Start With Prayer

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Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Timothy 2

We’re on day 2 of 1 Timothy this morning! Go ahead and grab your paper bible, or pull up 1 Timothy 2 on another device and read it, then come back here for the devo.

Big Truth:

Paul’s first matter of importance to share with Timothy was the importance of prayer within the church.

Study:

Verses 1-8:

Paul is writing to a young minister, providing instruction on leading and serving the church. He is going to give instructions on leadership in the church, the importance of godliness, teaching, rebuking false teachers, caring for widows, etc. What does he start with? (Verse 1)

What does Paul starting with prayer tell us about how important prayer is in our the church? What are some words used to describe prayer? What are some topics Paul encourages Timothy to pray for?

What does “lifting up holy hands” mean (verse 8)? What does our way of life have to do with our prayers?

 

Verses 9-15:

Verses 9-11 give some specific instructions around attire for women. I do not believe these principled guides, given at a particular moment in history, are meant to be laws for our day. For instance, I don’t believe it is a sin for a woman to braid her hair. What can we learn from verses 9-11? What are some temptations in our day that may lead Christian women to dress in ways that would not honor God?

What does God desire the focus of the “adorning” of his daughters to be? (Verse 10)

Verses 12-14 give some specific guides for the place of women within the church. Paul’s words in verse 14 sound particularly strange to our 21st century ears. While the principle in scripture stands: there are roles of leadership within the church reserved to men. We are reminded in Genesis 1 and 1 Peter 3 that men and women are both created in God’s image and equally heirs of God’s grace.

I thought his commentary from John Piper and Wayne Grudem was particularly insightful. “Men and women, as God created us, are different in hundreds of ways. Being created equally in the image of God means at least this: that when the so-called weakness and strength columns for manhood and for womanhood are added up, the value at the bottom is going to be the same for each. And when you take those two columns and put them on top of each other, God intends them to be the perfect complement to each other.”

Verse 15 can be confusing. There are a few potential understandings of this text.  Keeping all of the Bible in mind, we know that it does not mean a woman’s eternal salvation is dependent on her having a child. I appreciated the perspective offered here.

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he invites us to prayer. Praise him that he is wise and gives good instruction to his church.

Confession: Confess to God that coming to him with “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” is not always our first instinct. Confess ways that we may reject his good design for the church, for men, and for women.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that he instructs us in his word and invites us to come to him in prayer. Thank him that we can pray un-condemned through Jesus.

Supplication: Ask God to help you love his design for the church. Ask him to help you be a praying person who desires the things he desires.

Grace & Peace.

Cited:

John Piper and Wayne Grudem, 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway, 2016).

 

Warfare of Grace

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Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Timothy 1

We’re starting 1 Timothy this morning! Go ahead and grab your paper bible, or pull up 1 Timothy 1 on another device and read it, then come back here for the devo.

Big Truth:

While the law is useful, God’s people need the gospel as they live under grace. Paul and Timothy are both called to proclaim it, and we are too!

 

Study:

Verses 1-11:

“Good men (those who are declared righteous through faith in Christ) are governed not by law but by a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. This means, for example, that they not only do not kill (that is merely the restriction of the law) but they do not entertain anger towards others (see Matt. 5:21, 22). To live in unbroken fellowship with Christ rules out the possibility of personal resentment and hatred.” (Mounce)

The law is helpful because it shows us where we may be going against God’s ways, but what does Paul say the “aim” or “goal” of his charge is? (Verse 5)

Can the law accomplish this goal?

Verses 12-20:

“Paul (then named Saul) appeared to be impossibly lost. He was a religious predator whose hands were stained with the blood of Christians—a callous, self-righteous, bigoted murderer hell-bent on a full-scale inquisition (Acts 9:1–2; 26:9–11). But on the Damascus road, he met the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Acts 9:3–6). There, while he did not deserve mercy, he was shown mercy—he “received mercy” (1 Tim. 1:13, 16)…

The result? In Paul’s own words, “and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (v. 14). The words portray an overwhelming supply of mercy.”” (ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible)

What is the statement that Paul says is “trustworthy” in verse 15? What does Paul’s testimony about God’s grace in his life tell you about God’s willingness to give grace to you?

