1 Timothy 2

Tues devo

“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Paul never shies away from hard teachings in his letters. In this chapter, there are some of the most pointed verses towards women in the Bible (1 Timothy 2:11-15). One of my roommates in college hated those verses. In fact, she had taken scissors and cut that passage literally out of her Bible. When we read this chapter though, we shouldn’t read with blinders on. Yes, there are some parts of this passage that we may be resistant to for whatever reason, but we have to lean into that resistance. We can’t pick and choose what parts of the Bible we focus on; that was exactly what Paul was urging Timothy to teach against in 1 Timothy 1. 

In 1 Timothy 2, Paul begins by telling Timothy to let everyone know that prayers should be made for kings and everyone in authority (vv. 1-4). Then, in v. 8, Paul moves to instructing the men to continually pray without anger or argument. Finally, in vv. 9-15, Paul instructs the women to wear modest (not showy) clothes and learn in quietness and submission. When taken in the context of all three parts of this chapter, a common theme runs through these passages that is not just meant for women. 

Paul is instructing all of the church to practice submission to authority. Submission is “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.” It’s the way that we posture our heart so that we are quick to learn and understand the way that God wants to work in our lives. We all need to be submissive to authority, but all too often, we are not. Instead, we are prideful, which is one of the very things that God hates (Prov. 6:16-17). When we have a pride problem, we may buck under the authority of the government, our work, our parents (or husband), and our church. In fact, when we have problems submitting to the earthly authority in our lives, we will have problems submitting to the heavenly authority in our lives. 

So what antidote does Paul give for pride in our hearts? He encourages us to pray. If our goals are (1) to create the best testimony with our lives that we can (v. 2) and (2) to bring everyone into the family of God (v. 3), we should lean on the power of prayer to do so. When we are praying for others, we recognize that we can’t do anything solely on our own power for them. Instead, we can only trust that the ultimate authority, God, will work in their hearts. When we pray, we also can be thankful. Gratitude is another way to curb the pride in our lives. When we are grateful, we recognize it’s not about us and what we deserve. It’s about the graciousness of the other person we are thankful for. 

“It is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence – ‘Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be glory.'” ~ Charles Spurgeon

~ Cayce Fletcher

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What Counts

1 Corinthians 7

Keeping God’s commands is what counts.

I hope you have enjoyed working through 1 Corinthians this week.  I’m going to finish with chapter 7 today.

 

Up until now Paul has been telling them about all of the changes that they need to make.  He has told them to set aside the worldly wisdom, and the associated status that comes with gaining it, for God’s wisdom.  He has told them to seek purity because they are members of the Body of Christ, and they cannot do things anymore just because their conscience says it isn’t bad, they need to listen to the Holy Spirit.   He has also instructed them to seek unity in the Body of Christ instead of handling their issues in the courts in order to “win” the argument. Several times in these instructions Paul has shifted tone between one of condemnation and rebuke, to one of conciliation and support.  Again here in chapter 7 Paul is lightening the blow from all of the changes he has asked of them in these previous chapters.

 

Paul does not want to overwhelm them with the changes he is asking for, so in chapter 7 he clarifies about the things that he is not asking them to change, but they may have thought he wanted them to change.  They do not need to get a divorce if they are married to an unbeliever, but are to do everything in their power to maintain a healthy relationship. If they are a slave then they do not need to attain freedom, although if they can that is nice, but it is not required. Contrary to what some of the Jews in the early Church were saying they do not need to be circumcised. Paul understands that these life changes would be a roadblock to some new believers and that they are not what God really wants, he says “Keeping God’s commands is what counts.”  God wants them to change their hearts. And maybe some of the life changes would be wise, but those things can come later as you grow in God’s wisdom. The most important thing to work on is obeying God’s commands and following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 

Thanks again for reading along.  I hope some of this has helped you.

Until next time,

Chris Mattison

Cleansing Your Heart

Matthew 15

 

matthew 15_18

 

In Matthew 15, Jesus is very critical of the religious leaders during his time, which were among the group called the Pharisees. In verses 1-14, the Pharisees had criticized Jesus and his disciples for not following their traditions about “washing their hands” before they ate, as if it was a salvation issue for them. Now, it is definitely a good idea to wash your hands before you eat; in fact, I definitely recommend doing so. However, when we make such small matters an issue for the salvation of others, it becomes a problem.

