Tag Archives: Paul

Job 24

Trust in The Light

I don’t have much to say about the twenty-fourth chapter of Job. However, the following verse did stick out to me and made think about The Light.

Those who fight against the light do not know God’s ways or stay in his paths. – Job 24:13

The Apostle Paul called Christians Children of the Light.

For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. – 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Jesus also called those who believe in the light Children of the Light.

Believe in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light. – John 12:36

When Simeon prayed to God, while holding the baby Jesus, he had the following to say about him.

He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel! – Luke 2:32

Jesus later identified himself as the light of the world.

Jesus said to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” – John 8:12

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness. – John 12:46

So I see that Jesus himself is the light. And if I believe in him I am his child.

Father, thank you for lighting my dark world with the light of Christ. May I live my life as a child of the light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Come into the Light. Jan

Job 19

Disqualified

I recently read in the news how a South African female runner, Caster Semenya, was in the process of being stripped of her World Championship gold medals. There is some doubt as to whether or not she is really female. Marion Jones, an American runner in the 2000 Sydney Olympics was stripped of all five of her Olympic medals due to use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. And more recently Rashid Ramzi of Morocco was stripped of the gold medal he won in the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the same charge as Jones. There is a currently a dark cloud over Semenya while Jones and Ramzi are disqualified and disgraced.

He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. – Job 19:9

Job was stripped of his honor, his crown removed. He was disgraced. However, unlike the athletes above, he did nothing to merit his disqualification.

All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:25-27

It would seem at we too are in a race, one that must be run according to specific rules.

Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize. – 2 Timothy 2:5

When we do run the race described by Paul, according to the rules, we win a prize.

God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

The crown of life, and more importantly the honor of being in God’s presence – his hall of fame – are the reward for a race well run.

Father, thank you for setting the course before me. May I run with endurance, lawfully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m qualifying. Jan

Philemon

Mercy Drops

There is an old hymn named “Showers of Blessing”. The words are:

Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need.
Mercy drops ’round us are falling,
but for the showers we plead.

In my teens my Pastor’s grandson, Tony, was my best-friend; so I spent much time in and around the “Parsonage” (Pastor’s house for those who don’t speak Southern.) Pastor Roy Miller was a merry heart and loved pranks, stories, and jokes – when appropriate. I remember one day that Tony and I were playing indoors and I overheard him singing the following song.

Showers of money, showers of money we need.
Nickels and dimes ’round us are falling,
But for the the green-backs we plead.

As I was reading the book of Philemon I noticed that Paul was euphemistically referencing the topic of giving.

I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. – Philemon 1:7

How would a slave-owner (a wealthy man) refresh the hearts of God’s people? The answer is by supplying their material needs.

While in prison, Paul was responsible for a runaway slave named Onesimus coming to the Lord. This slave was owned by Philemon.

Roman law was quite severe when it came to runaway slaves.

Runaway slaves were branded on the forehead with letters denoting the slave as a runaway (FUG) which was an abbreviation of “fugitivus,” meaning “runaway”. The deliberate breaking of the joints or bones was also a punishment inflicted on runaway slaves.

So, after praising Philemon, Paul went on to ask for a Shower of Blessing from his friend and child in the Lord.

He is no longer just a slave; he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, give him the same welcome you would give me if I were coming. – Philemon 1:16-17

This is no nickel and dime request. No, Paul is asking for green-backs. He is asking for Philemon to forgive a great debt.

If he has harmed you in any way or stolen anything from you, charge me for it. I, Paul, write this in my own handwriting: “I will repay it.” And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul! – Philemon 1:18-19

How much is a soul worth?

Church history goes on to show that Onesimus was welcomed and the matter was forgiven.

Due to this letter from Paul, Philemon indeed accepted Onesimus as a brother and freed him of slavery. Onesimus was later appointed as bishop of Ephesus following the Apostle Timothy. – Wikipedia.org

I suspect that I’ll never be called upon to make such a huge financial decision for the kingdom of Christ. But should that happen, I pray that I’ll be like Philemon and remember the price that was paid for my soul.

Lord, thank you for showers of blessing. May I never forget them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Green-backs please. Jan

Titus 2

God, Jesus, the Bible

Most Sundays, as we drive home from church we’ll ask the boys what their lesson was about in the youth service. Their answer is usually something like, “God, Jesus, the Bible.” Informative huh? Well at least the 40,000 foot view is the correct one. A bit more detail would be nice.