Paul gives Timothy a “charge” to “wage warfare” in verse 18. Based on verses 12-17, what are the weapons of our “warfare?”

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he has given us his law as a good and wise guide for our life. Praise Jesus for his work on the cross that frees us from the condemnation of the law and invites us to live out of relationship with him.

Confession: Confess to God ways that you may hold others to law standards instead of giving them grace. Confess to God that the gospel doesn’t always “overflow” out of your life. Confess that you may not always stay “waging warfare” with the gospel.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that we get to be apart of his army that brings the message of Jesus redemption to the world. Thank him that we are not under the law, but under the grace he gives us so freely in Jesus. Be glad this morning that our aim is “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

Supplication: Ask God to help you remember his grace and extend it to others. Ask him to show you clearly your part in “waging warfare” with the gospel and to help you do it with wisdom and grace. Spend time laying any burdens you have upon him as you begin your day. He desires for you to walk in the freedom and joy of the gospel.

Grace & Peace.

Cited:

Robert H. Mounce, Pass It On: A Bible Commentary for Laymen: First and Second Timothy (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2005).

The Day of The Lord

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Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Thessalonians 2

Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

We are currently in a time when evil is still being restrained. There will be a time of great rebellion followed by the return of Christ when Jesus will ultimately defeat all evil with his breath. All who have trusted Christ can be sure that when all evil is ultimately punished, they will be standing with Christ as his redeemed people.

Restraint (now), rebellion (where we are headed), retribution (Christ’s judgement on those who reject him), and restoration (for those whom Christ has saved), this is the future of our world.

Commentary:

 

The one who Paul calls “the lawless one” is the same as the person we know as “the antichrist.” 1 John 2:18 says, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.” John seems to be saying that while there is an ultimate evil one to come, there are still evil ones who are already at work.

Questions from the Bible Reading:

If Jesus is going to take out the ultimate evil one (the antichrist, lawless one, etc.) with “the breath of his mouth” (vs 8) then what does that say about his power over any other force of evil? Is there any bad thing that can or will happen that is to much for Jesus?

Knowing that there is still evil in the world, and that there is more evil to come, what truths does Paul remind the Thessalonians of in verses 13-17? Are those things true about you in Christ?

Prayer:

Adoration: Worship Jesus as the one who will destroy even the most powerful forces of darkness with his breath. Love and thank him that he chose us as his people and called out of darkness all who believe on Christ.

Confession: Confess to God any ways that you aren’t trusting him to judge the world with righteousness and power. Are there people you are trying to get even with? Are there bad things in the world you feel can’t be overcome? Trust those to our King,

Thanksgiving: Thank God that we chosen, beloved, saved, called, etc in Christ. Thank him that he is allowing us to be glorified with Christ because of the gospel instead of condemned with the antichrist because of our sin.

Supplication: Ask God to help you keep you trust his sovereign hand. Ask him to give you joy, steadfastness, and a rich desire for him as you consider his coming kingdom.

Grace & Peace.

Confident in Trials

1 thessToday’s Bible Reading:

2 Thessalonians 1

Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

Questions from the Bible Reading:

Based on verse 4, are the people receiving this letter in a hard time or easy time?

How are they handling the struggles they are facing?

Verses 5-9 describe God’s judgement on those who afflict his people. In our culture, thinking about God’s judgement can be uncomfortable. How does knowing God will judge our enemies help us? How does it help us avoid revenge and bitterness?

Verses 9-12 talk about how God’s people being united with their king, Jesus. Who are the people marveling at Jesus in verse 10? What does this mean about how we are judged?