 

Jesus goes on to tell them that it is the things that come out of our hearts that affect our salvation, not merely the things that we put into our bodies in verse 15-20. You see, God is more concerned about our hearts than he is with our religious duties. Praying and worshiping before God is good, but if it isn’t done with the right motives, it does not profit you at all. We need to develop a heart within ourselves that is truly committed to our God. 1 Samuel 16:7 says that “man looks at the outward appearance, but YHWH (God) looks at the heart.”

 

Jesus tells us that we can know whether our hearts are good or corrupt by what they are producing in our life. If you are producing evil thoughts, hatred, sexual immoralities, lies, and more, then you need to have a change of heart. However, if you have a good heart that is led by the Holy Spirit, you will produce these things: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

A good biblical example for us to follow would be that of King David. If you know the story of King David from 1 and 2 Samuel, God calls him a “man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). What a compliment from the Creator of the universe! Wouldn’t you like to be described by God in this way? You see, David was concerned with the things of God and longed to worship Him. His whole heart was devoted to making his God pleased.

 

I encourage you today to look at your life and ask yourself, “What am I producing?” If you are lacking in some area in your life, repent and start making a change. Although King David was a highly spiritual man, he also fell deep into sin, just like we all do. If that is your situation today, I encourage you to pray to God the same words that David prayed in Psalm 51:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.”

 

-Talon Paul

Guarding Your Heart

Prov 4 23

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.  Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.  Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.  Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

 Proverbs 4:23-27 NIV

     “Above all else, guard your heart”.  At first glance we may look at this statement and think it refers to relationships.  But on further inspection I think we can see more.  In Hebrew thinking, the heart is the center of everything, kind of like our minds to us.  This is reinforced by the second half of the sentence “for everything you do flows from it”.  Meaning, who we are as people, has a direct correlation to where our hearts are.  How we think, speak and act.  How we respond to criticism, how we react to negativity, anything you can think of in relation to yourself, is a reflection of our hearts.  This is why it is so important to continually evaluate ourselves.

     In order to change our hearts for the better we’re instructed to look at 3 things. Our mouths, eyes, and legs.  With our mouths we speak.  It is so easy to say things we know we shouldn’t.  Sometimes they even make us feel better for a while, or help us “win” an argument.  In the long run though, it is way better for the heart, if the mouth speaks truthfully, lovingly, and in an uplifting manner.  Trying to follow those will have a major impact on our hearts.

With our eyes, we fill ourselves to our “hearts” desire.  In our culture, we are constantly being stimulated visually.  Some of it is good, some is ok, and some just plain terrible.  But for sure it is too much!  Unless we decide to take control of what we see and how much, there is no way for us to fully guard our heart.  We have to make conscious choices on what and how much we watch or stream.  There are visual traps all around us every day, we have to choose not to look.

Lastly, is our legs.  This is as much about which way you are headed as where you are right at this moment.  Do you have healthy boundaries of places you know you shouldn’t be?  Have you already given careful thought to your future, both long term and immediate?  If you just go with the flow, you’ll most likely end up asking yourself, How did I ever end up here?  Too many people have to ask themselves that before they begin to guard their hearts above all else.  If you are already asking yourself that then now is the time to begin.

Start with these basic things, and you’ll be amazed at what God can change in you, in your heart, and then in your life.

-Jerry Briggs

Guard Your Heart – Prov. 4

Hello, and welcome to Thursday!

I hope your week is going well, and I’m so glad you’ve decided to stop by and read this today.

This week we have been reading the first chapters of Proverbs, one chapter each day this week. Today we will be reading chapter 4. Throughout this week I have been talking a lot about wisdom and some of its different facets. I’ve also talked about its importance in our lives as Christians. Today I will again, be talking about wisdom. I will be focusing on how and why we should hold on to wisdom and treasure it.

heart guard The first part talks again about how wisdom is taught by parents and passed down from generation to generation. Wisdom and knowledge are gifts given to us by those who have lived or existed before us. Chapter 4:4 “Then he taught me, ‘Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.'” This is the reason we are taught by our elders; so that we may live. This is why we are taught by religious leaders, and our parents, so that we may live.

