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nChrist
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« Reply #435 on: October 20, 2006, 03:49:44 PM »

Author: Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference Isaiah 59-61 2 Thessalonians 3

Never Give In

Isaiah 59–61, 2 Thessalonians 3
Key Verse: 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Among the familiar quotes of Sir Winston Churchill is the line from a speech he gave at the Harrow School on October 29, 1941. They were not darker days, according to Churchill, but sterner ones. England was engaged in the war against Germany. It was there that he uttered the famous line, “Never give in, never, never, never, never.” Some think that is all he said, but there was more. It is this sentence, though, that stands most firmly in our memory.

Among the sayings of Paul, this one is not as well remembered but should be. He said, “And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right” (3:13). Had Churchill said it, it might have been, “Never tire, never, never, never, never, never.” But we do. We grow weary in well doing, which is exactly the opposite of what God wants.

What causes us to tire?

Other activities. We get involved in more than we can handle and as a result sometimes tire of things that are good for us to do.

Opposition. Satan opposes our efforts to do right. That can be wearing, causing a spiritual battle fatigue.

Distractions. Maybe instead of distractions I should say attractions. Other things catch our attention and may appear to be more appealing. Then we tire of what we are doing; the luster is gone because something else is more attractive.

These are just a few reasons. Remember Paul’s words: “Never tire of doing what is right.” Don’t give in or give up. Determine that first priority will be given to doing right.

Are you weary in your soul? Examine the source or cause. If it is something that is pulling you away from doing right, don’t let it. Ask God to renew your strength.

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« Reply #436 on: October 22, 2006, 12:53:53 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference Isaiah 62-64 1 Timothy 1

Did I Tell You about . . . ?

Isaiah 62?64, 1 Timothy 1
Key Verse: Isaiah 62:1

Our family plays a game as we drive. Certain places along the road remind us of a past trip, so someone says, ?That?s where . . . ,? and the rest of us remember. Part of the game is guessing what someone in the car will say in advance. It is our Ground Hog Day game?like the characters in that movie, we say the same thing over and over again every time we come to that point in the road.

We are good about telling some things over and over to anyone who will listen. We like to share what we have experienced and enjoyed. If only we were as persistent in telling people about God!

Isaiah had that kind of heart about God. He said, ?For Zion?s sake I will not keep silent? (62:1). Only one thing could get him to be quiet. He said that he would keep doing this ?till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.?

A day will come when righteousness and salvation will not only pierce the darkness but drive it away forever. Until then, Isaiah would keep on talking, telling about the things of God.

What will you tell about today? Perhaps a bend in the road will spark the sharing of a remembrance. A phone call will get you talking about what you are doing today or what your plans are for tomorrow.

Isaiah wouldn?t stop talking about God. Will you?

Decide that today you will share with someone else a blessing or a lesson you?ve learned from God. Decide to get God into your conversation. Now, go do it.

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« Reply #437 on: October 22, 2006, 12:55:02 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference Isaiah 65-66 1 Timothy 2

Character Counts

Isaiah 65?66, 1 Timothy 2
Key Verse: Isaiah 66:3

The world has its heroes. We find them in action figures, on trading cards, posters, Web sites and newsletters. From athletes to entertainers, from politicians to authors, people have their heroes, those whom they admire. They may like the sound of their voice, the emotions they invoke, the skills they possess or perhaps something as superficial as how the person looks.

If you could meet one person who is alive today, or get his autograph, or spend some time with that person, who would it be? And why?

Now contrast that with the kind of person whom God esteems. It may surprise you that anyone would have God?s respect, but there is such a person. ??This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word? (66:2). Earning God?s esteem is not a matter of looks, abilities or talent but of character.

Since character counts, being esteemed by God is within reach of all of us. If it were based on ability, talent or attractiveness, we could not all attain it. Remember that man looks on the outside, but God on the inside. While many are driven to earn the esteem and respect of others, our priority should be to gain that from God. So, work on humility, being contrite and responsive to the Word of God.

Is your character like the person?s who is esteemed by God? Write out this verse and meditate on it today, asking God to help you be one whom He esteems.

