Pray for the President (1 Timothy 1-3)

1Timothy 2:1-3 ESV First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, (2) for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (3) This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,

We should pray for our rulers, good or bad. We should pray for the peace of our nations. We should pray for good legislation, good laws, good rulings in the courts, etc. We should also pray that we’d be kept from bad legislation, bad laws, and bad court rulings. No matter who is governing and how they are governing, we should be praying for our leaders to lead in a good way and against them ruling in a bad way.

The motivation for praying for our leaders is that we would be able to lead a peaceful and quiet life. Christians should make the best citizens, especially when rulers are seeking the good of their people. There are times where Christians aren’t able to lead quiet lives because of persecution or because of the morally outrageous leadership. Yet even in those times we are praying for our leaders.

One source I looked at this morning seems to indicate that when Paul wrote this that Nero was the emperor and he had already burned Rome. If Paul could suggest that we pray for Nero, we certainly can pray for our presidents regardless of which party they are from. Praying for our leaders doesn’t mean we endorse everything they do. Indeed in some cases it may be praying against their efforts to disrupt our lives with immoral legislation. We may be praying they have a change of heart. Yet, we will be praying for our leaders.

Christianity and Politics can be tough to navigate. In the resource section there are several links provided, including to a few books that I’ve found helpful.

Father, thank you for the privilege of praying for our leaders. We pray for those who have authority over us and ask that they would make good decisions for our country and be kept from making bad ones. We pray that legislation designed to impede religious liberty would be met with frustration and fall apart. We pray that you would protect the weakest members of our society from those who would destroy them. We pray for the spiritual lives or our leaders. We pray for their health and well being. May we be able to lead peaceful and quiet lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

Websites

Books

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Day 68: 1 Timothy 4-6 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 Timothy 4-6 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

The Apostle Paul writes, in chapter four, about those who will depart from the faith and follow deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (4:1). This is a stern warning to us today to test the spirits and keep our doctrine pure. Indeed Paul charges Timothy to make sure that he continues to teach sound doctrine (4:13) and continue in the doctrine that Paul taught (4:16).

When I was studying for the ministry at a Christian college, some of the students wanted to steer clear of any sort of doctrinal discussion.  They would say something like, “we have no creed but Jesus.” The problem I had with them is that is seemed like they wanted to avoid ALL doctrine. Don’t get me wrong, there are SOME doctrinal debates that are worthless (one only needs to read yesterday’s post for more on that point). But when we avoid all doctrine together, we really create our own doctrine or set of beliefs, a false doctrine. The doctrine or teaching that Paul shared with Timothy was good, sound doctrine and it was profitable for Timothy’s growth and the growth of the local church.

The first few verses of Chapter five are instrumental in figuring out how we should treat one another. Because of age and generational differences it can be easy to perceive things differently than others in the church. As a pastor it is crucial that I communicate in ways that are respectful and appropriate. Recognizing these differences and approaching members, who may be in error, in the way that I would approach respected members of my own family, can be a helpful. 

Paul writes, that believers are to take care of their own household (5:3). The burden for caring for elderly relatives, who cannot care for themselves,  should fall back to the family, not to the church (or the government).  The church had an elaborate system of taking care of widows, but only those who had legitimate need. There is wisdom in placing the care of our loved ones back in our hands and there is grace in taking care of the needs of those who have no other means.

FATHER, I pray that you would keep us from error and that we would be intent upon studying and teaching your word. I pray that our lives would exhibit the doctrine we hold to in your word. Keep us from idle chatter, but focused on the truth of the gospel. Give us grace in relating to one another who are of differing ages. Help us to treat one another with respect, even when a difficult discussion is in order. Thank you for the privilege we have of caring for one another and being united in caring for those who have no one else to care for them. We are grateful for your Word. Thank you for the great grace you have given me in shepherding your flock. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 67: 1 Timothy 1-3 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 Timothy 1-3 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

1 Timothy is a pastoral epistle, meaning that Paul wrote it to another young pastor. When I first started at Little Escambia, I found it extremely helpful to read all the pastoral epistles over and over again during my first summer here. Paul shares keen spiritual truth as an apostle to a young man just beginning in ministry.

One of the things that jumps out at me when I read 1 Timothy is Paul’s warning about fables and endless genealogies (1:3-4).  Truth matters, but the things mentioned here tend to divide. Sometimes it is more important to know that the Lord is coming back (truth) than it is to worry and debate if some of the critters unleashed in Revelation 9 might actually be helicopters (I see how they would look that way to a generation returning from Vietnam… but in this generation, CRISPR kits are being sold to any adolescent with $450 who wants to learn how to “bio-hack” and so it is more and more conceivable that someone could bio-engineer those suckers into existence). The truth is, we don’t know exactly what those critters are and we could speculate for hours upon hours, but it wouldn’t get us any closer to Jesus, help us share our faith, or really encourage us in any real way and so it’s worth leaving those discussions behind to have a real one that will edify us in our faith.

Paul always remembered where he came from (1:15) and we would do well to follow his example of humility. Having faith and a good conscience are critical to ministering to people and Paul echoes this advice to Timothy (1:5 &19).  He solemnly states this in contradiction to those who have shipwrecked their faith (1:19-20).

In chapter two and three, Paul turns his attention to praying for those in governmental leadership and those who are qualified to be a pastor or deacon in the church. Different churches have different takes on these passages, but the reality is that these passages are there and they mean something. It is worth asking the question how do we honor the Lord in our churches according to these passages.

FATHER, thank you for your word that is truth and the sound doctrine that leads us to life everlasting in you through the blood of Jesus. We ask that you would guard us from being sidetracked by petty little side issues and that we would be focused on you. We pray for our leaders and ask for you to guide those who are an authority over us. We thank you for pastors and deacons. We pray that you would continue to call faithful individuals to the leadership of your church. Thank you for the grace of calling me to pastor at Little Escambia. I pray that you are glorified by your church. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

 

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

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