I really want to focus on the last few verses of chapter 4, which say, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” Proverbs 4:23-27.

You need to guard your heart because your heart should be the center of who you are, and who you represent. Your heart is very important, and everything you are, everything you share with other people, and how you share God’s love, comes from your heart, guard it fiercely. Keep your mouth free of perversity. Be careful with the words that you say, and remember that you represent our creator. Do not perpetuate lies that people tell you, do not get caught up in drama with friends or at school, or work, or at home, because all of them distract from what you are called to be. Look straight ahead- stay on the narrow path. Do not stray from God, call out to him if you feel yourself straying, he wants a relationship with you, and he wants you to let him be a part of your life.

Wisdom is more than just advice given to us by our parents. It is how we discern right from wrong, it is how we know when to ask God into our lives, (which is all the time). We know how to help people, and we know when we need to guard our hearts. Wisdom is a gift, but it is also a tool to help us in our faith walk.

Thank you for reading with us today, and hopefully, you will join us tomorrow.

God Bless,

– Jana Swanson

 

It’s Not What it Looks Like

Luke 14-16

(Luke 16:15)

Saturday, May 19

“Its not what it looks like! I’m just looking for Devin!” The moment I had said this I was seeing my life flash before my eyes as my friend’s 220 lbs, Marine vet, picked me up by my neck and roughly placed me on the hood of his truck. After that I had explained and showed his dad the text that was from Devin asking for me to meet him at his house. I was not trying to steal anything from their house, but Devin’s Dad did not know it until I proved it.

 One day God will correct all dues according to the heart of every man/woman. In Luke 16:15  It says God knows the heart of Man. That is true, God knew my intention in walking into Devin’s garage that day was innocent. Although things were figured out sooner than judgement day, God still knew it.
Have you ever found yourself in a “It’s not what it looks like!” situation? If you have, did you try to reconcile it or prove it was “not what it looks like”? Don’t worry if you are innocent, God will forgive it in the end, but if you are guilty, maybe you should give it some thought to confront your situation. Don’t forget, God knows your intentions and heart.
-Jesse Allen

New Favorite Verse

Matthew 15-17

matthew-15-19-202

Tuesday, May 2

So…my daughter, Mackenzie, informed me that if my devotional is more than a few paragraphs long, it is likely she will not have the perseverance to read it all.  Therefore, I am going to need to jump right in to the part for my kids.  I always told my children that one of my favorite verses was Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”  But now looking at that verse a little more closely, I don’t think it has the same impact as the new verse I found.  Matthew 15:4 says, “For God said, “Honor your father and mother, and, he who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.””  I think this could have been more influential in their younger years.

In Matthew 15, the Pharisees were annoying Jesus as usual.  They said to Jesus (in a high-pitched whiny complaining voice), “your disciples didn’t wash their hands before they ate.”  Jesus explained that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and gets pooped out (Rick’s Non-Standard Version).  Furthermore, the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and these defile man (evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and slanders).  Therefore, you can try to control what comes out of your mouth, but a better idea is to “get your heart right” since that is where your words come from.  So how do you get your heart right?  The simple answer is to become unselfish.  I am convinced that every sin comes from selfishness.  We steal because we want something.  We lie to try to protect ourselves or get something we want.  We have sex outside of marriage because it feels good.  Go ahead; try to think of a sin that doesn’t have to do with our selfishness.

I am about to lose Mackenzie so I want to make this final point quickly.  Jesus summed this all up really well in Matthew 16:24-25.  He said that if you wish to come after him, you need to deny yourself and take up his cross and follow him.  He went on to say that whoever wishes to save their life shall lose it; but whoever loses their life for his sake shall find it.  You need to become unselfish if you want to save your life for an eternity.  You need to get your heart right and live your life for God and others, not yourself.  And to bring this full circle, if you get your heart right, good things will come out of your mouth about your parents and we won’t have to put you to death.

-Rick McClain