Sometimes though we don’t need much more detail. We just need to look in the Bible to see what is plainly written there. One question that has often been asked is why do we say that Jesus is God? One very clear answer is in the verse below.

We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. – Titus 2:12b-13

Who’s glorious revelation is Paul telling Titus to look forward to? Our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

What do you know? I guess the answer is God, Jesus, and the Bible; because Jesus is God, the Bible told me so.

Father, thank you that Paul spelled it out so clearly to Titus. May I not get too bogged down in details of unimportance, and truly look forward to your glorious appearing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What was your lesson about? Jan

2 Timothy 3

Exposed

Recently I was in a local courtroom where a man who asserts that he is a Christian, that he does not lie, and that he reads his bible at least one hour every morning, was testifying.  When you first meet him you think he is a holy man; he says the right words and even performs many of the right actions. He spends a lot of time on the internet in various forums and blogs trying to teach other Christians “the truth”. He does not get away with it for long. If you spend any time with him you quickly recognize him as a fool with a depraved mind and a counterfeit faith.

During the 15 minute hearing he was proven, with evidence, that he was lying under oath at three separate times! When caught, he countered that he didn’t have his calendar with him. Yet he was the one who instigated the court action because of dates, times, and places. He stated his lies quite authoritatively and didn’t make the calendar excuse until he was proven to be lying. Court was exactly where his calendar should have been, he knew that. Truly pathetic.

I think the following verses, and parts of the ones that I didn’t list, explain him. Paul predicted to Timothy that in the last days there would be guys like him.

They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good.
They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that.
And these teachers fight the truth just as Jannes and Jambres fought against Moses. Their minds are depraved, and their faith is counterfeit. But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as happened with Jannes and Jambres.
– 2 Timothy 3:3, 5, 8-9

They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good.

They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that.

And these teachers fight the truth just as Jannes and Jambres fought against Moses. Their minds are depraved, and their faith is counterfeit. But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as happened with Jannes and Jambres. – 2 Timothy 3:3, 5, 8-9

His mind is so depraved that he thinks he lost the court case because the judge was a woman. He does not connect the fact that he perjured himself and could have been sentenced for that crime as contributing to his loss. He is a fool and everyone recognized him as such, including the judge.

Lord, please have mercy on this man. He needs to truly come to know the real Jesus, not the one his warped mind has fashioned. Please do whatever it takes to save him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Please stop fighting the truth. Jan

2 Timothy 2

Pure

Interesting how we measure things in different levels of purity. Depending on the thing being discussed, some level of impurity may not be at all harmful or blemishing. However, once you pass a certain threshold it becomes spoiled or impure.

For example, to be considered pure gold, the metal must be 24 karat. That means that only .1% can be some other substance. In China, pure gold is called “Chuk Kam” and can have up to 1% impurity.

There are at least 12 different purity standards for water. And air quality is measured in how many airborne allergens and pollutants it contains. For instance, HEPA filters must remove at least 99.97% of 0.3 micrometre in size airborne pollutants to receive that designation. So depending on the application, purity has many definitions.

I noticed that Paul was referring to several types of purity when he wrote to Timothy.

Pure Teaching

You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others. – 2 Timothy 2:2

He’s telling Timothy to ensure that the truth is not messed with – teach it to trustworthy people.

Pure Activity

And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army. Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize. – 2 Timothy 2:4-5

Paul tells Timothy to focus on doing things God’s way, doing only that which he’s directed to do. He is not to cut corners or do half-hearted work.

Pure Message

Never forget that Jesus Christ was a man born into King David’s family and that he was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach – 2 Timothy 2:8

Sometimes the simplest things escape us. The purity of the message is that Jesus was born a man – like us. He died, and was resurrected. And because he was like us, and he was resurrected, we can be too. That is Paul’s good news – the good news he wants Timothy to teach.

Pure Speech

Remind everyone of these things, and command them in God’s name to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.

Avoid godless, foolish discussions that lead to more and more ungodliness.

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. – 2 Timothy 2:14, 16, 23

It is so easy to get caught up in useless arguments. “What about people who never heard about Jesus?” Answer, “Um, good question. But you have heard about Jesus, so what are you going to do now that you know the truth?” These types of questions and arguments, unless avoided, mire us in unprofitable activity and dilute the purity of the message.

Pure Passion & Pure Hearted Companions

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. – 2 Timothy 2:22

There is a reason why Paul tied together fleeing youthful lusts, pursuing faith, love, and peace, with pure companions. It is because when we are in the company of like-minded others it is tremendously easier to do those very things described earlier.

