It’s Wednesday morning, October 26. Our daughter’s second anniversary is in five more days. Whoa! So is Halloween! What a coincidence! To celebrate, we bought bags of candy! Hahaha…
I want to start out with some song lyrics this morning. Why? Because I woke up in the middle of the night with the words of this song running through my head.
“Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world, forever reign
My heart will sing
No other name
Here’s the song “Forever Reign,” by Hillsongs:
Today’s Bible readings:
1 Timothy 5; Jeremiah 33-34; Proverbs 23:29-35
Paul continues to instruct Timothy about relationships, now within the church. Verses 1 and 2 are interesting. Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. I love this. We are to respect our elders! I am not to rebuke an older man. (I know I’m not Timothy, and I’m not young, but I sincerely believe that this applies to me, as well.) We should treat older men and women as we would our parents. Okay…assuming our parents were godly people. If your parents are scumbags, then we don’t want to be treating good church people like that. We are also to treat younger men and women as brothers and sisters, and with the women, Paul adds this line, “in all purity.” This means no flirting with the younger women! All relationships in the body of Christ should be of the utmost purity.
Verses 3-8 are also interesting. The church had a special place for widows, just as the Lord holds them in high regard. However, Paul insists that, if they still have some family, their families should take care of them, and they should continue learning “to show godliness to their own household.” (v. 4) A true widow is one who is truly all alone. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (v. 8 ) This is serious business. We cannot abandon our earthly families. Again, I’m perceiving this as within the household of faith. There are sometimes rifts in families when one becomes a believer if the others aren’t, especially if the family has a strong connection to another religion, such as Jews or Muslims. In those cases, the family abandons the one who convert to Christianity.
Okay, so a widow can’t be “enrolled” (I guess in the program that provides for them?) unless she is at least 60 years old, and has shown good moral character. There’s a pretty strenuous list of qualifications there in verses 9-10. Younger widows should not participate because their passions can still draw them away. They might want to get married again, or even worse, be “idlers, gossips and busybodies.” Oh, my. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. (v. 14) Again, he states that if a believing woman has family who is widowed, she should take care of them, and not allow them to be a burden on the church, so that the church can care for “those who are really widows.” (v. 16)
Paul shifts his focus slightly, in verse 17, to elders who “rule well.” They are worthy, he says, of “double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (v. 18 ) Our pastors should be well compensated! Sure, it’s not all just about money, but the person responsible for the spiritual well-being of the flock should not be scraping by on a pittance. I mean, he doesn’t have to drive a Rolls Royce, either, but he should be taken care of. False charges should not be allowed or listened to. No charge against an elder should even be heard unless at least three people can verify it.
Jeremiah gives us another great promise from God in 33:3. Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. This is the kind of promise that involves something that I have been reading about recently. Meditation. Lectio divina. If we are going to allow the Lord to show us “great and hidden things,” we have to learn how to listen! We must be silent. I used to “rip” vinyl records to my computer while I was doing my devotions. I’ve quit doing that. I need silence! In order to stop and listen to what God might be saying to me, I must have silence. What’s even more difficult, though is silencing my brain! In our modern society, that is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m working on it. Later in chapter 33, there is a passage that describes the eventual messianic reign. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ “For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.” Further, the Lord declares that the permanence of this covenant is like the permanence of night and day. Also, the descendants of David will be like the host of heaven and the sands of the sea.
Father, I praise you for the promise of the coming kingdom of Christ. I look forward to the day when Jesus reigns; to the day when we will no longer be ravaged by temptation and sin; to the day when we will no longer experience pain and suffering; and to the day when we will worship you for all eternity. “I can only imagine when all I will do is forever…forever worship you.” I thank you for the promises that you have made in Scripture. Today, I have read one that tells me that if I call on you, you will show me things that I have not seen before. I pray that I will be faithful in calling on you. During this day, I pray that the Holy Spirit will remind me frequently to think on that verse, to spend time meditating on it (as time and work allows), and to listen for your voice throughout the day. I am also aware that your voice can come through many different media, so I need to be alert for that.
I pray that I will have an appropriate attitude towards both younger and older Christians. Let me treat my elders as I would treat my parents. This works for me, because I have godly parents, and respect them greatly. Let me treat younger Christians as brothers and sisters. However, I pray that I would never develop a condescending attitude towards those younger than me, because I always disliked when I was treated that way. We all have things we can learn from each other.
Father, the words of “Forever Reign” continue to run rampant through my brain. Let these words be true in my life today, that I am running to your arms, and that the riches of your love will always be enough for me. Reign in my heart and mind and life today.
I pray for the work day for Christi and me today. Let it be a smooth day. I pray for Stephanie’s meeting with her mentor this morning. She is so looking forward to that. I pray for my parents, for whatever they have in store today. Lord, I have prayed, but not put it in these blogs…I pray for my father. He has Inclusion Body Myositis, but you know that, don’t you? I pray that you would strengthen his body against this disease. You are the great healer; the Great Physician.
Lord, I pray for the eventual home of The Exchange. We are all praying for this together. Let us not run ahead, but do exactly what you want. It is your plan, it is your church. Do with us as you will.
I pray for my brother in Christ, Andy, who has a job audition this coming Saturday morning in California. I pray that he can make it there and that it will go well for him. He needs some relief in his life, Father.
Run to his arms. Share in the riches of his love. Nothing compares to his embrace.
Grace and peace, friends.