Lamentations 2:20-3:66 In my yearly reading the Bible through, one of the books I breeze through quickly is Lamentations. This book is so negative, yet in the midst of the lamentations of Jeremiah are rich nuggets about God's faithfulness. Listen to just a few verses: "It is the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord." (Lam. 3:22-26, KJV).
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Psalm 101:1-8 David speaks of walking within his house with a perfect heart. This has been a prayer of mine daily: "Lord, help me to walk in my house with a perfect heart." When I pray this prayer, I am also making a covenant with God:
Titus 3:1-15 Yesterday we learned what older women should teach younger women. Today we see a list of subjects to be taught to younger men. Younger men should be taught to develop the following:
Titus 2:1-15 I don't feel aged, but since I am celebrating fifty-plus years as a Christian as I write these devotionals, I guess I have to admit that the golden years have now overtaken me. When I entered the season of the golden years of my life, I rejoiced because it has been a great season of teaching for me. In this passage of Titus Paul tells Titus that older women should teach younger women. Then he lists those subjects that should be taught to younger women. He says older women should teach younger women to:
A remarkable, amazing, extraordinary life is not restricted to certain individuals or professions. It doesn't matter who you are or how you serve in life. If you're a schoolteacher, businessperson, government leader, stay-at-home mom, athlete, factory worker, hairstylist, student, pastor, it doesn't matter because you were created for extraordinary achievements in that role. The power to accomplish remarkable feats and live an exceptional life is not tied to an occupation but to a disposition of the heart. This is not only God's will but also His great pleasure.
Psalm 97:1-98:9 God loves silence, but He also loves songs of praise and joyful sounds. He created each bird with a special song. I love to be awakened by the song of a red bird, and this happens often since we live in woods that are swarming with red birds. When God created the heavens and the earth, He created them to declare His glory. Even the trees clap their hands in joy. The heavens rejoice and declare His glory. Every time I hear a clap of thunder, I am reminded of the awesome and glorious power of God.
2 Timothy 4:1-22 Paul finishes his final instructions to Timothy, and we all would do well to heed those instructions. Timothy was a teacher and preacher of God's Word. He had the gift of evangelism. We are all preachers, teachers and evangelists if we are true believers. Even though we may not hold the office of teacher, preacher or evangelist in the church, our lives and speech daily preach and teach what we believe to others. Anytime we share the love of Christ with another, we are an evangelist. Paul gives specific instructions about how Timothy should preach and teach. He says:
2 Timothy 2:22-3:17 Yesterday we prayed for those who receive the torch of God's truth from our hand to run the race of life in such a way that they glorify God. In this chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul gives Timothy specific instructions about how to run the race of life well. He says, "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God preadventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (2 Tim. 2:22-26, KJV).
2 Timothy 2:1-21 It was 1996, and Atlanta was hosting the summer Olympics. Runners carried the Olympic torch from the West Coast to Atlanta. Different runners were chosen for the major cities to run several miles with the torch, and then it was passed to the next runner. Our neighborhood was excited because the runners were going to pass the torch just a couple of blocks from our neighborhood. We all turned out en masse to see this meaningful event. It was thrilling to see one runner hand the torch to another.
2 Timothy 1:1-18 Today's New Testament reading is one of my favorite scriptures. I have memorized 2 Timothy 1:7, and I use it often against the enemy as an effective sword of the spirit to wound him when he tries to wound me through fear. Listen to this wonderful scripture: "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
1 Timothy 6:1-21 Yesterday we were exhorted not to judge others. One of the reasons we are critical and judgmental of others is because we are walking in pride instead of walking in love. There are two forms of pride—superiority and inferiority. We either think too highly of ourselves, or too lowly of ourselves. When we think too highly of ourselves, we delight in criticizing and putting down others. When we think too lowly of ourselves, we often try to elevate ourselves by putting others down. Whether we think too highly of ourselves or too lowly of ourselves, we are not seeing ourselves as God sees us. Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us, and when He looks at us He says one thing, "You are worth the death of My own Son." This is the price that was paid for you, and therefore you are seen by God as a precious treasure—a treasure worth dying for, and He did just that.
1 Timothy 5:1-25 Later in 2 Timothy Paul writes Timothy and tells him to rebuke those who oppose themselves by going their own willful way even after they have walked for a season with Christ Jesus. We are to rebuke those who will not endure sound doctrine, but who instead walk after their own lusts. In today's reading we see a clear warning to Timothy about not rebuking certain people. Paul says, "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren" (v. 1, KJV).
One of the main reasons I avoided Christianity for years was its portrayal. I, like many others, saw people of God as Bible-thumping critics who were quick to judge the flaws of others. Or I thought they were passive, backward and ignorant. The idea that Christians were pioneers who lived and thought outside the box, behaving in extraordinary ways, never crossed my mind.
1 Timothy 4:1-16 The Holy Spirit is the "great teacher." Jesus says He, the Holy Spirit, will lead us into all truth, and He will bring to our remembrance everything that Jesus spoke about while He taught on earth. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have a teacher. Some people have deceived themselves into thinking they are their own boss and they don't have to learn anything from any man. The truth, however, is that every day of our lives we are learning something. Our teacher may be experience, environment, hard knocks, etc., but ultimately we are taught either by Satan and his demons or by God and His Holy Spirit. Jesus gave us a great invitation. He said "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).
1 Timothy 3:1-16 The major belief that reveals whether or not a religion is true or not is the belief in the mystery of godliness Paul writes about to Timothy. He says, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (v. 16).
1 Timothy 2:1-15 All of us have people who are near and dear to us who are not saved. You may even have immediate family members who still have not received God's great gift of salvation.
Psalm 86:1-17 This is one of my favorite psalms. I pray this psalm almost every morning. I usually paraphrase several verses and pray, "For You are God. You do wondrous things. Teach me Your ways, Lord. I want to walk in Your truths. Unite my heart to fear Your name, and I will glorify You forevermore."
Psalm 85:1-13 Greetings are so important. The way we greet people always reveals how we feel about them. If we only greet with a handshake, those we greet are distant friends. If we greet with a kiss and a hug, we usually are greeting those we love and call near and dear to us.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 The question "Will we go through the tribulation?" has been discussed in many books and by many teachers. People do not like the thought of going through any tribulation. In fact, when tribulation comes, they want an easy out. One of the promises of God we do not like to claim is, "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Jesus said this, and we will all suffer some tribulation in this life. There will be a day, however, when there will be tribulation as never before on this earth. This is a seven-year period at the end of this age when there will be horrific trials. All of us would like to escape this period of time, but the more I study Scripture, the only promise I can hold on to to comfort me about the last days on earth is, "We are not appointed to wrath." If one studies Revelation, he will discover that the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation will be a time on earth when all kinds of plagues are poured out on the earth. This is the time of God's wrath, and these various trials are called the bowls of wrath. I am convinced the church will not be on earth during this last three and one-half years because we are not appointed to God's wrath. The statement is made in Revelation that at this time no one left on earth will repent.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 My husband and I were so excited about beautifying our backyard, so we went and bought some brightly colored azaleas and other plants. We labored to plant them. As we look today at our back garden, we see only dried-up bushes. We had such a drought this summer, and because of water restrictions, we could not water the plants. They all withered and died.
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