Monday, March 27, 2023

No Excuses

“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”  John 5:6

Isn’t that a strange question?  Do you want to be made well?  Doesn’t it just make sense that someone would want to be made well?  Is it really that easy?  This makes it sound like being made well was this man’s decision.  Does Jesus just ask, and we can say yes or no?  So why did Jesus ask this question?   When Jesus did ask this question notice what the man’s response was.  He answered by making excuses.  He said, “I don’t have anyone to help me and someone else always gets there first.”  This man could only see his natural circumstances.  He thought his only hope for healing was this pool and the “story” of the angel stirring the water.  There was no appearance of faith from his response at all . . . until he obeyed what Jesus told him to do (took action).  “Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk. And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”  (John 5:8-9) His faith became evident when he put action behind Jesus’ Words.

I find myself doing this at times.  When I consider my circumstances, instead of recognizing that God has a way and plan to “heal” them, I make excuses about how bad the situation is.  For instance:  If I am struggling with something at home or at work, I make an excuse of how someone else is behaving badly. Sometimes, if I set a goal and I am not reaching it, I may have an argument on the inside about why it hasn’t happened yet. 

It reminds me about a time I was praying for my friend and making excuses about their circumstances until the Lord showed me that He made a plan and it works no matter what the conditions are surrounding the problem. Now I understand that God’s way can change any circumstance and I am determined to get all areas of my life into His hands and keep them there!

Today I want to encourage you to put away excuses.  The next time you find yourself making excuses for yourself, other people, or circumstances, recognize what you are doing and then stop.  Decide instead to turn things over to God, trust and obey His direction and receive the peace and healing only He can give through your faith in action.

Today’s scripture reading:  John 5:1-9

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 

2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 

3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 

4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 

5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 

6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 

9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. 

From the Daily Dose Journal Series

What is Man?

For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”? Hebrews 1:5

Some days I have an attitude of “Why bother?”  I know it’s not right and it’s not often that I feel this way, but I think we all have moments in life when we consider “What’s the point?”  On those days, the second thought that usually comes is “Why does God bother with me?  What in the world could He possibly be interested in?”  King David asked this question in Psalm 8.  He asked, “What is it about man that You are interested in him? And why do You visit and give attention to this human race?”  It’s a good question for sure!  Why is God interested in us?  What have we ever done to deserve His attention and involvement in our lives?  The answer?  Nothing.  God is not interested in you because of anything you have done. He is not interested in you because of your great accomplishments, and He is not even interested in you because you are so beautiful.  He is interested in you because of what He has done.  He created you!  You are His workmanship!  His handiwork!  His masterpiece!  You are God’s greatest creation!

Think about this:  Did God ever say to any angel, you are my son, today I have given life to you?  Or did He ever say, “I am to Him a Father and He is My Son?”  Nope!  He said that to a man.  A human person.  Above every beautiful thing that God has created, He only loves people!  He doesn’t love the universe even though its vastness and beauty are unmatched.  He doesn’t love the angels even though they are mighty in strength.  He doesn’t even love animals that He created for our enjoyment.  Your design and uniqueness are qualities that God takes great pleasure in.  When God’s created people fell into sin, it was the greatest loss for God!  He desired to get His “man creation” back so much that He was willing to become one.  Yes, we needed Jesus to rescue us from the sin we had fallen into, but God wanted us back in a relationship with Him even more than our need.  As much as we needed Him, He wanted and loved us more!

Now, in heaven, there is a glorified human person, Christ Jesus, sitting next to God and ruling every created thing.  This was God’s creation that He actually became a part of.  He literally put Himself into His-story.

Today I want to encourage you to consider God’s great love for you.  Press into God and thank Him, first for creating you and making you so special and unique.  Then thank Him for the provision He made to get you back into fellowship with Him, the blood of Jesus.  Spend some time thinking about this today because it is so far beyond us that it requires some meditation to even start getting our heads wrapped around the idea.  We love Him and that’s because He loved us first!

