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Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling—Calling for you and for me;Patiently Jesus is waiting and watching—Watching for you and for me! Children need good role models and examples. And Maravich was a Christian. As parents, we must tell our children about Jesus and be role models who live for Christ. That was the case with Paul, who counted Timothy as his son in the Spirit 1 Tim. Two movies, A Perfect Storm and Titanic, tell of two very different historic shipwrecks.

The crew of the Andrea Gail knew when they set sail from Gloucester, Massachusetts, in October that they could encounter unpredictable weather and potential storms. They knew there could be danger, and they took the risk. The crew of the Titanic sailed with confidence and feared nothing—until they hit the iceberg, and it was too late. Paul wrote about another kind of shipwreck—the shipwreck of our faith, a prospect much more frightening than the fates of the Titanic and the Andrea Gail v. Two Ephesian leaders had already been shipwrecked v.

Paul gives the reasons for their spiritual demise and encourages Timothy to avoid their pitfalls. These men abandoned two essential things that preserve our lifelong commitment to Christ: Faith is the sound doctrine to which Paul referred earlier in the chapter v. In this context, faith refers to the essentials of our Christian beliefs, doctrines such as salvation by grace through Christ Jesus. Later in chapter three, we'll see Paul flesh out even more the content of this faith cf. What we believe really matters. Our right actions should flow from our right beliefs; these two elements work together in our lives.

That's why Timothy is encouraged to keep fighting the good fight of the faith while holding onto both right belief and right behavior. We still face this very real battle even today. Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for your fellow humans. Many of us have had enough contact with computers to see the need for such rules. We may also realize, however, that merely publishing laws will not change human nature.

Even the Law of Moses, which these principles imitate, was never able to change anyone's heart. No one can become good by keeping the commandments. The Law's highest purpose is to show us God's perfect standards and our need for Christ. No one else has paid the price for our forgiveness. No one else enables us to love "from a good conscience, and from sincere faith" 1 Tim. Christ doesn't change us by teaching us to keep the Law Gal. He transforms us by giving us a new heart. And that will affect even our use of computers.

By referring to a map and using a compass, you can end up where you want to go. The hard part comes in determining where you are at any given moment. Foul weather creates conditions that can sometimes confuse sailors. After sailing for 2 hours, trusting his own sense of direction, he spotted a large city on the horizon—Milwaukee! Somehow, thinking he was headed east, he had gone in a huge circle.

How does a follower of Christ stay on course and avoid spiritual shipwreck? By carefully reading and following the directions in God's Word, depending on the Spirit's leading, and listening to the wise counsel of Christian friends. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread. The girl wondered where Grandpa was. Jesus, by His death, has paid in full the price of your sins, no matter how sordid, tawdry, or shameful they may be.

Your salvation is free. It was then, when first the New Testament was set forth by Erasmus, that the light came. It was as if, after a long dark night, day had suddenly broke. When people recognize the awful reality of their sin before a holy God, they may be overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness and despair.

They cannot escape the fact that they are sinners, and they know they cannot save themselves. But the hope Thomas Bileny found is avail-able to all. Jesus died for sinners, and He can replace hopelessness and despair with confidence and unbounded joy. Pride makes it difficult to acknowledge the wickedness in our hearts. But admitting our sin is the first step to salvation. Then we must place our trust in Christ and accept His wonderful gift. We are dead in sin, but Jesus can make us dead to sin.

Our friend Barbara Leavitt loved flowers. Her home was a garden of rare beauty and sweet fragrance, and so was her life. Her presence was like a delightful bouquet. Barbara went to be with the Lord in , but something happened a few days before she died that I will never forget.

My wife and I were sitting at her bedside with other friends telling stories about our childhood when I mentioned that I had once stolen some flowers. There was a park between the elementary school I attended and our home. One day, while walking through the park, I saw a row of irises in bloom and cut several to take to my mother.

Some older boys saw me and threatened to call the police. I lived in terror for weeks thinking they would come and take me away. David Herwaldt, a thoughtful, reflective pastor friend of mine, was slowly dying after 50 years of faithful ministry. He often talked with me about the nature of God and the eternity he would soon enter. We realized that we had only a superficial grasp of these mysteries, but we were not distressed.

We knew that God had rescued us from our sin and guilt, and we rejoiced in our salvation.

