Monthly Archives: June 2019

Second Chance: 1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 2 [NIV]
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

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There’s only one highlight for me from this chapter: Paul’s instruction on the need for renewal with “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving…for all people” so they “may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” We are called to be holy, not innocent.  That’s what renewal is all about.  There’s a Biblical lesson for us today from that first Garden long ago.  Today our  “innocence” is really only ignorance of what God desires and whichever word you choose, it’s surely the same unplanted seed of holiness that’s been leftover for us to deal with. 

“The seed is the Word of God…”• Luke 11b  and ”…A man reaps what he sows.”
• Galatians 6:7b.  
The conscious and purposeful practice of sowing seeds we gather from the Word is how we move beyond the innocence of  ignorance.   We reap godliness and holiness in our relationship with the “one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL people.” 

Second Chance: 2 Thessalonians 2

2 Thessalonians 2
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

[NCV] 9 The Man of Evil will come by the power of Satan. He will have great power, and he will do many different false miracles, signs, and wonders.

[MSG] 15-17 So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.

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This chapter is heavy with emphasis on the power of sin to create instability in all of creation and humanity in particular.  The work of “the man of evil” isn’t much of a secret for us anymore.  Our challenge is capturing this truth: God is still at work in the midst of the instability.

That made me think of this illustration.

The Illustration reminds me of a camera tripod.  The tripod has those three legs that reach out beyond the solid center post to provide the stability necessary to support the weight that central post holds.  

That Godly tripod supports the full weight of truth: the camera of God’s word.  We are His photographers.  That’s the combination that makes it possible for us to “take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high,” stabilized and able to capture Paul’s vision for our lives: “May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.

Second Chance: 1 Thessalonians 2

1 Thessalonians 2 [TLB]
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken 

8 “We loved you dearly—so dearly that we gave you not only God’s message, but our own lives too…11 We talked to you as a father to his own children—don’t you remember?—pleading with you, encouraging you and even demanding 12 that your daily lives should not embarrass God but bring joy to him who invited you into his Kingdom to share his glory.”

13 “And we never stop thanking God for this: that when we preached to you, you didn’t think of the words we spoke as being just our own, but you accepted what we said as the very Word of God—which, of course, it was—and it changed your lives when you believed it.”

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Thank God for those who speak on God’s behalf.  Thank God for renewal.  Remember that first Word you heard that broke through to your heart?  I do.  It wasn’t a flowery testimony about the saving grace of God or the penetrating conviction of sin in my life.   I remember because it was embarrassment that God used to open the door to my renewal.  [read that story here]

Embarrassment is certainly less comfortable than the encouragement of grace and less obvious than the demand for repentance but I’m living proof renewal can begin in a most unexpected way.  There’s so much more to the purpose of renewal than knowing the right answer.  Have you ever considered “that your daily lives should not embarrass God but bring joy to him who invited you into his Kingdom to share his glory[?]”  If you haven’t thought about your invitation into His Kingdom for a while, it’s time to remember: God has a very personal stake in your renewal.  

There’s no greater gift for God than a heart that remembers the embarrassment of riches He’s pouring into your daily life.  Renewal is God’s personal, long-term investment plan for you…so you’ll be “equipped to share his glory.”

Second Chance: Colossians 2

√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ…17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 

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A mystery can be as simple as a jigsaw puzzle or as complicated as finding the next piece of faith that begins to help you see the image of Christ in youself.  

Our life of faith is the mystery.  Piecing together that life is the puzzle. The Bible is the box.  The many pieces of the Scripture are what fill the box.  Inside that box are a jumble of puzzle pieces of irregular shapes, sizes, color and design but every one is a necessary part to complete the puzzle.  FYI: No one ever solves a jigsaw puzzle by leaving all the pieces in the box and pulling them out one at a time. 

Paul has given us a big table in his New Testament writings to pour out the whole contents of the box on and begin solving the puzzle.  Paul’s secret that brings life to the puzzle and solves the mystery of our faith is the top of the box, the completed image so we “may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.”

Second Chance: Philippians 2

√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

Philippians 2 [NIV]
– 1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…

– 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

– 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God 15 without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. 

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Paul has written the perfect word picture of God’s “good purpose” for us.  This portion of his story begins with the encouragement of renewal and ends with the promise of results.  Renewal and results are the bookends that span the timeless truth of v13.

Renewal is God reaching out to us with “encouragement from being united with Christ,” the “comfort from his love” and the “common sharing in the Spirit with “tenderness and compassion.”

“It is God who works in you to will and to act
in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Results are God reaching into us with the fulfillment of His “good purpose.” He continues to work through our renewal to create in us the desire “to will and to act” with “the same mindset as Christ Jesus… “as [we] hold firmly to the word of life.”