Galatians 5:2-26

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, thank You that Jesus’ death on the cross has unbound me to live a free life, no longer chained as a slave to sin.  Help me to live “freely, animated and motivated” by Your Spirit in me.  Keep me from “feeding the compulsions of selfishness”—that stem from “a root of sinful self-interest within that is at odds with a free spirit from You, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.”  Living by selfishness …living by Your Spirit … the two ways just don’t blend; in fact, they’re in conflict with each other.  Your Word points out how futile it is to try to do both, because I “cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how [I feel] on any given day” and still live freely.  Draw me daily to choose to be led by Your Spirit.

You’ve given me a promise that when I live Your way, You bring gifts into my life, “much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others (love), exuberance about life (joy), serenity (peace).  In me You’ll develop a willingness to stick with things (patience), a sense of compassion in the heart (kindness), and a  conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people, [directly from You] (goodness).  I’ll find myself involved in loyal commitments (faithfulness), not needing to force my way in life (gentleness), able to marshal and direct my energies wisely (self-control).”

Lord, take everything in me that’s connected with getting my own way and “mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities” and kill it off—crucify it. May I daily choose to live by Your Spirit, according to Your Word… as I do, help me to make sure that I don’t simply hold it as an idea in my head or a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, but YOU work out its practical implications in every detail of my life.  Keep me from comparing myself with others as if one were better and another worse.  You have supplied far more interesting and eternity-impacting things to do with my life.  Each person I meet is an original, hand-crafted by You.  That means I am too.  Help me to live creatively and freely in You, Father, as You and I touch hearts around me and point them to Jesus!

Thank You for your blessings this day, Daddy!  Really grow a bunch of that fruit of self-control and help me to yield to that spirit of self-discipline You’ve given me.  Garnish my plate with that joy or exuberance too, so that this season of life is a refreshing time!  Call out to me from Your Word … until I sit alone with You and let You speak to me.  Hold me close to Your heart and make me just like Jesus! Amen.

Galatians 4:21-5:1, 13

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, throughout Scripture You’ve shown, in page after page, life after life, that You promise to accomplish that which I cannot do on my own.  You not only promise, but You fulfill Your promise.

You told Abraham that You would make his descendants of such a huge number that he couldn’t count them.  But like most of us, he only sort of believed You and he tried to help You out by having a son with Hagar.

WHAT a symbol of the times when I try to work stuff out on my own! . . .and then I don’t end up with Your best for me, just some shoddy shadow of what could’ve been. . .  maybe even sometimes, something so hideous that there’s not even a resemblance to what You promised.

Now, what You did later by giving Isaac to Abraham and Sarah was so typically You!  You say, “I will do this…” and then, You do what You promised… in YOUR way, in YOUR time—and there’s NO doubt that it’s of YOU!

There are promises You’ve made to me in Your Word that I need to believe and there are some that I may only sort of believe.  Grant me Your grace, Father, to trust You even more—to wait on You and expect You to act in my life, coming through with Your very best for me…. it’s the BEST for me, because You made me, You know me and You can see the “finished product.”  You have the picture on the box lid as You put the pieces of my life together… until the day I’ll be formed into the image of Your Son!

Lord, You’ve set me free from the old stuff of the law and the slavery to having to do every little thing just right in order to be acceptable to You.  Jesus, You set me free to live a free life in You.  Help me to make sure that I don’t use that freedom as an excuse to do whatever I want to do, to “indulge my sinful nature” just because I can, and thus destroy my freedom.  Instead, guide me in using my freedom to serve others in love, since that’s how freedom grows.

Where my thinking needs re-wired, where my attitude needs remodeled, do Your work in me, Lord, as You build my spiritual house in which You CHOOSE to dwell.  Thank You for residing in my heart–Your presence with me.  May You and I do this day together, as You make me more like Jesus and touch lives through me!

Draw me into Your Word, Lord.  And I’m not talking about some little devotional that points out an applicable verse or even a topical study. Call me to simply sit and read Your Word.  And when I do, do something in me that I’ve not known before. Give me such an understanding of what I read that I can immediately grasp what YOU are saying to me in whatever passage to which I turn.  Prompt me to ask You to unfold Your Word before me… to give me the ability to comprehend thoroughly what You have to say… Make it such an intimate experience when I read Your Word that I can’t wait to open the pages again… or that I have a hard time putting it down.  Lord, only YOU can create this in me… and I’ve seen You do it in me several years ago when I asked You to do so. Knowing that You’re the same God, I’m convinced that You can and will do this again in this season of my life. Amen.

Galatians 4:1-20

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, how perfect Your timing always is, especially when it came to Your sending Jesus!  “When the time arrived, long ago, that was set by You, You sent Your Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that He might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law…”  By that entrance into human history, we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.

Thanks for Your assurance that I am fully adopted as Your own daughter, because You sent the Spirit of Your Son into my life crying out, “Papa! Father!”  How wonderful to have this privilege of intimate conversation with You!  How assuring it is to know that I’m no longer a slave to the law, but am a child of grace.  Because I’m Your child, I am also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance You have in store.  Bring joy to my heart this day as I considers how deeply You love me and as I anticipate the Day I get to meet You face to face, crawl upon Your lap and be held next to Your heart.

