Jeremiah 37:1-38:28 ~ 1 Timothy 6:1-21 ~ Psalm 89:38-52 ~ Proverbs 25:28
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Old Testament - We read about some very interesting dynamics in Jeremiah chapters 37 & 38 today... Jeremiah goes from dungeon to prison to cistern to prison to being the king's confidant. Being a prophet is quite a life!!
I continue to admire Jeremiah's boldness in speaking the truth in these chapters. 37:17 stood out: "Later King Zedekiah secretly requested that Jeremiah come to the palace, where the king asked him, "Do you have any messages from the Lord?" "Yes, I do!" said Jeremiah. "You will be defeated by the king of Babylon." Jeremiah goes right to the truth... no beating around the bush! And then 3 verses later he asks Zedekiah - "Listen, my lord the king, I beg you. Don't send me back to the dungeon in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for I will die there." He speaks a harsh truth to Zedekiah and then asks for a favor. I like that! Do we speak the truth in our lives? Even if we know we'll need to ask for a favor of someone later, will we still speak the truth? Or will we default to the un-truthful position of "hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil...."
New Testament - Today we wrap up First Timothy! Second Timothy begins tomorrow! First Timothy chapter 6 today is full of great wisdom. Verse 7: "Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth." Are you seeking true religion? What is true religion? I think Paul gives some great hints to us in verses 11-14: "Run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for what we believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. And I command you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey his commands with all purity." Are you holding tightly to the eternal life that God has given you? Hold tight!
Verse 10 is powerful today - "For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows." It is important to note that the "love of money" is the root of all kinds of evil. Not money in and of itself - that's not the root of evil. But the love of money... this is a great distinction and a great truth. Do you love money? If so, should you be worried about this? If we love money, might we wander from the faith and pierce ourselves with many sorrows?
Psalms - Psalm 89 verse 48 is something important to keep in mind as I think it does help us think about how we are really living our short earthly lives - "No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave." Knowing this, how are you living your life? Are you living your life with love? Are you loving God and loving other people with all that you are? Are you living your life intentionally? Are you living your life as God would want you to live your life? I heard someone once state: "Just keep in mind that we're not going to live forever. 100 years from now on this planet? It will be all new people." That is an interesting thing to keep in mind... 100 years from now... all new people. Hopefully this is a fact that encourages each of us not to waste our precious time here on things that are not of God! No one escapes the grave. Our condition is terminal. But of course our condition can be eternal through faith in Jesus!
Proverbs - Today in Proverbs 25:28 we are taught: "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." Does this Proverb remind you of our recent readings in Jeremiah? Are there parallels to the captivity of the Israelites and this Proverb? How does this Proverb speak to you personally? Are your walls in need of some repair? Will you allow Jesus to repair them? Will you allow Jesus to restore self-control in those areas of your life that are lacking in self-control?
YouTube: In 1 Timothy 6 verses 1 through 3 today we read about slaves in New Testament times. I realize this can be a hot topic as to whether the Bible approves of slavery. I don't think the Bible approves of slavery, although it certainly recognizes the reality of it in our Fallen world in the Old and New Testaments. I encourage you to check out this link and this link for some more detailed thoughts on why the Bible does not approve of slavery. This second link includes this: "In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul does make one significant pronouncement: In v. 23 he says, "You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men." Here we clearly see his attitude toward slavery and the seeds of social freedom embedded in his words. The gospel and slavery are incompatible because someone else has already purchased us." I presume most of us would agree that slavery is not compatible with the gospel? Well, would it surprise you to know that there are an estimated 27 million slaves in our world this very day? It's a staggering number - more than ever before in the history of the world. And perhaps the question to each of us who believe in the gospel is what, if anything, are we doing about slavery in our world this very day? Let me give you a book recommendation on this subject. This book was written by a 15 year old boy named Zach Hunter, who truly can be called a modern day abolitionist and activist who spends much of his time working to end slavery around the world. If you have teenagers this could be a great book to get them inspired! But I think adults or anyone in youth ministry can get a lot out of this book too. This Zondervan book is titled "Be the Change - Your Guide to Freeing Slaves and Changing the World!" Check it out on Amazon.com here. Below is a YouTube video featuring Zach Hunter:
Please visit Zach's MySpace page at this link for more information on his campaign to end slavery.
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you do not love money. Pray that you are not eager for money. Pray that you are not pursuing all kinds of evil, nor many griefs, through love or eagerness for money.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you from today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Grace, love, peace, and joy!