That’s Refreshing

Philemon 1:7

“For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.”

The world honors men for many reasons. We have a Hall of Fame for most sporting endeavors. Men’s lives are immortalized for throwing a ball, riding a wave, or taking a punch. What an amazing thing it must be for a living legend to see a bronze statue of himself outside a stadium, or a street in his home town, named after him. Here, in our text, we find God is immortalizing the actions of a man named Philemon. In it we learn something very important about the economy of God.

“. . . the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.”

While we do not know a lot about this man, we do know his life was a source of encouragement for others. There are many things in life that can tear us down, wear us out, or discourage us from continuing to follow and serve Christ. However, there are also many things that can build us up and keep us going. What a blessing it is, when we find a man like Philemon who will refresh our hearts.

We are not told exactly how he did that, but a story from the life of David may shed a little light on how we can refresh the hearts of one another. The Bible tells us, David became discouraged. After being called by God and used by God, as a general and a worship leader, David was forced to flee like a fugitive, from the increasing threats of King Saul. He left his wife, home, friends and ministry. He was forced to hide away in one of the many caves in the Judean wilderness. At times, the difficulties of his life took their toll on David, and he became discouraged. On one such occasion, we are told he received a visit from his friend, Jonathan, who “strengthened his hands in God.” (1 Samuel 23:16) A phrase that is synonymous with the “the hearts of the saints are refreshed by you”

The question is, how did Jonathan refresh David’s heart or strengthen his hands? The story, told in 1 Samuel, explains that Jonathan simply reminded David of the promises found in the Word of God. Saddened, overwhelmed, defeated and afraid, David heard the great and precious promises of the Scripture and was suddenly strengthened from within. He was not alone in this experience. When Daniel was weakened by seeing the direction the world was taking, moving farther and farther from God, we are told, he heard God speak and was strengthened and rose to his feet to continue the task to which he was called.

If you find yourself weary, you may need a nap, a Sabbath, or a vacation, but you also need to sit down with the promises of God and allow him to refresh your heart. If you see someone else who is worn out, instead of rehearsing with them how unfair or difficult things may be, remind them of the promises of God, and watch as their hands are strengthened in the Lord.

Pastor Jim

Old Testament:
Isaiah 65- Holier Than Thou
Isaiah 66- Famous People

Praise God

Hebrews 13:15-16“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share; for with such sacrifices, God is well pleased.”

Worship is a very important part in the growth of every Christian. Many times, we measure God in light of the difficulties we are facing. We think there is little, or no hope for us, because our problem seems massive. It is in worship that we are able to see our life in light of the nature of God. We need to magnify God (which does not mean to make Him bigger, but to bring Him into focus) so we see life in light of His great love, mercy and power. As we magnify Him, we will see how little our problem is, compared to His ability. That becomes the source of great peace during trying times.

Here, in Hebrews 13, we see a couple of key elements that should be part of the worship life of the believer. First, we are told to offer the sacrifice of praise. Music is an amazing medium. Things that are often difficult to remember, seem to become fixed in our minds when put to song. How many times have you had a song “stuck in your head”, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot seem to get it out? I do not consider myself to be poetic in the least. In fact, I find it difficult to express to God the way I truly feel, but there are so many worship tunes that seem to say what I am feeling. When we gather for corporate worship, and I am able to follow the musicians as they play, I feel like my heart is finally able to express the things I wanted to say to God, but could not find the words.

Second, we are told worship must include thanksgiving. Just prior to these verses, we are warned against covetousness. To “covet” is to want what we do not have. It is often driven by failing to be content with what the Lord is currently doing in our lives. The children of Israel were known for grumbling and complaining during their wilderness travels. Instead of looking at what God was doing: providing water from rocks, miraculous food from heaven, a cloud covering from the sun, and a heavenly night-light to lead them, they chose to focus on the things they felt He was neglecting to do. They constantly complained about His provision, and threatened to turn from the Lord every time things got tough. Instead of focusing on the things that do not seem to be going your way, get your eyes on the Lord, and begin to thank Him for all He has done and is doing.

