Itching Ears

Father, it’s been way too long since I’ve sat down with You and I surely feel it. Thank You for Your presence and watch care over me.

2 Timothy 4:3-5 (<<click here)

Lord, reading through this passage reminds me that there are an abundance of charlatans in the world who claim to be faithful proclaimers of Your truths. Some know exactly what they are doing and are only in it for the power or prosperity it brings them. Others, in their “wisdom” have proclaimed “truths” that are not lined up with Your word. They have followers who like what they hear and encourage the broadcast of falsehood. Often these falsehoods are close to truth, maybe tweaked just enough to make them more appealing. “Itching ears” get scratched, egos get stroked, pockets get filled – it’s a win, win situation…right? Wrong!

By rejecting “sound and wholesome teaching” we are following our “own desires.” We listen to what we “want to hear” and in doing so we “reject the truth” and are doing nothing more than chasing after “myths”. No matter how sincere the proclaimer or the listener may be, it does not make it right. Making Your word say what we want it to say takes it out of the realm of truth and places it in the realm of lies.

Lord, help us to “keep a clear mind in every situation.” We must follow You closely so as not to deviate from the “straight and narrow” path before us. (Matthew 7:14) May we keep You at the forefront.

Dec 31st, Thurs, 8:27 am

GO!

Thank You, Father, for such a good day yesterday. It was a good day at work, with a luncheon served to supervisors by our management team. I enjoyed spending time with Karen running a few errands AND we picked Massey up at the airport for Christmas break! A great ending to a great day! Thank You, Father, for Your many blessings!

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (<<click here)

”preach the word of God.” – motivated by the fact that we all will stand to be judged by God

“patiently”– everything we do – “correct, rebuke and encourage” must be done with patience – love being implied

Lord, what a call to ministry! Timothy was being admonished by Paul, as am I. Timothy was a faithful pastor, as am I. But, Lord, this is not just a call to pastors. Jesus, You said that we all are to be Your witnesses “…to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) At that moment You were speaking to Your disciples but Your Great Commission is for us all. We are believers today because Timothy and thousands like him were faithful to their mission. And it is vital that we also spread the Good News. My Study Bible* states, “Half the people who have ever lived are alive today, and most of them do not know Christ.” What a task we find before us! Lord, may we all willingly, and enthusiastically answer Your call to proclaim You to our world. And, Lord, may we be patient, though diligent, in everything we do – loving people with the love only You can provide!

Dec 22nd, Tue, 8:52 am

Such Love!

It really should come as no surprise, Father, but Your love and grace never cease to amaze me! A hymn I grew up with popped in my head when I first sat down.

“Such love, such wondrous love!
That God should love a sinner such as I –
How wonderful is love like this!” – C. Bishop, 1929

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10

Lord, first of all thank You… Thank You for loving me even before there was a day one! (Ephesians 1:4) Thank You for your sacrifice for me… for all of us. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me even when I am unfaithful. I am overwhelmed by Your “real love”.

I think one of things that beats us down is thinking that we are the only failures in Your kingdom. Looking out over the vast sea of faces of fellow pastors, and leaders in the church – over individuals that just seem so “saintly,” it becomes very daunting.

No matter how overwhelming those thoughts might be, in reality they are not true. We – every single one of us– are all sinners. None of us are perfect. You are the only one who is perfect. And even though we may feel like the ugly stepchild in the family of God none of us were “naturally” born into Your family. We are here not because we are better than anyone else but solely, entirely, exclusively because You…loved…us! Help me, Lord, to remember this. Burden my heart and mind with the burning desire to draw closer to You each and every day!

Dec 20th, Sun, 6:43 am

Longing for Good

Oh my, what a week – it seems like forever since I’ve sat down with You, Father! And, boy, do I feel it! The world has been none to kind – crazy work schedule and weariness has made coming together easier to say “no” to and my defenses are not as sharp so things lurking in the shadows have tripped me up. Thank You, Father, for once again helping me to my feet and in your forgiveness, to march steadily onward. (The journey of John Bunyan’s, Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, comes to mind)

2 Timothy 3:17  (<<click here)

Lord, I was ready to forge on ahead to chapter 4 but my eyes fell upon the last footnote for chapter 3 in my Study Bible* and I had to pause.

“We should not study God’s Word simply to increase our knowledge… We should study the Bible so that we will know how to do Christ’s work in the world. Our knowledge of God’s Word is not useful unless it strengthens our faith and leads us to do good.”

Lord, help Your Word to not just fill my brain – though that is important – but may it fill my life; may it be fleshed out in daily tasks from beginning to end. The truth of Your Word is not meant to be something that I keep to my self – it is to be shared. Your Word is fully able to “equip” me “to do every good work.”

And isn’t this for what the world is longing? Don’t we all crave and long for “good”? – love, acceptance, security, beauty (real beauty), peace, joy. And aren’t all of these things found in You. The world offers plenty of knock offs but only You offer the genuine article. May I be a purveyor of “good work.”

December 19th, Saturday, 6:19 am

*The New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible

The B-I-B-L-E

I so appreciate Your presence, Father, through the hustle and bustle of yesterday, going to and coming from work, sitting at our table during supper, helping our group as we (our Bible Study) went through another chapter in John, as Karen wrapped gifts, as I worked through Sunday’s sermon, and being a part of our family as we chatted with Massey. There is no part of my day where You are not welcome. Thank You for always being there.

2 Timothy 3:14-17  (<<click here)

The written Word and the living Word, where would we be without it and without You, Lord? It should be no surprise but it is still astounding that something so old, written so many years ago still impacts and changes lives today.

The B-I-B-L-E
Yes, that’s the book for me
I stand alone on the Word of God
The B-I-B-L-E!

Your Word is foundational – it is living! It is not just some old dusty tome but it continues to influence the lives of Your followers. The problems that plagued Your people thousands of years ago are still prominent today. Our language and customs and surroundings are different buy quite often our circumstances and struggles are the same. We must still strive to follow You. We must still rely on You – our living Word.

As we celebrate Your first coming – Your first Advent – may we be diligent in readying ourselves for Your return. May your Word fill us, may it influence us in how we respond to the world around us each and every day. We cannot do it without You for You are Emmanuel – God with us. And we’re grateful for that!

December 15th, Tuesday, 5:01 am

Doing it right for once.