Today’s scripture reading:  Hebrews 1:5-9

5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”?

6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

7 And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.”

8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

From the Daily Dose Journal Series

The Word of His Power

His Son, being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:3

I struggled quite a bit with the decision to write the Daily Dose through the book of Hebrews.  It has always been an overwhelming book for me to handle.  I have grasped it only through holding on to a verse here and there throughout the chapters.  However, after much prayer, I am impressed to proceed.  It is almost as if the Lord was showing me that I would learn much through this writing, and I fully expect that He is right.

Having said all that, it started almost immediately.  I began reading chapter one, but started with the prayer that “Lord, you know I am trusting you to reveal what you want me to write about, so please make it plain and clear.” 

I didn’t have to read far before He answered this prayer.  When I got to verse 3, I remembered how this phrase “by the Word of His power” Had always tripped me up.  I didn’t get it.  What was its meaning?  I stepped away from reading and prayed about it and meditated on it for a little while.  I began to break it down into sections:  His Son, Jesus, being glorified became the exact image of God (looks just like Him) and holds everything in the heaven and earth in place by His powerful Word! By coming into the world as a man to get rid of sin’s power and dominion over people, then He finished that work and now sits with God the Father at His right hand in His glory in heaven. 

That’s it!  Now I can understand.  Everything that exists is being kept and held in place by the Word of God, His powerful Word.  He created it all by His Words and now, that is what is holding it all together (Hebrews 11:3).  God’s Word is eternal, and once it is spoken, it sticks!  His Word is so powerful, that He not only created the heavens and the earth through it, but these things can also never be destroyed until He says so.

Then it occurred to me.  If God’s Word is powerful enough to hold worlds together, surely it is strong enough to hold my life together.  If I apply God’s Word to the sick, broken or missing parts of my own life, it is most certainly strong enough to heal, mend and restore them.  This is why the scripture says:  Death and life are in the power of the tongue/words. (Proverbs 18:21)  If we begin to speak God’s Word into our lives and the lives of those we love, these words will hold them together just like they are holding all of creation in place!

Today I want to encourage you to speak the Word of God over your life, over your health, over your finances, over your family and over those you love.  He has given it to you in writing, to read, learn, live by and speak.  Let the power of God’s Word be the force that holds your life together and pray those words over all the many people that you love and care about. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8

Today’s scripture reading: Hebrews 1:1-4

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Just Believe

So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household. John 4:53

               Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you pray about something you are going through that the answer comes right away and other times it seems a long time in coming?  What makes the difference? Does it depend on how we come before the Lord with the petition or it is because of how long we waited to go to Him in prayer?  We can see all through scripture that there were times of instant answers and time of waiting out the storm. So what was the difference?

               In today’s reading, a nobleman came to Jesus to ask Him to heal his son.  This was a man who worked for Herod, obviously not one of Jesus regular followers.  Yet when he came to Jesus with the request for Jesus to heal his son, Jesus healed him almost immediately.  In this case, after Jesus spoke the words that his son lives, the passage say that the nobleman believed the words of the Lord and went on his way.  This gives the implication that the answer took place because the man believed.  He didn’t see the result yet, but he headed back home anyway.  He could have stayed with Jesus and begged and pleaded with him to come to his house to save the boy and he could have argued with Him about the method of how Jesus would answer his request.  Instead, he just believed.

               I wonder how many times we have prayed and asked God for help and instead of believing that He heard and saw when we prayed and is now answering that pray, we continue to ask for the same thing over and over again.  I have done this myself.  Because I didn’t feel like anything happened and didn’t see any change in the natural world, I kept on pleading with God for that problem.  Jesus made it plain and clear all through His ministry that it was because of faith the results showed up.  Almost every time someone came to Jesus and got the answer they came for, He told them it was because of their faith.

