Sunday Devotional: 1 Timothy 6

This year, I’ve been going through the New Testament during my quiet time in the mornings.  It usually consists of a chapter (or part of a chapter depending on the length of the chapter) a day.  Today I just finished up the letter of 1 Timothy.  So for this week’s “Sunday Devotional”, I thought I’d look at 1 Timothy 6, particularly verse 12.

The letter of 1 Timothy was written by the apostle Paul to Timothy.  Timothy was a young leader in the church and learned under Paul’s leadership.  Timothy would later become a pastor at the church at Ephesus.  Paul would write to his friend and son in the faith to encourage and exhort him.  1 Timothy was one of those letters.  Paul talked to Timothy about how to lead and minster to the people where he was serving and to encourage him in doing so.

When we get to the end of the letter in chapter 6, Paul is wrapping up his thoughts and instructions to Timothy.  In verse 12 Paul writes “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”  Ministry is hard.  It is a fight both from the outside and the inside.  It is a struggle but it is a good fight.  It is a good fight because it is of eternal importance.  It is a good fight because of the impact it can have in the lives of others as well as one’s self.  As believers, we will get attacked by Satan inwardly through temptation and outwardly from the world.  But we have Jesus Christ, who gives us the strength to fight and to keep fighting.

If you have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord & if you are following after Him, keep fighting the good fight.  It is worth it.  Even when you get beat up, keep fighting.  Remember the calling God has in your life as a follower of Jesus.  Remember Him and how much He loves you.  Take hold of that this week.

Toughness

I’ve been reading (off and on for the past few months) the book “Toughness” by Jay Bilas.  For those of you who don’t know who Jay Bilas is, he is a former basketball player who is now a lawyer and analyst for college basketball.  The book itself is about, you guessed it, toughness.  Toughness on and off the court and what it means to have toughness.

I wrote a few weeks back about being tough while also being soft.  I think it’s important to develop toughness.  It is a given that this life is hard.  It is also a given that following Jesus is hard.  That is a calling that means dealing with rough situations.  But the great thing is that we are not left to our own devices.  God is always there with us, through those hard times.  He also is able to use those times to develop toughness in us, to make us stronger.

I’m a tougher person now then I was six months ago, or a year ago.  I can say that because of Christ, not because of me.  Whatever you are going through, rely on Jesus.  He will get you through it if you trust and follow Him.  He is the ultimate measure of toughness.  He’s the one to turn to when things are at their toughest.

Thursday Quote Day: Michael Kelley

It’s Thursday so time for “Thursday Quote Day”.  To be honest, this has been a kind of discouraging day.  I sent a resume to a church for a position and not a few hours later was rejected.  I think that has to be the quickest rejection I’ve gotten at any point in my job search.  This has been a rough and tough season in my life.  I was reminded of this quote and it something I’m trying to hold onto:

“We come to Jesus not as we can’t but as we can.  Not as we aren’t but as we are.  And we believe that Jesus can make up for all that we lack.”  Michael Kelley Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal

Using Your Voice

I few weeks ago I re-watched the movie The Little Mermaid.  This was a classic Disney movie I remember watching number of times growing up.  I still remember a time when I was in elementary school watching it.  It was a rainy day and instead of recess, my class went to the library and watched The Little Mermaid on VHS (yeah that long ago).

One of the key parts to the story was Ariel’s voice.  She had a beautiful singing voice and it was her gift.  In order for her to be human, she gives up her voice to Ursula.  In the end, she gets her voice back but not without sacrificing a lot in the process.

We all have a voice.  God has uniquely gifted us with a voice to share with the world.  Too often though, we give (or let someone else take) our voice away.  That’s not what God wants for us.  He wants us to use our voice.  That’s why he gave it to us.  He gave it for us to use for Him.  Are you using your voice today?  Or have you allowed someone else to take it away?

Your voice is a blessing.  It is a gift from God.  It is the means from which to tell your story and the Gospel.  Use your voice.

