There are two things common to all of us of faith: Jesus Christ and daily struggle. If you are in Christ, you struggle in the most unique and difficult ways. This is the reality of following Jesus. In 1 Peter 4:10-11, we see that a common Christ and a common struggle causes us to embrace a common encouragement in all of its varied and wonderful forms.
In Luke 19:11-27, Jesus is approaching Jerusalem and His crucifixion. The following crowd was anticipating Jesus to establish the Messianic Kingdom. He tells this parable to explain the coming delay before His reign.
A vulnerable person is defined as someone in need of special care, support, or protection because of innate disability or risk of abuse. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians addressed issues of sin and carnality in the church and prescribed corrective paths. The believers there received this rebuke and began to change. Then came another threat to their growth: false ones within the church. In this second letter, Paul has redirected their hearts to the comfort of God, his own integrity and love for them, intentional gospel ministry, and the greater glory of New Covenant. Next he rehearses how wonderful God’s transforming grace is to them on a personal level.
On Memorial Day, we reflect on the sobering love that gives one's life for a cause. As God's people, we must also value the service of saints in community of God, no less than we do those who serve our country. There is no greater cause than global Gospel evangelism. Sacrifices for our national freedom are great and honorable, but they are not of infinite salvific value.
Women were not given a respected place in first-century culture. The Bible gives them an equal spiritual standing as illustrated by many examples. Jesus' public ministry especially highlighted the spiritual place He gave women. Women listened to Christ, followed Him, were healed by Him, and served as examples of being and making disciples. Women are essential influencers within God's community of the local church.
As we prepare to "re-enter" society following shutdowns on a national and international level, we are preparing ourselves for more change. Though the natural rhythms of life remain the same, they may look different from what we were used to before the pandemic. But we will be okay by God's grace. Our circumstances and cultures may change, but God's beauty and order do not. Some of our spiritual habits should never change either.
Christians minister and serve because of Christ is resurrected and assures us of our own.
Three Gospel writers record the narrative found in Mark 6:45-52. Mark writes with his theme in mind: Jesus as servant (Mark 10:45).
Spiritual togetherness is another way to say "unity." Believers will be spiritually one as we understand who God is and who we are in Christ. We should not want to live life alone.
The investment of a mother or grandmother has far-reaching spiritual results. Though this message is oriented towards Mother's Day, every believer can learn from godly ladies. The best gift a mother can give is an introduction to the Savior, Jesus Christ. This fills the primary need of any child. 2 Timothy 1:3-14 shows four spiritual anchors that children need from their moms after salvation. The quality of our children's future depends on our understanding of these principles (whether biological children, adopted, or spiritual).
Paul gives Timothy eight imperatives for living at the end of 1 Timothy 4. These instructions to a pastor are useful for every believer to live a well-disciplined life that shows progress in Christ-likeness step by step.
Content and disposition are both important in communication and leadership. Saying the right thing in the wrong way can hurt more than help. When Jesus spoke, He only scolded religious unbelief. He reserved harshness for those who should have known better.
The human authors that God used to pen the Bible each wrote with their own disposition and personality. We must read each of their books understanding their unique style. Paul gave Timothy essential information to govern God's church, assuming that Timothy was ready to embrace his instruction.
In 1 Timothy 3, Paul writes Timothy about the qualifications for leadership in the church. His comments raise two questions: Do you aspire to be a leader? Do you qualify? This particular section is addressed to men, but all people in the church should aspire to have character that mirrors their leaders.
1 Timothy 1 is all about ministry balance. Paul emphasizes three things necessary for Timothy's ministry and every local church:
Every member must take responsibility for all three. A congregation that only teaches sound doctrine or only evangelizes will know success for a while, but a flock where each saint embraces the challenge of learning to defend the body of faith entrusted to them will know the eternal blessing of God.
Paul wrote the book of 1 Timothy to encourage the believers at Ephesus, then instruct them about the structure of the church so they could make spiritual progress. First he had to encourage their leader, his "true son in the faith," Pastor Timothy. Paul was Timothy's spiritual father. He had mentored Timothy in personal growth and in ministry. What fruits did Paul desire to see in his spiritual son -- and what should we pray to see in our spiritual children?
The Christian life is a battle for the mind. Many minds in our culture seek to convince people to think like them. But there is no mind that can compare to the mind of Christ. Every Christian who has made Christ their Lord and Savior has the mind of Christ! We are commanded to let His mind continually be operational in us.
Corporate purity in a church comes from the personal purity of its people. In God's divine order, people will become like their leaders. Paul wrote Timothy to watch his own life and doctrine so he could lead the church of Ephesus well. When it comes to doctrine, there is no "wiggle room." Even though Paul spent the most time establishing the Ephesian church, some people there were okay with deviating slightly from biblical doctrine. A thread of falsehood can creep into the most well-taught church. We are all prone to this error in our fallen natures, but the Word of God acts like a hammer to correct both our doctrine and our practice of it.
Understanding the minutiae of Timothy’s life will help us understand the letters Paul wrote to help him oversee the pastor-shepherds of Ephesus. Timothy knew the Scriptures and came to Christ early in his life (2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15). From what we see in Scripture, Timothy was always a timid man. But his life teaches us that timidity is never an excuse not to minister. Everyone experiences a degree of fear when giving the Gospel or ministering publically. We must not let it keep us from obeying God.
From Genesis 42, we can learn about wise stewardship, political leadership, and the fact that sin will always find you out. But the main focus of this chapter is a servant leader who lives faithfully wherever God puts him because he knows he has a divine purpose.
According to statistics, about 5% of people across the globe suffer from depression, and over 10% of Americans are depressed. Sometimes depression has a physical cause; sometimes it is caused by circumstances. When our circumstances threaten to discourage us, God’s remedy is spiritual. Though you might not guess on the first read, Joseph’s story in Genesis 40 tells us how to avoid depression and discouragement in our Christian walk.
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