               That is the answer to the question and that is the way to receive anything from God.  You must come to Him by faith and believe that He hears, and the answer is on the way.  It may not look like it in that natural world yet, but you believe in your heart that you have taken the situation or problem to God and now He is working on it.  Think about it.  The way you received your salvation was by going to God in faith, believing in your heart that Jesus came to save you.  Nothing looked any different when you finished praying for salvation, yet from that moment in time, your life began to go in a different direction.  That’s how it is when we pray.  We ask and then we believe. (Mark 11:24)

Today I want to encourage you to believe you receive when you pray.  After you have taken a matter before the Father and asked for His help in the situation, believe He is at work in it and begin to thank Him for the answer that He is providing even right now.  Then every time you think of the issue after that, just go ahead and thank Him some more that He has that struggle in His hands and He is working all those things involved together for your good because you love Him (See Romans 8:28).  Leave that prayer time with His peace because you know that you have taken it to God and He is your good Father that helps you through every struggle and answers when you take your concerns to Him.

Today’s scripture reading: John 4:49-54

49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 

51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”

52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 

53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.

54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Don’t seek a sign

Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” John 4:48

I feel like this happens a lot in today’s world.  People move from church to church or ministry to ministry looking for that perfect preacher or dynamic speaker, maybe even the most appealing worship team.  It is almost like a form of entertainment when people go to church only for what they want to get out of it.  It becomes self-centered and focused only on what is in it for them, never considering when or where they can serve others and how they can help make the service better for visitors or new comers.

That is the problem Jesus was having.  People were following Him because they wanted to see a miracle or some supernatural happening.  They were not really interested in His message or even the love He has for all people.  Some were even following Him to try to catch Him in breaking the law or messing up in some way.

In today’s reading, when someone did come to Jesus in faith and ask for His help, Jesus just went ahead and healed His child right were the child was at home away from the mob that was trying to see these great things.  He gave this rebuke to the people and said unless you see signs, you will not believe.

Hopefully, this is not the way we think today.  Yes, we do want to see God moving and there is great energy and excitement when physical manifestations of God’s Spirit shows up in a service, but that is not what we are to be after.  Just like God, our heavenly Father is after our heart and love, He wants us to be after His heart and basking in His eternal love for us.  A love so great that He didn’t spare His most precious gift, His only Son, Jesus.  He loved so much that He gave His only Son to pay the price for our sin, so we do not have to pay that price one day for ourselves.  Isn’t that enough?

Today I want to encourage you receive God’s love for you.  Put away any idea or searching for the perfect place to go to church that does things the way you like them done.  Instead, make yourself and your life available to Him for service and begin to serve others where God has planned for you to fit into the body of believers.

Today’s scripture reading John 4:46-48

46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 

47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 

48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”

49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 

51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”

52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 

53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.

54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Expect Him to show up?

Then they went out of the city and came to Him. John 4:30          

After Jesus finished talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, she went back to her town and told everyone about her conversation with Jesus and said this must be the Messiah?  It is quite remarkable to me that the people believed enough to go and check it out.  Even though she was a person with a shady background and of bad reputation with her community, they still were inspired enough by her words to go see the person that she had talked with.  When they did come out to see Jesus, they discovered that He truly was the Messiah and listened and learned from Him.  They believed, and in verse 42 the people of the city said, they believed Jesus, not because of what the woman had said but because they went and heard Him for themselves.  They were so ready for Jesus to come that they believed Him because of His words, not because of He did any signs and wonders.

I have to admit that there have been times in my life that I was intimidated to talk about salvation and the love of God for the world.  Not because I didn’t want to share God’s love, but it was because I didn’t think people would believe me.  I wasn’t confident enough in myself to share the good news because I didn’t think it would be received by others because of who I had been.  I realize now that it has nothing to do with me and is not my place to decide who will and who won’t receive the message.  My part is to share the good news with people and it is the work of God to grow that seed in the heart of the hearer.