Thank You, Papa, for all You’ve done!  Let nothing else be my utmost desire except to follow You.   Keep shaping me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

Galatians 3:15-29

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father God, You are all-wise, all-knowing and all-powerful! … And You care for me!  Throughout the ages of time, You have been at work to carry out Your plan—and that plan included me, for me to have met You and to have become Yours.

Way back, You promised Abraham, “All peoples will be blessed through you….To your descendant I will give this land…” (Gen 12:5, 7).  In the meantime, You gave the law through Moses to “keep a sinful people in the way of salvation until Christ (the descendant) came, inheriting the promises and distributing them to us.”  The law’s “purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship” with You, and to show us how silly it is to devise “some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for You to complete Your promise.”

Now, Father, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection You have brought me by faith into direct relationship with You.  You have dressed me in a wardrobe of faith—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of Your original promise.

All praise and gratitude to You for granting me the privilege of calling You “Father.”  ‘Praise You for Your faithfulness, Your mercy, Your love, Your presence, Your ____________,… Oh! Daddy! You are just SO MUCH!!!

Thank You, Father, for all the good things You’re pouring into my life.  Thank You for showing me Your hand and for allowing me to feast on Your blessings in this season of my life.  Keep my heart in a place where I “trust the Lord with all [my] heart and leans not on [my] own understanding.” (Pr 3:5)  Keep me dependent upon You—especially in these good times.  (Just like Joseph had to be during the 7 years of good crops, so that when the 7 years of famine came You had made him ready. In all of it, he acknowledged Your hand at work in every aspect that led him to where he was and who You were making him to be.)   Remind me in each moment to, “in all [my] ways, acknowledge You,” counting on Your promise to “direct [my] paths” when I do. (Pr 3:6)

Thank You for giving me Your spirit of self-discipline AND Your joy.  This day (and this week) help me to be submissive to Your Spirit within me and to entrust all things to You. Assure me that You have provided me time for both doing the projects I’m responsible for and for enjoying the lives You’ve connected with mine.  Guide me in using the time YOU’ve allotted to me.  Guide me in using the resources YOU’ve supplied me.   Shape me continually into an ever-faithful servant of Yours.

Call me into Your presence daily (or even more than once a day) and fill me up with You. Thank you for also walking with me throughout the rest of the hours of the day.  Nestle me next to Your heart throughout the nights of rest.  May all that I am be consumed by all that You are as You work in me to one day make me more like Jesus—having Your desires, Your vision of this world, Your heart for Your people, and Your understanding of my purpose here. Thank You for Jesus!    Amen.

Galatians 2:11-21

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, may Gal. 2:20 be a way in which my life could be described:

I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST …

When I accepted You, when I chose to believe that Jesus is my Savior, my old self was nailed to the cross with Him.  Yet, as with all of us, what a struggle there seems to be with leaving it there and not taking it up again and again.  In reality, crucifixion is a final death with much agony.  Perhaps, the struggle we humans engage in is not so much our trying to take up our own life and get off the cross, but rather with the pain of hanging and waiting for our old self to die …like the pain of a body hanging on a cross, trying to keep breathing… If we’d just cease attempting to stretch for another breath and make our Lord’s words our own:  “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit… It is finished.” — Perhaps, then it would be final; we might cease to struggle so much with the old self.

… AND I NO LONGER LIVE …

Let it not be my own will that moves my body or determines what my mind will think on.  Let it be You, Lord, alive in me and in control.

… BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME …

Make my heart Your home, Jesus.  Move into any room You choose.  May You have the freedom to tidy up, affirm the arrangement of things, make alterations where You see fit, savor the decorations, sample the cuisine, … Make Yourself at home, enjoy Your residence in the castle of my heart.  Fill my “house” with Your light of joy, visible from the outside, because You, my King, dwell within me.

… THE LIFE I LIVE IN THE BODY …

Thank You for this life You have supplied and designed called me! Thank You for gifting me with being me… creating me for such a time as this, with such a purpose as Your very own, and with such a Father as You!

… I LIVE BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD …

Let me be found believing You can do whatever is needed; trusting You will do what’s the very best for me; and having faith in You, that You’ll be faithful to Your Word.

“Living by faith” seems much like swinging in a swing, which is on ropes not tied to a tall, sturdy earthbound tree, but rather ropes that are held between the fingers of Your hand, Lord.  I can stay in the swing or get out.  I can just hang there and cling to the ropes, fearful of being dropped or hurt.  OR, by trusting in You, I can lean back and forth, getting a motion going… sailing through the air, legs outstretched, leaning back, cutting through the air, then, leaning forward, legs tucked in, to go back for another slice at the air! … soaring higher and higher… And in the swing of my life, held by Your almighty and capable hand, I am safe, secure and free!

