We Shall Be Content (1 Timothy 6:8)

“And having food and clothing, with these things we shall be content.”                      – 1 Timothy 6:8
We’ve all heard it said that the basic needs for human survival are food, water, and shelter. In 1 Timothy 6:8, Paul writes to Timothy saying “And having food and clothing, with these things we shall be content.”. I believe our generation has a problem of always wanting more. We want more money, more houses, more cars, more clothes, more attention, more love, and more more more! In Proverbs 30 verses 8-9, Solomon (being the principal author) says “Remove falsehood and lies far from me: Give me neither poverty nor riches- Feed me with the food alloted to me; Lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or lest I be poor and steel, And profane the name of my God.”. I found this verse to be personally convicting. I am one of those people who wants more than they have, who desires greater things. I found myself breaking down and crying out to the Lord in prayer. “God, help me to see how Solomon does and teach me at all costs what it means to be content with what you have provided for me. I desire to appreciate all I have and to bless your name for giving me more than I deserve, O’God how great thout art.”… Soon after another verse came to mind, Job 23:12. It reads “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than the necessary food.”. Another realization occured within me. How much greater are the words of His mouth than the necessary things. All of this is becoming overwhelmingly humbling. I should not only be treasuring the necessary things the Lord has provided me with but, more than that I should be treasuring the sweetness of His words and the time I get to spend with him on a personal level. I was blind but, now I see how much the Lord is providing for me. John 3:16 says, ” For God so loved the world that he GAVE His only begotten Son…”. We serve a giving God, a God who’s “lovingkindness is greater than life” (Psalm 63:3) and he chooses to give out of his great love for us. My perspective has been transformed and I am learning to be content in what the Lord has provided for me with for it is greater than I need. My lips shall praise you O’God.

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Brought Nothing, Carry Nothing (1 Timothy 6:7)

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” – 1 Timothy 6:7
Right away after reading 1 Timothy 6:7, Ecclesiastes 4:10 comes to my mind “As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand. “. It is evidently true that when a baby is born, they bring nothing with them into the world. They just enter in as God uniquely created them as new life. 1 Timothy 6:7 and Ecclesiastes 4:10 both tell me that we not only entered into this world with nothing but, we will also leave the this world with nothing, leaving as we came. I know this verse must be disapointing to many people. People today are always stressing over material things, and desiring to have achieve the most or own the most that they possibly can. They spend countless hours at a desk concerning their mind about more, about being more. I can’t even imagine the emptiness these people must have. They have gotten so consumed by the things of the world that they rarely see the light anymore. It truly sad to see them put so much time and effort into worldy possessions that they will one day leave behind as they enter into the gates of their final destination. We shall take nothing from our labors with us when we leave the world. I think of the ancinet egyptians whom would burry their paraoh or ruler in a tomb with all of their riches and jewels. What did they think was going to happen with the riches? Did they think the pharoah was going to take them with him? I believe they did but, we can truly see that history proves we leave this world with nothing. Not only does history prove this, but God’s word proves this. Heading back to 1 Timothy 6:7, we may not be able to take anything from this world when we leave it but, we are able to store treasures and fruit in heaven. This verse continues to force upon me to keep an eternal perspective, to keep my eyes fixed on eternity in heaven with God. I dont want to be that person that gets wrapped up in the world and becomes consumed with storing earthly treasures for my temperary home. I want to be a person, a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ that labors, bearing fruit that will be stored in her very own account in heaven. I guess you could think of it this way: Do you like to decorate, and express your personal taste? Okay well, would you prefer to spend your time and effort decorating a rattly little tent that has been difiled by the world, or in the Lord’s house in heaven? What do you choose? Where would you set your treasures? I believe Paul urges Timothy here in verse 7 to clearly recognize that God brought him in so he will bring him out, and You came with nothing, and you leave with nothing. I also find this verse to be encouraging to Timothy to remember that his laboring produces fruit that will be stored in heaven, and to focus on his current ministry because thats what the Lord has called him to do, thats what matters.