Jesus told His disciples that the harvest was white for harvest.  Even though the disciples did not plant the seeds of salvation in Samaria, they were the laborers to would reap the harvest of souls because of what had already been sown.  This is the way we must still believe today.  We are not to decide who and where we will tell God’s message, we are just to tell all people about God’s unconditional love and He is the One that does the work in the hearts of the people around us.  He is the One that shows up and tells us when the harvest is ready.  So start expecting Him to show up where ever you share His love!

Today I want to encourage you to share the love of God with those around you.  Tell people where ever you are the good new of salvation.   Let those that come into your life know that there is hope for the future and then expect the Holy Spirit to show up and do the work in their hearts so they receive the message and then receive His Salvation and love. It won’t happen because of what you said, but because you shared, they will “come and see” for themselves. Then be ready to bring in the harvest because you know He is going to show up when His word is given.

Today’s scripture reading: John 4:27-42

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”

28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 

29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 

30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”

33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 

35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 

36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 

37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 

38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 

40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 

41 And many more believed because of His own word.

42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

All because of Love

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” John 4:7

I’ve heard and read this account many times and really I have never understood the significance of it.  Jesus went to the well, saw a woman there and asked her for a drink of water.  They have a conversation about why Jesus is there and then she goes and tells everyone that He told her all about her life.  Then everyone came out to see Jesus and believed that He is the Savior that has come to save the world from sin.  I just didn’t get it.  What was the big deal with this woman and why did the people believe her?

What I didn’t understand was that the woman was the only person at the well at that time because she didn’t go when the rest of the women in the community went.  She was an outcast and the reason was because of her past and her present.  She was ashamed and she was considered damaged goods.  The next thing I didn’t understand was that in the culture of that day, Jewish people would not even speak to the Samaritan people not to mention their women.  This woman certainly didn’t expect Jesus to talk to her and when He did, she was sure it was only to tell her what a bad person she was.

But now, I understand so much better.  Because she was probably the least desirable person in that city and the lowest of all their people, that is why God chose her to meet Jesus that day.  He loved her despite what she had been through and all that she had done.  Jesus told her that she had been married 5 times and now she was living with someone who wasn’t her husband, not to condemn her, but to show her that God loved her right where she was.  He wanted to rescue her and bring her into a right relationship with Him and in doing that she could become in the right relationship with her community.  It was all because of love.

Today, Jesus loves you right where you are too, only He doesn’t want you to stay there.  He wants to pick you up and put you on the road to purpose and fulfilment.  His love for people today is the same as it was for that woman so long ago.  No matter what has been done to you or what you have done wrong to others, His love wants to rescue you and save you to walk out your days in close connection with Him.  Only then will you know what truly living life to the fullest is all about.

Today I want to encourage you to come and drink of the living water of God’s love through the salvation He provided in the sacrifice of Jesus.  He carried the guilt and shame of everything you have ever done or gone through and He has a place for you at His side living out the purpose you were created for.  Receive His love today and press in so He can lead you in His perfect path of righteousness.  It is not hard to turn in His direction, simply reach out with this prayer from your heart and He will reach in and rescue you from all that life has piled on top of you.

Pray: God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior.  I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me.  Please forgive my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new today.  I know Your Son, Jesus died for me.  I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead.  At this very moment, I accept, confess, and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward.  I now have a right relationship with God my Father through this salvation in the blood of Jesus. I thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to accomplish the things You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen

Today’s scripture reading: John 4:7-26

7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 

8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 

12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 

14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband. Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 

18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 

20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 

22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

Monday, March 20, 2023

He was tired

Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. John 4:6

Have you ever been weary?  Tired out from a long day at work or an even longer week of running to fit everything in?  As often as it happens to us and even as we can recognize when those around us are getting to the end of their strength, it is still hard to imagine that Jesus grew weary.  I have to admit that my perception of Him was that He was always full of energy and full of life.  Even though I know there were times that He went days without food and sometimes without sleep, I have still always thought of Him as never feeling the pains of living in a human body. 