Finally, a life of worship, is a life that not only looks up, but also looks out. When we see God as He truly is, we cannot help but develop His heart for others. We are exhorted to include doing good to others, and sharing the things God has given us to benefit them. Worship is not something that is exclusively singing. While song is a great way to express how we feel about Him, it cannot be the only way we express praise. We must express it in actions toward one another. The Levitical Priesthood was composed of singers and musicians, but also included people who set up the tent, made the incense, baked the show bread, and a long list of other requirements, to make corporate worship possible. In God’s economy, those things are as much worship as playing guitar or leading in song. At our church, there are many who worship in the kitchen making coffee, or bring refreshments to make fellowship better. Others worship in the parking lot, assisting people to find a spot, and still others worship by inviting friends and neighbors to hear about Christ.

Don’t forget, doing good and sharing is as important to your worship life as singing, playing musical instruments, or expressing thanks

Pastor Jim

Questions for Hebrews 13 
1. Verses 1-4 address loving one another. Are there any commands in these verses that the Lord is addressing in your life right now? 

2. Covetousness-wanting something you don’t have in a way that makes it more important than God. Perhaps you believe you can’t be happy without the thing that you’re coveting, or that all your problems would be fixed if you just had that something. Read verses 5-6. What are the antidotes to coveting found within these verses? 

3. God sets leaders up within the church, not simply to preach and teach, but also to serve as examples of how to walk with God. What things does verse 7 and 17-19 tell us to do concerning our leaders in the local church? 

4. Read verse 8. Why is it such a good thing that Jesus never changes? 

5. Look at verse 9. Religious ritual is not a good foundation for our hearts. How should we establish our hearts? 

6. The theme of Hebrews is that Jesus is better. Here we see again that He offered a better sacrifice (Himself) than the Old Testament priests offered (livestock), and that He offered once for all. Look at verse 15-16. What kinds of sacrifices is God interested in now? 

7. Read verses 20-22. The author both prays for the Hebrews (talks to God about them), and then exhorts the Hebrews (talks to them about God). Do you do both of these things for the people in your life? Note the things that are prayed for and incorporate these into your prayer life for others. 

8. Note verse 25. What a great way to end this letter!


Old Testament:
Jeremiah 25- Unstoppable
Jeremiah 26- Hope

Old Faithful

Titus 3:8

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

Sometimes, when we want to emphasize the importance of something, we might add a phrase like “to tell you the truth” or “honestly speaking” or “without a doubt” or “without question.” It was common for Jesus to use the term “verily, verily” or “truly, truly”, when driving home a particular truth. For Paul, the favorite lead-in was “this is a faithful saying.” He used it five times in his writings, and each time emphasized a different truth.

1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

Beyond any doubt, the reason for Jesus coming into the world was to save sinners. He did this by willingly laying down His life on the cross. The Jesus who called the dead back to life, walked upon the water, and commanded the demons to depart, is the same Jesus who allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified; all this to save sinners. For us to benefit from His work on the cross, we must, like Paul, realize we are the sinner He died for, and receive the pardon He provides.

1 Timothy 3:1 “This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.”

Something happens when we begin to grow in our relationship with Jesus. Within us, a desire grows to serve Him. People, who prior to coming to Christ, may have been extremely selfish, now find themselves wanting to help others, or serve in the local church. Paul explains, wanting to serve the Lord is a good thing, and wanting to serve in the capacity of a pastor is a call of God. If you are being called, answer.

1 Timothy 4:9 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.”

Before making this statement, Paul had declared, “godliness is profitable for all things in this life and the one to come.” Whenever making an investment, we want to know the profitability of it. Will I get back what I am putting in? Paul explains that with godliness you will get a return far greater than the investment you make. Godliness will affect every part of this life, and will leave a storehouse of treasures awaiting you in the next.

2 Timothy 2:11 “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.”

This is the first line of a chorus sung by the early churches. It declares, without question, there is life after this life. For those who trust Christ, we will live with Him for all eternity. Heaven is filled with glory, but the heaven of heavens, is the presence of Jesus. To be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.

Titus 3:8 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

This is the final use of the phrase in Paul’s writings. Here, he is emphasizing the fact that all who trust in Christ for salvation should be filled with good works. Doing good things will not save you. However, if you are saved, you will long to do good works. You will desire to show your trust in Christ by living a brand new life. These good works should show themselves in your home, neighborhood, place of business, school, hobbies and circle of influence. How do you think your world would be affected, if today, you walked out the door seeking opportunities to do good works unto others, as a way to reveal Christ to them?