Imitate those (Hebrews 6:12)

That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”- Hebrews 6:12
According to this verse, we are called to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises of God. At the beginning of this verse it tells us that we should not become “sluggish” or lazy, in order to properly imitate those whom have faith and patience in what the Lord promised. When I think of someone whom through faith and patience inherited promises, I think of Joshua. Joshua was a man of faith, patience, and peace. The book of Joshua included about three military campaigns involving more than thirty enemy armies, all for the sake of the promised land of Moses. Under Joshua’s leadership, the people of Isreal learned to have faith in God, be obedient to his word, and have patience in his promises. Joshua was a man after God’s own heart, and he chose to have faith in the Lord and be patiently obedient to his commands. I think of the destruction of the city of Jericho. The Lord called out to Joshua, in Joshua 6:3-4 and said “You shall march around the city all you men of war, you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams horns before the ark, But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow trumpets.” If I were Joshua, I would have thought this was a silly thing to do. What would marching around the city of Jericho do to help them conquer the city? However, Joshua didnt doubt the Lord because, he had faith that the Lord would deliever the city of Jericho into his hands just as He said He would in verse 2. On the seventh day, after the seven priests had blown their trumpets. Joshua said to the people “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!” (Joshua 6:16). “And it had happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:20). Can you imagine the faith and patience Joshua had in the Lord! He did not become “sluggish” in what the Lord had asked him to do, instead he showed great faith and patience and the Lord rewarded the people with the city. Hebrews 6:12, tells me to imitate those whom walk in faith and patience, for they will inherit the promises of the Lord. I believe Joshua is a person to imitate for he clearly displayed these things. I believe another quality of Joshua that is worth imitating is his desire to hear from the Lord. Joshua listened and tunned his ears to hear the still calm voice of the Lord, and then faithfully acted upon his commands. The Lord encouraged Joshua saying, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9), and I believe he did this because of the intimacy of their relationship with one another. Like Joshua, I want to tune my ears to hearing the still small voice of the Lord and have faith and patience in his promises. I will seek the Lord always, in rememberence of his great love for me and the desires of his heart.

Seeds on the good ground (Luke 8:15)

“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” -Luke 8:15
The seeds that fell on the good ground, the soil that was abundantly rich in nutrients, heard the words of God and and healed them close to their hearts, meditating on the goodness of his truth. These seeds kept the words of the Lord locked away in their hearts, and lived according to his words bearing fruit with all patience. I’d like to think I am a seed that has fallen on the good soil, a seed that is flourishing with its roots firmly planted in God’s word. In John 15 verses 1-2 Jesus speaking says, “I am the true vine, and my father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”. Jesus explains here, that he is the true vine and the father is the vine dresser. Every branch in him (Jesus), that does not bear fruit he takes away. From this we learn that we are a branch in Christ and when we don’t bear fruit by laboring for the Lord, he will take away. Following this he says, “and every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Here Jesus says that the branches that bear fruit (the believers that labor for the Lord), these branches the father with prune, in order for them to bear more fruit. When Jesus uses the word prune here, he means that the father will cleanse the branch by cutting away the things he see’s necessary in order to promote healthy growth of pure fruit. God wants believers, the seeds thrown in the good soil to bear fruit. John 15:8 says, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit: so you will be my disciples.”. By bearing fruit and abiding in the vine, we bring glory to the father, we please the Lord. Jesus says at the end of the verse, “so you will be my disciples”. I believe Jesus gives us the secret to bearing fruit here. We are to be active disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you, as well as myself to proclaim God’s truth in all boldness. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to run this race with endurance and to know that others have run before us and are now cheering us on. I don’t know about you but, I want to be obedient to the Lord’s calling on my life and be fully invested. When it comes time for me to be face to face with my Lord, I hope I will hear the words “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter in and have rest.