Monday Musings

Sometimes on Mondays you just have a bunch of jumbled thoughts and some days it’s pretty coherent.  This is one of those jumbled thoughts kind of days.  Jumbled in the sense that I have a few things in my mind I could write about but nothing that is so sustained that I could write a lot about.  So here’s some things that I’m thinking through…

*I know for me it is hard to let go of hurt sometimes.  The more I’ve been hurt, the harder it is for me to let go.  I think this is something we all struggle with but i know for me it is something I struggle with.  I think sometimes it can be our identity if we let it.  We let that pain define us when that’s not what God wants.  He doesn’t want us defined by our pain.  He wants us to find our meaning in Him.  Jesus took on all the pain and suffering on the cross.  Pain should not be something we hold on to.  But it is a struggle to let go.  But the awesome thing is when I let go of that hurt and turn it over to God, I feel so much better.  I’m more myself again.  I’m more the person God has called me to be.  I can follow Christ better because I’m not weighed down by the hurt I was holding on to previously.

*I saw a tweet this past week by author and speaker Jon Acuff that stuck with me.  He said this :  “Sometimes God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past so it doesn’t become their future.” I’ve been on both sides of this.  I have heard stories from friends of mine that I learned from their past and I have shared my story with others and my past.  Not only is it a way to help others, but like I said earlier it’s a way of letting go hurt as well.  Seeing that tweet reminded me that I need to share my story more because of the awesomeness of how the Gospel intersects with my story and how it can intersect with others.

Sunday Devotional: Mercy

I recently downloaded the Sports Specturm app (for those that don’t know, Sports Spectrum is a magazine that features athletes and coaches that share about their faith).  Well this app has devotions that on it that is updated nearly every day (well every weekday and one for the weekend).

The one for this weekend had for the scripture Matthew 5:7:  “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”  This verse is part of the Beatitudes, which is part of the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus preached.  The Beatitudes themselves are a reflection of what a follower of Jesus will look like.  One of those is one who shows mercy.

Mercy is something we all need.  There are times when we do something stupid and instead of getting what we deserve mercy can be shown.  It’s like going over the speed limit but instead of getting a ticket, the officer shows mercy and gives only a warning.  How does one feel when shown such mercy?  Relief, joy, gratefulness.  Think about how much of a gift that is.  Now think about how that would feel in showing that to others.

Being a follower of Jesus entails being someone who shows mercy.  Today is a great day to be merciful.  Who do you know that needs mercy shown today?

The Reason for Giving

Last night, I watched the newest episode of How I Met Your Mother.  One of the interesting plot lines that played out through the episode was the back and forth between Ted and Marshall and Lilly.  The back and forth centered around wedding gifts and thank you notes.  Ted had allegedly not given Marshall and Lilly a wedding gift years earlier.  Marshall and Lilly had allegedly not given Ted a thank you note.  It was brought back up with the impending marriage of their friends Barney and Robin.

Throughout the episode, there were flashbacks about how Marshall kept trying to “drop hints” to Ted to get him to give a wedding gift.  Meanwhile, Ted would do the same about a thank you note.  In the end, the truth came out that Ted did in fact give a wedding gift to Marshall and Lilly.

The thing that stuck out to me about the episode was the motive behind it.  Both sides felt they deserved to get something (Marshall and Lilly a wedding gift, Ted a thank you note).  But truly, when you give a gift or write a note, you should not expect something in return.  That truly is what a gift is.  Giving with no expectations of getting something in return.  Thanking someone’s generosity with no expectation of acknowledgement in return.

That’s the awesome thing about grace.  God gives us grace when we don’t deserve it.  He is the best example of giving.  He gave of His Son to die on the cross.  Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins is a reason be thankful and to share that.

It is always good to be reminded that it is important to know the reason behind giving and what that should be.  As a follower of Jesus, I know that He gives me the ability to give selflessly.  And that is something that I’m still working on in my life.