Let’s be sure to maintain good works, after all, the salvation of our loved ones may depend on it.

Pastor Jim

Chapter 3

  1. Verse 5 expresses the way of salvation in a nutshell. What do you learn about how a person is saved?
  2. From verse 8, what do we learn about the behavior of a person who has believed in Christ?
  3. According to verse 9, what things should we seek to avoid?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 63- Looking Back
Isaiah 64- Come On Down

Did You Hear That?

Titus 2:1
“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine”

The purpose of the teachings of God’s Word is not simply information. We should not expect a test when we arrive in heaven or a pop quiz along the way. Instead, we learn the Word so we might behave right. Sound doctrine must lead us to sound living. Elsewhere, we read of the doctrine that accords with godliness. When our understanding of God is correct, we will worship, live, act, react and speak in ways that are pleasing to God. Here, Paul exhorts Titus to speak properly. While proper speaking would include praise, evangelism, and encouraging others, it also avoids gossip, slander, backbiting and complaining. Paul is referring specifically to the things Titus would be teaching within the church. He divides the body into groups based upon age, gender and vocation; encouraging proper behavior from each of them.

It is clear from this chapter that Paul expected believers to minister to believers. Titus would be responsible for teaching the people, the people would be responsible to minister to one another, and to share Christ with others. A couple of key principles of ministry are woven through the text.

First, Paul exhorted the older believers to minister to younger ones. That is, those who have walked with the Lord and gone through the experiences of life, should be seeking to assist those who are new to the faith, or not as far along on the journey. What a blessing it is when those who have raised their families, now serve in Children’s Ministry, assisting the children of the young families. It is such a benefit when a more mature believer takes the time to disciple a younger Christian; investing time by taking them into the Word and prayer.

Second, Paul reminds us that the way we live will either impede or empower the things we share. He warns of the Word of God being blasphemed by wrong behavior. The gospel message cannot be communicated without words. Paul asked the Romans “how will they hear without a preacher?” We must courageously share Christ with our friends, family and co-workers, but words alone are not enough, we must live it. The world wants to see Christianity, not just hear about it. They should see it in the way we treat them, each other, and especially our families. Paul speaks of the relationship between the young husband and wife. When that relationship is godly, others will be attracted to the Lord.

Finally, Paul wrote, women should minister to women, and men to men. That is a pretty good rule of thumb for ministry. I think it is a good idea for men to get plugged into men’s groups, and women into the women’s study. While we can grow without personal relationships, it is my experience that our growth is enhanced when we take the time to establish relationships with others of the same gender, and dig into the Word together.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Titus 2 
1. Describe the behavior that Paul exhorts for: 
A. The older men 

B. The older women 

C. The young women 

D. The young men 

2. What should Titus be a pattern of for others? 

3. According to verses 11-12 what does the grace of God teaches to do? 

Old Testament:
Isaiah 61- Robes Of Righteousness
Isaiah 62- What Love

Double Agent

Titus 1:16
“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”

The church in Crete was like most churches. It had a pastor, who was seeking to minister to the spiritual needs of the people, while facing many struggles from within and without. It had members who were growing in the Lord and seeking to serve Him, and members whose growth was stunted, due to a variety of lingering and tolerated personal sins. Then there were others, who only pretended to be Christians. Paul describes this group as ones who claim to be followers of Christ, yet they fail to really follow Him.

“They profess to know God…”

The word “profess” is a very important word. It is used in Romans 10 to describe personal responsibility in salvation. We are told, in order to be saved, we must “confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus” (Romans 10:9). The word “confess” is the same word translated profess in our text. It is used again in 1 John 1:9 where we are told “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us”, and is also used in Hebrews 11 to describe those who lived lives committed to the Lord. Those individuals are also described as men of whom the world was not worthy. Paul is suggesting there are people in the church who look like they are believers. When we see them on Sunday mornings we assume they are living lives committed to Christ. They say all the right things, speak the language, know the songs, maybe even lift their hands in worship, or hand out bulletins at the door. The problem is, their lives from Monday through Saturday don’t back up the profession of their lips. They are only pretending, play acting, putting on a show in order to hide the fact that they have never surrendered all to Christ.