Summer Bracken

IGNITE Class 9

TILL THE WHOLE WORLD HEARS

the father, we please the Lord. Jesus says at the end of the verse, “so you will be my disciples”. I believe Jesus gives us the seceret to bearing fruit here. We are to be active discples of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Seeds on the Rock: Luke 8:13

“But the ones on the rock are those who, hear; receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”                  -Luke 8:13
Unfortunately, seeds today are often thrown on to what the parable refers to as a “rocky foundation” or “rocky soil”. This group of people hear, and receive God’s word having exceeding joy. However, these new believers have not yet been rooted in Christ, they have not yet received the necessary nourishment that comes from his abundantly rich provisions. Lacking nourishment, they will only survive for a short period of time before they wither away. Temptation and times of testing will come along, and the seed that was once sprouting and thriving will dry up. I know many family members and friends who were and are seeds on the rock. They hear the good news of Jesus, accept him as their savior, and rejoice for a short time before falling back into temptation and walking away. They lacked a proper foundation and they were not yet rooted in Christ. They walked away before they could receive nourishment from the Son, and grow into their roots. It’s upsetting to witness the people I love wither up when they haven’t even gotten a chance to grow. I often feel guilty or responsible for them in these times. Sadly the truth is, I’m not responsible. I’m responsible for my own relationship with the Lord but, I have been given a command. The Lord has said “Go therefor and make disciples of all nations..”(Matthew 28:19). The Lord has called me to make disciples by teaching them God’s word and by living a life that exemplifies the righteousness of Christ. In the book of Colossians, Paul writes to the faithful saints in Colosse. In chapter 1 verse 9, Paul and Timothy say that they have been praying for the servants of Christ in Colosse ever since they had first heard of their faith. Paul and Timothy had been praying for them that they would continue in their faith and: (Verse 9-11) “may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;”. The goodness of God’s character is shown here by Paul and Timothy, and we should be following their example. We should continually desire to pray for new believers for “seeds on the rock”, that they would drive down their roots and be nourished by the Gardner, The Lord. That they would continue in their faith with all strength and boldness, and learn to run the race with endurance. I can see in my own life that it’s so easy to fall into temptation but, “the Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliver” (Psalm 18:2), he is the solid foundation of which my faith is firmly built upon. The Lord has kept me from the paths of the destroyer,”uphold my steps in Your paths. That my footsteps may not slip.” (Psalm 17:5) The Lord is the stronghold in my life, and I desire for him to be the stronghold in everyone’s life, and in the life of the seeds thrown unto the rocks. I want to encourage you, if you are a seed that has sprouted and has locked your roots into the riches of the Lord, GROW! As you grow, develop a desire to see others grow and anchor their roots on the rock. Pray for new believers, encourage new believers, be an example to new believers!

What Follows: James 3:16

James 3:16 says, “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”. Where envy and self-seeking exist or are found, confusion is not too far to follow, and following confusion leads to every evil thing. What causes confusion? Confusion occurs in many different ways but, I believe I understand what James is meaning when he uses confusion in verse 16. When thinking of confusion in relation to “every evil thing” as it says in the verse, I think James means confusion of the truth. When we have envy and self-seeking within us, we have let in things that are not peaceful and profitable. Envy and self-seeking cause individuals to think upon their own desires and cloud the goodness of the Lord from reaching into their lives. With our minds focused on these things, we are led into the darkness of earthly world we live in. We have handed the control of our life over into the hands of our fleshly bodies. Walking away from the Lord it is easy to be confused by the lies of the devil and by the actions of the world. Everyone in the world wether a believer or not seems to have a sense of right from wrong, a sense of good from bad. When we are full of envy and self-seeking. we becomed confused because deep down we know that we alone can never satisfy. Only the Lord brings full satisfaction. Psalm 107:9, “For he satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungary soul with goodness.” I think the souls of unbelievers long to be satisfied, to be filled, and too feel complete. The solution for all there problems is Jesus. When the world is confusing because of false teachers and lies, we need to look to our all knowing God and ask for him to fill us with his holy spirit in order to remain pure and set apart from the Lord. The holy spirit is a guide, a guide to the lost and a guide to the found. We are found in christ when we believe in him but, we still need a guide till we reach our final destination. I need to pray and seek out God’s wisdom, the wisdom that is from above and is not envieous and self seeking. Keeping my heart near to his I will avoid confusion, as his holy spirit will bring clarity to my mind.

