Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart.
Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word.
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Knowing and Understanding
From: Our Daily Journey
My son and I had the opportunity to take a tour of the impressive Museum of the Bible (MOTB) in Washington, DC, before its official opening. A guide led us through the 430,000-square-foot, eight-floor edifice and gave us a glimpse of the extraordinary structure that will house research labs and libraries, exhibitions, classrooms, lecture halls, gathering rooms, and biblical gardens.
While knowing more about the Bible doesn’t equate to truly understanding it, I’m looking forward to visiting the MOTB again soon to gain deeper insights into the Scriptures. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:15-17 that they are able to bring “wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus,” “inspired by God,” “useful to teach what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives,” able to “[correct] us when we are wrong and [teach] us to do what is right,” and used by God “to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
When the apostle Paul penned this passage to Timothy—his “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2)—he did so with a warning that “in the last days there will be very difficult times” and difficult people (2 Timothy 3:1-9). Paul understood that as Timothy governed the church at Ephesus and was increasingly entrusted with missions of great importance, he needed to remain “faithful to the things that he had been taught . . . from childhood” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
Like Timothy, as we cling to the truths of the Bible, we receive wisdom from God to be able to discern truth. And as we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds, He can change and transform us to be used even more effectively in the building of Christ’s kingdom (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Stepping Into Opportunity
From: Our Daily Bread
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5
Like lots of people, I struggle to get enough exercise. So I recently got something to motivate myself to move: a pedometer that counts steps. It’s a simple thing. But it’s amazing how much difference this gadget makes in my motivation. Instead of grumbling when I have to get off the couch, I see it as an opportunity to get a few more steps. Mundane tasks, like getting one of my kids a cup of water, become opportunities that help me work toward a larger goal. In that sense, my pedometer has changed my perspective and my motivation. Now I look to get extra steps in whenever possible.
I wonder if our Christian life isn’t a bit like that. There are opportunities to love and serve and interact with people every day, as Paul exhorts in Colossians 4:5. But am I always aware of those moments? Am I paying attention to opportunities to be an encourager in seemingly mundane interactions? God is at work in the lives of every person I relate to, from my family and coworkers to a clerk at the grocery store. Each interaction offers a chance for me to pay attention to what God might be doing—even if it’s something as seemingly “small” as kindly asking a server at a restaurant how she’s doing.
Who knows how God might work in those moments when we’re alert to the opportunities He sends our way.
Lord, there are so many opportunities to love, listen, and serve those around us each day. Please help us to become people who notice the needs of others.
Take every opportunity to serve someone.
The Compelling Force of the Call
Beware of refusing to hear the call of God. Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact of his salvation. That, however, is not the same as the call to preach, but is merely an illustration which can be used in preaching. In this verse, Paul was referring to the stinging pains produced in him by the compelling force of the call to preach the gospel. Never try to apply what Paul said regarding the call to preach to those souls who are being called to God for salvation. There is nothing easier than getting saved, because it is solely God’s sovereign work— “Look to Me, and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22). Our Lord never requires the same conditions for discipleship that he requires for salvation. We are condemned to salvation through the Cross of Christ. But discipleship has an option with it— “Ifanyone…” (Luke 14:26).
Paul’s words have to do with our being made servants of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us as broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated to the gospel” means being able to hear the call of God (Romans 1:1). Once someone begins to hear that call, a suffering worthy of the name of Christ is produced. Suddenly, every ambition, every desire of life, and every outlook is completely blotted out and extinguished. Only one thing remains— “…separated to the gospel…” Woe be to the soul who tries to head in any other direction once that call has come to him. The Bible Training College exists so that each of you may know whether or not God has a man or woman here who truly cares about proclaiming His gospel and to see if God grips you for this purpose. Beware of competing calls once the call of God grips you.
|Feburary 2, 2018
Someone Needs You to Believe in Them Today
LENAE BULTHUISFrom: Crosswalk.com
I can still feel the sting of his sarcasm. I was absorbed in my schoolwork when a popular boy in our 7th grade class leaned in and whispered, “You will make a great poet someday!”
Stunned that he acknowledged my existence and spoke into my secret dream of writing, I asked why.
“Because you remind me of Longfellow,” he sneered. “Look at your feet!”
No need to look. I was painfully aware my feet were longer than his. Maybe the biggest in the class. I tucked them under my chair and took another step deeper into my insecurities. I believed the lie that good plans didn’t belong to ordinary girls like me.
What I didn’t recognize at the time was the work of a bigger bully seeking to steal, kill and destroy a young woman God called His own. (John 10:10)
Can you identify where war has been waged against God’s plans and purpose for you?
One of my battlefields was middle school. In one classroom was a bully, but in the next was Mrs. B. My favorite teacher had this red pen that was always, always with her. That pen was in constant motion, and it did its share of correcting.
But much more than that, it encouraged. Mrs. B. used her red words and her real love for God and kids to fight for the next generation. That dear lady saw something in me long before I could see it in myself. And it changed everything.
The Apostle Paul got that. Along with Timothy’s grandmother and mother, Paul believed in Timothy. He called him a true son in the faith. He prayed for him day and night, spoke grace and truth into his life and urged Timothy to follow his example.
In 2 Timothy 1:13, Paul wrote, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”
God used Paul to fight for Timothy. And it not only shaped Timothy and the church he served, but by God’s grace, it’s still strengthening the universal church today!
Sweet sister, who believed in you before you believed in yourself? Was it your grandmother, mother or a teacher like Mrs. B.? Maybe a coach spoke life into you or a family friend gently squeezed your shoulder — no words necessary — to let you know she saw you and was there for you? Even in the battles when it felt like you stood defenseless and alone, there is One who was always, is always for you. Jesus believes in you; He is your hope and help!
Often He makes His power and presence known through His people. We need each other. When we’re pushed down, we need people who prop us up and believe in us. So does the next generation. They need women like Mrs. B., people like you and me who use our lives to show the love of Jesus to every child in our sphere of influence. Women who give it their all so the next generation can know Jesus is for them, too.
Is that challenging? Exhausting? Inconvenient? Yes. Paul got that, too. As he mentored Timothy, he was facing a probable death by martyrdom. But he kept his eyes on the eternal instead of the easy.
Paul fought for Timothy in prayer (2 Timothy 1:3), urged him to fight the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12) and poured himself out like a drink offering as he showed Timothy what it looked like to finish the race well. (2 Timothy 4:6-7)
Though the battle is real and relentless, it’s worth it; it changes lives. One child at a time.
Dear God, thank You for every person You’ve placed in my life to show me who You are and who You say I really am. Give me the love, strength and stamina to fight for the next generation in prayer and in person. Use me to magnify Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.