“in works they deny Him…”

The word “deny” is also a very important Biblical word. Jesus used it in Luke 12:9 when He said, “But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” Paul also used the word when writing to Timothy stating “If we deny Him, He will also deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:12) The word “deny” means to reject, and was used to describe those, who on Palm Sunday raised their voices in praise, but on Friday cried out “crucify Him.” Paul explains in this verse, the word means more than a simple statement. While it is necessary to confess Christ with our lips, it is also necessary that our lives back up our profession. Coming forward at the altar call is an important step in your Christian life, but it does not stop there. We must move on to walking after Jesus in our daily lives. If you are putting on your best Christianity to show up at church each week, only to live a double life throughout the week, you are not only in sin, but in grave danger. Deception is always dangerous, but self-deception is deadly.

Don’t wait another minute to lay down your sin and get things right with the Lord.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Titus 1

  1. How does Paul describe himself to Titus?
  2. According to verse 3, how is the Word of God made known to others?
  3. What are the qualifications listed for a person who wants to serve in ministry? How do you measure up?
  4. Who does Paul say must have their mouths stopped?
  5. Is there anything from verse 16 that applies to you?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 59- Bridging The Gap
Isaiah 60- Peace

Finish Line

2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Paul has come to the end of his road. While prison was an all too common experience for the apostle, he had been delivered from it, and other perils, time and time again. Somehow, he knew this time would be different, and his deliverance would be through death. Not long after this letter was written, Paul was martyred for his faith in Christ. As his journey concludes, Paul examines his life, looking at his past, present and future.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Looking back over his years as a believer, Paul sums his life up by comparing it to a race. The simple statement that he has reached the finish line, reminds us of the training, self-discipline, and obstacles he faced along the way. Finishing well starts when we decide to live for Christ. Many sit back, thinking about how they should get more serious about their relationship with Jesus, but as days become weeks and weeks years, they have done nothing about it. If we want to end this life as Paul did, we must decide, today, that we will live for eternity, laying down whatever is keeping us from moving ahead. Paul used another word to describe his life, he called it a fight. While fights may be something we enjoy watching, they are not something enjoyable to do. Sometimes, the only way to get in the race, is to stand firm, and fight against the desires of the flesh that keep us bound.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, . . .”

Paul did not see his present situation as a victory for the enemy, but as an opportunity to minister to others. In Old Testament times, the drink offering was to accompany the sacrifices that were burned on the altar. It would add to the beautiful aroma of the sacrifice. Earlier, Paul used the phrase, “if I am being poured out as an offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith” (Philippians 2:17). Paul saw his current struggles as a means to minister to others. Suffering is never pleasant, but God wants to use it in our lives as a witness to others. It is often through the difficult experiences, that we find inroads into reaching others with the Gospel.

“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

One of the most comforting truths that kept the Apostle moving forward, was knowing death was not the end. He knew a final breath in this body, meant the first step into eternity. As a result, Paul lived to bring glory to God. This led to the expectation that upon entering glory, Paul would be rewarded with the crown of righteousness. This crown is not Paul’s alone, but for all who live committed to Christ, and anticipate seeing Him face to face; they will one day receive the crown of righteousness.

Let’s live today in expectation of His soon return.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 2 Timothy 4 
1. What charge does Paul leave Timothy with? Why? 

2. According to verses 3-4, what makes preaching the Word difficult? 

3. What does Paul say is awaiting him for his faithful service unto Jesus? Is that waiting for you? How can you make charges to your life to ensure treasures being stores in heaven? 

4. What do we learn from the example of those listed by Paul as this book closes?  
a. Demas 

b. Luke 

c. Mark 

d. Tychicus 

e. Alexander 

5. In the midst of opposition, where did Paul receive his strength? 

Old Testament:
Isaiah 57- When Righteousness Dies
Isaiah 58- Fasting

Profitability

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Sometimes we neglect reading our Bibles because we do not see the value in it. There are times when we don’t understand what we are reading, or how it applies to the daily struggles we are facing. It is not uncommon when talking with a struggling Christian, to share a promise from the Word, only to see them stiffen up and comment on how they don’t think that will help. In this passage, Paul addresses the true value of the Word of God. He uses a word that all business men will appreciate; profitable. He is saying the Words of God are of great value for our lives and for our daily living; they provide doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction.

