As I have aged, I realized the great blessing of being disciplined. When younger, the word discipline was a cruel one we tried to avoid. No one likes discipline. We do not usually request or desire discipline. Discipline is punishing someone to correct poor behavior or disobedience. Discipline trains people to be obedient people.
The Bible tells us that anyone God disciplines is “blessed” or “joyful.” The world looks at the discipline of the Lord as wrath and usually describe it as harsh and unreasonable. As a child of God, hopefully you understand that God disciplines us as a father disciplines a child. It is for our own good. Discipline helps us to grow. Discipline protects and teaches us. Discipline is a blessing.
Today, thank the Lord for His instruction. Thank Him for His discipline. Thank Him for seeking the best for you. Thank Him for His love. Praise Him for He alone is good, and He alone deserves all honor, glory, and praise. I pray that you are joyfully disciplined.
“Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.” – Psalm 94:12 [NLT]
“Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good. So obey the commands of the LORD your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him.” – Deuteronomy 8:5-6 [NLT]
Paul reminds Timothy to keep a close watch on himself—to watch his life and his teaching closely. In doing this, in staying true, in persevering, Paul says, “you will save both yourself and your hearers” (NIV).
We also need to keep a close watch on our life and our teaching. Our teaching should be something seen as we live our life. This means we should not teach one thing and then live another way. This means what we speak and teach to others, should be evident when we are going through the motions each day, when we are not simply intentionally sharing God’s truth to someone. The way we live our life each day teaches much more to observers than the words we speak.
Paul warns Timothy here to keep a close watch. The big issue is when we always teach and speak one way, but our life shows no evidence of living out the same teaching. Paul reminds us that this is of great importance. This is not only about our salvation, but the salvation of others. Why? If your teaching aligns with your life, people will want to listen and the seed may be planted for God to grow. If your teaching and life are very different, people will label you a hypocrite and close their ears to anything you say. We all fall short. We all have our good moments and our bad moments. There will be times when we do not live up to our teaching. No one is perfect. Even so, remember Paul’s warning. Keep a close watch.
“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” – 1 Timothy 4:16 [NLT]
Paul ends chapter 4 discussing what it means to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. In verse 14, Paul tells Timothy to “not neglect the gift” (NIV). Verse 15 says to “be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all” (NIV). The NLT translation says to “give your complete attention” and to “throw yourself into your tasks.”
Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of the gift he was given and the importance to press forward with that gift, to throw himself into the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Just like Timothy, we each have a ministry. For everyone, the ministry is different because each of us is unique and gifted differently. If you know the ministry you have been called to, throw yourself into it. Give it your attention. Remember the great importance of pressing forward. If you are still wondering about the ministry for you, pray for the Spirit to reveal this to you. Continue to diligently read His Word and serve His people. He will show you the path to take.
“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” – 1 Timothy 4:15 [NLT]
I love the verse for today. Paul said he “decided to know nothing among (them) except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” That is all that He chose to speak about when He was with them. It was all about Jesus.
He notes in the first verse that when he approached the people, he didn’t bring with him some fancy words or some human wisdom. He spoke of Jesus. He admits in verse 3 that he was fearful. He was anxious. He understood the great responsibility. We too have a great responsibility.
Allow the Spirit to move through you as you share Him crucified. What a great demonstration of the Spirit’s power. As verse 5 notes, faith should rest alone on the power of God. Don’t speak of anyone else or you may lead someone to rest their faith on you. Sharing Jesus has nothing to do with big words, fancy speech, or some difficult to understand theology. We claim nothing except Jesus Christ. We share nothing except Jesus Christ. We point to no one except Jesus Christ.
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2 [ESV]
Jehoshaphat was deeply committed to the Lord and His ways. He showed this in many ways. He removed the pagan shrines. He removed the Asherah poles. But he didn’t stop there. He gathered his officials, the Levites, and others, and sent them off with copies of the Book of the Law. They went traveling around through all of the town of Judah. They were teaching the people the Law.
If we are deeply committed to the Lord, we will follow His commands and we will attempt to remove the bad things in our lives. We slowly transform by the power of Christ, by the Word of God. But we aren’t simply to be deeply committed to growing in Christ in our own lives. There should be an overflowing that reaches others.
Jehoshaphat was in a position to send the Levites, his officials, and a group of others to teach. He had that within his power due to his position. He not only had them travel with the copies but also to teach them to the people in ALL the towns of Judah. That’s a lot of towns. Today, what are you in a position to do? Are you committed or are you deeply committed? You might say you do not have the power to take the message of Jesus very far; however, remember that this isn’t on your power but through His power. Don’t limit what can be done. By His power, you may only be starting a great work. Let us reach the finish line of this great race. I pray you all will be deeply committed.
“He was deeply committed to the ways of the LORD. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah. They took copies of the Book of the Law of the LORD and traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people.” – 2 Chronicles 17:6, 9 [NLT]
This lesson is on the Parable of the Foolish Rich Man. The passage to read is Luke 12:13-21. The key verse is Luke 16:13. The front page of the activity sheet is divided into two sides. The object is to have the children list what they think both types of people would look like in their opinion. The one side would be those who are rich toward God and the other side would be those who are like the foolish rich man. On the second side, there is an activity to look through the passage and notice all of the key words that focus on the self. There are a few verses included with the lesson for the kids to reflect upon further with parents at home.
To open the class, I am going to ask some questions that would give the children options of seeing how people could put God first or put money or themselves first. From there, I am going to tell the parable and have a few students read some verses. I got some granola (honey and oats) to share with the children as I discuss this abundance of crops. Then we will discuss further using the activity sheet I created (front and back). Our craft will be something I’ve seen around in the past. We will make silos using toilet paper rolls. I am going to get the tubes of toilet paper covered with white paper before class and glued at the bottom to save time. They will decorate the silos and then instead of filling them with crops, fill them with blessings from God. Then every night they can pull out a blessing and thank God. When the blessings run out, they are encouraged to fill the silos up (or even fill up as they see more blessings).
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I like to drink a lot. I need to drink a lot. I am a person who talks a lot so I always need to have a bottle of water with me so that my throat doesn’t get dry. When I went to leave the house this morning, I had to ask myself if I had a bottle of water in the car. I thought I remembered seeing one there, and so I left. When I was mid route, I realized that the bottle was empty. I was thirsty, but the bottle had nothing in it.
The bottle gave me a false impression that it would provide water. It reminds me of Mark 11 and when Jesus cursed the fig tree. The fig tree had leaves and so it gave this false impression that it would provide fruit.
We too need to be careful with false impressions that we see everywhere in our lives. We see people on the Internet and in our daily lives who say that they know Christ and say that they are Christians. Sometimes their game plan is filled with hate, judgment, and cruelty.
Matthew 7:15 says, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” There are going to be a lot of people who approach us with sheep’s clothing, and sadly we are going to believe what they say. This is where it’s important to read God’s Word and to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
When we hear teachings, and when we hear people talking about certain things, we need to be like the Bereans. They studied everything and looked to see if what the person was saying is what was in God’s Word. Because, if it’s not in God’s Word, it’s not the Truth.