We had all we needed to obey the Lord gladly, live confidently, and serve Him gratefully. When we are distressed by our inability to answer life's most vexing questions, we must remember that Christ did not come to satisfy our curiosity. Rather, He saw us as fallen and hurt, and He came to lift and heal. When Jesus read Isaiah He came to deliver us from the helplessness of our spiritual poverty, to release us from the shackles of our guilt, to heal our sin-caused blindness, and to set us free from sin's enslaving power.

Let us therefore trust Him and make obeying Him our highest goal. This is the path to a grateful, joyous, and hope-filled life. The answers can wait. When trouble seeks to rob your very breath, When tragedy hits hard and steals your days, Recall that Christ endured the sting of death; He gives us hope, and merits all our praise.

You see, the apostle, in his day, had to contend against those who ran away from the simplicity of the gospel into all manner of fables and inventions. Such, in our day, are the doctrine of evolution, the doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God, the doctrine of post-mortem salvation, the doctrine of the final restitution of all men, and all sorts of fables and falsehoods which men have invented.

There were some who put the law into its wrong place. They made it a way of salvation, which it never was meant to be, and never can be. It is a way of conviction. It is an instrument of humbling. It shows us the evil of sin; but it never takes sin away. Paul must have written this verse with many tears. What a wonder of grace it was that he should be put into the sacred ministry, to bear testimony for Christ, when he had been before a blasphemer!

He almost thought that, if he had done all this wilfully, be might not have been forgiven; but he felt that here God spied out the only extenuating circumstance, namely, that he was mistaken: He spoke from his heart, from deep experience. This indeed was to him the glorious gospel of the blessed God, that had saved him, the very chief of sinners. He could therefore with confidence commend it to others as worthy of all acceptation. The case of Paul is not a singular one; it is the pattern one. If there are any here who feel that they have sinned like Saul of Tarsus, they may be forgiven like Paul the apostle.

He is a pattern to all who should thereafter believe in Christ to life everlasting. Just as we often see things cut out in brown paper, and sold as patterns, so is the apostle Paul the pattern convert. What God did for him, he can do for thousands of others. Paul could not help this outburst of praise. He must put in a doxology. When he remembered his own conversion and pardon, and his being entrusted with the ministry of the gospel, be was obliged to put down his pen, and lift up his voice in grateful thanksgiving to God. So may it be with us, be with us, as we remember what great things the Lord hath done for us!

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It is to profane or disdain the isle runner for everyone to walk on it. The purity, and cleanliness is symbolized in this tradition. Everything that God has created is like an orchestra praising Him. The realisation of Redemption brings man by way of the minor note of repentance back into tune with praise again.

The angels are only too glad to hear that note, because it blends man into harmony again see Luke Praising God is the ultimate end and aim of all we go through. It is all a matter of indifference, but one thing is not a matter of indifference, and that is that we are pleasing to the ears of God. Paul had got back again by way of repentance into tune with God cf. The test of the worker is that he knows he has been enabled by the Lord Jesus, therefore he works and learns to do it better all the time.

The realisation that my Lord has enabled me to be a worker keeps me strong enough never to be weak. Conscious obtrusive weakness is natural unthankful strength; it means I refuse to be made strong by Him. To recognise that my Lord counts us faithful removes the last snare of idealising natural pluck. If we have the idea that we must face the difficulties with pluck, we have never recognised the truth that He has counted us faithful; it is His work in me He is counting worthy, not my work for Him. The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him.

He counts us worthy because He has done everything for us. The overcoming referred to in the Book of the Revelation is not the personal overcoming of difficulties but the overcoming of the very life of God in us while we stand resolutely true to Him. My trust is the glorious gospel for myself and through me to others, and it is realised in two ways: The Spiritual Life of the Christian Worker. Conspicuously absent are the customary greetings and blessings of his other letters. Rather, Paul had to immediately assume a defensive posture.

His critics wanted to subvert the gospel he had been preaching, and their first line of attack was to discredit Paul as an apostle. If Paul was to defend the gospel he preaches, he must also defend the validity of his apostleship. No man commissioned him, not Peter or any other elder of the church. He had a divine call, and therefore he had legitimate apostolic authority. The forcefulness of his defense, which becomes even clearer as we read on in chapter one, helps us to realize the critical nature of the attack. The gospel is what matters most. The Galatians had to understand the gospel rightly, and these opening verses summarize the gospel.

The theology of Galatians is Trinitarian: Both have willingly expressed their love for humanity. For this spectacular mission to save the world, God deserves glory forever and ever. In 1 Corinthians 4: He was convinced that the truth and purity of the gospel were at stake, and he was really rallying to the defense of the gospel. So was the apostle Paul.