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« Reply #438 on: October 25, 2006, 04:28:36 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference 1 Timothy 3 Jeremiah 1-2

Acceptable Conduct

Jeremiah 1?2, 1 Timothy 3
Key Verse: 1 Timothy 3:14?15

Sometimes we read signs that begin with the words, ?Rules for Use of . . . .? They might be posted on the wall at a swimming pool or an exercise room. The purpose is to inform or remind you of how you are to conduct yourself there.

Paul did that for the church. He made a list that could be posted by the door as a reminder of what is acceptable and unacceptable conduct. Typically this list is applied only to the leaders of the church. Yet Paul said, ?I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God.? Yes, these rules apply to leaders but they are the standard of conduct for all believers.

Now read again 1 Timothy 3:1?13, marking the specific ?rules.? Imagine writing them out and posting them on the wall of the church. ?Be blameless? would be rule number one, followed by statements on marital fidelity, temper, self-discipline, hospitality and gossip. Hopefully, this list would make quite an impression on Christians.

Far more significant than pool regulations against running and obeying the lifeguard is this list for conduct in the church. Those pool rules are for your safety, to keep you from getting hurt, and for your enjoyment so that your time at the pool will be pleasant. Following the list in 1 Timothy 3 will do the same: it will keep people from getting hurt at church and help make their time there a blessing.

It is easier to apply rules to others. But don?t miss how your life should measure up to this standard. If you are a leader in your church, this passage is especially applicable.

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« Reply #439 on: October 25, 2006, 04:29:48 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference Jeremiah 3-5 1 Timothy 4

In Training

Jeremiah 3:5, 1 Timothy 4
Key Verses: 1 Timothy 4:7-8

Sports dominates our society. We read about it in the newspaper and watch it on TV. Our cities spend enormous sums of money on facilities, and shopping malls include stores that specialize in helping you become an athlete, or at least look like one. Unfortunately, putting on running shoes will not make you a runner. You must train to be a runner, work at it and discipline yourself.

Paul never said, "Don?t exercise." He did say that the effort we put into physical conditioning is of some value, but more valuable is training ourselves to be godly. Athletic training is good for now, but godliness is good for now and forever!

The athlete knows the need for training as well as the discipline needed to train. But it is one thing to know and another to do. Somewhere between knowing and doing is discipline. The athlete must discipline himself to do what will ultimately benefit him.

It's the same for the Christian. We can know that we should be godly and that godliness doesn't just happen- it's something we need to work on. It's also true that we can know what to do but not do it because we lack the discipline.

Isn't it ironic that people will watch what they eat, follow an exercise routine and avoid the things that will hurt them physically, but fail to apply the same discipline to their spiritual lives? Just as physical conditioning doesn't simply happen, neither does spiritual fitness.

Are you spiritually fit? Or are you more of a Christian couch potato, willing to watch but not do? Paul says, "Train yourself to be godly" (4:7). This is a command. Are you obeying it?

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« Reply #440 on: October 25, 2006, 04:31:00 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference 1 Timothy 5 Jeremiah 6-8

Directions

Jeremiah 6:8, 1 Timothy 5
Key Verse: Jeremiah 6:16

"Should you call for directions?" my wife asked.

"No," I replied, "I have a map." Actually, I was printing a map off the Internet as she asked. I knew of a Web site where I could enter the address and get a map. So, off we went, map in hand, into a part of town that was new to us. We found the house on our first try. It sure was better than wandering around lost - or worse yet, having to stop and ask for directions!

I really like the maps I get off the Web. They can be very specific, showing me the exact location of the place I am going, and I don?t have to fold them up again! A person needs to be a cross between a professional accordion player and an origami expert to refold maps.

Jeremiah gave a warning to Judah. The people had wandered off the road, the path of God's righteousness. So the prophet said, "Ask for directions. Get back on the right road." He also promised that they would find rest for their souls if they did this.

