“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
Are you ever amazed at the fact that God has taken up residence within you? I know I am. One of my all time favorite verses is Galatians 2:20 which reads, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” I have died with Christ. My old man is dead and I have now been given a new Spirit because Christ lives in me. WHAT!!!! This is amazing news! Because Christ has taken up residence within my soul through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am no longer the same. I am a changed man, hallelujah! Sometimes, because we still live in this sinful world, the old man has a tendency to creep back in, and show his ugly face. It is in these moments when I know that I am not being a good example for others to follow. Thankfully, we serve a God of grace and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Paul wrote to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) Timothy was to take encouragement from Paul that his example should be one above reproach. That the elders and false teachers in Ephesus would see his lifestyle and recognize that he was not only a man of integrity, but a man who was like Christ. In his speech, in how he conducted himself, in how he loved others, in the faith he displayed and how he kept himself away from sin. This is a hard list to live up to! Let us not forget that we have the Spirit of the living God within us and He is able to make this lifestyle come to fruition.
Putting it into Practice
Take some time today read through Galatians chapter 5. What is the Lord trying to tell you today?
Lord we praise you for the power of the Holy Spirit who is alive within us. We praise you that we do not have to walk this journey alone. May we continue to lay our old life aside and put on the new man. May we live in the reality of your presence giving us the power to live a life like Christ. May more and more of His life shine through us as every day passes. Amen
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:25
I’ve played on a few teams in my life. Baseball, Track and Football were my main sports. I enjoyed playing sports but they all require a large time commitment, especially if you are trying to improve or do well. It wasn’t until college however when I really learned the value of specific training. My freshman year of college I was in the best shape of my life, mainly because I was working out 4 hours each day, taking one day off each week. I would spend two hours each day in the gym, and two hours every day on the field, running, throwing and building my skill as a shot-put and discus thrower. What’s amazing to me is that I wasn’t even that good. I was ok, but I was never going to be a star. I just enjoyed the sport and challenging myself to get better.
Paul often compares our spiritual life to that of an athlete. Like an athlete we are to train ourselves spiritually. To me this means we are to devote a large portion of our time to developing our souls as well as our skills as a disciple of Christ. Another word for disciple is an apprentice. Someone who takes on the role of a learner to develop their skill in a certain area. We are all apprentices of Jesus and His way of life. So therefore we need to develop practices of doing the things that Jesus did. These practices include solitude, silence, prayer, studying Scripture, Sabbath, community, fasting, and giving. And the great thing about all these practices, as we train ourselves to be godly, we receive an eternal reward!
Putting it into Practice
How does your time reflect the importance of training in godliness? Do you take regular time to be with God and grow as an apprentice of Jesus? If not, what gets in the way from starting right now?
Lord we thank you for this new day in which you have given us. We pray that we will continue to be diligent in pursuing our relationship with you. It’s in the precious name of Christ Jesus we pray, Amen.
“If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.” 1 Timothy 4:6
When I came to FlightPath the Lord gave me a clear calling. I am called to care for the lost, seek the young, heal the injured and feed the healthy (Zechariah 11). That’s my calling as your pastor. Timothy’s calling was to go to Ephesus and bring correction to the stinking thinking and false preaching. His calling was a tough one, who really enjoys conflict and confronting issues. That is why Paul says, Timothy, “If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 4:6) Likewise, If I want to be considered a good minister of Christ I am to spend my time fulfilling my calling here. I am supposed to care for the lost. To proclaim the good news to those who are destined to eternal separation from God. I am also to seek the young, go after the kids and ensure that they know about their heavenly father’s love for them. I am to heal the injured by carrying them to Jesus so he can bind their wounds and bring healing to the whole person, mind, body, soul and spirit. Lastly, I am called to feed the healthy. The only way to feed the healthy is to give them the bread of life, nourish their souls through feeding on the Word of God. This is my calling and I can only hope and pray that I am faithful to this calling. But the only way for me to accomplish this mission is to take the encouragement Paul gives to Timothy. To be “nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching you have followed.” (1 Timothy 4:6) A person cannot give away what they do not possess, so if I am going to feed His sheep, I must first be fed. I have to make sure that I am serving from a heart that is full of the Spirit, nourished by the truth.
