1 Timothy 1:12-16

“I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our LORD, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our LORD overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.” (1 Tim 1:12-16 ESV)

Yep. This would be me, and every sinner, saved by His grace and mercy. We all think we are the “foremost.” But He does judge us faithful and appoint each and every one of us to His service.

Yes, as I said a couple weeks ago, it’s easy to say “Yes” to Jesus. But there is a cost to discipleship. When we turn our lives around, start walking with Jesus instead of away from Him, there is a price to be paid, a job to be done. It’s not a free ride or a government handout. We have work to do. We have been called into His service.

And what is this service, you ask? While there will be some variation, mostly it is to live your life for Jesus.When I was a new Christian, I heard someone scythe the Christian’s life is sometimes the only Bible a non-believer sees. People are watching you, more than you may ever know. When Jesus comes into your life and you make that 180 degree turn, and people start noticing that you are different, they will ask. “What happened? What’s changed?” And that’s when you have the opportunity to tell them, “Well, Jesus became the LORD of my life. And with His help I have given up cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs with no withdrawal symptoms, no cravings, no real problems whatsoever. The desire for Jesus just drove out the desire for all the other things.” (Yes. This is what happened to me. Over the course of about one month, I went from smoking nearly 3 packs of cigarettes a day, drinking at least a quart of bourbon a day (Yes, every day), and smoking about an ounce of pot a week, to clean and sober. I gave it all up, cold turkey. I walked away from it all, straight into the arms of Jesus.)

Before I let Jesus in, I called myself”Spiritual.” I believed there was some sort of superior being, god, if you will, but I didn’t see god as God. And I certainly didn’t get the whole Trinity thing, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I didn’t get the religion thing, the you have to believe this way, or that way, or whatever way. I was very much an individualist. One friend from high school recalls me saying, “All this religion crap is bunk,” or words to that effect. She, a very devoted Christian, (who prayed for my salvation for about 28 years – Thanks Deb – Love you!), was debating with another student, from Iran, about Jesus vs. Allah. Not only do I remember the debate, we were waiting for the start of geometry class, but I also remember telling them that I thought they were both “cracked.”

Those who knew me in my days BC (Before Christ), and who know me now, know what a great transformation God did in my life. And that, my friends, is the point to the last line in this passage, that “I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to this who were to believe in Him for eternal life.” He waited, patiently, (even more patiently than Debbie’s 28 years) for me to come to the point in my life that I could say yes to Him, let Him redeem my life from the pit of hell and become an example of His great love, patience, mercy, grace, forgiveness, all of the above and even more so.

He turned my life around, and now I serve Him. Everything I do is for His glory. I work for Him, I rest for Him, I even play for Him. It’s all for Him. Thank You Jesus. His patience is for you too. He will wait for you. His mercy and His grace is for you. He will extend it to you whenever you ask. So I ask you, what are you waiting for? Just open your heart to Him, say, “LORD, I’m sorry for all I’ve done against You and Your Word. I do believe in You, Jesus, and I want You in my life. I ask for your forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Please come into my life to rule and reign. Thank You.” It’s that simple.

And when You have done this, please, let me know. It’s not required that you let anyone know, in fact, in some countries it’s safer if you do keep it to yourself. But, for the most part, it’s easier in community. God will lead you if you’re on your own, but having someone pray for you, guide you, point the way and direct you around the pitfalls, just helps.

For this week’s Scripture memory verse let’s stick with today’s theme, 1 Timothy 1:16, “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.”

READING PLAN

Day 36 Exodus 15-16 Psalm 33 Mark 12

Day 37 Exodus 17-19 Psalm 34 Mark 13

Day 38 Exodus 20-21 Psalm 35 Mark 14

Day 39 Exodus 22-23 Psalm 36 Mark 15

Day 40 Exodus 24-25 Psalm 37:1-22 Mark 16

Day 41 Exodus 26-27 Psalm 37:23-40 Luke 1

Day 42 Exodus 28 Psalm 38 Luke 2

 

1 Timothy 1:1- 11 Part 1

There are so many lessons (or messages) we can learn (or receive) from the Scriptures. Often there are many within the same passage. And it’s really amazing, as you grow in relationship with the LORD,  and reread Scriptures you’ve read many times before, to see how new lessons emerge as you mature in your faith.

In this passage from Paul’s first letter to Timothy, who was leading the church at Ephesus at the time, the first message I am receiving is that we have to be so very, very careful to pay attention to what Scripture says, and ONLY what Scripture says. It is so easy to fall into error if we are not paying attention, studying and knowing the Scriptures, and growing in relationship with God.

At the time Paul wrote, there was a problem brewing within the Ephesian church. Paul warned against it when he was there on his third missionary journey. Luke even wrote about it in Acts. First Paul instructs the elders to, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood,” (Acts 20:28). Though this message is directed to the overseers of the Ephesian church, overseers being primarily the leaders of the church, pastors and ministers, remember that we, as believers, are ALL ministers of the Faith so it’s important for us ALL to pay careful attention to ourselves. In Acts 20:30, Paul warns, “from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” In other words, other believers (from among your own selves), who are not keeping keeping careful watch, will twist the Word and draw people away into error.

It’s so VERY important for us to be in the Word, to know the Word, so that when someone twists the Word, we know it, and we can speak against the error. (Notice I said to speak against the error, not against the speaker). This makes me think about the U.S. Treasury department and the agents that are trained to spot counterfeit money. Throughout their entire, very extensive training, they never, yes, I said NEVER, look at counterfeit bills. They only look at the real deal. They get so intimately familiar with the real bills that they can see differences in an instant.

So, dig into the Word, grow your relationship with God, and get so intimately familiar with Scripture that you see any differences in an instant. Like the Bereans, test everything said, even from the pulpit, searching the Scriptures to be sure it’s right. Even “from among your own selves” can come error. In other words, don’t just assume that everything preached from a pulpit, or spoken to you by someone in authority, is correct. Search it out for yourself. Ask Holy Spirit to guide you. And remember to look at the whole context and meaning of the original writers. Single verses, or parts of verses, can be twisted to mean whatever we want. Look to see what the author meant, and again, listen for the voice of Holy Spirit in all your study.

This week’s Scripture memory verse is Acts 17:11:
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

READING PLAN
Day 8: Gen 16- 17 Psalm 8 Matt 10
Day 9: Gen 18- 19 Psalm 9 Matt 11
Day 10: Gen 20- 21 Psalm 10 Matt 12
Day 11: Gen 22- 23 Psalm 11 Matt 13
Day 12: Gen 24 Psalm 12 Matt 14
Day 13: Gen 25- 26 Psalm 13 Matt 15
Day 14: Gen 27 Psalm 14 Matt 16- 17