 

Application:

All who believe will marvel at Jesus when he returns. This means we look forward to Jesus return with longing. Knowing that we aren’t judged based on our own goodness, but on Jesus’ perfection. We also live through tough times knowing that Jesus will settle all accounts in the end. We don’t need to get even with those who have wronged us. We also live knowing he’s returning, seeking to live worthy of his calling as we “fulfill every work of faith by his power.”

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he is a righteous judge. Praise him that he is just. Celebrate that our God, the righteous judge, sent his son to save us. Praise Jesus that he did not come to earth to judge us, but to save us. And praise him that he is coming again to make all things right.

Confession: Confess to God ways you are trying to get even with others instead of “enduring” and trusting him to judge those who afflict you. Confess to God any ways that you are knowing living unworthy of his calling.

Thanksgiving: Thank God for the promises he has given us in the gospel. Thank him that you can look forward to his return because of Jesus. Thank him that he allows us to do good in his power.

Supplication: Ask God to help you keep you put away feelings of bitterness or desires for revenge. Ask him to help you trust his gracious hand. Ask him to help you walk in obedience by his power.

Grace & Peace.

Children of the Light

1 thessToday’s Bible Reading:

1 Thessalonians 5

Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

The people of God are to be alert and hopeful as they wait for Jesus’ return,

Questions from the Bible Reading:

 

Take a look at verses 2-4. Describe the people who are “in darkness.” What is true about them based on this passage?

Now look at verses 4-11. What is true about the children of the light?

Think for a minute about the difference between someone who Jesus’ return will “come like a thief in the night” and someone who is “awake and sober.” What is different between these two people’s lives?

In verses 12-28, Paul closes the book with some very practical instruction. Why would specific instruction follow a call to be looking towards Jesus return?

Application:

 

Do you live aware of Jesus’ return? Are there areas in your life you wouldn’t want to be there when Jesus comes back? That is what Paul calls, “Living in darkness.” As application this morning, I want to ask you to look towards Jesus who has saved you, is saving you, and is returning to ultimately save you. Consider the wonderful hope we have as we look forward to Jesus return. Then, between you and God, turn away from any ways you are living in the dark and begin walking in the light.

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that Jesus Christ will come again in power and glory. Think of all the ways we can celebrate who God is as we think about his salvation breaking through the clouds as he sets up his kingdom on this earth.

Confession: Confess to God ways you are walking in darkness. Ways you may not be looking and longing for his return.

Thanksgiving: Thank God for the hope we have in Christ and for the encouragement we have in his return.

Supplication: Ask God to help you keep your heart fixed on Christ. Ask him to give you a dissatisfaction with this present world and a longing for his kingdom.

Grace & Peace.

More & More

1 thessToday’s Bible Reading:

1 Thessalonians 4

Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

God’s people are to continually grow in holiness, love, and longing for Christ’s return.

Questions from the Bible Reading:

In verses 1-8, what commands are given about holiness? What motivations are given for holiness?

In verses 9-12, what instruction is given about love? What motivations are given for how we treat others?

In verses 1 and 10, Paul celebrates the Thessalonian’s obedience to God then calls them to “more and more.” What does this tells us about our walk with God? Have we ever stopped growing?

In verses 13-18, Paul moves to talking about our future with Jesus. What does looking towards Jesus’ return have to do with living with “more and more” holiness and love? See verse 18.

Application:

Verses 1-8 focus especially sexual holiness. What are the struggles you face in our hyper sexualized culture? How can you press on in more and more holiness?

Even after celebrating their love for each other, Paul invites them to “more and more.” What is God calling you to in deeper relationship, richer love, and a gentler and quieter life before outsiders?

Spend a minute or two meditating on your future. Living with Jesus as king, having a restored body, no more pain, no more death…Let the Spirit use our wonderful future to encourage your heart this morning.