We know it is not the case though.  There are many times in scripture that we read about Jesus being thirsty or hungry and tired.  He was all man, so He for sure felt the limitations that these mortal bodies have.  That was by design so that He could experience the things we do and sympathize with our weaknesses.

However, Jesus had a secret and that was the reason that He was often able to press through the weakness of His earthly body.  That secret was His mission.  Not that His mission was a secret but knowing His mission and purpose for being in this world propelled Him through the difficult times even through the shame and suffering on the cross.  Each day He got the plan for His activities of the day from His Father and then He carried them out.  Many times it looked like He was pulled off His mission to help someone who happened to come to Him along the way, but in reality, it was all part of the plan.  God’s plan took Him to the places that He needed to be at just the right time for the people that would step out in faith to touch Him or ask for help.  He just went to the places that God directed, and those who would reach out in faith sought Him out and received.

Now you may be thinking, “That’s great, but that was Jesus and of course everyone knows that He was here for a specific purpose and to get a job done.”  While that is true, it is also true for you and me.  Actually, there are two sides of this passage that we can apply in our lives.

1. Jesus is with us today where ever we go and when reach out to Him in faith, He responds and leads us through out struggle.

2. We are all here on mission and purpose and we must seek it out with our whole heart and walk faithfully in the ways of God that we know until that purpose is revealed.  As we walk through our daily life, it is up to us to first seek God’s kingdom and righteousness or right way of going, then He will add the mission and purpose to our lives as we are faithful to seek Him for it.  Only then will you have the strength you need to press on in the difficult times and only then will you stay the course when all Hell breaks out against you.  When you know you are doing what you are called to do and you are in the place that you were created to fill and conquer, that is when you will tear down walls and brake through barriers.  You will be determined to get you mission accomplished no matter what it takes!

So today, I want to encourage you to trust God through your struggles and seek out that mission and place where you fit.  Start by living the life you know that you were designed to live. That part is all laid out in the scripture for you.  Connect with others that can help you find those passages if you do not already know them.  Then begin to faithfully walk those out in your everyday life.  Things like spending quiet time with God each morning, loving others, being generous and kind, honoring, respecting and loving your spouse, raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, being faithful to serve in the church body, working a job to the best of your ability so you have something to give, and so much more.  Then as you are becoming faithful in those things you know are right and growing your relationship with your heavenly Father, He will begin to drop ministry ideas in your heart and opening doors for you to walk through to take steps toward those plans.  As you are growing closer to Him, you will be able to discern His leading on the inside of your heart.  You know that He is leading your toward reaching others and ways to help and bring others along with you to walk closer with Him.  Start today and when those weary times come, and they will, you will be strengthened by His Spirit in knowing that you are called to this, and He has all that you need for you to complete it.

Today’s scripture reading: John 4:1-6

1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 

2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 

3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 

4 But He needed to go through Samaria.

5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 

6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

From the Daily Dose Journal Series

Your ministry

Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 1 Timothy 1:5

I had been struggling, trying to decide if the book of Timothy was the direction that the Lord was leading me to for the Daily Dose series.  As I read the first chapter several times to pray about what to write, I could not sense anything for my direction.  Finally, I started asking God if I should head in a different direction, especially since Timothy is a book written to a pastor.  I told God, this book is for pastors, not for me.  Who am I to write about instructions to pastors?  That’s when I finally had a breakthrough.  I believe God showed me that the book isn’t for pastors, it is for ministers and leaders.  As Christians, we all are ministers of the gospel and leaders in the Kingdom of heaven, or at least we should be.  I felt like that was the answer I needed to move forward in this direction.  So, now to continue with 1 Timothy, I will proceed with a different mindset of how Paul’s words apply to all ministry, no matter what stage you are in.