Pure Kindness

The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth – 2 Timothy 2:24-25

Being gentle and kind to those that are in need of Jesus is a hallmark of Christian behavior. Notice that it isn’t restricted to people we get along with. Paul instructs patience and gentleness with difficult people too.

Purity on many different fronts is the marching order from Paul to Timothy and to us. It must be attainable or he wouldn’t have wasted time putting pen to parchment.

Father, these can be pretty tall orders for some of us. I know I struggle in some of these areas. Please grant me the purity I need, in the areas I need, to be an effective servant of yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pure Love. Jan

2 Timothy 1

The Manual

Years ago there was a TV show named The Greatest American Hero. The premise was that a school teacher, named Ralph Hinkley, was given a “super-power” suit by some aliens. Well, he promptly lost the manual. So, he does good, but albeit he is a tad bumbling since he doesn’t really know all that his new suit can do.

In reading about Timothy I see that he has put on his new God-suit and is doing all sorts of good. But unlike Ralph Hinkley, Timothy has the manual.

Follow the pattern of true teachings that you heard from me in faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus. Protect the truth that you were given; protect it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. – 2 Timothy 1:13-14

He has a “pattern”, a set of directions, that guide his actions. This pattern of instruction is so important, like the manual given to Ralph, that he is told to protect it. In fact he is told twice in the same sentence to protect it.

If it is that important, perhaps I need to do some more digging into what that particular “pattern of teaching” really looks like.

Father, please help me to learn and protect the pattern of true teachings that you allow to be revealed to me. May I not carelessly lose them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Time to put on the “magic jammies”. (A line from the show) Jan

1 Timothy 6

Foolish Questions

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? This question can actually be found in a slightly modified form in Richard Baxter’s tract, “Reasons of the Christian Religion” written in 1667. I think the following is my favorite answer to this foolish question.

“Nowadays only four angels can dance there. Formerly there was no limit, but OSHA passed the Angel Safety Law recently, which also requires that the pin must be inspected twice each year for structural defects.”

As Proverbs states, answer a fool according to his folly.

One of my favorite foolish questions is, “Can God create a rock so heavy that He cannot move it?”

Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. – 1 Timothy 6:20

In my experience, questions like the one about the rock are thrown out by knaves who lack a true desire for a relationship with God. They merely want to talk about him rather than with him. As Paul wisely told Timothy, avoid those types of foolish discussions. They are a waste of time.

Father, please give me the wisdom to see when I’m being baited into a foolish discussion. May I know how to either move it into a more fruitful area of conversation or end it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

And for the record. God cannot make a rock so big He cannot move it. There can only be one absolute. Either God is all-powerful, or the rock is. You can’t have both.

Don’t waste time, you never get it back. Jan

1 Timothy 5

Don’t be hasty

“Haste makes waste.” I’ve heard this expression most of my life. As an adult I learned the phrase, “Measure twice, cut once.” It is referring to carpentry and directly ties in to “Haste makes waste”, since if I don’t measure something right before cutting it, I may end up with something too short, have to throw it out, and then need to purchase another piece of wood.

Earlier this year I helped my cousin purchase a large-screen TV for his home. He had picked out a vacated bookcase shelf for the new plasma or LCD unit. Unfortunately I trusted his measurements rather than checking them myself. The TV that we purchased was about 10 inches narrower than the shelf. There is a lot of wasted space on either side of the unit that could have been filled with viewable screen. Sigh… I guess it could have been worse, it could have been too large. Pity though that we were not more careful.

Last year in my men’s group, Wildmen, there were several guys eager to have a young Christian step-up to more leadership responsibility. The following principle kept rattling about in my brain and I voiced my concerns.

An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall. – 1 Timothy 3:6

Never be in a hurry about appointing an elder. Do not participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. – 1 Timothy 5:22

Despite my reservations, he was put into a position of leadership. I’m not saying he was engaged in any open sin, but his immaturity exposed some wounds, offense resulted, and damage control had to be performed. All because we were hasty. It has taken some time, and things are now better. But it was a situation that should not have happened in the first place.

This does not relate to the situation above, but in looking at the second passage a bit further, it appears to me that Paul is tying the not being hasty to sin and purity. I suspect it is because if someone is put into a position of leadership too quickly, there has not been sufficient time to determine who he really is inside. What is lurking in there? And by putting him in charge of others, we make them participants in his sin if there is any.

I believe that is why Paul gave the following instruction.

