Prayer Is the Greater Work–I Timothy 2

Prayer is an amazing thing.  It allows us to talk to the creator of this amazing universe.  It is an opportunity to recognize our relationship with him, thank him for his provision, make right the sin in our lives and ask whatever we will and have him listen intently.  Not only does God open up the channel of communication, he urges us to use it.  In this passage God calls us to pray for everyone.  We are to pray for our leaders as well as the quiet fellow down the street.

As we pray, if we are honest, we begin to see God doing great things in our lives and in the lives of those around us.  We do not always see the answers we expect, but, we do see the answers in ways we would never have imagined.  What we do notice is that God’s plan unfolds before our very eyes, and, in the end, it has a greater impact than we could ever have imagined.  When we trust him, he cares for us.  He simply asks that we pray without giving up.

Remember, prayer is not the preparation for the greater work, prayer is the greater work

God Bless You

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 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. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 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.

 

 

To Save Sinners-Of Whom I Am The Worst–I Timothy 1 Part 2

Nobody knows me Like God does.  I, like most of us can put on a pretty acceptable front.  I can walk in a way day to day, that would make most think I am a pretty good person.  But, If you could see me like God sees me, like I see myself–well then you would agree I am one of the worst among sinners.  But , the great news is that God does see us for who we are and he loves us anyway.

His love for us is not to be confused with license to sin.  He neither condones or ignores our sin.  But, he demonstrated his love for us-in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That is both a comfort and a charge.  He accepts for who we are, but transforms us into his image.  In that transformation, we are compelled to walk with him and lead others to him.  Then, he not only saves us, but also those whose lives we touch–all to his glory. 

I am the worst sinner in the bunch, make no mistake, but, Christ is working to conform me into his image and use me to lead others into his kingdom.

God Bless You

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.

The Goal is Love–I Timothy 1 part 1

 

So many in the faith try hard to do the right things.  They read his word, they pray and they serve.  They do these things so that they can honor God.  No ill intent, no alterior motive.  But, as time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to remember that the reason we want to honor God is because of the love we have for him—a love based upon the amazing sacrifice he has made for us.  As we celebrated Easter—we remembered his death and resurrection that moves us from the dead to the living.  We love him for that and desire to follow and honor him with our lives.

The sadness comes when we forget.  When we do the things our faith calls for simply for compliance sake.  We somehow make it about us—not about him.  We blush a bit when told about how well we pray or serve.  We act embarrassed when chosen to do highly visible tasks for the church.  But, inside we become proud. We feel more spiritual and we feel bad for those poor sinners that just don’t get it.  WELL, that made Jesus furious while he walked among us and it breaks his heart still today.  What we say, What we know and what we do—if not done for love of the Lord, is simply worthless—I Corinthians 13:1-4, makes that abundantly clear.

We set our sights on what is ahead—eternity with him and while here we speak, learn and do all we do to glorify him.  We walk humbly knowing that, like David, we are one afternoon nap away from throwing a lifetime of faithful service in the dumpster– if we think we can do Christianity without God’s leading.  We walk with confidence, only we do it in his shadow and by his leading.

God Bless You

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 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

 

 

Keep Moving–2 Thes 2 part 1

We are constantly hoping for Christ’s return.  In this life, we face challenges, trials and temptations that make staying here more of a chore than a pleasure.  As our culture continues to remove God from all aspects and replace it with self or other created things, we see continued chaos and despair.  We wonder about the world we are leaving for our kids and pray Christ will return soon.

Take heart–Christ is still in charge.  He still loves us and provides, prepares and protects us until we either join him or he returns.  He gives us the strength to face the journey we are taking and the hope of spending eternity with him.  But, we simply cannot sit around and wait for the sign of his coming back.  We must live each day to honor him  and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of his gospel.  When he returns, it will be obvious–we have not missed it.  But, we cannot live as though that is all that matters.  Help me, Lord to live in a way that honors you and prepares me for your return.

God Bless You

 

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Pushing Through– 2 Thessalonians 1

Endurance and faithfulness are the keys to living an amazing life with God.  We do not have to be Martyrs, we do not have to be missionaries in Borneo–we simply have to serve the Lord faithfully through good and bad times.  While that may sound a bit routine, it is the most wonderful gift we can give.  Our faithfulness allows us to affect so many lives among believers and the world.  They see God with us in every circumstance and that gives hope to the hopeless and vision to those blind to spiritual things.

In addition, our faithfulness completes our own spiritual growth.  Marathon runners talk about pushing through the latter miles even in spots where all things within them say quit.  “The Wall” has ended the race for many a long distance runner.  But those that remain faithful and push through it speak of the second wind that almost feels like gliding.  The exuberance of the latter completely dissolves the pain of the wall. It is the same with our journey. When we see Christ at work, we can only rejoice–even in trials. It makes us mature and gives us depth to face whatever circumstance he deems necessary in our walk.  Help me Lord, to push through the wall and make you proud.

