Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 1 (day three)

“O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me…”  Is it wrong to haggle with God?  Would we even consider an “if-you-do-this-I’ll-do-that” arrangement?   Have we decided to place ourselves above such dealings?  Do we believe it would even make any difference?  It’s interesting to consider that from the Old Testament to the New Testament, from people to demons and back to people, such conversations with the Lord have been common: Abraham, Moses, Hannah, David, Legion (!), Peter, Paul.  Maybe we would see the power of God more if we would tell him what we want.  That’s not the same as demanding what we want.  Even the demons knew that.  God will take care of his own responses to us.  Just speak to him.

Leaders needed

Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 3:1-13 (day seven)
“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.”Ezekiel 22:30.  Sad statement.  God willing to heal, renew a nation.  Looked for someone to obey His call.  Found no one.  Without leadership, nations fail.  (Please remember this on Tuesday when you go to the polls.)  Churches, too.  After 30 years of missionary ministry, Paul is in prison facing the end of his life.  He sees clearly the priority.  Find new leaders!  Men (and women) of New Testament character.  Sincere and strong examples for the churches.  1 Timothy 3 is his instruction to Timothy as he undertakes this assignment.  Us?  Are we convinced that the church needs leaders?  Pastors, Deacons, Sunday School teachers?  Do we feel the urgency that Paul felt?  “It is not too late”, says the Lord, “but, leaders are needed”. Are you ready to lead?

2nd Ephesians

Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 1:1-19 (day one)
“I shall remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door of effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries”-1 Corinthians 16:9.  “Timothy. . .as I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines”–1 Timothy 1:3.   The first book of Ephesians, Paul writes TO them.  The second book of Ephesians (aka 1 Timothy) Paul writes ABOUT them, about the difficulties that will face their new young pastor.  Ephesus was never an easy place to build a church.  From the very start (no honeymoon) Timothy faced false teachers and the vocal, hostile opposition.  Paul will later call ministry (there, and in general), “a fight”. (v 18) As you read these words this week, reflect on the difficulties that we face as we unite to build a New Testament church in the center of this city.  Easy?  No!  Noble?  Necessary? Yes!

More or less?

Re: Verse reading Deuteronomy 8:10-18; Matthew 25:14-30 (day six) 
“For to everyone who has, more shall be given. . .but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.” (Matthew 25:29)
New Testament scholars call it “the law of spiritual capital”.  If we have a job (and do it), we will be offered more jobs.  If we have a gift (and use it), more opportunities will come.  It is no conspiracy that 80% of the work is always done by 20% of the people.  Jesus says that this is just the way things work!  The reverse is true for those who do not have jobs (almost certainly because they have ignored or refused the obvious opportunities. . .”I am busy”, “I don’t feel qualified”) or if we do not do the job already ours then, eventually, the opportunities will stop coming.  God-given gifts atrophy when unused. God does not waste grace.  Which will it be for you?  More or less?

A Good Boss

Re:Verse reading–Psalm 8 (day two)
If you’ve never had a good boss, it is hard to appreciate the significance of Psalm 8:6. “You made him lord over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet.” A good boss makes everyone’s life better. Objectives are clear. Less time is wasted. Conflicts don’t get out of hand. The organization flourishes, and everyone joyfully does their part. When the New Testament authors thought of Jesus, they thought of him as a good boss. Consequently, they referred to this psalm to celebrate Jesus’ reign over their lives and all creation (see Ephesians 1:20-23). When you see an organization well run, a home well-managed, a life well ordered, you are seeing the thumbprint of the perfect boss who “does all things well” (Mark 7:37). His work of restoration is not yet complete, and He invites us to participate in it. Are you a “good boss” of your own life, family and work?