He knew he had personally done wrong and sinned against God. We too were once separated from the Lord because of our sin and were considered His enemies Rom. But when we confessed our sin and acknowledged our need for His forgiveness, He cleansed us and made us new. Do you sometimes feel guilty and unworthy because of something you did years ago? You have confessed it and asked God to forgive you, but the memory of it still haunts you. I empathize with you.

Feelings of guilt still sweep over me when I recall how I failed an elderly, childless woman while I was training for the ministry. She was a regular customer in a store where I worked part-time. After a while, I became a friend and spiritual counselor to her and her husband. I even conducted his funeral. When I moved to a nearby town to become a student pastor, I lost touch with her. I intended to contact her but kept procrastinating. One day I saw her obituary notice.

I was overwhelmed with grief and confessed my sin to God. Yet he repeatedly exulted in the certainty that he was a forgiven sinner. God, who is greater than our heart and knows us thoroughly 1 John 3: We can believe Him! A Scottish preacher spoke of evangelism as a fellowship of reconciled, forgiven sinners who don't simply preach but live out their faith. They also offer to others the same reconciliation and forgiveness they have received from God.

The apostle Paul expressed the same conviction: Once a blasphemer and persecutor of Christians, Paul believed that God's mercy was shown to him, the worst of sinners, as an example to other sinners who would later believe on Christ 1Timothy 1: Whenever we testify that God has forgiven us and provided eternal life through faith in Christ, we're declaring that God is a saving God.

Yet, when we observe destructive lifestyles among people, it's easy to write them off. Instead, we should look at them as Christ does. Jesus said He came not to condemn the world but to save it John 3: Rather than condemning people, we should say, "Who am I to condemn others, when God has forgiven me so generously?

Love is giving for the world's needs, Love is sharing as the Lord leads, Love is caring when the world cries, Love is compassion with Christlike eyes. Edwards started learning Greek, Hebrew, and Latin at age five. Just a few years later, he was making important scientific observations. At age 13 he entered Yale, where he graduated at the top of his class four years later.

Shortly after his graduation, Edwards experienced a personal conversion while reading 1 Timothy 1: Of this experience Edwards later wrote: Paul begins this section by praising Jesus Christ for the grace that had been poured out upon his own life, even though he had been persecuting the early church. Paul then continued with a very precise statement of the Christian faith: This core truth naturally led to the hymn of praise in verse the verse that so profoundly struck Jonathan Edwards.

Paul follows this praise with a personal appeal to the young pastor Timothy: My car has a wonderful feature. Whenever I forget to turn off the headlights, a shrill warning goes off the minute I open the door. Our conscience can work like that. When we sin or are tempted to, our conscience blows a whistle. If we do wrong, the jarring feelings from our conscience are meant to lead us to repentance. When we confess and repent, God forgives and clears our conscience.

The apostle Paul knew what it was to have a bad conscience. In 1 Timothy 1: He charged young Timothy to fight the good fight and maintain his faith and good conscience. Paul said that some had rejected these, and spiritual shipwreck was the result vv. Be thankful if you have a good conscience.

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When it gives you a warning whistle, pay attention! Then fight to preserve your faith and keep your conscience clear. That jarring sound is there to help you stay in fellowship with Christ. A Christian counselor was troubled by this line in her church's statement of faith: I commend that therapist for her empathy, but I'm afraid her thinking is subtly flawed. The good news of the gospel is not that we deserve God's love. The good news is that God sees us in all our sin and unworthiness, yet He loves us so much that He has provided for our complete forgiveness and acceptance.

The apostle Paul said that he had persecuted believers "ignorantly in unbelief" 1Timothy 1: Yet this was not an excuse. He accepted responsibility for his unbelief, referring to himself as "formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man. His primary emphasis was on the Lord's marvelous grace that freed him from a debilitating sense of unworthiness.

It's true that "we deserve God's condemnation," but it's also true that "Jesus came into the world to save sinners" 1Ti 1: That's good news for all of us, no matter what we have done! On one occasion, she met the wife of a Japanese military leader who had been condemned to death for war crimes. This woman was a Christian who was deeply burdened for her husband. She asked Irene to visit him in prison. Irene did, and the man accepted Christ. Soon a call came to Irene that other war crimes prisoners wanted to visit with her. Eventually, fourteen of the twenty-five convicted men put their faith in Christ.