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he is so deep and wide that we never run out of “more and more” in our pursuit of him. Praise him that he is powerful, good, wise, and gracious, allowing us to trust him for our future.

Confession: Confess to God ways you need to turn towards him in repentance as you pursue more and more holiness. Confess to God ways you may not be loving well. Be specific. God knows your heart. Lay it open before him.

Thanksgiving: Thank God for his calling in your life, for the gospel that enables “more and more” obedience. Thank God for the hope of a wonderful future with no death. Thank God for the cross that makes this future possible.

Supplication: Ask God for a deep rooted desire from your heart for more and more. Ask him to not let you be satisfied with your current holiness, love and longing, but to grow them.

Grace & Peace.

Community in Suffering

1 thessToday’s Bible Reading:

1 Thessalonians 3

Recommendation: Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

God cares for us through tough times both with his own presence in our lives and by surrounding us with his people.

Questions from the Bible Reading:

 

In Mark 8:34, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Acts 14:22 tells us that Paul told the early churches “that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Paul tells Timothy that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12).”

How does knowing that all Christians will suffer help us understand this chapter, especially verse 4?

How does Paul feels about the people at Thessalonica based on this chapter?

Why did Paul send Timothy?

How was the church doing when Timothy got there? Were they standing faithful, or had they given up?

Application:

What can we learn from how Paul and Timothy cared for the church at Thessalonica? Do we care for our brothers and sisters in Christ like them?

What can we learn from the Christians at Thessalonica?

What can we learn about how God cares for us in tough times through this chapter?

 

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he is with us in trials. Praise him that Jesus has endured ultimate suffering for us and now cares for us in our suffering.

Confession: Confess to God ways that you struggle to trust him in hard times. Confess ways that you may not care for others well as they struggle. Do you find yourself not caring when others have a hard time? Confess that to God.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that he has given us the church. A community to love each other and live out our faith together even in difficult times. Thank him for how he’s faithful to you even when times are hard.

Supplication: Ask God for strength like the Christians at Thessalonica and love for others Christians like Paul and Timothy’s.

Grace & Peace.

PS I’m trying to get a feel for how many folks are reading these posts in their email inbox each day. If you’re reading this in your inbox, would you click this link for me? https://daviddeasley.com/2017/01/01/email-readers  Added bonus, comment and let me know how the blog could be better or how it has encouraged you!

Bold Dependance

1 thess

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Thessalonians 2 

Recommendation: Grab that paper bible or another device. Jumping back and forth might get old.

Big Truth:

Paul’s passion to spread the good news of Jesus and love the church is an example to us. We’ll see four marks of his faithful spread of the gospel this morning.

Questions from the Bible Reading:

Was Paul fearful or bold in his spread of the gospel? Check out verse 2. What other verses help you see his fear/boldness?

Where did Paul’s boldness come from? Was he just “built tough?” What words come after boldness in verse 2? What does Paul say in verse 13 that helps us have confidence in God as we share the Gospel?

What was Paul heart towards the believers at Thessalonica? Take a look at verses 7,8,11,12, and 17-20.

Paul tells us one thing sharing the gospel and loving people is NOT. What is that? Verse 1.

I’m summarizing these 4 truths as boldness, dependance, compassion, and confidence our labors are not in vain.

Application:

We saw that Paul’s sharing the gospel was both bold, and compassionate. How can we learn from Paul in combining these two?

We also saw Paul say  he was dependent on God and that his sharing of the gospel was not in vain. How are these related? Are there areas of your life where you are not dependent on God? What does this mean about the value of your efforts?

Prayer:

Adoration: God has given us a gospel that is HIS news, not man’s words. His news is that in the cross of Jesus, sinful people can be made right with God. Praise God for his goodness, grace, and empowerment of us in Christ. Praise God that he is powerful enough for us to depend on.