Before they are appointed as deacons, they should be given other responsibilities in the church as a test of their character and ability. If they do well, then they may serve as deacons. – 1 Timothy 3:10

In our microwave, fax, text-message, cell-phone, culture, we want things immediately. Rarely are we required to wait for anything; and when we do wait we are annoyed, or outright angry at being forced to do so. However, haste does make waste. We need to be like another metaphor of Paul’s.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

The key is endurance, persevering. This is a long-term perspective, not a short term one.

Father, may I think twice and act once. Please give me the wisdom needed to not be hasty. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Slow and steady wins the race. Jan

1 Timothy 4

Atrophy

The word atrophy is defined as:

Disuse atrophy of muscles (muscle atrophy) and bones, with loss of mass and strength, can occur after prolonged immobility, such as extended bedrest, or having a body part in a cast (living in darkness for the eye, bedridden for the legs etc.). This type of atrophy can usually be reversed with exercise unless severe. – Wikipedia.org

My son Caleb has has several casts on his ankles in the last few years due to injuries. Each time a cast comes off, there is a painful time of remobilization that has to happen. His muscles have atrophied to some degree. But what if the cast was not take off for months, or years? the muscles would atrophy to the point where they could no longer be revived. They would have wasted away to virtually nothing.

Notice how Paul directs Timothy to spend his time and energy.

Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. – 1 Timothy 4:7b-8

I wonder how many Christians who came to know Christ years ago are now spiritually wasted away to virtually nothing?

For those of us who do want to receive a reward in this life and the next, what does spiritual exercise look like? I suspect that writing this, in some small way, is part of that spiritual fitness training. But what else is there? I’m not sure, but I want to know.

Lord, thank you for giving me a mind and body that can be useful to your service. May I train both in such a way that I attain your rewards. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Join me in God’s gym. Jan

1 Timothy 2

Deluded

I wonder, are you among those men who seem surprised when a police officer pulls you over for speeding? After all, it isn’t like your car doesn’t have a speedometer, and it isn’t like the speed-limit isn’t posted. Perhaps since so many others break the law, you have been deceived into thinking that it is not enforced and thereby moot.

In reading the following scripture I wonder if something similar didn’t enter Adam’s mind.

And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. – 1 Timothy 2:14

However, Paul omits a key piece of information in this brief passage. Look at the account of this transgression in Genesis.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. – Genesis 3:6

Her husband, Adam, was with her!

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – James 4:17

When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. – Ezekiel 33:8

Adam was right there. He knew what the right thing, the good thing, to do was. He did nothing to stop Eve from sinning.

Eve might have been deceived, but Adam was deluded into thinking that God was not going to act. Perhaps Adam even used her as the food-taster. “Hmm, she didn’t drop dead. I guess it is OK to eat the fruit after all…”

Frankly, Adam sinned first, and in greater measure. It was his responsibility to care for everything in Eden, including his wife. He stood right there, watched what was happening, and did nothing!

How often am I deluded into thinking that my actions don’t have consequences simply because they are not immediate? How about you?

Father, please forgive me for my presumptuous sins. May I live my daily life with an eye to eternity, doing what brings you glory and pleasure. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Don’t be deluded. Jan

1 Timothy 1

Unsealed Orders

During WWII my grandmother, then in a German slave-labor camp with her family, was given sealed-orders to bring to the commander of a different camp to which she and her family were being transferred. Her maiden name was Hoffman and she was trying to convince them that she was of German descent. Non-Germans were often worked to death, whereas those of German origin were treated less harshly.

Prior to arriving at the other camp my grandmother carefully steamed the envelope open, unsealing the orders. They stated that if the commander was not fully satisfied that she and her family were German, they should be taken out and immediately executed.

In reading Paul’s letter to Timothy I noticed some unsealed-orders.

Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they give you the confidence to fight well in the Lord’s battles. – 1 Timothy 1:18

Paul gave him instructions that were going to be crucial in aiding Timothy in the great war in which he was engaged. So what were those orders that inspired confidence to fight well?