No matter how awful the sin, we have a Savior whose love and grace can reach far beyond the worst transgression Ro 5: Paul claimed the title chief of sinners for himself. Was the apostle just being overly modest, or was he using a little hyperbole to make his point? It doesn't sound like it. Paul sincerely agonized over his former role as a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man 1Ti 1: The great apostle made the most of God's grace in his life by traveling the world to preach the Gospel to anyone who would listen. Because he considered himself to be the worst of sinners 1Ti 1: As God's evangelists should grow as we consider how great our forgiveness is.

True, not all of us have arrested Christians or committed war crimes, but our sin still cost Christ His life. There are no big and little sinners in God's sight.

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Paul's ministry is a healthy reminder that evangelism is not simply a solo act by isolated believers. The most effective evangelism is that which grows from the context of a body of believers being motivated and trained for God's work see Eph. If you are not part of your church's evangelism training program, consider joining it. And if none exists, ask about the possibility of beginning one.

Some Christians become deeply troubled when they think about their sinfulness. They long for purity, yet they see only evil within their heart. Guilt torments their minds and they may even doubt their salvation. Martin Luther struggled with this problem. When he entered the monastery at Erfurt, Germany, he devoted himself to prayer, fasting, and service in an effort to gain relief from the weight of his sins. But the burden remained. It was the simple testimony of John Staupitz, the dean of the theological faculty, that brought light to his troubled soul.

Luther did that and found peace. But a short time later he began doubting. With utmost kindness, the dean told him that his great sorrow for his sin was his greatest hope. Scripture gives us only a glimpse of the glory we will share in heaven with our crucified and risen Savior. Just think—no more sorrow, no more death, no more crying, no more pain, for the former things will have passed away!

These brief glimpses make us eager to know more of what will flood us with awe when we get there. No doubt the dwelling place of the Lord will be infinitely more beautiful and breathtaking than we are capable of imagining. Among the surprises that await us in heaven will be three astonishing ones that John Newton pointed out. First, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had thought to meet there; and third, the greatest wonder of all, to find myself there! Now is the time to begin expressing our gratitude.

In sharp contrast, A. Tozer recalled the prayer of a man who had the idea that he could earn heaven as a reward for trying to keep the Ten Commandments. It went something like this: But remember, Father, that I have kept all the others. This man failed to see that if he had broken one commandment, he was guilty of breaking them all Jas. His works were earning him condemnation, not salvation. Although he undoubtedly anticipated the rewards he would receive, he gloried only in the cross Gal.

There Jesus paid the price for sin so that everyone who trusts in Him will receive mercy. The two lines met at Promontory, Utah, in May , and drove the last spike to connect the continent. The church began with two lines moving toward each other, each having a separate beginning point but destined to meet and be joined. These lines were the Jews and Gentiles, two great bodies of people God was bringing together to make one new unified body Eph. We can see God preparing the church for this unification in the last portion of Acts 9. Paul, who was still called Saul at this point note Acts He had come as the persecutor of Christians, and now he was the target of murderous persecution.

Paul came to Jerusalem, but his reputation preceded him. He had to be sent to Caesarea, and from there he went to his hometown of Tarsus. These areas, Lydda and Joppa, were partially Gentile in makeup. God was preparing Peter for his historic ministry to the household of the Roman commander Cornelius, a ministry to the Gentiles. Paul was a leading Pharisee and one of the rising stars of Judaism. These men might have been tempted to live in the past. We can be tempted to live in the past too. Maybe you can look back to a time when you were closer to the Lord, more active in your witness, and really hungry for spiritual things.

This devotional is committed to helping you keep your love for Christ strong. Are you spending time each day in the Word and in prayer? According to the paper, Spurgeon visited the hall the day before, fearing his voice wouldn't carry to all corners. Standing on stage, he quoted 1 Timothy 1: Satisfied with the acoustics, Spurgeon left the building, unaware that a poor workman, battling depression, had been huddling behind one of the statues trying to pray.

Suddenly a voice boomed into his ears: At the beginning of church history, the Lord deliberately transformed the angriest anti-Christian zealot on earth, Saul of Tarsus, as a token of His power to save anyone and everyone. If you've given up on yourself or your loved one, don't! Jesus came to save the chief of sinners—the worst of the worst—and that's a statement deserving all acceptance. He condemns sin but saves the sinner. Feeling unworthy of God's love is a great obstacle to faith. When your unsaved friends and family struggle with this doubt, you can remind them that no sin is too great to forgive, and God's patience doesn't run out.