God Bless You

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,[b] and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring…With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ

He Who Calls You is Faithful–I Thes 5 Final

Paul’s final instruction to the Thessalonians was two-fold—Live well and allow God to provide what he requires.  Paul listed the reqirements—1.  Acknowledge those that work hard  2. Live at peace with each other  3. Set a work ethic  4. Encourage the discouraged  5.  Help the weak and 6. Be patient with everyone—in summary, do good for others and not evil (even if they deserve it) This instruction is very counter to the culture, but very practical for a life of peace.

The Second instruction, however, is life changing—He who calls you is faithful and he will do it.  It is liberating once we realize that If God wants us to do something he will provide the means and the tools to do it.  Like any father, Our Lord—would never set us up to fail.  But, we have to trust him and allow him to make the provision.  Too often, we ask him to provide and then press forward without waiting for him to do so.  One of the great verses in the old testament is Isaiah 40:31—Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.  What a Promise!!! What a Lord!

God Bless You

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

 

Like a Thief in the Night–I Thesalonians 5 Part 1

The world will be dumbfounded. Everything was so secure.  Everything so predictable, until it wasn’t! When our Lord returns, it will be a big deal. Nothing could prepare those who failed to believe.  It will be as in the time of Noah–After generations of warnings, the body of Christ will be gone and the vestiges of Godliness removed.  All peace will be gone.  And the opposite of peace, Chaos will be the order of the day.

But we who know him should be prepared.  We will not be afraid.  We will see the signs and rejoice upon his return–if we are fortunate to be there. In the meanwhile, like Noah, we should live lives that are prepared to leave. We cannot hold tightly to this world or its trappings, but instead we must walk as though we can leave it all behind. When Abraham raised the knife to Sacrifice Isaac, it was the moment that Abraham knew that God was enough.  God calls us to lay everything we have on the alter–not so he can deprive us of it, but so he can free us from enslavement to it.  do not be surprised or live as though he will never return.  Be ready!

God Bless You

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

Heaven Is For Real–I Thes 4 Part 4

We are so fortunate to have a Lord that loves us and gives us an abundant life on earth.  As we follow Him, He protects, provides and leads us toward an eternity with him.  As we journey, there are so many daily circumstances that keep us focused on the earthly life we live.  But, the hope of Glory–an eternity in Heaven is the goal.  We speak often of an eternal perspective, but, without believing in the truth of eternity, it seems very for away.

Heaven–A place with no worries–all day with Jesus, no pain, no sin and the joy of being with him in the way we were created to be.  Sin has marred the ability we have to both understand ands communicate with our Lord.  We have to trust that he listens and leads us by his spirit.  When we join him in heaven, we will see him face to face.  We will finally, truly know him.

This life–with its trials, joys and daily adventures both clouds and distracts us from what is yet to come.  That is why Paul said to set our hearts and minds on things above.  Help me Lord to keep an eternal perspective.

God Bless You

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Loving One Another–I Thessalonians 4 part 2

Jesus said it best–They will know you are my disciples by how you love one another.  There is no better testimony of how we walk with the Lord–than how we behave in life and how we treat others.  People evaluate God by how we behave.  It is probably not fair to God to have us as his testimonial, but it is a great joy to know that a dose of kindness and acts of selflessness are as important as a great crusade in winning others to Christ.

When we remember that we are a family and treat others as such, we stand out as dramatically different in this self-driven culture.  In addition, we experience so much less drama if we are able to release our tight grip on our rights and our stuff.  This is simply not our home.  The trappings of this world, while seductive, do not last and do not bring fulfillment.  Like most folks passing through, we should seem like we are not from around here.  But, we should also represent our home with pride and joy.

Let’s wave the Lord’s banner of Love and selflessness on this the week he waved it for us!

God Bless You

 

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Living A Holy Life–I Thesalonians 4 part 1

There is a constant tension in the family of God regarding living under grace and doing good works.  Many feel that by living a holy life, they are earning their way into Heaven.  Others argue, that our salvation–since a gift, entitles us to live any way we want. Both answers are absolutely inaccurate.  While salvation is a gift, being part of the family of God imparts a responsibility to honor God with our lives.  We are to be new creations with a desire to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

In simple terms, we walk through life being controlled by God and not by our urges and desires. Our hearts and thoughts should be turned toward the eternal, not toward our tummies and toys.  We treat others with respect and humility–seeking to be selfless in all that we do.  None of these choices are to buy salvation–no, they are simply signs that we have already been saved.  Make no mistake, we are called to live holy and peaceful lives. We are given the tools and spirit to guide us.  We must simply choose to follow the Lord on this Amazing Journey.

God Bless You

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.