Elders and the Church

Scripture reading for January 8th: 1st Timothy 5

Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 5:17-22 “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 prejudicing, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.”

Paul gave instructions to the Church concerning the care and discipline of their elders. Elders were charged with teaching and preaching God’s Word and prayer. Those who labored–worked hard and consistently–were to be taken care of financially from the offerings brought in. If there was any charge of sin in an elder’s life, it must be brought by two or three witnesses and all facts established. The offender was to be publicly rebuked if they persisted in sin. Those who repented would humbly ask for forgiveness and mercy. These things were to be done without respect for persons or any partiality. A warning was given to be careful in ordaining elders or laying hands on them prematurely. Careful inquiry and purity of life must be ascertained before setting them in leadership.

Deuteronomy 19:15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for clearly giving care to elders through instructions to Your people. Thank you for financial care and spiritual care and discipline. Help Your Church to do these things without partiality or prejudice.

Matthew 10:9-10 “Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.”

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Live and preach the Word

Scripture reading for January 7th: 1st Timothy 4

Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 4:7-12 “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness: for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for this present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe. 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.”

Leadership in Christ’s Church requires discipline, focused living and preaching. First, there are the things to avoid: false teachers and false doctrine summed up by Paul as “silly myths”. Our heart is Christ’s home and there is constant vigilance needed to maintain purity of thinking, Then Paul lists things to cultivate: training and discipline in applying God’s Word to our own lives and families. This is made visible by how we live and act and speak in faith and love and purity. It has been said, we are the only “Bible” many people will read. A primary focus of public ministry is the public reading and declaration of Scripture. We use it to teach and exhort others to godly living and fruitfulness in Christ’s kingdom, hopefully while living it out in the Holy Spirit’s grace.

Psalm 119:105 Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me today by the Holy Spirit to first apply Your Word to my life and guide my feet in Your ways. I choose to serve the Lord and obey His Word. I will publicly declare the Word of God by reading Scripture, teaching it and living as a godly example.

Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your sight to serve the Lord, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

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Godly character shines

Scripture reading for January 6th: 1st Timothy 3

Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 3:1-7 “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”

Becoming an effective spiritual leader is an inside job. As Paul shares the qualification for overseers and deacons with Timothy, we note the many character traits, good and bad, that he lists. The positive traits come from time spent in God’s presence and humbly inviting the Holy Spirit to transform our weak and sinful nature to become like our Lord. It comes from applying God’s Truth to our lives in repentance and faith to crucify the negative traits. This brings stability in the home and family and is noticed in the behavior of the wife and children by those in the church and outside. Ability to manage the family and finances shows good leadership. Humility is most prized in that it keeps us close to Jesus and dependent on Him to avoid Satan’s snares.

Psalm 24:3-4 “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for calling me into spiritual leadership and shaping me inside by Your Word and Holy Spirit. Help me daily to maintain a clean conscience flow of Your love and to walk true to my calling pleasing You alone!

Genesis 6:8-9 “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. And these are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”

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Prayer and godly living!

Scripture reading for January 5th: 1st Timothy 2

Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 2:1-6 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving 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 sight of God our Savior, Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For their is one God and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave His life as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

Prayer and godly living go hand in hand. Paul taught Timothy and us that all types of prayers and thanksgiving for all people, and especially political and spiritual leaders, would yield great benefits. Those under authority who pray for those in authority help to set the atmosphere of their own lives and the community, state or nation of which they reside. God is pleased with the faith exhibited through prayers. Jesus Christ is seated at God’s right Hand to intercede for us in agreement with our prayers and He alone gave His life and blood to ransom all men. This testimony stands true and must be shared with all men before Christ Jesus returns!

Psalm 32:6 “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.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe You are the One and only mediator between God and man. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit to enable me to pray effectively and give continual thanksgiving for all men and those in authority. I want a quiet and godly life, sharing the Gospel, and pleasing my Savior!

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

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Christ’s overflowing grace!

Scripture reading for January 4th: 1st Timothy 1

Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 1:5, 12-14 “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. . . I thank Him Who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, through 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.”

Paul’s letter to Timothy, a young pastor who Paul considered his “son” in the faith, was written to encourage Timothy to preach God’s Word and live it out as an example to those he ministered to. Paul testified of his own call and appointment to ministry by Jesus Christ, in spite of his egregious lifestyle of a blasphemer and persecutor of God’s people. Paul had been ignorant and had acted in unbelief and when he repented, Jesus gave him overflowing grace and new faith and a river of His love for the lost. No one is too hardened that God’s grace cannot save and bring needed transformation. Paul had a clear conscience and a pure heart through faith in Jesus Christ!

Psalm 51:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You for calling me to salvation and to preach Your Word. This was in spite of my own sinful and selfish lifestyle. Help me to maintain a clear conscience and pure heart as I learn to fulfill Your calling and raise up others to serve You.

Matthew 4:19-20 “And He said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”

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Bible Trek 2021 begins!