Additionally, we should be living examples of love and forgiveness toward those around us. We remember the courage of nine black students who walked through the jeering, bigoted crowds. We'll recall the work of the leaders of the civil rights movement, whose commitment to equality began to transform a society infested with racial discrimination.

The people who changed the world have been committed to great ideas. The gospel is the most important among these. We started our study this month with a passage from Galatians, exploring Paul's passion for the defense of the gospel. He never tolerated sloppiness when it came to thinking about and communicating the gospel. Paul's preoccupation with the power and preservation of the gospel echoes throughout each of the New Testament books, and no less here in 1 Corinthians The gospel always ignites action.

Notice all the verbs in the first two verses of chapter The gospel is an agent of action, doing the work of saving us. But it is also a promoter of action. It compels us to preach its truth, to receive and believe by faith, and defend its truth with courage. What the gospel can never accommodate is apathy or indifference. It always pushes us to a precipice of faith, forcing us to choose what and whom we believe and trust. The gospel conveys to us the historic truths of the Christian faith, those about which Paul reminds his audience in verses 3 through 7. In every age, these truths have been attacked.

But Christians, following the example of Paul, have gone to bat, defending the veracity of the gospel.

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And this will continue to be our job. Most of all, the gospel changes us. Have you never yet received the truth of Jesus' love and sacrifice for you, a sinner? Embrace the gospel by faith today. Is God calling you to preach the gospel to someone in your life who needs the hope of Jesus? Will you take a stand for the gospel when attacked by its critics?

And will you surrender yourself to the life-changing power of the gospel? If the elephant can go safely over the swaying bridge, the horse and mule can; and the apostle seems to glory that in the very beginning of the progress of the Gospel through the world it had laid hold of and converted himself, because if he had been saved, any one might be. As men have been brought under conviction, in successive ages, it has been a profound consolation to learn that the chief of sinners has been in heaven for eighteen hundred years. Without doubt Paul never forgot the excess of his hatred and persecutions towards the infant Church.

But probably he alludes here also to the deepening consciousness of unworthiness and sinfulness which accompanies all progress towards the knowledge and love of God. This phase of experience may be accounted for thus. The true saint of God, though certain of forgiveness, reviews his past sins in the light of that purity of which he is ever obtaining truer perceptions, and thus recognizes shades of evil in them which a slighter knowledge of God had failed to reveal.

He also feels himself a greater sinner than others, because he supposes that God cannot have treated another with the same forbearance and mercy as have been extended to himself; and the greater the love the more heinous the transgression. And in addition, as subtler forms of temptation are suggested to him, and to every one, he knows that there are kindred susceptibilities within him, even though they are abhorred and resisted. It is beneath the pressure of such thoughts that he recognizes his uttermost indebtedness to the grace of God.

An interest in the workings of navigational compasses stayed with him during his work as a clergyman. His research led to the discovery that all newly built iron ships had their own magnetic influence on compasses. This influence would change at sea for various reasons—leading crews to read the compass incorrectly.

Often this led to disaster.

There is a striking parallel between the misread compass and false biblical teaching. Two people who opposed the Word of God by placing false teaching in its place, and who thus faced spiritual shipwreck, were Alexander and Hymenaeus v. Biblical truth is being questioned and in some cases even replaced in the church today.

Beware of wrong readings. A new believer slipped into his old ways by attending a party and getting drunk. When he arrived home, his wife would not let him in. Instead, she called their pastor, who found the man sleeping in his car. The pastor took him to a motel to sleep off his drunkenness.

He knew him well and was confident that a strong rebuke would not be needed. Instead, he asked God to convict the man and bring him to repentance. In this case the pastor chose the right course. The young man later said that he had learned a valuable lesson through this experience and that the Lord had "taken all the fun out of sin. A "good conscience" will disturb us when we do something we know is wrong. We keep it "good" by heeding it and turning away from sin. Paul said the faith of Hymenaeus and Alexander "suffered shipwreck" because they rejected the voice of their good conscience 1Timothy 1: By doing so, they had deadened their conscience and then apparently twisted the truth to justify their conduct.

