Wednesday, February 29, 2012

just salvation...

February 29, 2012

1 Timothy 1:12 I thank him who has given me strength Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service

To be judged faithful…that’s the aspiration of every Christian right? Being judged is a given, one day we all will be judged, but Paul was speaking of today, here. God found him, Paul, worthy of being a teacher of His word. Paul had a saving faith in Jesus Christ that allowed him to be used by God to tell others about Jesus. Paul’s testimony is known to all of us; it’s very dramatic, a former persecutor of Christians, a road to Damascus, and temporary blindness, along with the voice of God all make up for a spectacular salvation experience. Yet, it was this experience, his salvation, alone that allowed Paul to be of service to God. That’s it; not his appearance, not his eloquence, not his fortitude to withstand bodily punishment, just salvation. That’s all that is necessary for all of us, just salvation; God takes care of everything else we may need.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

its purpose...

February 28, 2012

1 Timothy 1:9-11

v9 understanding this that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient

Have you ever thought you were doing fine, your relationship with your kids is great, you and your spouse are getting along fine, you are even having great moments with God…then…POW!! You read something in God’s word that completely takes you by surprise, and you discover that you weren’t quiet as good as you thought. You are reminded that you are a sinner. You are reminded that there isn’t really any “good” in you! Well, if that’s ever happened to you, great, good, that’s exactly what is supposed to happen; that’s the purpose of His word. That is what it’s there for, and we all need it. We all need it to show us the areas in our lives that we fail; the areas were sin reigns in our lives.

Monday, February 27, 2012

the twisted hunger for power...

February 27, 2012
1 Timothy 1:6-8
V 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses us lawfully

Paul was informing Timothy of some of the things he might encounter in Ephesus. One of those things, of course, was false teachers. These teachers weren’t concerned with anyone’s salvation, lest of all their own. Instead, what ruled their hearts was a selfish desire to be important and right. To accomplish this goal they twisted God’s word to make it fit their purposes. They took what is good and right for instruction and used it to make them seem important. Power is a dangerous thing for anyone; once you have some you want more and more. Your power and the importance of your name become your focus. Paul’s advice to Timothy was to remind him that God’s word is good and useful because it “reflects” God’s will for us as Christians; he reminded Timothy that the law will show them their sin. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

are we right or wrong...

February 24, 2012

1 Timothy 1:3-5

V 5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart from a good conscience, and from sincere faith

How easy it is for us to convince ourselves that our agendas are God’s. No one wants to be wrong or certainly to admit that we are. MacArthur says that our conscience is the “mind’s security system.” Our conscience tells us by using guilt, fear, shame, peace or joy if our actions are right or wrong. Yet, there is danger here if we are so convinced that we are not wrong; if what “we” want is so strong in our minds that it clouds everything else. MacArthur tells us that the “love” mentioned in this verse is one of self-denial for the benefit of others. In other words, what “we” want should never enter into our minds. Instead, we should be focused on others and what “they” want or need. In all things we should examine ourselves to see if we “are in the faith”, and in no other area is this more important that when we are convinced that we are right…because we might be wrong.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

a true son and obedience...

February 23, 2012

1 Timothy 1:1-2

V 2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith:

I am always comforted by Paul’s relationship with Timothy. It shows a side of Paul that makes him more approachable. Paul is an amazing Christian man, whose only desire in life was to point others to Christ. Its was his reason for living. It was his reason for enduring so many hardships. Yet, in this relationship we see how Paul handles the one on one. He loved Timothy like a son and poured out his knowledge of Jesus into him. Only Timothy and Titus are called “true sons” of Paul. He invested his time and energy, of which I’m sure he didn’t have much left over, into these young men. They in turn went on to pastor churches and lead men and women to Christ. Would they have been able to have accomplished this task without Paul? Probably not, for what better teacher could one have than the apostle Paul. Since Paul was faithful to pour his heart and knowledge into Timothy, he in turn could pour his heart into the church at Ephesus. In all areas Paul was faithful to do what was asked of him, are we? Obedience has a ripple effect like stones thrown in a pond; Paul’s obedience in teaching and leading Timothy allowed him to lead and teach the church at Ephesus, which in turn allowed Timothy to influence other believers who in turn influenced others believers…well you get the picture!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

his dwelling place...

February 22, 2012

Psalm 84:1-2 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts, My soul longs, Yes faints, for the courts of the Lord; My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God

One of my favorite verses of scripture; I read in and I am instantly comforted. You can read it and be in His dwelling place, and you can have peace. There are many, many verses in scripture that speak of the glory of God, His righteousness, and His judgment; those are comforting in their own way. Yet, in this verse it’s all about His loving peace that can only be found in His presence; this verse is the comfy blanket you use when you are sick or sad. This is the verse that you pull out when your heart hurts and this world is just too much. This is the verse that takes us to His dwelling place. One day we will enter into His courts and never have to leave.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

He is faithfull...

February 21, 2012

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless He remains faithful…

How happy we should be of this; how happy we should be to know that God’s faithfulness to us is not dependent on us. Our behavior be it good or bad, faithful or faithless, does not determine how much God loves us and is faithful to us. Nope, that is dependent only on Him and who He is and His characteristics. I’m thankful of that today…

Friday, February 17, 2012

beauty from ashes...