Putting it into Practice
What has the Lord laid on your heart to do? How can you measure your faithfulness to the Master’s calling on your life?
Lord today we pray for our leaders, both denominationally as well as our pastors. We ask for their lives to be marked by faithfulness to the calling you have placed on their life. In Jesus name, Amen.
“…nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4b-5
To consecrate something means to dedicate it, or set it aside for a particular purpose. Consecrated is an old english word that comes from the two latin terms. Con- meaning with intense force and sacrare meaning to dedicate. The Apostle tells Timothy that all food is good as long as long as “it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” The food, which if it is received in thankfulness, once you dedicate it to Him, is now good, no matter how scary it might be to eat. Jesus taught in Mark 16. “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” Do we believe the word of God? The word of God tells us that we can ingest poison, and it won’t hurt us. What about the poisonous snake thing? Just because the Word of God says that we will be able to handle snakes with safety, does that mean we should go out testing our faith by handling snakes? Certainly not. We do not test our faith by putting God to the test. Our faith get’s put to the test simply by doing what Jesus calls us to do and going where Jesus tells us to go. Along the journey, as we are dedicated (consecrated) to the Lord for His purpose, when things come across our path like snakes, we simply act in faith. Example; Paul shook a deadly snake off his hand and cast it into the fire to the astonishment of everyone around him when we was unharmed(Acts 28). This happens because we believe in the Word of God and prayer. So when we go to unknown lands with unknown foods, we can eat with gratefulness knowing that when we dedicate it to the Lord, for his purposes, faith does something magical.
Putting it into Practice
Have you ever been dedicated to the Lord for his purposes? If not, we can sign you up today to take this step of faith through Water Baptism.
Lord I thank you for your protection along this journey of faith. I thank you now for all the times your hands have kept me from harm without me ever knowing you were at work. I pray that we continue to dedicate ourselves to you and your purposes. I pray that your Word will go before us and help us build our faith that you will continue to set us apart for your good work. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” 1 Timothy 4:4
There is something so beautiful to me about the act of stopping and thanking the Lord before you eat. I especially love it when I see an individual or a family praying over their meal in public. Growing up this was not a regular practice in my household. Yes, we shared a family meal each night, but prayer was reserved for special occasions. You know, Thanksgiving or Christmas, right before you act like a glutton and stuff your face until your stomach is begging for mercy. That’s when we prayed. But now, my girls take turns thanking their Maker for each meal. Partially because Amy and I are not the best cooks and we ask for God’s blessings in making the food taste good, but also because we know and understand that every good thing comes from the Maker. He alone created this amazing place we get to call home. What he has created is good for us, we simple need to receive it with thankfulness in our hearts.
Putting it into Practice
Is praying over your meal a regular occurrence in your house? Think about this, if you just Instituted this prayer practice of thanking God for the food you receive you will have added at least three prayers every day. It is one of the easiest practices to begin.
Lord we do thank you for each and every meal you provide for us. We thank you for the nourishment it brings to our bodies. I pray that we all take time to simply stop and remember who you are and how you care for each and every one of us before we eat. In Christ’s precious name we pray, Amen.