We all know the tension of getting lost trying to find someone's house. However, there is a greater tension - a spiritual one when we get off the path of God's choosing. That is why Jeremiah's instruction is critical for us today. We need to keep the map in hand, the Word of God, because in it we will find where the good way is (6:16).

Consider your path today. If you are off course, decide to get back on the right path and find the rest that God promises.

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« Reply #441 on: October 27, 2006, 11:57:32 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference 1 Timothy 6 Jeremiah 9-11

Something to Brag About

Jeremiah 9:11, 1 Timothy 6
Key Verses: Jeremiah 9:23-24

Sports can bring out boasting in a person - both before and especially after the game. On any given weekend, players and teams let anyone who will listen know that they are number one. Some players wear their achievements literally on their shoulders with letterman jackets. Championship rings are flaunted, trophy rooms built and museums are opened to display their accomplishments.

Others brag about what they have without saying a word. They drive flashy cars or have a haughty walk and look. A wad of bills pulled from the pocket is meant to impress.

A common challenge is to keep our pride under control, whether it's pride about our intelligence, athletic ability or financial position. Pride happens, and so does boasting.

But God says, "Don?t!" These are not the things to brag about.

Instead, He says, Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me (9:24). Knowing God is the only thing in which we should take pride.

The athlete will grow older, his skills diminished by age. The wealthy person will one day realize that the abundance of life is not found in possessions. Even the intellectual may see others pass him by and ultimately realize that his mental abilities are less than they once were.

Knowing God, though, just gets better and lasts for all eternity. Now that is worth boasting about!

Can you say, "I know God?" If you can, think about how great and permanent that is. It is a blessing worth telling to others.

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« Reply #442 on: October 27, 2006, 11:58:44 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference 2 Timothy 1 Jeremiah 12-14

Mouth and Mind

Jeremiah 12:14, 2 Timothy 1
Key Verse: Jeremiah 12:2

When a person does or says something that causes hurt, saying sorry can help but only if it is said from the heart. Sometimes when you hear the way an apology is made, it makes you want to ask, "Do you mean it?"

There are other ways that people can be insincere in their words. As Jeremiah complained to God about the people to whom he was ministering, he described how God was always on their lips but far from their hearts (12:2). They would say the right words about God but not mean them. Isaiah said the same thing, as did Jesus (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 15:8-9). It was not a new problem in their day, and it is still a problem today.

People can say one thing and mean another, or they can say something and mean nothing. What Isaiah, Jeremiah and Jesus all join in condemning is the religious-sounding person whose words seem right but whose heart is wrong. God does not just listen to our words; He also looks at our hearts and knows what is going on in our minds. We need to say, and mean, David's prayer: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps. 19:14).

Examine your heart. Is your Christianity of the lips only, or does it come from the heart?

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« Reply #443 on: October 29, 2006, 03:40:23 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference 2 Timothy 2 Jeremiah 15-17

Tarnished Medals


Jeremiah 15:17, 2 Timothy 2
Key Verse: 2 Timothy 2:5

Every two years, the interest of the world is drawn to the Olympics, alternating between the winter and the summer games. Sporting venues around the world are used, allowing opportunity for a particular country to showcase itself. As much as the host cities would like to be the focus of attention, the real center of attention is the athletes. Stories abound of dedication, determination and years of discipline as these individuals go for the gold.

Yet every year the news that comes from the games includes stories of tarnished medals, as individuals are disqualified for one reason or another. Performance-enhancing drugs, unapproved or altered equipment, and various rule infractions are some of the reasons that athletes are disqualified. The bottom line is that they broke the rules.

Athletic competition, rules and disqualifications are not new. When Paul wrote 2 Timothy, he used that familiar scenario to encourage Timothy to compete according to the rules. Realize, though, that Paul was not writing as a coach to his young competitor but more as a mentor to his disciple. Using the examples of a soldier, an athlete and a farmer, Paul was setting before Timothy valuable instruction. Included in that was the statement that if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. (2:5).

God has given us the Bible to teach us how to live and how to serve Him. To receive the reward that He has for us, our service must be by the rules.

