Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 … Mentoring for the Ages

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 352

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Timothy 1-6 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: 1st Timothy 1: 5; 18-19 : [NLT] … {Paul, writing to Timothy, who had become a “Pastor” in Ephesus, tries to help his young mentee stand strong in what he’d learned from Paul; and he would give many specific pastoral instructions to help Timothy lead in the body of Christ in Ephesus.} …  
5 The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith. … 18 Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they give you the confidence to fight well in the Lord’s battles. 19 Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
Highlight Passages: 1st Timothy 2: 1-5 : [NLT] … {Paul’s first strategy for Timothy was pray, pray, pray! And he reminds his protégée that God wants all to be saved, knowing “the Truth.”} …  1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. 2 Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and people. He is the man Christ Jesus.
Highlight Passages: 1st Timothy 3 : [NLT] … {Using the link above, you can read in this chapter of Paul’s instructions concerning the very clear criteria for selecting leadership in the church – pastors, elders, or deacons. These instructions are still helping churches today to select or develop Godly leadership in God’s church; and unfortunately it’s being ignored by many denominations and churches in today’s world. } …
Highlight Passages: 1st Timothy 4: 1-3; 11-13 : [NLT] … {As Paul writes to Timothy and the church in 64 AD, one would think he is warning Pastors today about the false teachers and teachings as well as the evil which we observe on our world today. … Also Paul exhorts Timothy to ignore critics of Timothy’s young age and that his priorities as a Pastor should be conveying God’s truth through the Scriptures.} …  
1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe; they will follow lying spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These teachers are hypocrites and liars. They pretend to be religious, but their consciences are dead. … 11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. 
Highlight Passages: 1st Timothy 5: 21-22 [NLT] … {Paul gives Timothy and the church some vital instruction in Christian living, especially how the church should deal with such issues as widows, marriage, and controversies and conduct involving church leadership.} …  
21 I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the holy angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing special favor to anyone. 22 Never be in a hurry about appointing an elder. Do not participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.  
Highlight Passages: 1st Timothy 6: 11-13 : [NLT] … {And Paul closes his letter to his mentee with strong exhortations in Christian living, “commanding” Timothy and his fellow Christians in Ephesus to live in obedience and purity until Christ returns.} …  
11 But you, Timothy, belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for what we believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. 13 And I command you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you obey his commands with all purity. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 

My Journal for Today: Have you ever had a mentor whom God used to reshape your life? I have; and 1st Timothy is a letter from Paul with which I identify closely. Timothy in the New Testament was a traveling protégé of the Apostle Paul’s during some of Paul’s long, arduous missionary journeys; and Paul looked on himself as a spiritual father of this young man, who was half Jew and half Greek.

Timothy was apparently a somewhat timid young man; and Paul perceived, as God led Timothy to become a Pastoral leader in the church established in Ephesus, that the young man needed some Christian undergirding; and so Paul wrote the letter we know of as 1st Timothy, the book of my chronological reading assignment today. I hope you’ve read or reread the letter as you read my journal entry here today; and as you do, I also hope you’re thinking of at least one significant Spiritual guide in your life who helped you to grow in Christ for the God’s purposes (or maybe it was more than one person for you).

 For me the mentor who made a difference was “Dr. Bob.” He was a retired physician; and I was led to Him by God’s prevenient grace when I was a very immature Christian, trying to find my way to a more intimate relationship with Christ. And as I read 1st Timothy today, I couldn’t help but think of the twelve years that I met regularly with my mentor, Dr. Bob. Like Paul was for Timothy, Dr. Bob was one who led me to see Christ’s light in a very foggy world.

 [Praising God] I’m now an Elder in my church; and I was led to be the co-founder, along with my wife, of a ministry which has helped many, many men come out and walk in freedom from the bondage of habitual sexual sin into a productive relationship with Christ. Like Timothy did with Paul, I’ve become a “Pastor” or leader for many Christian men; and they look to me for Christian leadership. And when God was calling me to this position in ministry, I felt totally inadequate to the task. So, I empathize with what Timothy must’ve felt like when he received Paul’s mentoring letter.

Timothy was then a Pastor/leader in the church in Ephesus during the time of Nero’s reign of terror in Rome; and Paul had become His Spirit-led mentor. And 1st Timothy is a great example in Scripture of the role one, more mature Christian leader, can play in the life of a lesser mature Christian who is teachable and desires to grow in his/her relationship with Christ.

 If Dr. Bob had not been my Spirit-led guide about five years into my Christian walk, I don’t think I would have been able to undertake the role of “Pastor” in what is now Battle Plan Ministry, which you can read about by using this link. And I’m sure Timothy must’ve felt much the same way about the mentorship of the Apostle Paul. If you’ve needed such a guide to grow in Christ, I hope you’ve had a “Paul” in your life; and if you need such a mentor, I’d encourage you to pray for and seek diligently to find a human light, such as Paul was for Timothy, … one whom God can use to help you find your way to the purposes God has for your life.

 I’m sure that Timothy must’ve been incredibly grateful that God led him to Paul. I know that I am so humbled and honored that He led me to my mentor, Dr. Bob. And now I pray that the men God has led me to mentor have been helped to find their walk strengthened in Christ.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I thank You that the torch of leadership, brought into my life from my mentor, Dr. Bob, is now being passed to others. I pray that I can continue to help young men who know You, as Lord, to become mentors for others. Amen

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