True faith and a sensitive conscience will take all the fun out of sinning and remove the desire to twist the truth to justify what is wrong. Faith and a good conscience are a winning combination. Let's keep them strong. Our conscience is a gift from God, It is a guiding light; And when aligned with faith and truth, It tells us wrong from right. Our Daily Homily That supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. A life is revealed here of which many of us know practically nothing. We do not feel the absolute necessity of being much alone in the presence of God, not so much for ourselves, as for others; and this sad neglect of intercessory prayer, which we all deplore, really points to a lack of the divine life, since if that were mightily within us we should inevitably feel its throb and pulse in this direction.

This comes out clearly in the words that follow. Intercession is necessary that we may know the secrets of a quiet, peaceable, and godly life 1Timothy 2: Such intercession for others is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior 1Timothy 2: And the word translated good might be rendered beautiful. It is consonant with the Divine purpose, for God wishes to have all men saved 1Timothy 2: If, then, his Spirit is within us, we, too, shall long that men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Our hearts will be filled with a Divine tenderness of yearning which will find vent in strong cryings and tears.

It is only thus we can live in harmony with the Divine purpose. Oh, how near it brings to God to pray in the Spirit, and leads me to see that no pressure of duty among men can free us from the absolute need of much prayer. Such intercession is in profound union with the mediation of our Lord 1 Timothy 2: I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.

Over the centuries since Jesus died for our sins and rose victorious from the grave, many methods have been used to spread the gospel. From Peter's first sermon, when 3, were saved, to great preaching campaigns of men like Charles Spurgeon and Billy Sunday, to friendship evangelism, many ways of influencing others to accept Jesus' free gift have been tried. In a major city in the midwest, another method has been launched: In the campaign to reach the populace of this city, organizers have set out to pray for every individual. They have divided the city into sections, and all cooperating churches have been assigned the names of the people in those sections.

Of course, it will also take other kinds of contacts, such as literature or face-to-face visits, but prayer is the major component. In 1 Timothy, Paul explained that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" 1Ti 2: And the method suggested for beginning the work of evangelization is "supplications, prayers, intercessions … for all men" 1Ti 2: What about your neighborhood and mine?

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Let's begin right now to do some prayer evangelism. Talk to God about people before you talk to people about God. We have all heard that call to good citizenship. When we do pray, it just may make a difference in our own lives! There are plenty of leaders I would rather vote out of office than pray for! Yet according to 1 Timothy 2: But we can start by praying for what they need. In addition to wisdom, we should pray for integrity—for honesty and uprightness in their actions and freedom from deceit. Pray that they would have a genuine commitment to doing what is best for those who are under their authority.

Ask God to give them humility that will enable them to use their power not for their own gain but for the good of the people. Pray that godly people will be in their circle of influence. Pray that they will come to know Christ as Savior. But our text alerts us to the fact that praying for those in authority is not the end of the line. We ourselves are standing in the need of prayer as well.

If we pray for our leaders and pursue these character qualities in our own lives, we just might make some progress—and in turn make a marked difference on our society and on our leaders as well. When we recognize that Jesus is the only One who can make a difference in the lives of our leaders, it should stir our hearts to pray for them. And, as we pray for them, our hearts just may be stirred to focus on the needs of our own lives. Make a list of the leaders in your life.

Ask the Lord to reveal some prayer points for those people, and commit to praying for them on a regular basis. As a result of his bold witness for Christ, Paul had significant interaction with those in authority over him. What was the exchange between Paul and King Agrippa in Acts Have you ever prayed for your leaders like that?

Look for some ways to actively demonstrate your prayer support for leaders. Organizations such as the National Day of Prayer www. We can exercise knee-based influence over leaders whom we may never meet. When his mother, Queen Victoria, died in , Edward assumed the throne at age fifty-nine and reigned for nine years. In , a prayer warrior named Joe Evans was vacationing in the New York mountains, away from newspapers and interruptions.

One morning he felt a burden to intercede for Edward, and the burden became so intense he anguished in prayer for the king's conversion. The following day came the news, "Edward is dead. Gregory Mantle of England. He was brought to England and there was hope that he might recover. However, there came a turn for the worse. At that time, His Majesty called one of his lords-in-waiting and ordered him to go to Paternoster Row and secure for him a copy of a tract that his mother, Queen Victoria, had given to him when he was a lad.

It was entitled "The Sinner's Friend. For weeks delegates reviewed ancient history and analyzed modern governments, searching for insights. But nothing suited the infant nation. Finally, a distinguished gentleman named Benjamin Franklin rose and said, "In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth and scarce able to distinguish it when it is presented to us, how has it happened that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings?

