Day 302: A Content life

Psalms 16-17; 191 Timothy 5-6
(Psalm 118 was read on Day 122)

Psalm 16 happens to be one of my favorite Psalms. To me, it’s a picture of a content life…not necessarily a prosperous life or a luxurious life – but a life that is able to rest amidst the swirling chaos in this world. This kind of contentment comes from a steady and deep faith – a long leaning into the Lord. This life is born from the sanctifying work of the Spirit.

In order to find contentment, you must know God. And in order to know God, you must know His Word…

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold (Psalm 19:7-10).

Are you content? Are you content in the mundane of your everyday life? Do you have peace in the midst of tragic, life-altering circumstances? Or how do you respond when your plans get interrupted by an inconvenient flat tire or trip to the ER?

In good times and bad, can you say with David…

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance (Psalm 16:5-6).

Marinate your soul in the deep waters of His Word. Let his truth seep into your bones and transform your life into one that rests in the midst of chaos and finds contentment in the sharp turns of life. God is our refuge. Find contentment in His care.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you (Psalm 16:1-2).

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Day 301: God’s crazy global strategy

Psalms 13-151 Timothy 3-4

The church…

…the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).

“Church” is a mind-blowing idea! First, God calls us his “household.” He’s calling us his family!!! Then he promises that he will live among us. The church is where God’s presence dwells. And finally, the church’s role is to support and hold up the gospel to the world…to be the “pillar and buttress of truth.”

What an amazing calling!!! He doesn’t call us as individuals to reach the world with the gospel…No!! He calls us as members of his church! We are not supposed to do it alone.

This idea of living covenantally is not unique to the New Testament but originates in God’s Covenant Promises given in the Old Testament. God’s promise to establish a people for himself, “that He shall be their God, and they shall be His people” is a promise that weaves its way throughout all of Scripture. This promise manifests itself in God’s holy nation of Israel and then expands to the nations in the New Testament and includes all the members of His Kingdom, namely, His church.

In Psalm 14, David prays – not for individuals to be saved – but for community salvation!!

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad (Psalm 14:7).

Our culture is so individualistic that it’s hard to comprehend the importance of our role in the church body – but the church is extremely important to God…so important that Paul takes great care to instruct Timothy how to both lead and organize it…how to choose men for elders and deacons, how to fight false teaching, and finally, Paul affirms Timothy’s calling to lead God’s church – despite his youth.

God’s church is the vehicle through which he spreads his gospel to the world! It’s a mind-bending strategy…completely foreign to this world, yet you are called to be a part of it…

God is calling you to forsake your individual rights and throw your lot in with other redeemed sinners. He promises to dwell among you and change the world through you collectively. It’s not a popular way-of-life and will certainly be difficult. But it’s God’s idea and God’s calling… Are you in?

Day 300: Uncomfortable teachings

Psalms 10-121 Timothy 2

This is my 300th post and I’m dealt 1 Timothy 2?? Ugh. It is offensive to so many !

It is problematic for the Calvinists who believe that God chose some “before the creation of the world” to be saved. If God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 TIm. 2:4), then why didn’t he choose everyone?

The last half of this chapter presents major problems for Egalitarians (and most of our modern culture) in its teaching about the roles of men and women in the church – specifically that women should not be preachers or elders in the church (1 Tim. 2:12).

Great. Just great. Who do I want to offend first?!!

Well. This is what I have to say. It is Scripture. I didn’t write it, so I don’t have to apologize for it.

Calvinists will just have to deal with the fact that God desires ALL people to be saved and all of the implications of this wonderful statement. But Calvin is with the Lord, so I’m sure he understands :)

And Egalitarians can’t discount Paul’s words about gender roles in the church by calling them “cultural” because Paul makes a point that man’s authority over a woman was instituted in creation…. before the fall (1 Tim. 2:13). That’s significant, and can not be ignored.

So what do we do with these uncomfortable texts? We look inside our hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal why they make us uncomfortable!

Do you bristle when Paul writes that women are not to have authority over a man in the church? Well, ask God to reveal how the culture has distorted your thinking.

Do you stumble over Paul’s teaching (that God wants everyone to be saved) because it seems to contradict Paul’s previous teaching of predestination? Well, maybe God is bigger than human logic!

There, I said it. You can throw virtual tomatoes at me through your computer screens… I think I’ll just stand behind the words of Psalm 12 ;)

The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.
You, O Lord, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever (Psalm 12:6-7).

Day 299: God’s far reaching Grace

Psalms 7-91 Timothy 1

1 Timothy is the first of Paul’s three pastoral letters (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). In it he encourages Timothy to stand strong against false doctrine and to rely on Christ to lead the church in Ephesus effectively.

The best defense against false doctrine is truth! But Paul doesn’t deliver a dry sermon outlining systematic theology…No! He writes to Timothy of the grace he experienced through his own conversion…

…formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:13-14).

Who is this God that saves the worst of sinners? He has stooped so low to have a relationship with us!

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)