So, in today’s verse Paul is instructing Timothy to tell others not to teach other doctrines.  As we read on, he says that the message should be brought in love from a pure heart and good conscience with sincere faith.  This is also what the focus of our mission should be today.  We are to minister the good news of salvation in love from a pure/clean heart and good/clear conscience in sincerity of faith.  We are not to be distracted by other doctrines that cause separation.  God doesn’t want us to try to argue someone into salvation.  It is not a productive way to win people to the LORD and arguing usually is not done with a pure heart, clear conscience and sincere faith.  Think about it.  When we argue, usually the motivation is because we think we are right and want others to submit to our way of thinking.  This is the exact opposite of the instruction given here.  Arguing is prideful, because we think we are right and want others to know it.  Arguing is not motivated from a pure heart because it comes from a spirit of proving a person is wrong.  Arguing and disputing certainly isn’t done in love because in your heart you believe the other person is wrong and should listen to you.

Effective ministry must be done in the love of God.  Recognizing that the reason you are sharing with others is because God loves them and that is the reason you love them.  Not because of anything they have or have not done to deserve your love or God’s for that matter.  This is where a pure heart and clear conscience comes from.  Lastly, it is a step of faith to love others with God’s love.  You have to trust that God’s love will break through even the hardest of hearts.  Even when a person is underserving of your love, you can still love them with God’s love.

Today I want to encourage you in whatever ministry you have.  Whether it is a position in your church, neighborhood or workplace, share the love of God first of all.  As you speak words of encouragement and love to those around you, remember that it is God’s love for them that is motivating your heart and God’s love is first of all pure.  Speak to others with the clear conscience that you are looking for nothing from them in return and your desire is only that they would know how much God loves them to the point of sending His Son so He could have a relationship with them.  Lastly, recognize the sincerity of your faith because you are trusting that as you share God’s love with others, He will show up and make it so real to them.  It is not our place to prove that God’s love for others is real, our job is to simply share it with other.  After we share, God does His part in their life to make Himself real to them.  That is what brings people to Him.

Today’s scripture reading: 1 Timothy 1:3-7

3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,

7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

From the Daily Dose Journal Series

Next generation

To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Timothy 1:2

This is thought provoking.  Paul wrote a letter to Timothy who he called his son in the faith.  Timothy had a father.  We know because he is mentioned previously in the book of Acts.  However, Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father because he mentored and train him up in the things of faith and his walk with the Lord.  Timothy traveled with Paul on many of his missionary trips and then became the pastor/bishop of the church in Ephesus. 

So, what is a spiritual father or mother?  It is someone who walks with you in life and coaches, trains and encourages you in the things of the Spirit of God.  In the case of Paul and Timothy, Paul taught and instructed Timothy until he was spiritually mature enough to take on a ministry on his own.  In a sense, Paul was duplicating himself in Timothy to reach the next generation.  To continue the work of the ministry after Paul was gone.

It is really the way the gospel has continued to grow and pass down through the ages.  Through training and teaching the future leaders of the day.  In our day we have schools that train people for ministry, but that can only go so far.  Until you walk things out, there is training that cannot be taught in a classroom.  You may be thinking: “yes, but that was the apostle Paul, I’m not qualified to teach anyone?  The fact is every believer can bring others along with them.  It can be as simple as inviting a neighbor to church or a small group.  It can be something like praying with others or simply offering an encouraging word.  Whatever opportunity God puts in front of you, you always have something to offer.

Today I want to encourage you to look for someone you can walk along with in life to help them spiritually.  Invite someone to church or offer that encouraging word.  Even if it is not accepted the first time, seeds were planted, and you can try again when the next opportunity comes.  We won’t live here forever, let’s make sure we all do our part to ensure the next generation carries on the good news of salvation in Jesus.

Today’s scripture reading: 1 Timothy 1:1-7

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,

7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.