September 20 – September 26, 2016

WORD

6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.  9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.  11But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.  12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.  16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion.  Amen.  17As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

1 Timothy 6:6-19

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Reflection: I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time.

What is the right time?  In the Greek world there were two conceptions of time and, therefore, two words for time.  One word signified regular time, the kind we measure in minutes, hours, and days.  This word was chronos from which we get the word chronology.  The other word was kairoskairos signified a period of time with less definite measurement, such as we might call an era or a movement.  The word translated right time in our Scripture is a form of the word kairos.  These times were often referred to by the writers of Scripture as those “just at the right moment” experiences of God moving within our world according to the wisdom of a heavenly timetable.  How did Christ Jesus come to you at “just the right moment?”  How does Christ continue to do this?  These are your kairos moments and they are gifts of grace.

Paul understood that those who lived according to kairos time had their focus fixed upon God, the divine will, and the character of Christ.  Those who were overly concerned with chronos, or the timetable of the world (for the world can only deal with, measure, and manage – ever so slightly – non-heavenly time), had their focus on themselves, the will of self, and the character of that which was opposed to Christ.

Our society is still today obsessed with chronos time.  We think we can manipulate this type of time, or control it.  Think of how we speak of time: time clocks, time flying by as we try to capture the time, stopping the clock, time is money, etc.  When we try to enrich ourselves, we will fight against time.  When we commit to living for the kingdom, we will let the Lord of all time work according to the kairos of his will.  So which one will you live your life by today: the world’s timetable and all the frenetic activity that accompanies chronos and our attempts to conquer it OR the divinely appointed time of kairos in which God will move in the right time and the right place to bring about his goodness and grace?

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, September 20 – Esther 1
  • Wednesday, September 21 – Esther 2
  • Thursday, September 22 – Esther 3
  • Friday, September 23 – Esther 4
  • Saturday, September 24 – Esther 5
  • Sunday, September 25 – Esther 6
  • Monday, September 26 – Esther 7 

 

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession.

Lift before God today all those who live in foreign lands for whom making a confession of Christ is illegal or dangerous.  Pray for the martyrs, their families, and those who are persecuted for the Gospel.  Ask that God might grant them favor and courage.  Trust God to fill their secret meeting houses with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.  Rejoice that we will be united with them one day, when the time is right, in a place in which fear and persecution will no longer exist.  We are the Church; they are the Church.  May God the glorious and gracious strengthen Christ’s Church wherever it might be.

Meditation Focus: Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  

At times, living a godly life can feel like a fight against so many temptations and social currents.  While the world pursues gain, riches, self-fulfillment, and ostentatious material gluttony, we are called to pursue things which the world distorts, does not speak of, or simply does not understand.  Picture as coins these six traits of Christ-likeness that Paul writes of here: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  These are the true riches of God.  What pictures will you engrave upon the heads of these coins?  Choose pictures that will signify the meaning of these words.  For instance, for the coin of righteousness you might engrave a picture of God’s written word opened to the world to read.  Then imagine how you might, on the back of the coin, engrave a picture of yourself living out that Christ-like trait.  For instance, on the back of the righteousness coin you might engrave a picture of you reading that Scripture from the front of the coin.  Do this for each of these six coins.  As you finish this meditation, pray that God will place these coins in the billfold or bank account of your spirit.  How might you spend those coins today?

Journaling Focus: Take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

For many of us as Methodists, we do not remember being baptized.  Having not grown up in the Methodist tradition, I was baptized at fifteen.  So, I do remember my baptism well.  However, even though many Methodists were baptized as infants, they do remember their time of confirmation or that time in their lives in which they began “owning” the faith for themselves.  Think back to your baptism, your confirmation, the time in which you “came into your own” in your faith, or a time in which you made a public profession of faith.  How did you know you were “called” to that experience?  In what ways did you feel as if you were “taking hold of eternal life?”  What “witnesses” were present and how did they shape your own confession of and commitment to Christ?  Now consider how you might take hold of eternal life daily as you become a living testimony of both God’s goodness and the confession of Christ as Lord.  Who might you inspire with your witness?  Christ has taken hold of you; take hold of Christ as your witness inspires others.

Breath Prayer: Father, help us trust in your timing.

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