Confession: Confess to God ways that you are not bold, dependent, or compassionate. Confess to him if sometimes you feel your efforts for Christ are in vain. For me, this meant being honest with God that I’m not always faithful to share the gospel with others when it’s “scary.” Be honest with God about this.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that he has given you a message that is powerful to change hearts. That others have been compassionate and loving towards you and that he has used their love to save you. Thank God that through the gospel he “calls us into his kingdom and glory.” Express thanks for anything else that you see God teaching you through this passage or doing in your life.

Supplication: Ask God to give you boldness, dependance, compassion, and confidence that your work is not in vain. Ask him to use you, like he used Paul, to spread his message of salvation in the cross of Jesus. Cast your anxieties on Christ this morning. He desires to bear them for you.

Grace & Peace.

Chosen for Holy Mission

1 thess

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Thessalonians 1 

Big Truth:

The people of God are chosen by him and sent out to proclaim him in the world.

Questions from the Bible Reading:

How does Paul know these people are “chosen by God? (Verses 4&5)

In verse 8, what “sounds forth” from God’s people? What “goes forth” from God’s people?

Application:

Is God’s work in your life evident? In what ways? In what ways do you desire to see him work in your life?

Is your mouth “sounding forth” the word of God? Is your life of faith “going forth?”

Prayer:

Adoration: Worship God because he’s powerful enough to change hearts and kind enough to send his spirit to sinful people through Christ.

Confession: Confess to God that you sometimes don’t reflect his Gospel’s powerful work in your life. Confess that you often receive his word, but don’t sound forth his word through your mouth and life. Get specific.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that he has given you his gospel and sent his spirit to make it come into your life with power and conviction. Thank him that he’s given you an opportunity to be apart of his work of taking the gospel to others.

Supplication: Ask God to continue to powerfully apply the gospel to your heart through the Spirit. Ask him to turn your heart from idols (get specific). Ask him to help you look forward to Christ’s return. Ask him to help you have a passion for “sounding forth” his gospel to others.

 

Grace & Peace.

PS I’m going to move to a different format on these posts for a while. My intent with these is to serve the students at my church in getting into God’s Word daily.  I hope this new format helps serve that purpose. Feedback is welcome!

PPS I plan to stop posting these daily on social media. If you’d like to get them each day, you get subscribe to the blog, or text “devos” to 41411 for a daily text. Thanks for reading!

Unity & Praise

Adobe Spark-5Romans is such a powerful letter. It contains a robust theology of salvation, rich practical instruction, and even requests to help Paul carry on as a missionary of the gospel to the nations. How would one end a letter like this? What would be the final instruction? What would be the last words? Romans ends with Chapter 16.  Let’s take a look at how he ends this magnificent book.

Personal Greetings (Verses 1-16 & 21-23)

Paul isn’t writing to strangers; he’s writing to a church that he loves. In fact, he begins this book telling them how he prays for them constantly and longs to see them. As he closes the book, he addresses over a dozen people by name. Celebrating what God is doing in and through their lives. I point this out because it helps me to remember that Paul was a real person, and the people who read his letters were just like you and me.  They were people who had believed on Christ, and by his power, they were seeking to live out lives of faith.  Warts and all.

Final Instruction (Verses 17-20)

All this truth, what’s the final word of instruction?

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17 ESV)”

Watch out for division. Division in the church is a bitter cup. Silence those who stir it up. Don’t dare be one who stirs it up. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is Paul’s final warning because he knows the first 15 chapters are irrelevant if this isn’t true. The gospel is great news, but what good does it do if the people who are to carry it to the nations are too busy fighting? Watch out for those who cause divisions. Avoid them.

Last Words (Verses 25-27)

How do you close out a book centered around the work of Jesus with anything other than praise? This is a fruit of the gospel’s work in our hearts: We celebrate the wonderful grace of God. All glory be to Christ!

“Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages [26] but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—[27] to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Romans 16:25-27 ESV)

Grace & Peace.

PS Tomorrow we start 1 Thessalonians!