The word doctrine means teaching. Paul says one of the great benefits of the Word of God is that it reveals who God is, and what He is like. We live in a fallen world that has been greatly affected by sin. When we look at God through the filter of our circumstances, we develop a skewed view of what He is like. It is only through His Word that we can truly understand God, and begin to understand why we are experiencing the trials we face. The word “reproof” means to rebuke or reprimand. None of us likes to be reprimanded, but we all realize there are times when we get off track and need a little rebuke. Like road signs warning us the bridge is out, or the lane we are in is ending. The words of God will show us what we are doing wrong, in order to keep us from ruining our life, family, relationships and witness. The Bible goes a step further than reproof, and also promises to correct us. Did you ever receive a test in school that had been corrected, only to find it covered in red ink, showing you what you did wrong, but without giving any instruction on how to fix it? That is not correction. Instead of just showing us what we are doing wrong, the Bible will also reveal what things are pleasing to God, and instruct us in how to do them. Paul calls this, instruction in righteousness.

Our Christian growth and our effectiveness in ministering to others, is directly connected to the time we spend in the Word of God. A well-worn Bible is a good sign when it is accompanied with well-worn shoes from living out the teaching of the Word. Let’s commit ourselves to the daily reading of the Word, so we can become a people fit for our Master’s use.

Pastor Jim

Questions 2 Timothy 3

  1. Compare what Paul says about end times with the times we are living in?
  2. Verse 10 describes Timothy as one who carefully followed Paul. Look at the list; are you following in each of these areas?
  3.  What do we learn about the Word of God from verse 16?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 55- The Better Way
Isaiah 56- House Of Prayer

Be Strong

2 Timothy 2:1
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

It seems as though men have always been fascinated with strength. We have all seen images of Greek or Roman statutes, they look like they have come off the pages of a body building magazine, making us wonder if every Roman official looked like the Incredible Hulk. We have also seen images of rockets blasting off, volcanos erupting, or a nuclear explosion. The sheer force involved in these phenomena is mesmerizing. Psychologists and business gurus encourage us to recognize our strengths in order to find happiness in life or success in business. It is not difficult to find lists of character strengths by which to measure ourselves. However, it has been my observation, the things Paul tells us to be strong in are strangely absent. While it is important to be strong in things like decision-making, seeing a task through to the end, or being creative, Paul exhorts us to be strong in other areas which have far more eternal value.

2 Timothy 2:1 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Grace can be defined as the giving nature of God. The Bible teaches us, God loves us and desires to give what is best to us. The highest expression of His grace is seen at the cross, where He gave His Son to pay for the sins of the world. It is when we recognize we are sinners, and He has provided a way of salvation, that we become partakers of His grace. Sadly, many who have trusted in the grace of God for salvation, live out their Christian life as though grace was used up on the cross. They seem to live like Jacob, who was constantly striving and manipulating to get ahead, rather than walking with, and trusting in, the Lord. One of the greatest lessons to learn in life is, once you have received Christ, you are accepted in the Beloved. You are a recipient of God’s favor, and as you walk daily with Him, you will derive the benefits of His matchless grace.

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

The phrase “be strong in” is used one other time in Paul’s writing; he refers to being strong in the Lord. One of the realities of life is there are many times when I am not strong enough. The other day I attempted to carry a piece of furniture out of the house, only to realize I would have to wait for one of my boys to get home. It was simply too heavy for me. Weakness is something we all have, and it stands in the way of us doing what God calls us to. Rather than failing to do what we have been called to because of our weakness, we must be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Whatever He calls us to, He will equip us for.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 2 Timothy 2

  1. According to verse 1-2, how did Timothy learn the ministry?
  2. Paul compares Christianity to fighting, competing and laboring. What can we learn from his comparison to:
    1. Soldiers
    2. Athletes
    3. Farmers
  3. How can you apply verse 15 to your life today?