Franklin believed there was a sovereign God who could provide guidance to those who sought it. If ever there was a time to follow that prayerful example, it is now. Paul said that governments are ordained of God Ro This prayer principle also applies to the election of our leaders. We must become informed and vote prayerfully for those who shape our laws. Because God has instructed us to do so, we can--indeed we must--unashamedly and boldly mix prayer with our politics.

In God we trust, let others trust their rulers, We trust in God to save us from alarm; Like broken reeds, the works of man will fail us, Our God alone can keep us from all harm. Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens. The sad thing is that this remark often remains nothing but a well-meant expression of concern. Intercessory prayer—prayer for others—is an important commitment and a profound way to love.

The greatest model of intercession we have is Jesus. Intercessory prayer is vital for unity in the Body. Tomorrow we will discuss prayer for those in authority; today we focus on individuals in our lives. If you have children, ask them to make their own prayer lists for their friends and others in their lives.

Also, many churches list prayer needs in the weekly bulletin or keep track of prayer requests in the church office. Consider bringing these petitions to the Lord as a family. Paul lived in the Roman Empire under the rule of the cruel and ruthless Nero. Yet he saw the possibility of better times ahead. If he hadn't, he wouldn't have exhorted the first-century Christians to pray for "a quiet and peaceable life" 1Timothy 2: If Paul were living today, I don't think he would be pleased when Christians paint a totally dark picture of the future. Although some governments do repress their citizens, think of what's happened.

Since the Berlin Wall came down, new winds of freedom have been blowing in the world. And even though immorality and broken homes are still a terrible blight, many people seem to be returning to the values of marital fidelity. I believe that the only real hope for the world is the return of Jesus Christ. I don't know when the Lord will come, but while I wait I'll continue witnessing for Him and praying for a great revival.

I'll be asking the Lord to lead the nations into paths of peace and prosperity. I'll be doing what I can to help people who are struggling in dire poverty. I'll vote for leaders who uphold moral values. We must not withdraw from the world but do what we can to make it a better place to live.

God is in control. Keep me ever watching, Master, That no fear my faith may shake; Working, praying, hoping, longing, Till the joyful morn shall break. Both call us to prayer and to godly living: Our God is God the Savior v. Verse four reveals that God wants to save men and women. By nature, He is compassionate and rich in mercy. He wants to forgive and reconcile people to Himself. And not only does He want to save but He has made a way for salvation.

It's one thing to want something done and quite another to get something done. Our God has done both—desired our salvation and achieved our salvation. Imagine if He wanted our salvation but couldn't make it happen. We would hardly serve Him as the great, sovereign God that He is, holding together the universe by His word cf. And if He had the power to save us but chose not to do so, we would think Him terribly cruel and unfair. Thankfully, the God we worship is both all loving and all powerful.

Because of God's heart of compassion, our hearts should be equally tender to those who don't yet believe. Paul gave himself completely to the task of evangelism see 1 Cor. We're instructed here to do two things to further the message of salvation. First, we can pray v. Then, we can live holy lives, lives that bring credibility to the beauty and truth of this message and the name of Christ v. Although the language of awe is commonplace among us, we rarely actually experience it. Israel, on the other hand, learned from firsthand experience that the God they worshiped was awesome.

However, they did not feel that such a relationship could be sustained without help. This illustrates one of the primary themes of the Old Testament law: While the church has always recognized this problem, it has not always sought an adequate solution. Like Israel, some have looked to other believers to function as mediators.

Others may be appointed as priests, but only Christ can function as a true priest. His death on the cross is the only payment God will accept for sin. Perhaps you have been relying on the clergy or rites of the church to make you right with God. Others in the church can instruct us and pray for us. They can be a source of great encouragement and can be used to help us grow spiritually. The ordinances of the church are a helpful reminder of what Jesus did.

But only Christ can bring us to God 1 Peter 3: Embassy in Tehran and took 66 Americans hostage. For the next fourteen months, direct communications were cut off between the United States and Iran's newly formed revolutionary government. Contact with the hostages was only possible through other countries, such as Canada. Despite military rescue attempts, in the end it was the work of intermediaries, such as an Algerian diplomat, that brought about the hostages' release on January 20, The Iranian hostage crisis illustrates the key role that intermediaries play in resolving seemingly insurmountable hostilities.

