I have finished the race

2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)

16 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

 

As a long-distance runner I have always loved Paul’s analogy of the Christian life.

A journey that is not a quick dash but rather a long-haul, pavement pounding, heart-wrenching, soul-enriching marathon.

One that takes plenty of preparation, planning, and bucket-loads of perseverance.

To be able to come to the end of my own days and say, like Paul, that despite everything life threw at me I still managed to keep the faith would be quite an achievement.

Yet it’s one I’m aiming for, training for, and hoping for.

Knowing that by Gods grace I will finish the race, and finish strong.

Kim+

prayer : help me to persevere, keeping the faith no matter what

action : encourage a fellow brother and | or sister in Christ to persevere

equipped for every good work

2 Timothy 3:17 (ESV)

16 … that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

 

It’s Scripture, God’s very breath, that helps us stay on the straight-and-narrow.

Guiding us like ‘a lamp to [our] feet
and a light to [our] path’ (Psalms 119:105).

Sometimes the instructions and commands are explicit, specific.

Other times it’s necessary to understand God’s will, His very nature, in order to find our way.

Like a cryptic crossword His purpose may not always be clear at first. It takes time and effort and persistence to come to a greater (if not complete) understanding of His intent.

But it’s well worth the effort. And His gentle prods and corrections are invaluable.

How else are we to do good work if we lack His guidance? And not just some but every good work.

Kim+

prayer : thank you LORD for teaching, reproofing, correcting and training me

action : help me to do good works

breathed out by God

2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…

 

What a wonderful image of the Word of God: His very breathe.

It brings to mind the beginning of time – when ‘the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters’ – just as God spoke and formed the universe (Genesis 1:2).

And as such we should never take His Word for granted. Never suppose to be above it. Never presume to fully understand it.

What we should do is seek to read it daily. Day & night.

Ponder it. Unravel it. Obey it.

Because it is the ultimate way we can know God’s mind.

His will. His grace. His love.

Kim+

prayer : thank you LORD for your Word

action : delight in and meditate on God’s ‘law’ day & night (Psalm 1:2)

fan into flame

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV)

I love the imagery here. The raw energy behind the elemental strength of fire. It’s eagerness to spread quickly from a tiny spark into a huge conflagration.

This is perhaps the reason I want to start this new blog. So I can fan into flame the gift God has graciously given me.

It’s too easy to hide behind a mask. To pretend to be someone or something we’re not. Or simply denying who we really are.

Afraid of what people might say. What they might do. How they might treat us.

Rejection. Persecution.

But I’m a Christian and there’s no reason to be ashamed of the gospel.

It has the power to heal. To redeem and restore. To renew and regenerate.

To save lives.

Kim+

prayer : that I would be bold in proclaiming my faith

action : “love” others through the gift God has granted to me

he must manage his own household well

“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?” 1 Timothy 3:4-5 (ESV)

Following on from yesterday’s Bible verses, Paul goes on to list in detail specifically how he expects godly leaders to behave.

The one that strikes me as particularly interesting and challenging is the call to manage our own household.

It makes sense. But it’s no easy thing. Especially when our own household involves teenagers, each with a mind of their own.

But perhaps we should look first to own behaviour before we point the finger at our children. After all, they learn a lot of their behaviour from us, like it or not.

The way we talk. The way we pray. The way we read the Bible. The way we help others. The way we bear witness.

The list is endless.

But if we want them to grow up into Christians with a firm faith and a heart that is passionate for God’s Kingdom then we need to live like that first and foremost, trusting God that He will give us the strength and the humility to discipline our children (Ephesians 6:4) as He disciplines us. (Hebrews 12:11)

In love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)

Kim+

prayer : that I would live boldly for my Lord

action : pray with my children once a day (when possible)

therefore an overseer must be above reproach

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach,” 1 Timothy 3:1-2a(ESV)

It’s no small thing to be a leader. It’s a great responsibility that needs to be taken very seriously.

All too often it’s seen as an opportunity to exercise power and influence. And this is certainly an important element of the role.

But it should not be done for selfish reasons.

Instead, as we see in Philippians 2:7, our example should be like that of Christ Jesus who chose to be a “servant King”. Not what one would expect from the creator of the universe.

And like Jesus, we should aim to lead a godly life.

Why? Not because we are saved through the keeping of rules and regulations. Because we’re not. It is only the blood of Jesus that can wash us clean.

Rather, as a leader within His body, His church, we are called to set an example. Both to other members of His body as well as to those outside the church.

It is the ultimate witness. As our actions speak so much louder than mere words. (James 1:22f)

Kim+

prayer : whether in the role of a leader or a follower I would strive to act in such a way that is above reproach

action : look at setting my goals this month with this in mind

Manhood, Womanhood, and the Freedom to Minister

1Ti 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 2:8-15 (ESV)

How sad that Scripture, God’s Holy Word, can cause such strife and division within the church.

It pains me every time I hear Christians arguing over the meaning of this text.

Yet listening to John Piper in his sermon, “Manhood, Womanhood, and the Freedom to Minister“, my understanding of these verses is now much, much clearer.

And interestingly, my view has not changed from what it was before but simply clarified. A testament to the sound teaching I’ve received in the past.

The message I take from the sermon, and of course God’s Word, is that men and women both have important, valuable roles to perform.

The “silence” spoken of in this chapter is not so much a complete absence of voice but rather a respectful quietness.

There is a ministry role for every believer. And there are countless opportunities available to both men and women allowing them to exercise their God-given gifts.

But what women are excluded from doing is exercising “authority” over men, especially through “teaching”.

This doesn’t mean they cannot teach. But the form that “teaching” will take may well differ to that performed by men.

We would do well to read Scripture more carefully and prayerfully rather than jumping to conclusions, taking passages out of context, or worse still, applying our own cultural biases to influence our thinking.

Because “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Kim+

prayer : that I would be mindful when reading and interpreting Scripture, asking for godly wisdom to provide me with insight and understanding

action : seek God’s will for the ministry role He would have me do within my church