Verse 22 refers to running. What should we run from, what should we run towards?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 53- Despised And Rejected
Isaiah 54– Enlarge Your Tent

Godly Family

2 Timothy 1:5
When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.”

Timothy is one of the stars of the New Testament. His story has all the makings of a blockbuster hit. When we are first introduced to him, he is a teenager described as “being well spoken of in all the churches.” We know that his commitment to Christ struck a chord with the apostle Paul, who invited him to join the ministry team and take the Gospel to the unreached people of the ancient world. While traveling with some of the greatest saints of all time, Timothy rose to the top and became Paul’s most trusted ally and closest friend. By the time his story comes to a close, he is pastoring one of the most influential churches the world has ever known, in the bustling city of Ephesus. We know his success in following and serving Christ had much to do with a teenage decision to surrender to Jesus and the influence of Paul, but we also find that he was greatly impacted at home.

From the few scattered pieces recorded about Timothy’s home life, we can surmise that he grew up in a family with an unbelieving father and a committed mother. Since we know that his mom was Jewish, and as such, was forbidden to marry a gentile, we know that her past included a time of having wandered from the Lord. Rather than letting her past define her present, Eunice determined to raise her son around the things of the Lord. Along with the assistance of her mother, Lois, they raised Timothy on a healthy diet of the Word of God. It is not a stretch to conclude, he was actually taught to read and write using the Word of God as his textbook. With such a godly foundation having been laid, it is no wonder this young man became one of the great saints of all time.

Perhaps you are in a less than ideal family situation. Perhaps you are even the cause of much of the struggle. Instead of letting the past write your future, take the time to surrender all to Christ, and make your home a place where others will be instructed in the ways of God. It is not too late to allow God to use your life to influence others for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 2 Timothy 1

  1. According to verse  2, what 3 things does Paul want timothy to experience from God?
  2. According to verse 5, where did Timothy’s faith come from? How does that encourage you especially as a parent or grandparent?
  3. In verses 8-12, what terms does Paul us to describe himself? How would you describe yourself?
  4. Compare the people mentioned in verse 15-16; what would the Bible say if your name was listed in a verse?

Old Testament: 
Isaiah 51- Filters
Isaiah 52- Beautiful Feet

Be Prepared

1 Timothy 6:7
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

Famous American inventor and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, is credited with saying, “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” It seems we spend much of our time, effort, and energy, trying to avoid these things, rather than preparing for them. Some of us will exercise regularly, change our diet, and get regular checkups with our family doctor, in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. Others, will avoid any thought whatsoever of death or dying, and live this life as though it will last forever. Some, might have a risk-it-all attitude, where they live life on the edge, while others will attempt to amass as much stuff in this life as possible. Remember the mantra “He who dies with the most toys wins”?While I am not suggesting that eating healthy or enjoying life are bad ideas, I am saying, attempts to avoid or ignore death, are not nearly as important as attempts to prepare for it.

Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Jesus explained the folly of living for this life only. He reminds us that all we have acquired in this life, is subject to theft or decay. Not long ago, a water line under our house sprung a leak and ruined the flooring in our living room. I can remember the excitement on my wife’s face when the floor was first laid. While we knew it would not last forever, neither of us thought it would go so quickly. Life is like that, we live as though things will continue on forever, not because evidence suggests it, but because we do not want to face the reality that we are temporal beings with a shelf life. All of us must take seriously the words of the Apostle, realize the brevity of life, and prepare for eternity.

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

While it is true we can take nothing with us, we certainly can send things on ahead. Jesus maintained, we can store up treasures in heaven. We are all taking a trip one day into the unknown, to a destination where we have never traveled. While we cannot know everything we will face when we arrive, we can prepare in advance for our destination. Step one is to receive Christ; He alone is the way into heaven. Step two, get to know His Word, and live for the things that will outlast this life. The Bible teaches us there are only three things which are eternal: God, His Word, and the souls of men. If we want to live for that which will outlast this life, we must put Jesus first, get to know Him through the pages of our Bible, and seek to impact as many as possible for the kingdom of heaven.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 1 Timothy 6

  1. What do you learn about employer – employee relationships from verses 1-2?
  2. What does Paul teach about contentment?
  3. We learn in school about adrenalin and “fight or flight” what does Paul say we should flee from and fight for?
  4.  What do you learn about riches from verses 17-18?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 49- Inscribed 
Isaiah 50- Walking In The Dark