Category: Pauline epistles–BibleTrekToday

God-breathed Scripture

Scripture reading for September 21st: 2nd Timothy 3, Psalm 39, Proverbs 3

2nd Timothy 3: 12-17 “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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.”

The psalmist knew that his life was short and very ephemeral. He asked God to reveal his end and the measure of his days. Jesus revealed to mankind God’s offer of eternal life in God’s presence. God’s Word makes us wise for salvation–the forgiveness of our sins and restoration to God’s forever family. Paul told Timothy to receive Scripture as breathed out by God Himself. Through the Word, each believer, especially those called to preach and teach, would find all that they needed to equip them for ministry and a life of good works. God’s teaching that is kept, according to Proverbs, brings forth lengthened days on earth and peace. It is profitable to seek out and apply the Sacred Scriptures! Pass it on!

Psalm 39:4-5 “”O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am.” Behold you have made my days as a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before You. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!””

Prayer: Father God, thank You for breathing out Your Holy Word and having those You chose to write it down for us. Thank You for preserving Your Word! Help me to remember that heaven and earth will pass away, but Your Word lasts forever. Thank You for revealing eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Use me today to share this Good News and equip Your people for every good work.

Proverbs 3:1-2 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”

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Pass it on!

Scripture reading for September 20th: 2nd Timothy 2, Psalm 38, Proverbs 2

2nd Timothy 2: 1-7 “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

Paul is preparing to leave this earth behind and gives final instructions to his son in the faith, Timothy. He encourages Timothy to be strengthened by grace. Those who are humble and teachable receive grace. This grace is the Gospel message of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Paul used three short statements concerning soldiers, athletes, and hard-working farmers to help Timothy understand. Soldiers often suffer because they are under discipline and in training for battle. These men must maintain their focus on the mission of their commander. Athletes compete to win by training hard and following the rules of the contest. Farmers know that hard work is required before the harvest rewards them for their work. As Timothy thinks on these, Paul knows the Lord will open his understanding further to life application.

Psalm 38:20-22 “Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good. Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation!”

Prayer: Father God, strengthen me today in grace! I need Your mercy and grace through faith to fulfill the mission You have given me as my Commander! Fill me with the Holy Spirit and write Your laws on my heart, giving me understanding to walk in paths of righteousness and to live with integrity. Open the eyes of my heart today to see how to love You fully and love my neighbors to Your glory.

Proverbs 2:20-23 “So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.”

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Confidence in God’s keeping power

Scripture reading for September 19th: 2nd Timothy 1, Psalm 37, Proverbs 1

2nd Timothy 1: 8-12 “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share in suffering for the Gospel by the power of God, Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, Who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know Whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”

Paul was suffering in prison in Rome and writing what was to be his last letter that we have in Scripture. He believed that God had sent him to Rome to preach the Gospel, even to those who imprisoned him. He urged Timothy, who was also facing persecution, not to be ashamed of his own testimony of faith in Jesus or of him as His prisoner. Paul’s own example was one of confession of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as God’s Son and Savior through His atoning death and powerful resurrection to life eternal. Paul knew Jesus Christ and was fully convinced of Christ’s ability and power to keep his life and soul eternally, no matter what might happen to him! God’s grace was sufficient and His Holy Spirit would uphold him.

Psalm 37:23-25 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when He delights in his way; Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not see the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the confidence that I have through these Holy Scriptures and the records of Paul and Timothy’s life and faith. Forgive me for sometimes shrinking back from boldly sharing my faith in Jesus Christ. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and boldness to live victoriously, even in suffering, and proclaim Your faithfulness to all who will hear and see. May the wise hear and understand!

Proverbs 1:5-6 “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.”

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Contentment and the fight of faith

Scripture reading for September 18th: 1st Timothy 6, Psalm 36, Proverbs 31

1st Timothy 6: 6-11 “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

The flesh and the world we live in work to stir up all kinds of passions and desires. We are insecure about our provision and seek to build our own security with greater and greater acquisitions. Paul warned Timothy to flee this approach. As God’s children, we can trust Him to supply all our needs. If we have food and clothing, with this we should be content. Seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness will keep our focus on pursuing godliness. Adding to our faith the love of God and patience and gentleness is part of the battle to stay in the faith. Our goal should not be this world and its attractions but eternal life in God’s presence. In His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore!

Psalm 36:7-8 “How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They feast on the abundance of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your delights.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your steadfast love and grace through Jesus Christ my Lord. Forgive me for allowing my flesh and fear to cause me to pursue worldly security and provision. I want to fight the good fight of faith each day, pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith and love with gentleness and patience. I can laugh with joy in anticipation of eternal life in Your presence forever and ever!

Proverbs 31:25-26 “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue”

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Honoring and rebuking elders

Scripture reading for September 15th: 1st Timothy 5, Psalm 35, Proverbs 30

1st Timothy 5: 17-21 “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.”

Paul taught Timothy about how to deal with elders in the church with integrity. First, elders who ruled well and labored faithfully in teaching and preaching were worthy of double honor. They should be held in high esteem and given an offering for their support. This is God’s plan. If there is a charge of sinful behavior against an elder, it must be confirmed by two or more witnesses. Care must be given not to prejudge the person before all facts are established. If true, the elder is to be confronted and if he refuses to repent but continues in the sin, the rebuke is to be in the presence of the congregation. There is to be no partiality or preferential treatment! This is to instruct all in the congregation to fear the Lord Who is just and without partiality.

Psalm 35:1-3 “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend against me! Take hold of shield and buckler and rise to my help! Draw spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!””

Prayer: Father God, I thank You that You are just and without partiality. I thank You that You desire mercy for each person. Thank You for these instructions on honoring elders who rule well and for disciplining those who are caught in sin. I trust You to lead the elders in Your church in Your ways of Truth and integrity, with no prejudging or partiality. Forgive those who have not faithfully followed these rules.

