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

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, it’s been quite a while since I wrote. And as you discovered last week, the main reason is, I’ve been struggling. It’s been a really rough year. And it’s been an all over struggle, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, with a little bit of financial struggle thrown in for fun. But I’m on my way back. There’s still a long way to go, but there are improvements in all areas and I’m on a definite upswing.

One of the things I’ve struggled with, not just over the last year, but throughout the life of this blog, is writing on a regular basis. One of the reasons, I believe, is not having a clear cut purpose for this blog. Well, that is changed. I said it last week, and I’ll say it again here, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” And I mean that literally, figuratively, and humorously as well, since every time I think or write that line actually sing it out. What I mean is, while I’ve tried using the blog simply to complete assignments for classes, or to showcase some of my writing, both of which will continue on occasion,  I have not had a clear purpose. It’s all been sort of thrown together whenever I’ve gotten around to doing something. Sure, there was purpose to the writings for my classes, but nothing ongoing, continuing – habit forming. And that’s what I believe I need right now, something habit forming.

So, there is now a theme to this blog. I’ve been trying to figure out how to combine some of the things I’ve been trying to do. Part of my physical struggle has been due to stress from trying to do too much. But I believed, and still believe, that each of the “too many” things I’ve been trying to do are things that I really am supposed to be doing. I’m now figuring out how to combine some of the things to be able to do the God assigned tasks yet still reduce my stress level. Pray for me that I am successful.

So, the new theme for the blog is going to be the youth Bible study that I had been doing. The biggest difference, as far as I’m concerned, is that it’s available to everyone. I’ll be posting every week, sometime on Sunday. And, yes, I have several posts banked already in case life gets in the way again. The other writing things may still happen, the school assignments, the occasional short story, but the primary commitment is at least one Bible study per week.

There will be a Scripture memory verse and a few questions for discussion or reflection. And, the biggie! A read the Bible in a year plan. Who’s with me? When was the last time you read every day? It’s really not all that bad. Yes, it requires discipline, but if we are going to be disciples of Jesus, we need to be disciplined. Keith Moore of Faith Life Church in Branson, Missouri says we need to discipline ourselves like Olympic athletes. Yes, that’s a LOT of discipline, but it really is worth it. The sense of accomplishment alone is worth the effort, but the better benefit is getting the Word inside you. You need to keep filling yourself with the Word until it starts spilling out of your mouth.

I know this intimidates many of you, especially the students. How are you going to get all this reading done in the middle of the school year when all of your teachers are acting like their’s is the only class you have, and they all schedule tests on the same day? Start now! Over the summer, get in the habit. It may seem like a lot of reading, but it’s really not all that much. Put down your phone and pick up the actual Book, and read for 20 minutes a day. I say again, it really is worth the time investment.

I’m using the reading plan at the back of my ESV Bible that I use for travel. There are readings from the Old Testament, Psalms, and the New Testament. You can use whatever plan you want, just be in the Word. Also, if you are following the plan, but the LORD arrests your attention on a particular passage, by all means, stay there. Don’t move on because the plan says you should if God is telling you to tarry for a while. The main thing to remember is that this is all about relationship. If a passage strikes you straight in the heart, dwell there with Jesus until you get things worked out. Read to learn, read to grow, read to become more like Jesus. Just remember, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16- 17).

So I hope you’ll join me on this journey, not just through the Bible, but through the studies, and my adventure to grow in obedience to form a regular habit of writing and study. I’m excited to see what the LORD has in store, and to learn and grow with you.

The first memory verse is the verse above, 2 Timothy 3:16- 17. It seems as good a place as any to start.

READING PLAN
Day 1 : Gen 1- 2 Matt 1- 2 Psalm 1
Day 2 : Gen 3- 4 Matt 3- 4 Psalm 2
Day 3 : Gen 5- 6 Matt 5 Psalm 3
Day 4 : Gen 7- 8 Matt 6 Psalm 4
Day 5 : Gen 9- 10 Matt 7 Psalm 5
Day 6 : Gen 11- 12 Matt 8 Psalm 6
Day 7 : Gen 13- 15 Matt 9 Psalm 7

Learning More Every Day

I knew there had to be a way. And I finally figured it out. Now I don’t have to worry about how to get content off of the tablet word processor and into some form, place, format, someTHING to get it to post online. I knew there had to be a way to write right in WordPress in an offline mode, and today I found it. Unfortunately, that is one of the benefits of being sick. There’s actually time to figure out things that you don’t normally have the time to work through. So now, I have no excuse for not posting. I can write whenever I want, and then post when I get to a wifi area.

I love being inn learning mode, even when I’m not sick. Hmmmmm. That doesn’t sound quite right, but I think you know what I mean. I just love learning. I always have. It’s a great, cheap thrill when I get that “AH HA! moment.” There’s a special satisfaction that comes when you finally figure out something that you’ve been trying to figure out for quite some time. Or the general pleasure that comes from the continuous learning mode of taking a class. It’s all good. I love it all.

And I’ve been in learning mode again as I’ve moved on to my next class at Berean School of the Bible. This class is an overview of the life of Christ as written about in the synoptic gospels. (The synoptic gospels are Matthew, Mark and Luke. Though they are written to different audiences, they are similar in the way they are written, detailing the things Jesus did. John is a bit different, dealing more with theology. John wrote later, from his exile on the island of Patmos, having more time to reflect over the events of his time spent with Jesus.) I’ve been praying about a topic to write about here, to again fulfill my class requirement. So far there has been no specific theme recommend itself like there was for Old Testament Survey. But there’s been so much to learn. Jesus said and did so much. It’s really amazing. John even says at the end of his gospel, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 ESV).

That is such an awesome thought, a world full of books! It makes me think of an old Twilight Zone episode. Burgess Meredith plays a meek banker who loves to read. He’s reading all the time. His wife bullies him, his boss and co-workers bully him, everyone makes fun of him for reading so much. One day he goes to the bank’s vault to read during his lunch break. While he’s in there, the then feared atomic war happens, but he’s protected by the vault. He comes out to a completely devastated world. He wanders aimlessly through the rubble until he happens upon the library. Books upon books upon book, and no one left around to bully or disturb his reading. With glee, he starts lining the books up on the steps of the library, stacking them up in anticipation of uninterrupted reading. He sits, leans forward to pick up the first book, and his glasses fall off, hit the ground and break. The final scene is him sitting there crying, muttering, “It’s not fair. It’s not fair.”