Preparing with Hope May 21, 2023

disciple: someone who follows Jesus and leads others to do the same.

Looking back.

This past weekend we studied 2 Timothy 1:5.  We learned from this one verse how Paul was encouraging Timothy to lead the church in Ephesus to change the way they thought and acted.  He was encouraging them to live more like Jesus by honoring women.  The challenge was seen in the fact that Paul mentioned Timothy's mother and grandmother by name.  This would have been shocking to the culture and the church.  This raised the honor for women in extreme ways.  And we  need to do the same.
A couple more thoughts:  I've had a few more thoughts since yesterday that I want to share too.  One, how important the "family of God", the church, really is.  We need each other.  We need each other when times are good and we need each other as we live through the struggles of life.  I hope you can find encouragement from your church family.  As I was running today though, I thought how often people move from church to church and end up missing out on the blessing that a church family can and should be.
Another thought from Sunday's message that I had today was from 2 Timothy 1:4 and how Paul recalled Timothy's tears.  He actually celebrated his tears.  This is so different than how we treat each other.  I thought about how we would have possibly ridiculed Timothy for crying.  But Paul celebrated this.  I hope we can do better supporting each other in showing our emotions.  It isn't a sign of weakness.  I believe it's actually a strength and I want to encourage you living this reality out in your life.  

Looking ahead.

This week we will be examine 2 Chronicles 7:14.  Before you go any further, let's ask and find answers to a few questions:
  • Usually we want to answer who wrote this verse/book?  (I want to answer this question for you so you don't spend too much time searching for an answer that I'm not sure matters as much.) Jewish tradition teaches that Ezra wrote Chronicles (It was originally one large book) with Nehemiah finishing it.  
  • Who was this written to?  (This is SUPER important for us to find the answer to.   While there are unquestionable Biblical Truths found in these verses, answering this question helps us to learn how to apply this verse to our world today.  
  • Do we know what's happening?  Or happened?  (Again, SUPER important for us to understand if we want to apply this our world today.)
  • Do you see Jesus in this verse?  While Jesus is seen clearly in the New Testament, the whole Bible points to Jesus.


Don't rush through this.  As you allow the verse to ruminate in your soul, spend time with God and allow Him to speak to you.  Pray.  Our definition of "prayer" is us making a list of things to ask God for.  But prayer is truly an invitation given to us by God to spend time with Him.  To learn about Him.  A time to praise God.  And a time for Him to inform us what is happening in our lives that we might not be able to accurately see.  Spend time and sit with God.  Take your time.  God invites you to slow down and spend it with Him.  

Read it again.

Maybe read the whole chapter and see if the added information helps you to understand better what is happening.  But also read the verse in a number of translations.  One of my favorite things to do in the Youversion Bible app is to highlight a verse and choose to "compare versions".  It shows you that one verse in a number of translations and allows you to see something different. It shows you the various differences that the translations have.    But don't be surprised by the work of Holy Spirit either.  The Spirit of God is the one that guided the authors of the Bible to pen the words that they did and is able to guide you as you study the Bible too.   So, allow the Spirit of God to teach you and show you what He is teaching you.  Showing you.  Listen to the Words that are on the page but listen to the Holy Spirit too.  

Now get ready for Sunday.

You can show up any Sunday and encounter God.  Be changed by God.  But I believe God wants us to begin the process NOW!  Get ready to have our hearts (which is the way we think and feel) be changed by God.  Expect God to do this.  And God wants us to not only invite others to join us in this process but He's going to use us in this process.  He's going to use us to encourage others (encourage is putting courage in others).  God is going to uses you to put joy into someone that is joyless and lacking strength.  God is inviting us all to join Him in this amazing process but it takes getting ready now.  And this can be done in both big and small ways.  It can be done through simple things like getting enough sleep at night.  (For me, if I don't get enough sleep I have a hard time staying away even if I'm the one teaching--kidding...kind of.) It can be done by reading the verses prior to coming and letting God show you how you may have misinterpreted them in the past.  It can by you inviting someone to join you on Sunday and then saving a seat for them.  There  are so many ways for you to get ready for Sunday.  Please know I'm praying for you and hope that you're praying for each other too.  Let's get ready!  I'll see you Sunday!

It's not too late.  Click on the link below to join this week's devotional.


Suzanne Charity - May 16th, 2023 at 5:46pm

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

When we humble ourselves, admitting we have sinned, God hears us, forgives us and heals this area of our life. I pray He does.

Pastor, I am really depressed today. I have counseling tomorrow.

Suzanne Charity - May 19th, 2023 at 2:55am

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

I see a progression here. First we humble ourselves, then we talk to God about our sin, then we seek Him in changing, and then we continue to be active in turning from our sin.

I have alot of work to do!