Day 88: Good Soldiers of Christ

Passage: 2 Timothy 2
Key Verse: 
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal” v8

I find it so easy to get diverted; to be concerned by peripherals and consumed by details; to lose the plot and lose sight of the essential. Which isn’t to say that peripherals and details aren’t important; they are – but in their place! The examples Paul uses to encourage and inspire are all groups whose success depends on single-minded focus; soldiers, athletes and farmers.

So what blurs our focus? Well obviously the temptations that reflect our inner desires  (v 22) but the recurring warning seems to be about words. Quarrelling about words; godless chatter; and foolish and stupid arguments. Why is it always easier to find time for these diversions than it is for reflection and prayer and seeking the insights that God promises (v7)? And why do I forget it is so dangerous – gangrene is a deeply unpleasant image!

Prayer: Lord help me to keep my focus on you the living Saviour so that all the other diversions of life will be in their rightful place.

David McC

Day 87: The Love of Money

Passage: 1 Timothy 6:3-21

I own lots of things. In global terms I am incredibly wealthy. And yet I have to ask myself, ‘Have I learned that godliness with contentment is great gain.’ (vs. 6).  How easily I have fallen into the trap and into the many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men (and women and young people) into ruin and destruction.  Paul warns the rich and those who pursue wealth, who ‘love money.’  I try to convince myself that none of this applies to me, but it does.  The other side of the coin is Paul’s command to pursue (make a big effort, try hard, work at) righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness (vs.11).  It is in God we have our hope, not money.

I am struck by Paul’s final instruction to the young Timothy –“guard what has been entrusted to your care.” What is that?  I think it is the good news of Jesus Christ who brings real life to all.  We are commanded to guard the truth faithfully and to pass it on to others, young and old.

Alistair

Day 86: Elders & Deacons

Passage: 1 Timothy 3:1-16
Key Verse: “Now the overseer is to be above reproach…” 1 Timothy 3:2a

Leadership is important. It matters that those who lead are people of integrity…especially within the church.

The really obvious thing to look for in a leader is whether people follow them. In order for this to happen, the leader needs to be someone worth following! And so it is vital for a leader to be a person of good character, integrity and humility.

Above all else a leaders lifestyle should be one that is an example to those following. For me, this is more important than gifting or charisma or skills, because, more than anything it’s attitudes and actions that rub off onto the follower. For me, this creates the biggest challenge and responsibility of leadership.

Rick

Day 85: The Supremacy of Christ

Passage: Colossians 1:1-23
Key Verse:
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

What a passage? Two huge subjects; Prayer and the Supremacy of Christ.

Is Paul not the ultimate man of prayer? I often wonder how he kept up all his prayers for so many people. Paul did not just pray idle prayers. His prayers were always full of desire and the best for others. It was never that they would be rich or that things would work out for them but they were always full of a desire that his friends would grow in spiritual understanding and growth.

Any passage that speaks of the supremacy of Christ must be good for us to read, for it draws us heavenwards and reminds us why we are on earth and what Jesus has done for us. The end result of that must be to give us a greater desire to live for him until we see him face to face. At least that is the effect it has on me.

David C.

Day 84: Rejoice in the Lord

Passage: Philippians 4:2-9
Key verse
: “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.” v6

The older I get the more I realise that none of us are immune from suffering or disappointments.   Our Heavenly Father knows that we live in a fallen world and longs for us to know His peace which will give us His understanding, not ours.  We need this so much when we face particularly hard times.

Having battled cancer three times and endured a bone marrow transplant the words of verses 6 and 7 are of particular comfort to me.  When you step onto the roller coaster ride of illness prayer is the key element to having a positive mindset.  Isn’t it amazing to know that our Heavenly Father will guard our hearts and our minds through Christ.

Do not be anxious about anything!

“Joy is not the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God” Robert Schuller

John

Day 83: The Armour of God

Passage: Ephesians 6:10-20
Key verse: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions” v18

This is the bit I forget all too easily. I’ve thought about the helmet of salvation. I’ve heard talks about the shoes of the gospel of peace. I’ve asked God for the shield of faith. These are all things I can control and seem more obvious.

But prayer has been overlooked. Not talked about enough. Not thought about enough. Not done enough.

I need to pray more. For others. For myself. The battles are affected by prayer. The troubles of life need to be brought before God. It is His protection that we seek and need.

Come on!

Rick

PS – Click here for amazing stories of how the wave of prayer is growing within our local schools!

Day 82: The Fruit of the Spirit

Passage: Galatians 5:16-6:10
Key Verses: “What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” 5:22-23

Love: affection for others
Joy: exuberance about life
Peace: serenity
Patience: willingness to stick with things
Kindness: compassion in the heart
Goodness: basic holiness
Faithfulness: loyal commitments
Gentleness: not needing to force our way
Self control: direct our energies wisely

How much of this fruit are you displaying in your life right now?