Proverbs 30:10 “Do not slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.”

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A godly example!

Scripture reading for September 14th: 1st Timothy 4, Psalm 34, Proverbs 29

1st Timothy 4:11-14 “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Paul called his son in the faith to live out the message of the Gospel. Our life and daily conduct should reflect the character of Christ and the love of God through purity of speech and conduct. We never earn our salvation through works or keeping God’s laws. We can invite the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word to every area of our heart and soul. As we humbly seek to follow Christ’s example, we will set an example to other believers that will help them to live effectively in God’s grace. Paul also told Timothy to develop the gift that he had. We know Timothy was a pastor/teacher. As he lived out the Word and flowed in the gift received by the laying on of hands, God would work through him to complete his salvation and to see others saved.

Psalm 34:15-16 “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.”

Prayer: Father God, I am humbled by the calling of pastor and teacher that You have entrusted to me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit each day and by grace through faith lead me in applying Your Word to every area of my life. I want to be a good example to my family, children and grandchildren, and the community You place me in. I am trusting You to bring my salvation to fullness at Christ’s return and to save others.

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”

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The mystery of Godliness

Scripture reading for September 13: 1st Timothy 3, Psalm 33, Proverbs 28

1st Timothy 3:14-16 “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”

Paul had just instructed Timothy about choosing leaders in Christ’s Church. The qualifications were all about morality, character and love of truth. But Paul knew that human effort to produce godly character was not enough. There was a ‘mystery’ about the process of new birth and transformation by the Holy Spirit. Each believer must be born again through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. They then are given the Holy Spirit as a down-payment on the fullness of salvation. The Holy Spirit lives in believers and forms Christ’s character and love for God and others in them. This process is not necessarily visible to human eyes, but God’s grace is transforming believers to a life of worship and witness based on the Word that is applied by faith.

Psalm 33:8-9 “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him! For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Jesus Christ, the revelation of Godliness to us who believe. We stand in awe of Him and through His blood receive cleansing from sin’s defilement and power. I invite the Holy Spirit to continue Your work of transformation in me as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Apply Your Holy Word and let the mystery of godliness grow in my life today.

Proverbs 28:10 “Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.”

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One Mediator between God and man

Scripture reading for September 12th: 1st Timothy 2, Psalm 32, Proverbs 27

1st Timothy 2: 1-6 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the the sight of God our Savior, Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

Prayer is the lifeline for believers! We serve a living God Who is actively listening and talking with His children. Paul encourages the believers to pray for all people, especially for those in positions of authority. Prayer paves the way for a quiet and godly life. God invites us to ask, seek, and knock for the needs we have to spread the Gospel. God desires all people to come to repentance and a knowledge of the truth of His provision for their salvation. God has provided Jesus Christ, His only Son, as the Mediator between God and man. Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross to pay the penalty of all sinners. The Gospel is the testimony of God’s saving provision given to His people to share before the final judgment. Like the days of Noah, God shut the door right before the flood came. Today is the day to act.

Psalm 32:5-6 “I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach Him.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your heart to save sinners and to respond to the prayers and intercession of Your people and Your Son, Who is our mediator. Thank You for Your call for us to pray for those in authority and for open doors to share with the lost. I offer myself to You to use to encourage Your Church to pray and to proclaim the Good News that Jesus Christ has come to save sinners!

Proverbs 27:12 “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

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No compulsion!

Scripture reading for June 27th: Philemon, Psalm 127, Proverbs 3

Philemon: 12-18 “I am sending him (Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave) back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the Gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion, but of your own accord. For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer a bondservant, but more that a bondservant, as a beloved brother–especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.”

The short letter of Paul to a friend and fellow pastor covers insight into God’s working in a culture that had human slaves. God wants all men to be free from sin and its power. Paul had met Onesimus, Philemon’s run-away slave, while in prison in Rome. He shared the Gospel with him and he became a brother in the Lord. After a time of discipleship, Paul was sending Onesimus back to Philemon. He asked Philemon to receive him as he would receive Paul, himself. Paul explained that nothing in God’s kingdom was to be done under compulsion, but only through faith with grace. God’s grace would cover any wrongs as we apply His law of love for our brothers. God is building His House, the Church by faith through grace! He loves a cheerful giver as He is One!

Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for building Your House through the Gospel. In Your House, all slaves of sin have been made sons, brothers and sisters with Christ Jesus! Help me to show grace to all people because of the grace and forgiveness that I have received myself. Use me to bring peace and brotherhood to all social classes or nationalities. I want to bless others and see them restored!

Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”

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Clear and gracious speech!

Scripture reading for June 26th: Colossians 4, Psalm 126, Proverbs 2

Colossians 4:2-6 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison–that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Paul, writing from prison in Rome, to believers, gives them words of encouragement concerning their need to stay connected in fellowship to Jesus through prayer while living in a hostile world among great darkness. He also asked them to pray for his own situation, though in a way we might not think of. He asked for open doors to preach the mystery of Christ. He asked that his speech and words would be made clear to those who would hear. He did not ask to get out of jail! He further instructed them to walk in wisdom towards the lost and to seize every opportunity to share the grace of God in Christ through gracious speech and the salt of the Gospel and the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. Joy would be a fruit of obedience and God would bring forth fruit and protect them from evil men!

Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Paul’s instructions to us who follow Jesus Christ. The sowing of Your Word is done often through tears of compassion for the lost and suffering as a result of the darkness and evil of this world. Open doors for me today and give me wisdom and boldness to sow the Seed of Your Word with clarity. Thank You for the promise of a great harvest and great joy!

Proverbs 2:9-12 “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, and from men of perverted speech.”

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