  • Don’t let people waste time in spiritual arguments. – 1 Timothy 1:4
  • Cling tightly to faith in Christ. – 1 Timothy 1:19
  • Always keep a clear conscience. – 1 Timothy 1:19
  • Pray for everyone. – 1 Timothy 2:1
  • Plead for God’s mercy for everyone – 1 Timothy 2:1
  • Give thanks. – 1 Timothy 2:1
  • Pray with actions, not just words. – 1 Timothy 2:8
  • Pray free from anger and controversy. – 1 Timothy 2:8
  • Be faithful. – 1 Timothy 3:2
  • Be self-controlled – 1 Timothy 3:2
  • Live well. – 1 Timothy 3:2
  • Cultivate a good reputation. 1 Timothy 3:2
  • Be hospitable. – 1 Timothy 3:2
  • Be a capable teacher. – 1 Timothy 3:2
  • Be temperate (not a drunkard). – 1 Timothy 3:3
  • Be gentle – peace loving. – 1 Timothy 3:3
  • Not motivated by money. – 1 Timothy 3:3
  • Manage your family well. – 1 Timothy 3:4
  • Don’t be prideful. – 1 Timothy 3:6
  • Have integrity. – 1 Timothy 3:8
  • Be responsible. – 1 Timothy 3:10
  • Receive everything with a thankful heart. – 1 Timothy 4:4-5
  • Don’t waste time in arguments. – 1 Timothy 4:7
  • Exercise both physically and even more spiritually. – 1 Timothy 4:8
  • Work hard, suffer if you must. – 1 Timothy 4:10
  • Teach others; insist they learn. – 1 Timothy 4:11
  • Your youth is not an obstacle. – 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Be an example in; life, love, faith, and purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Encourage others by teaching them from the scriptures. – 1 Timothy 4:13
  • Be enthusiastic in your mission. – 1 Timothy 4:15
  • Let others see your progress. – 1 Timothy 4:15
  • Check regularly to ensure you don’t stray from the truth. – 1 Timothy 4:16
  • Never speak harshly to elders. – 1 Timothy 5:1
  • Speak to younger men as you would your own brothers. – 1 Timothy 5:1
  • Treat older women as you would your mother. – 1 Timothy 5:2
  • Treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters. – 1 Timothy 5:2
  • Ensure that true widows’ needs are met. – 1 Timothy 5:3-7
  • Those who work hard for God should be paid for their work. – 1 Timothy 5:17-18
  • Unless there are 2 or 3 witnesses, do not listen to accusations against leaders. – 1 Timothy 5:19
  • Publicly rebuke those who sin. – 1 Timothy 5:20
  • Be impartial, no favoritism. – 1 Timothy 5:21
  • Take your time in appointing leaders, don’t be hasty. – 1 Timothy 5:22
  • Don’t take part in other people’s sin – stay pure. – 1 Timothy 5:22
  • Take your medicine. Being sick doesn’t help anyone. – 1 Timothy 5:23
  • Workers should honor their employers by working hard. – 1 Timothy 6:1-2
  • Teach these truths to others and encourage others to obey them. – 1 Timothy 6:2
  • If your material needs are being met, be content. – 1 Timothy 6:7-8
  • Don’t let money tempt you and derail you. – 1 Timothy 6:9-10
  • Run from evil things. – 1 Timothy 6:11
  • Pursue, run after, a godly life. – 1 Timothy 6:11
  • Continue to fight God’s battle. – 1 Timothy 6:12
  • Hold tightly to what you’ve come to believe. – 1 Timothy 6:12
  • In purity obey Christ Jesus’ commands! – 1 Timothy 6:13
  • Trust the living God. – 1 Timothy 6:17
  • Know that God richly gives you everything you need for enjoyment. – 1 Timothy 6:18
  • Tell the wealthy to use their money to do good. – 1 Timothy 6:17-19
  • Guard what God has entrusted you with. – 1 Timothy 6:20
  • Avoid foolish godless foolish discussions with those who think they are wise. – 1 Timothy 6:20

Wow, what a list! And I’ve probably missed some.

Father, thank you for inspiring Paul to write this. Please help me to make this part of my life as Timothy did. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

And yes, my grandmother did convince the German commander. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Jan

Romans 16

Mission Possible

I used to watch the TV series Mission Impossible. I think every episode started with a tape recording device playing an assignment for the team to undertake. The last thing you would hear from the tapes was, “This tape will self-destruct in 10 seconds. Good luck Jim.” Jokingly, I used to change that to, “This tape will self-destruct, you have 10 seconds to reach minimum safe distance of 3 miles. Good luck Jim.”

I’ve been entrusted with a secret mission. One that my creator planned from the founding of the world.

God is able to make you strong, just as the Good News says. It is the message about Jesus Christ and his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. – Romans 16:25

My mission is to tell the world about Jesus. Yet some people won’t believe. In fact some people will oppose me and even lie about me and the message. Just like the self-destructing tape, these people are destined for self-destruction. I’m commanded to keep a safe distance from them.

