believers entrusted to his care as pastor. Believers today need that same type of patience.
People who assist with my care must have the third type of patience, the longsuffering of dealing with my earth-suit and all of its proclivities. I have hyper-nerve sensitivity which makes even clipping and filing my finger nails a test of one’s patience. Mother Theresa and Job would even have a difficult time with my nails. I have been blessed with people who did not give up on me when I would say, “slow, slow, slow” every time they turned me even though they had done it hundreds of times. (They tell me I’m much better about that one now.) The brothers and sisters in Christ who transfer me into my power chair and back into bed sometimes have to wait several minutes for me to grab my wild left arm with my right hand before they can move me. I am thankful these believers have pursued patience and found it!
We all need to follow after patience. Patience toward our brothers and sisters who may have annoying traits or are not understanding something that is clear to us. Patience when we suffer trials knowing that they serve to make us stronger in the Lord. Patient hope as we await the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to take us to our forever home to be with Him!