Ask yourself if you are following God's rules in your life. Just as an athlete can lose a medal, so you can miss out on the reward God has for His faithful servants.

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« Reply #444 on: October 29, 2006, 03:41:29 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference 2 Timothy 3 Jeremiah 18-19

Spirituality without Religion

Jeremiah 18:19, 2 Timothy 3
Key Verse: 2 Timothy 3:5

One of the sad trends today is spirituality without religion. In a general and widespread way, the interest in being spiritual has grown. People want spirituality, to be known as a spiritual person, to have the benefits of a spiritual life. They just don't want to be religious.

To be religious is to be perceived as enslaved to a system of rules, regulations, rights and wrongs. In 2 Timothy 2:1?5, Paul describes the antithesis to a religious person. Man is at the center of what he describes. He is narcissistic, greedy, proud, looking out for number one. There are no restraints for the non-religious person.

The list of characteristics of this type of person ends with an intriguing phrase: having a form of godliness but denying its power. This is the spiritual, but not religious, person. He has an outward appearance that looks spiritual, but the reality of a spiritual life is missing. He has never experienced the power of God in his life.

The warning Paul gives is very direct: Have nothing to do with them. (v. 5). Don't get pulled into the trap. That lifestyle may look appealing, but it is to be avoided. What God wants is godliness that comes from lives changed by His power.

Are you someone who looks right on the outside but have never accepted Christ as your Savior? Make sure, in prayer to God, that you have Christ in your life.

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« Reply #445 on: October 31, 2006, 10:13:31 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference 2 Timothy 4 Jeremiah 20-21

Rescue

Jeremiah 20:21, 2 Timothy 4
Key Verse: 2 Timothy 4:18

"I couldn't help myself" may be some of the most correct and incorrect words ever spoken when someone is trying to explain why he did something wrong. You might be thinking that those words can't be both correct and incorrect at the same time, but they are.

It is a correct statement when spoken by someone who realizes that he cannot in and of himself resist temptation. It is incorrect when it is said to justify doing wrong, as if a person has no hope at all of resisting.

The truth is that we alone cannot resist but must draw upon what God has promised. He has stated clearly that by His help we can resist temptation. Paul understood this clearly when he wrote, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attach and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom" (4:18). He knew that God would not allow him to face temptation greater than he could handle and that God would help him withstand it as well.

Does this sound familiar? Perhaps that last sentence brings to mind 1 Corinthians 10:13. Read that verse again. It will help reinforce the truth that we cannot help ourselves, and yet we can because God will deliver us.

The only question that remains is, will you allow God to work in your life, in every situation to help you overcome temptation? It is not a matter of "I can't" but of "I won't." It is not that you can't resist; it is that you won't let God deliver you.

You have a choice to make: either allow God to help you or not. Pray right now, asking God to help you resist temptation today.

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« Reply #446 on: October 31, 2006, 10:15:14 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference Titus 1 Jeremiah 22-23

No Skeletons

Jeremiah 22:23, Titus 1
Key Verses: Titus 1:6-7

Do you know what it means to be blameless? It's not something we think much about today.

The Bible teaches that leaders in the local church must be blameless (1:6-7; see also 1 Timothy 3:2). To be blameless does not mean to be sinless. If that were the case, none of us would qualify.

The word translated "blameless" in the original language is anegkletos. It is made up of two words: a negative suffix and egkaleo, meaning "to accuse" or "to call into question." Thus, the word literally means one who cannot be called into question, one who is irreproachable. It means church leaders must have no skeletons in their closets. They must always live blameless lives before the Lord. That's what God said to His servant Abram: "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless" (Gen. 17:1).

Often today church leaders are selected because of their money or influence or availability, with little regard to whether they have walked blamelessly before the Lord. Better to select a blameless leader than a popular one.

Pray for your pastor and the other leaders of your church. They have tough jobs, and the qualifications are stringent. And ask God to enable you to walk blamelessly before Him and allow Him to lead you as He wills.

"Lord, I cannot be sinless, but I can be blameless. Help my life to be an open book before You. May there be no skeletons in my closet that would cause You to be embarrassed and me to be disqualified from service to You."