Scripture reading for January 1st: 1st Timothy 1, Luke 19

Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 1:15-17 “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. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

We begin this new year with a declaration by the Apostle Paul of the mission of Jesus Christ: to save sinners. We also hear afresh and anew Paul’s confession of his great sinfulness and need of Christ’s mercy. Paul praised Jesus’ perfect patience with his own sinfulness and how now, in his saved and transformed life, he was to become an example to all sinners of Christ’s patience and mercy. All Paul could do was worship and give all honor and glory to God and Jesus Christ! We begin our year declaring these truths for our own lives. We are sinners saved by Christ’s great mercy! Christ’s mission and now ours is to declare Christ’s saving mercy for sinners through the Gospel and through our own transformed lives. We declare Christ Jesus and God the Father as eternally worthy of our praise! We declare this to be a year of worship and salvation!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the King Eternal and the only God my Savior! Thank you for showing mercy to me, a foremost sinner and blasphemer. Help me to declare Your mission of mercy through my daily walk, words and service in 2021. I will do all as daily worship to the King Eternal!

Luke 19:9-10 “And Jesus said to him (Zacchaeus the tax collector), “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

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Invitation to weekly zoom!

Dear friends and fellow Bible Students,

Greetings and blessed New Year! This year I will be doing devotions each week through books of the Bible. Our goal is a deeper walk of discipleship with Jesus Christ, our Master. Each person who participates in these devotions should read one chapter of the book of the Bible we are studying each day, five days a week. We will begin with 1st and 2nd Timothy, taking the first two weeks, beginning on January 4th. We will study the Gospel of Mark and then Romans after this. I will choose the books as led by the Holy Spirit following this.

For those interested, I plan on sending weekly links to a zoom call scheduled for 7:00 pm on Thursday evening central time. For those who would like to participate, I would ask you to email me at pastorjem@aol.com and let me know your email and preference of time. I will try and limit each group to 12-14 on a first-come basis. I will email you a link to the zoom session the day before each gathering. At this writing, there are already 9 people who have expressed interest in this journey. The final places will be filled on a first come basis. If more are interested, I might offer a different time. I want to have interaction, not just a lecture.

This trek and weekly zoom are intended to supplement or complement your regular participation in a local church family. This should not be a substitute for regular church attendance.

I look forward to personal sharing and interaction around study of Scripture. I would recommend a good study Bible for your reading. I am currently using the English Standard Version of the “Fire” Bible. It’s notes are designed to equip disciples of Jesus Christ to share the Word of God as Christian workers, teachers, ministers or missionaries. I have used many different study Bibles and versions over the years and am comfortable with most.

Let’s journey together through God’s Holy Word and share insights together. God bless you and may Jesus Christ be glorified! Pastor John Morse

“Come.”

Scripture reading for December 31st: Revelation 22; Psalm 150

Key Scripture: Revelation 22:17-21 “”The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of Life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He Who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”

As we come to the end of this year’s trek through the Bible chronologically, I want to thank the Lord Jesus for the privilege of studying and sharing His amazing Word. Thank you, each one, for joining me as you could. This final devotion records the final prayer of Christ’s Bride, the Church. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the Bride simply says “Come.” It is an invitation to the thirsty. It is to “whosoever” will respond, with no prejudice towards anyone and no payment required. It is accompanied by a final warning concerning additions or subtractions from God’s Word. Eternal loss is promised to those who choose to do that. Jesus personally states that He is surely coming soon! Grace alone can prepare us. Amen! Come Lord Jesus!

Faith confession and prayer: I pray today, and daily, along with Your Bride, “Come.” I believe You and Your eternal Word, forever settled in the heavens and on earth. Help me to live by grace and faith each day until Your soon and sudden return. Amen! Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

Psalm 150:8 “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

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Seeing His Face!

Scripture reading for December 30th: Job 40-42, Psalm 150, Revelation 22

Key Scriptures: Revelation 22:3-7 “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His Name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show His servants what must soon take place.” “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.””

Adam began life with a vision of God’s Face as He breathed into him the breath of Life. God put Adam (and Eve) into a beautiful garden and put them in authority and fellowship with Him. Sin destroyed their fellowship with God and their ability to see God’s face and live. Through Jesus Christ, the Lamb, man is now restored to fellowship with God and they will again see His face and know His Name. They will live in His eternal Light and be restored to rulership and authority forever and ever. John was told to write down this final revelation and the final Words of Jesus as “trustworthy and true.” Jesus Christ is “coming soon!” Blessed are those who keep His Word!

Psalm 150:1-2 “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary’ praise Him in His mighty heavens! Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, thank You for restoring my sight by Your love and light. I look forward to seeing You and God my Father face to face, and enjoying Your smile forever and ever! Give me grace each day to obey the prophecy You have declared eternally true!

Job 42:10 “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

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The water of Life eternal!

Scripture reading for December 29th: Job 37-39, Psalm 103, Revelation 21

Key Scriptures: Revelation 21:4-8 “”He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And He Who was seated on the throne said, “Behold I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.””

Eternal life is a choice made clear throughout Scripture. God clearly spoke from His throne to John about His plans. Those enjoying eternal life would enjoy eternity in His presence. There would be a newness of this full life that would totally eliminate death, suffering, mourning and pain. There would be the water of Life freely available for refreshing and quenching of thirst. John was instructed to “Write this down”! God’s Word is trustworthy and true for all time and eternity. But those who persisted in their sins: murderers, liars, sorcerers, sexually immoral and idolaters; their eternal lot would be the Lake of Fire, which is the second death. No thirst would be quenched there for ever and ever. The choice is laid out. Now we choose!

Psalm 103:1-4 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, . . .”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, my “River of Life”, I choose life eternal and abundant! I will proclaim all Your benefits to those lost and in the darkness of sin. Fill me with Your love and mercy and power to witness afresh today.

Job 37:5 “God thunders wondrously with His voice; He does great things that we cannot comprehend.”

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