Earthly Wisdom: James 3:15

James 3:15 says, “This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”. James explains to the people that wisdom that does not descend from above, is not of God and does not pertain to God. Wisdom that does not come from heaven is earthly, sensual, and demonic. It is pretty clear that any wisdom that is not wisdom from God is destructive and misleading. Philippians 3:19 says, “whose end is destruction, whose god is there belly, and whose glory is their shame- who set their minds on earthly things.”. In order to fully understand and grasp all that this verse holds, I must observe things individually. Paul starts by saying “whose end is destruction” but, who is the “whose” in this verse? The “whose” are “the enemies of the cross of Christ”, as it says in Philippians 3:18. So the enemies of the cross of Christ, have an end that leads to destruction. We know that the path that leads to destruction is a path that walks away from God. Now I know I am an enemy of the cross if I walk away from the Lord, and if I choose to walk away, I will be leading myself to my own destruction. Next Paul says, “whose god is there belly”. What on earth dpes that mean. The only meaning I can think of is when I think about how I feed myself. I feed myself to satisfy my hunger, to nourish myself, and promote the well being of my own body. (NOW I SEE IT) When Paul says, “whose god is there belly”, he is talking about those whom only seek to satisfy themselves. He is talking to selfish people whom are puffed up about themselves. He then goes on to say, “whose glory is their shame.” Here Paul is saying that when we seek only to please ourselves, the glory that we think we are giving ourselves is really shame. All of this happens because, they set their minds on earthly things which brings us back to James 3:15. Wisdom that does not come from God, is wisdom that is apart from God and this wisdom is of the world. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”. We are not to be conformed to the world, to the earthly, sensual, and demonic things but we are to “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ ” (Romans 13:14).

Bitterness and all that follows: James 3:14

In James 3:14 it says, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.”. James tells the people of the twelve tribes that they should not boast and lie against the truth, when they have bitter envy and self-seeking in their hearts. I believe James is trying to tell them that when they display these things, they are displaying things that are not of God. As Christians, we are called to imate christ and desire to be transformed into his image. Romans 13:13 says, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in reverly and drunkeness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife or envy.” . This verse explains that we must walk properly in the day. When the verse says “in the day”, it is meaning that we must walk as children of the light. Philippians 2:12-18 talks about christians needing to be bears of light in the world. In verses 14-15 it says, “Do all things without complaining or disputing. 15 that you may become blameless, children of God in the midst of a crooked and preverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”. I believe James took into account what Paul said here in Philippians, and he understood that the world we liive in is crooked and preverse. When we walk in bitter envy of the world and walk with a self-seeking desire in our hearts, we are walking in the things of this world. We are called to be in the world but not of the world. We are not to let things of the world such as envy and bitterness consume us and lead us atray from the Lord. As Christians, as God’s children, as people set apart from the world we are to be leaders in the darkness. We are called to be blameless before the Lord, which means we are to run from the evils of the world and guard ourselves with our spiritual armour (Galations 6). Romans 2:17 says, “Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God.”. This verse ties in perfectly with what James talks about in verse 14. This verse tells us that we are to rest on the law and make our boast in God. However, in James 3:14, it says ” do not boast and lie against the truth.”. James is telling the people that when they have bitter envy and self-seeking in their hearts, its easy for them to boast and bring up lies agianst the truth of God’s word but, this is not what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to be children of the light and resist with all their strength things that would lead them to dishonoring the Lord’s name. Romans 2:17, told me I am supposed to boast in God. What I’m getting from all of this is quite confusing to myself, as it may be to you but, God is revieling something to me. James 3:14 is an example of what happens when we let the things of the world enter our hearts and minds. When we let the world in, we push God away. We loose sight of God, and gain sight of our self-consumed flesh. The people who let bitter envy and self seeking into their hearts, set themselves on a path which ultimateltly leads to their own destruction. It leads them to denying God and dishonoring his name. I am called to be a child of the light, blameless and harmless before God’s eyes. I am called to exalt the name of Christ and boast in the name of the Lord. I need to keep my eyes fixed on the Lord, and my heart centered on Jesus. I need to desire for my relationship with the Lord to be a divine romance.

