Sunday Devotional: Matthew 11:1-6

“When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.  Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”  And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:  the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.  And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”  Matthew 11:1-6

We all get discouraged.  Doesn’t matter who we are or where we are in our walk with Christ, we get discouraged.  Even John the Baptist got discouraged.  While sitting in prison for preaching the coming kingdom of God, he wondered if the Messiah had truly come.  So he sends some of his followers to Jesus to ask if He was the Messiah.  And Jesus’ response is simple, tell John what you see.  Jesus’ actions speak about Him being the Messiah.

When we get discouraged and beat down, pray to God, talk to Him.  Remember the work that He has done in you.  Be encouraged that He is there, that He listens and He understands.

Three Avenues of Encouragment

It is always good to receive encouragement.  No matter whether you’re going through bad times or whether you’re going through good times.  It is always good to receive encouragement.  Yesterday I was encouraged three separate times.  And I know they were God moments because they were unexpected.

The first came yesterday morning by a phone call.  I went to the dentist last Friday for regular cleaning and check up.  My dentist wasn’t there so didn’t have a chance to talk with him so just had teeth cleaned by dental hygenist and left.  Well, my dentist called me yesterday just to tell me about the x-rays I had gotten.  During the conversation I told him about my continuing job search and he encouraged me by reminding me about God’s timing and that He’s got something in store for me (my dentist is a believer by the way).  Totally unexpected phone call and an avenue of encouragement.

The second came yesterday afternoon.  I was browsing my twitter feed and came across a tweet from Sports Spectrum (for those who don’t know, that is a magazine that features athletes and coaches who are followers of Jesus & who share their testimonies).  They tweeted out a video of Tim Tebow and his training.  Tebow is out of the NFL right now but still is training to get a job in the NFL again.  In spite of critics, Tebow continues to train and work hard.  That was an encouragement to me that when times are tough to keep persevering in serving God and in ministry.  Here is the video:

The third came last night.  I was browsing my twitter feed and came across a tweet from the seminary I graduated from, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  There was a link to a video of a conversation with one of my old professors.  He is the New Testament & Greek professor there.  Watching that video reminded me of my times there in seminary and of the lessons that I learned in the classroom and outside of it.  It reminded me again of my calling in ministry and encouraged me in my faith as well.  Here is the video:

A Conversation with Dr. Alan Tomlinson from MBTS on Vimeo.

Those three instances were a great encouragement for me.  I hope that each day that you’re able to recognize the encouragement that God brings into your life in a variety of ways and expressions.

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.