“One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.” Romans 14:2 NIV
You may or may not know this about me, but I love hunting. There are few things that capture my soul like being out in the woods hunting whitetails. Some people distain hunting, some people just tolerate it, others enjoy it, but I love it. I love to read about it. I love to think about it. I love to watch hunting shows. I love to shoot my bow to prepare for the season. I love to process my own meat. I love to share hunting stories. But I truly love how it draws me closer to the presence of God. In the good moments and in the tough moments, hunting has always been a place where God’s voice pierces through the noise of my soul. As much as I love the sport of hunting and how God uses it to provide for my family I would never force someone to take on my lifestyle. However, the false teachers in Ephesus were doing just that. They would “order them to abstain from certain foods” (1 Timothy 4:3)
Let me ask you something, did you find yourself asking why I had picked Romans 14:2 to begin today’s devotional? Especially given the fact that I am a proud hunter. Given my personal preference, I could take that verse and alienate an entire group of people, vegetarians and vegans. I could use this verse to explain to them how my point of view is superior and more biblical and therefore they should give up their lifestyle and personal convictions and become a meat eater. However, if I did this despicable act, I would fall into the same category as the false teachers in Ephesus. While Romans 14:2 does actually say what it says, it doesn’t mean what it means. That verse taken out of context can be used as an unholy weapon. The Apostle Paul goes on to say that “each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5). In other words, you are allowed to have personal convictions that differ from a brother or sister in Christ. We are simply called to promote unity and not division.
Putting it into Practice
Take some time today to read Romans 14:1-23 and journal about your thoughts. What do you believe is the major lesson that the Lord wants to communicate to you?
Lord we pray for unity within our church body. If there have been areas in my life where my personal convictions have trumped your desire for unity in the body of Christ will you forgive me. Lead me Lord to love my brothers and sisters more than the pleasures of this world. In Jesus name, Amen.
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6
One of the areas of false teaching that Paul had Timothy correct concerned marriage. The false teachers were forbidding people to marry. There is no direct scriptural evidence as to why they were forbidding people to marry, but whatever the reasoning, it is not biblical. Jesus taught that what God has ordained should not be looked down upon or forbidden (Matthew 19). Marriage is a beautiful covenant between a husband and wife to their God. However, God does not call everyone to the gift of marriage. Paul himself was single(1 Corinthians 7:7). Some people are called to the gift of singleness/celibacy. But the point remains, marriage is not something that should be forbidden.
It is interesting to me that the teachers in the church of Ephesus were forbidding people to marry. I believe this concept is somewhat foreign to us today as marriage has become irrelevant. It’s been reduced to a piece of paper, a legal document, so why even get married? Well, because it is a gift that God gives to the church. It a gift that the husband gives to his wife each day in a covenant before God. The gift of himself, laying his life down for her, like Christ did for the church. Likewise, marriage is a gift that the wife gives to her husband. The gift of herself each and every day. That she will love, honor and respect him. It’s time the church recaptures the gift of marriage and the gift of singleness/celibacy.
Putting it into Practice
What does your lifestyle say about your views on marriage?
Father we pray for the marriages in our church. We pray You bless them and their commitments to one another. Father may your people take seriously your design for healthy relationships. In Jesus name, Amen
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1
My first pastor would often tell me, “Never take my word for anything. I will not be there standing next to you on the day of judgement.” That has stuck with me all these years of following Jesus. It has fueled my fire to understand and seek the truth for myself. It led me to examine the Word of God and see if what he was saying actually lined up with what the Word says. In other words, we should be like the Bereans who “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11) In our letter from Paul to Timothy, Paul writes, “Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:2) False teachings, specifically the doctrines from demons have to be delivered by false teachers. These false teachers may not even know they are delivering lies of the enemy, as their consciences have been shut off. The feel no conviction over teaching false things. On the contrary, teachers of the truth recognize “that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1) I will never claim to know everything. We are all on a journey of examining the truth and allowing the truth to bring correction into our lives. We always need to remain teachable.
Putting it into Practice
On the day you stand before the Lord, when he asks you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” What will you say?
Father I pray that you will give each of us the desire to know your Word. I pray that we will be so rooted and grounded in your truth that when we hear false teaching we can recognize it as such. You promise us that if any of us lacks wisdom, that we can ask you, and you will freely give it. Lord, today we ask for your wisdom. In Jesus name, Amen.