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« Reply #447 on: November 02, 2006, 11:01:16 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference Titus 2 Jeremiah 24-26

A Heart for God

Jeremiah 24:26, Titus 2
Key Verse: Jeremiah 24:7

The heart is a very fickle thing. One day your teenager is in love with the guy of her dreams. The next day he's history. Often our hearts are like that toward the Lord.

Israel was God's chosen nation, the object of His special love (Deut. 7:7-8). But the Jewish people had fickle hearts. Time and again they promised their love to Jehovah alone, and time and again they snubbed the Lord and lusted after the false gods around them. Divine punishment was inevitable. It finally came when Israel was carried into Babylonian captivity.

Still, God loved them. He promised, "My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. . . . I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart" (Jer. 24:6-7).

Think for a minute of how patient God is with us when we sin (Ps. 86:15), how faithful He is to forgive us when we confess our sin (1 John 1:9), and how He gives us a heart to thirst for Him (Ps. 42:1-2). Let that thought deepen your desire to have a heart for God. Let Him give you that kind of heart today.

"Father, let my heart beat with Your heart, let it be consumed with the things that consume You, and let it be set against the things that You condemn. Give me a yearning heart, a longing heart, a loving heart."

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« Reply #448 on: November 02, 2006, 11:03:16 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference Jeremiah 27-29 Titus 3

Casting Your Ballot

Jeremiah 27:29, Titus 3
Key Verse: Titus 3:1

In the United States, the month of November includes the day we vote. Campaigns are concluded as votes are cast for office holders on the national, state and local levels. Some will be reelected, while others will be elected to their first term. Some of those for whom you vote will be elected; others will not. No matter who wins, the day comes when those chosen by the voters will assume office; they will form our government.

It may not be our typical way of thinking about these elected people, but they are our "rulers and authorities." From the local collector of taxes to the president of the United States, this is the phrase the Bible uses to describe them.

The Christian is given straightforward instruction regarding the authorities in our cities, states and nation. We are to be subject to these authorities, obeying the government without compromise, but with a ready submission. While others around us might be disrespectful of those in authority or even purposefully disobedient, it is our responsibility to be good citizens.

We are "to be subject to rulers and authorities" (3:1). Not just to those for whom we voted. Not just the ones of the same political party. Not just in regard to the laws with which we agree or that we like. Paul gives no exceptions, just a blanket reminder: "be subject to rulers and authorities."

You need to be that good citizen, one who models biblical truth in your attitudes and actions regarding our government.

What are your attitudes and actions about government? Take time right now to pray for those who are in government. Pray by name for our president and other leaders.

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« Reply #449 on: November 04, 2006, 02:51:37 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett
Source: Faith Walk
Scripture Reference Philemon Jeremiah 30-31

It's Just Not Fair!

Jeremiah 30:31, Philemon
Key Verse: Jeremiah 30:11

Breathes a child who has not at some time said, "It's just not fair" And that is only the beginning of what he says. "How come I . . . ?" is the follow-up question, drawing attention to the perceived injustice. Actually, if "justice" were left up to children, it would probably be closer to "all of grace" rather than "fitting the crime."

There probably were times when the Israelites wanted to cry out, "It's just not fair!" After all, they were the people of God who had received His blessings and promises. It just didn't make sense that God would then punish them, especially when other people were far more wicked, far more deserving of judgment.

Through His prophet Jeremiah, God told the people of Israel that they would not "go entirely unpunished," but that He would correct them "with justice." This was a "good news/bad news" scenario. The bad news was punishment but the good news was justice.

Sometimes when people adjust God to their preference, they leave out the idea that He would punish anyone for anything. They emphasize His forgiveness and mercy to the extent that they eliminate punishment and justice. That may be the God of man's idea, but it is not the God of the Bible. If this were true, there would be no need for Jesus to have died.

God is the God of justice, and of mercy and grace. So Jesus died, that we might live.

"I thank You, God, that You are the God of justice and grace. Thank You for Jesus, who died that I might live."

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