And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. – Romans 16:17

Unless you want to be in the blast radius when God deals with them, follow Paul’s instructions and stay away.

Father, thank you for entrusting me with the mission. May I do my part well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Good Luck, Jan

Romans 15

Just as I am

The hymn “Just as I am” is a salvation classic (if there is such a term). I would venture to guess that more people have come to Christ hearing that song play than any other in all of recorded history. It was written by a woman named Charlotte Elliot in 1835.

“An elderly man asked Charlotte Elliott if she were a Christian; she felt insulted, and told him to mind his own affairs. But after the man left, she could not get the question off her mind, and she went back to ask the man how to find Christ. He told her to come just as she was. She did, and wrote the beautiful song, “Just As I Am.” – By B. A. Scherr”

I wonder if Charlotte Elliot had any idea of how far her song would go when she wrote it ?

The title of that song came to me as I was reading the following verse from Paul.

So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified. – Romans 15:7

What kind of person was I at the point Christ accepted me? What kind of person were you? Did you have your life cleaned up, no issues, no problems, no hangups, no idiosyncracies, no prejudices, no sins, no faults?

Or were you like me, a person deserving of hell?

If we’re honest, we all were. Yet Christ accepted us.

Paul very clearly says in the verse above, that just as Christ accepted me, I’m to accept others. That means before they are clean, whole, and holy I am to accept them. Just as they are. And when I do, I bring glory to God. Why? Because I’m behaving like his son; I look like his son and thereby reveal God’s glory.

Father, may I be more like Jesus every day. Please give me that desire deep within that cannot be contained. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Without one plea… Jan

Romans 14

I’m not God

It is so easy to fall into the trap of judging or condemning someone else. They may not be doing work the way that I think it should be done. They might simply be sitting around… Paul had some rather blunt words for people who are quick to judge.

Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should. – Romans 14:4

Although Paul is specifically speaking about eating certain types of foods, and observing or celebrating certain days, the principle holds for nearly everything in life. To emphasize the fact, he reiterated the point one more time.

So why do you condemn another Christian? Why do you look down on another Christian? Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say,

‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow to me
and every tongue will confess allegiance to God.’

Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God. So don’t condemn each other anymore. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian’s path.  – Romans 14:10-13

Since I’m not God, I have no right to decide how one of his servants is doing as long as they are not in outright sin. However, if I am entrusted with leadership over someone, then delgated authority comes into play and I am commanded to exercise the authority invested in me by Christ.

It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your job to judge those inside the church who are sinning in these ways. – 1 Corinthians 5:12

It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin. It is our job to ensure that the sin is not contaminating the rest of the body of believers.

Father, may I know when to shut-up and when to speak; when to act and when to watch. Please give me wisdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m just me. Jan

Romans 13

Love

I know a man who recently posted the following on his web blog. It was about the subject of love.

“What is the TEST” to see if they are really Christians…? Or Not…? Is it ‘Love’… or is it… “Truth?”

Is it “Love”… or is it… “Belief in the Total Authority of the Word of God… that Identifies a “Real Christian”… a believer in “Christ Jesus”…?  I believe that the Teaching of the Word of God… identifies that one… by their… “Validity of the Authority of The Word of God!”

Yes, the strange capitalization and punctuation are his; I did not embellish or alter anything. He is a rather unusual man who, whether he knows it or not, revealed the true problem with his belief system in the above sentences. He does not understand love, nor does he truly intimately know the author of love. If he did, his relationship would not be based on works of law, but on works of love. Paul wrote about works of love in Romans 13. In fact he called it our debt.

Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting—and any other commandment—are all summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God’s requirements. – Romans 13:8-10

Did you catch that last statement? Love satisfies all of God’s requirements. Period.

Jesus said something very similar.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. – Matthew 22:38-40

I used the King James Version because I love the symbolism of the word “hang”. Loving God, and Loving People are like two nails, or pegs which up hold the entirety of the law on a shelf or dangling from a rope. If you pull a nail or peg out, the shelf comes crashing down. Now, notice that it isn’t just some ephemeral love. It is specific. Jesus said to love God with all we’ve got, heart, soul, and mind. And we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

We don’t serve God out of duty or a compulsion to fulfill the obligations of the law. No, we serve out of love for him. Likewise, if I love someone in the same way I love myself, I do not want that person harmed. I want to see good for them, which includes knowing Christ as their savior. By doing this, I’m upholding all of the law in the process.

Father, may I show love, your love, to everyone. Please give me the grace and courage to do so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, and love some more. Jan