True Wisdom: James 3:13

James 3:13 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.”. James asks of the twelve tribes, “who among them is wise and understanding?”. When James posed this question, he ment to ask who among them was wise in wisdom that is from the Lord. James 3;17, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without hypocrisy.” The wisdom James is talking about is made up of characteristics of Jesus. Jesus is pure, Jesus is peaceable, Jesus is gentle, Jesus is willing to yield, Jesus is full of mercy, Jesus is full of fruits, and Jesus is without hypocripsy. James again was asking, whom among them had wisdom that is from above? James also asks the Romans another question, “Who among you is understanding?”. James poses these questions in order to instruct the Romans on how to behave with wisdom and understanding. Continuing on in verse 13, it says “Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in meekness of wisdom. “. James instructs the romans whom have wisdom and understanding to do these things in good conduct, so his works will be done in meekness of wisdom. Good conduct is, godly conduct. I believe James is trying to say that these gifts of wisdom and understanding have been given to them by the Lord, and that they must use them in meekness to preserve the glory for the Lord. The gifts we have been given, are all from the Lord. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all”. This verse explains that many gifts of the manifestation of the spirit, are given to each one (each believer) for the profit of all. In this case,” for the profit of all ” means for the profit of all believers, for the profit of all the world, and for the profit of the Lord as his name will be glorified and lifted up. I believe this verse in the book of James, is trying to show explain that when we have been gifted with things from above, we are to hold them as valuable tools for building God’s kingdom and for making disciples. We are to act in good conduct as James said, in order that these giftings will be controlled and set apart for the Lord’s use. What ‘m getting from this verse is, I need to use what God has given me but, only in a way that is glorifying to him, only in a way that will build up his kingdom and not my own image. I will also continue to “earnestly desire the best gifts” in order to grow in my abilities to serve the Lord, and yet he says ” I will show you a more excellent way. ” I cannot forget that I am a member in the body of christ. When I hold back from using the giftings God has given me, others may be suffering because of my lacking. I am called as a daughter of Christ, to edify my brothers and sisters, to build them up.

Believe: Romans 3:25-26

In the book of Romans, Paul a bondservant of Jesus Christ writes to the beloved saints in Rome. Paul writes in hope to exhort and lift up his fellow brethern. In Romans: chapter 3 verses 25-26, Paul begins to explain that God has set forth a sacrifice of his blood, through faith, in order to demonstrate to the world his righteousness. God because of his previous forebearence, has passed over the sins of the world onto the shoulders of his only son, Jesus. In John chapter 20 verse 27, Jesus says “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands: and reach your hand here , and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” In this verse, Jesus shows the disciples his wounds from when he was crucified on the cross, so they will see the physical scars of his sacrifice. The Lord then says in verse 29 to Thomas, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We have to have faith in what we have not seen. We have to have faith in God. We have to have faith in what his word says, and have faith to be able to carry out. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. This verse says that the Bible is God’s-breathed words, how could I not have faith in the truth? Back to Romans…. Romans 3:26, says that God did what was mentioned in verse 25, in order that God would be just and be the justifier of those who had faith in His son Jesus. God has demonstrated his righteousness to all the people of the world. What will it take for you to take a stand for Jesus Christ and walk in faith today?