When face-to-face negotiations aren't possible between two parties, a third party can act as a bridge. This understanding of mediation is helpful in order to grasp Christ's role as the mediator of the new covenant. We might think of fallen humanity and a perfectly holy God as two parties that cannot meet face-to-face without some type of mediator. The old covenant made with Moses at Sinai offered some provisions to bridge the gap.

Even so, human inability to keep this covenant Heb. Just as the new covenant is superior to the old one, so also the mediator of the new covenant, Jesus Christ, is superior to the old covenant's mediator, Moses. The change of covenants doesn't imply that God somehow changed His mind, but rather that God graciously provided one means of dealing with sin that was provisional until His final means, the perfect sacrifice of His Son, could be enacted. In this way, Jesus' blood accomplished what animal blood could not, namely a truly cleansed conscience Heb. Thus the new covenant guarantees our eternal inheritance.

Jesus as our mediator is one example of His present ministry on our behalf. Tomorrow we'll see that Jesus is also our High Priest. Christianity isn't an external set of do's and don'ts, but an internal change in which a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and fully reconciled to God the Father through Jesus' atoning work. With this in mind, ask yourself if you've fallen into the trap of viewing your faith as rules to obey instead of a relationship that transforms from the inside out.

Judith Martin has been writing Miss Manners for over twenty-five years. She answers questions of all sorts, from those of simple table etiquette to more complex questions of social graces. Etiquette is a word that describes social propriety. This word propriety appears twice in our text today 1Ti 2: It appears only one other time in the New Testament cf. In today's passage, Paul sets forth guidelines for a life governed by Christian propriety. These actions are our reasonable response to the grace we have in Christ. For the men, propriety means peace v. As a reasonable response to the peace they have with God because of Christ, they must make peace with one another.

For the women, propriety includes modesty in dress and submission. Propriety in dress doesn't necessarily forbid women to wear gold and pearls but emphasizes that their focus and energies should spent on inner beauty cf. Propriety also means understanding proper roles in the family and church.

This does not mean that women are relegated only to the kitchens and nurseries of the church. Paul obviously expects that women will want to learn and should continue learning 1Ti 2: However, men, not women, are given responsibility for the authority of the church and family cf. Today's passage is one of the most controversial biblical texts, and it has certainly been abused by some as an excuse to mistreat women. Note that Paul does not exclude women from pastoral roles because they lack the intellect or leadership savvy. He bases his argument on the order of creation 1Ti 2: The argument is not cultural or psychological but inherently biblical.

And as we seek to understand this text today, may our approach parallel Paul's in that we allow the Bible to speak for itself and by itself. Therefore I exhort … that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. Today, as always, there is an urgent need for us to pray for "all who are in authority" 1Timothy 2: But does the word all include the most wicked of leaders? Are there ever people in positions of power and influence who are beyond the help of prayer? The answer to this question can be found by noting the word therefore in verse 1, which calls our attention to the immediate context.

He vigorously affirmed that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Then he added this significant phrase: Paul explained that he received God's mercy so that Christ would display His limitless grace in him as a pattern for those who are going to believe on Him in the future 1Ti 1: In effect, Paul was saying, "If I, the worst of sinners, can be saved, anyone can. So let's not only pray that honorable leaders will act wisely, but also that ungodly leaders will be saved. Yes, God can save anyone. De Haan To influence leaders for God, intercede with God for leaders.

Women were last at the cross and first at the open tomb. The church owes a debt to her faithful women which she can never estimate, to say nothing of the debt we owe in our homes to godly wives and mothers. Jesus handpicked the twelve men who became His apostles and the earliest leaders of the church. Even though the office of apostle ended with the death of John the last survivor of the Twelve , the apostle Paul maintained a high standard for church leadership when he wrote these instructions to Timothy.

It's good for us to step back once in a while to refresh ourselves on the qualifications for leadership in the body of Christ. The writer of Hebrews wanted us as believers to give our leaders the respect and cooperation they need to carry out their service, for which they are accountable to God. Paul saw to it that the leaders selected were worthy of the respect demanded of God's people. The word ""elder"" here could be translated as ""bishop"" or ""overseer.

It involves giving direction and spiritual oversight to the church, especially including the work of preaching and teaching the Word. Someone might look at the demands of spiritual leadership, and the accountability required, and wonder why anyone would want the job of elder. But Paul encourages those who feel that God is calling them to this work. Who are the dangerous […].

Three lessons from tie-dyeing — NorthbrookUMC

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