Archive for : September, 2020

09.30.20

09.30.20

Isaiah 1
Isaiah 2
Isaiah 3
2 Timothy 4:9-22

As I read through the passages from Isaiah I was taken by an example very appropriate for us.  First, Isaiah penned the words of the Lord regarding just “going through the motions” of worship:

Isaiah 1: !
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
    what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
    of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
    in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
    who has asked this of you,
    this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
    Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
    I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.

And then Isaiah wrote what the Lord really wants us to do – put our faith into actions:

Isaiah 1:

Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
    stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

09.29.20

09.29.20

Song of Solomon 7
Song of Solomon 8
2 Timothy 4:1-8

If you are like me you have read books translated from their native language (I think of Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserable.”)  And while the translation is perfect for the content you can miss the “emotion” conveyed in the original wording.  As I read Paul’s instructions to Timothy I wondered how much emotion I was missing from the original Greek?  I ask this because even in the English translation you can almost “feel” Paul’s heart. 

He knows that the end of his life is near and, Lord willing, we will all be able to echo one of his final thoughts:

2 Timothy 4:  For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fightI have finished the raceI have kept the faithNow there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

09.28.20

09.28.20

Song of Solomon   4
Song of Solomon   5
Song of Solomon   6
2 Timothy 3

Have ever found yourself considering that the times we live in are uniquely immoral and rebellious with non-believers living terrible lives of sin?  Often, we hear people blame today’s “society” for this sinful nature. But when you read Paul’s instructions to Timothy you see that these times have been with the church from the beginning – they are not unique and we have no basis to blame today’s “society.”

2 Timothy 3: But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

And Paul’s instruction to the church remain the same – stay away from and “have nothing to do” (become entrapped” with the behavior of these people.

09.27.20

09.27.20

Song of Solomon  1
Song of Solomon   2
Song of Solomon   3
2 Timothy 2:14-25

Within the Body there are many “fine points” of scripture about which we may disagree.  And in today’s reading we see Paul counsel Timothy on such occasions of disagreement.  Unity of the Body is far more important that a “victory” on a nebulous point.2 Timothy 223 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

09.26.20

09.26.20

Eccles. 10
Eccles. 11
Eccles. 12
2 Timothy  2:1-13

2 Timothy 2:   Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

In my mind Paul uses several “metaphors” in these verses to describe a single concept.  Like a soldier, like an athlete, like a farmer we must all be focused on our mission – no distractions, no departure from what we know is true, no failure to do hard work.  And, then, like the farmer we will receive an abundant reward!  AMEN

09.25.20

09.25.20

Eccles. 7
Eccles. 8
Eccles. 9
2 Timothy 1

As you read 2 Timothy please keep in mind that many scholars feel that this is the last book written by Paul before his execution.  As such, it contains many personal instructions for the young man, Timothy.  In today’s reading I think you can hear Paul plead for Timothy to remain faithful to sound teaching:

2 Timothy 1: 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

09.24.20

09.24.20

Take Time to Reflect on the Impact of the Scriptures You Have Read …

09.23.20

09.23.20

Eccles. 4
Eccles. 5
Eccles. 6
1 Timothy 6

2 Timothy 6:  20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.

Coffman writes that “These entire two verses, according to White, ‘may be considered a summary of the whole epistle.’”

Note that this is the role of all believers – test teachings and guard what we know is the truth.  Stay in the Word and be bold when it is challenged. 

09.22.20

09.22.20

Eccles. 1
Eccles. 2
Eccles. 3
1 Timothy 5

To me Ecclesiastes chapter 3 is among the most beautifully written passages in scripture – not only for the lyrical use of the words but, more so, for the reality of the summary. 

Ecclesiastes 3: 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet, no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

The Lord is in control and while we may not fully understand how, he has made (and maintains) “beautiful in its time” & sat “eternity in the human heart.”  We are made for eternity, not just for the minuscule time we are on this earth.

09.21.20

09.21.20

Proverbs 30
Proverbs 31
1 Timothy 4

First, a bit of information on some Olympic Gold Medal winners.  Michael Phelps (swimming) practiced every single day in the pool for three to six hours, doing separate exercises on dry land four to five days a week.  Simone Biles (gymnastics)  spends 32 hours a week training, which is broken up over six days. Wednesdays are her day off.

The reason I offer this information is a word that Paul uses in 1 Timothy 4:7-8:

1 Timothy 4: Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 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.

The Greek word used here references the Greek athletes who would train for their Olympics.  The same intensity that Michael Phelps and Simon Biles bring to their training is the same focus we are to have on being “godly.”  But did you note that we have a far greater promise of reward than just a medal??

09.20.20

09.20.20

Proverbs 28
Proverbs 29
1 Timothy 3

As I read today’s passage from Timothy I was taken by a description … the description of what the church, the Body of Believers is:

1 Timothy 314 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

We are to be a church of the “living God” and a “foundation of the truth!”

09.19.20

09.19.20

Proverbs 25
Proverbs 26
Proverbs 27
1 Timothy 2

During this time of COVID-19 decisions have been made by government authorities that we may not agree with and may even want to disobey.  In his instruction to Timothy Paul provides guidance on our relationship with those in authority.  We may disagree but our first priority is prayer …

1 Timothy 2I 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.

09.18.20

09.18.20

Proverbs 22
Proverbs 23
Proverbs 24
1 Timothy 1

Read the following inspired word from Paul and reflect – could we not all state the same?  How blessed we are to live in grace!

1 Timothy12 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.

09.16.20

09.16.20

Proverbs 19
Proverbs 20
Proverbs 21
2 Thessalonians 3

2 Thessalonians 310 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

I think Coffman offers a very apt commentary to these verses:

The shameful and unwholesome results of a weak and foolish system of charity which ignores this principle were outlined thus by W. F. Adeney:

  1. It injures the recipient. Idleness is a sin; and some of the worst trouble they had in Thessalonica came from that source.
  2. II. It injures the giver. The encouragement of idleness is a sin that must be attributed to the thoughtless or foolish scatterer of God’s gifts upon the undeserving.
  3. III. It injures those who are truly needy. The idlers are the more insistent and clamorous for support in their idleness; and all that is given to them is no longer available for those who have just claims upon the charity of others.
  4. IV. It injures the community. It destroys initiative, diminishes industry, and propagates the worst element in society.]

09.15.20

09.15.20

Proverbs 16
Proverbs 17
Proverbs 18
2 Thess. 2

We have traded notes on how we often “feel” that something is within God’s will but are then surprised when we look into the Word of the Lord.  In Proverbs 16 the writer several times addresses our weakness & provides the wisdom we need:

Proverbs 16To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
    but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:.

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps
.