February 17, 2012

Isaiah 61:3 to grant to those who morn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of morning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit…

 God is so much bigger than any box we can put Him in. Still we try. We call Him loving—which He is, but He is so much more. Some call Him fearsome—which He is, but still He is so much more. He is all of those things and more put together in a way our human minds cannot comprehend. For some this is unacceptable, that there would be something we could not understand; so they deny His existence or His power. Though we may not understand Him, we can take comfort in knowing that if you are His, He takes care of you. I love this verse; I was reminded of it this past Sunday, and it brings me great comfort. Just like we cannot understand God; we sometimes can’t understand why things happen to us. Yet, this verse is clear that God desires to grow us, to make us more than we are. He takes the things that hurt us and makes them better. Having seen this in my life it is amazing how this happens. God doesn’t desire us to live lives that are painful; He desires us to live lives that honor Him. Only He can make beauty from ashes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

my steps...

February 16, 2012

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand

How glad I am that only God’s Will for my life will stand! I would hate for some of my plans to have really happened. No matter what the plan for my life God has for me, I am confident that it is best for me. For some this is a hard concept, many do not see the comfort of it that I do. Mainly because they want to be in control, yet control is just an illusion that creates anxiety and stress. In faith and trust we find peace.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

praise and requests...

February 15, 2012

Psalm 116:1-2 I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live

This is a wonderful verse, and really one of my favorites. Today, I was convicted about something. There isn’t any doubt that God wants to hear our requests; He wants us to come before Him with the things we need. In fact, His word is clear on this. He desires to meet our needs. However, He desires something else from us also. He desires our praise. I wonder sometimes if I’m not too busy giving my requests to Him that I neglect His praise. There is something sweet to God about His praise on our lips; His word is clear on this as well. I, for one, must do a better job at giving praise with the same speed with which I ask requests.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What I learned...

February 10, 2012

As I finish up Philemon I have come to notice several things about it. Sometimes as we walk the Christian life we are called to do things that are not fun or that we would rather just ignore. Yet, for the best of those around us and for our walk with God we must obey. For Philemon that was forgiving Onesimus, for us it could be something different. However, the same reasons apply to whatever we face. We must put others ahead of us and sometimes that means doing something we didn’t really want to. For us, as Americans, this is a hard concept to grasp, since we live in a “me” society. The thought of doing something against what we want is foreign, but to the Christian it should be the way of life for us.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Paul knew...

February 9, 2012

Philemon 1:24 as do Mark Aristarchus…

Paul deliberately mentioned this name I suppose. He did so because everyone would know of the situation between Paul and John Mark. Once upon a time Paul probably would not have mentioned John Mark’s name in a greeting. The two men had a falling out that is documented in Acts. Paul mentioned this man’s name to remind the Church and Philemon that he had also been required to forgive.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

doing it the right way...

February 7, 2012

Philemon 1:17-21

V 21 having confidence in your obedience I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say

Paul was not afraid to tell people where and when they had done things that were contrary to what God tells us is right. No granted this is the Apostle Paul, and he would of course do this in the right sort of manner. Yet, he still confronted others about their sin because he wanted them to have a relationship with Jesus. He knew that this was important. Now we may be tempted to point out others sin mainly because we want to beat them over the head with their sin, but this isn’t the case with Paul. He sincerely was concerned with Onesimus, Philemon and most importantly the Church. May we be like Paul someone who is concerned with the children of God acting like the children of God and confronting those who do not in a manner that is right.

Monday, February 6, 2012


February 6, 2012

Philemon 1:16-20

V 20 Yes, brother let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord

Have we ever thought that perhaps our actions can bring others joy? Or are we too wrapped up in our own situations to notice the negative or positive effect we could have on those around us? I’d say that it’s mostly the latter; we are generally speaking too caught up in our own drama. Yet, here Paul is telling Philemon that his forgiving Onesimus would have great consequences on those around him. For one, it would make Paul, a prisoner in chains, joyful; he cared for both Onesimus and Philemon and wanted them reconciled. Secondly, his forgiveness would keep the unity in the church at Colosse. I imagine that there were people who took sides in this issue; some who supported Onesimus and some who supported Philemon. The only real way out of this decisive situation is Philemon’s forgiveness. What a decision he had to make?

Friday, February 3, 2012

being more...

February 3, 2012

Philemon 1:15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever

God will always order our lives and the events that shape it in ways that will benefit us. He will always work in our lives to change us, to mold us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Many or I guess most, of those events aren’t fun, and may even require us to move out of our comfort zone. To do something that we would find hard or something that our flesh would rather not do. I’m sure that Philemon never thought he would be called upon by God to forgive someone who had hurt him, yet, here he has to do just that. Yet, in the end Philemon will become more like Christ than he was before.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

making a hard choice...

February 2, 2012

Philemon 1:12-14

V 14 But without your consent I wanted to do nothing

Apparently Onesimus was of great help to Paul while he was in prison. This was a man in whom Paul could depend, and took great comfort being around. Yet, Paul knew that keeping Onesimus while he was still in bondage and owed a debt to Philemon was wrong. He sent Onesimus back to Philemon even when it would have been easier on Paul to keep him. How many times do we make ourselves do the right thing even when it is the hard choice?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

what we once were...

February 1, 2012

Philemon 1:8-11

V 11 who was once unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me

Although Paul realized that Onesimus had indeed hurt Philemon with his thievery, he also realized that the man Philemon had once been was no more. He had been changed by the overwhelming power of salvation; this was a truth that Paul expected Philemon to know. How wonderful it is to realize that once we are saved we are so much more than we were once!