… WHO LOVED ME …

Jesus, You chose to leave the richness of heaven to come be a human like me.  You did it to serve me.  You did all that You did for love alone, the greatest love ever known… not for any marvelous thing I’ve done. Rather, You came because of the disobedient, sinful things I’ve done and thought.  Your love is big enough to love me in spite of the hurt I cause You by sin.  Your love is strong and will never tire, fade, wear out or end!  Thank You for enveloping me in this love, and keep me ever realizing the vastness of it moment by moment.

… AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.

Thank You, Father, for demonstrating Your love for me by appearing in flesh, sending Your Son, …to be like me, to live like I live, and to die for the sins I do.  Thank You for Your sacrifice which provides the key which frees me from sin’s prison.  Your resurrection assures me of my own transformation to a new life, indestructible by death and immovably held in Your hand! Amen.

trustme

Galatians 1:11-2:10

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Precious Father, every step of the way, from my conception right up to this bit of oxygen I just took in, Your hand has been at work to fashion my life.  From my mother’s womb, You have set me apart, called me by Your grace–“by shear generosity”–and, in pleasure, designed my life so that Your Son is revealed in me, so that I might proclaim Him as I go. . . wherever, whenever.

Jesus, You are Truth. . . embodied, written, and alive!  May my heart and mind remain in You, the same as abiding in Truth.  Though this world around me tells me there is no truth or that there are many truths, let me not give in to those lies and deceptions, “so that the truth of the gospel might remain” in me.  Let the simple truth of Jesus become something that naturally comes from my lips and is evident in my life.

You have created me to serve in Your kingdom.  You equip me for doing just what You have for me to do. . . sometimes that’s clearly seen, sometimes it’s a mystery.  Either way, I can know that You know, and can rest in that. . . May my heart be available to You, for You to use me as You will.  May others see YOU in me and hear Your Word from me, so that their response might be one of recognition and worship of You!

The words You had Isaiah pen, Lord, . . . envelope me with what they reveal of You to me, for You say, even to me:  “you, [My servant, whom I have chosen,… I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.  I said, `You are My servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am YOUR God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand, [My Son]. … For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I MYSELF will help you.”  (Is 41:8-10, 13-14)

Wrap me up in You, Lord, and assure me beyond anything I could imagine that You consider me precious, wonderful, complete, totally acceptable, and worthy of all of Your love!  Cause my heart to only need Your approval, Your acceptance, Your secure hope, …. to simply need YOU… and to count anything, everything else just blessings from Your hand entrusted to me for a time.

Thanks for Your faithfulness.  Thanks for sharing a taste of Your goodness with us.  Thanks for holding us close and considering us Your very own!  Make us just like Jesus.  Amen.

Galatians 1:1-10

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me
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Father, thank You for the grace and peace You pour out through Jesus! Thank You for His sacrifice, His self-less giving of Himself, so that we might be rescued from the evil in this world. Because of this act, I can know and fully experience these two words: grace and peace–as reality each day! Your rescue, Your gift, Your Son in me—all are part of and according to Your will! To You, my God and Father, be all glory forever and ever!

You have seen to it that I know Your Word. Over the years You’ve taught me Your precepts … You’ve revealed Your ways. In these days when so MANY voices are expressing a variety of opinions regarding how to get to You, how to know You, how to follow You,… keep me tethered tightly to Your Truth. Grant me Your discernment, so that I am so intimately familiar with YOU, the Genuine One, that any counterfeit teaching, image, or thinking so evidently stand out as NOT of You.

Let me not give in to the temptation of trying to win the approval of people, trying to please them. Rewire me thinking so that my desire is to please You alone.

You have called me to be YOUR servant— “sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.” Set my gaze solely on You. Satisfy my seeking with the assurance that You have given me all the approval I’ll ever need. . . That’s what Jesus’ death said: “You, My child, were unworthy, but I have made You worthy, approved, free and whole by offering My one and only Son in Your place.” (Thank You, Father!)

May my heart seek You alone.
May my eyes be fixed on Jesus.
May my mind be full of Your Word.
May my life be centered in Your will.
May all of me, my entire being, love all You are.
Make me just like Jesus, Daddy. Amen.

Next Set of Devo-Prayers: Galatians

Through these Devo-Prayers, we stepped through the Gospels–the books of the Bible that tell the account of Jesus’ life on earth (Matthew, John, Mark, and Luke). We journeyed through Luke’s other work, the book of Acts, which gives a historical account of the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Then, we began diving into the letters that Paul wrote to the saints, or believers/Christians, in various cities or regions.  Those included his letter to believers in Rome–the letter to the Romans and then his letters to the believers in Corinth or 1st and 2nd Corinthians as well as the letter he wrote to the believers in Ephesus (Ephesians), the letter to the believers in Colosse (Colossians), the first letter Paul wrote to believers in Thessalonica (1st & 2nd Thessalonians). Next, we strolled through the two letters that Paul wrote to Timothy, a young preacher whom he mentored in the faith.

The next set would normally have fallen before Ephesians. However, I finally found the files for Galatians, or Paul’s letter to the churches in the region of Galatia.  So, we’ll stroll through that letter next.

Devo-Prayers ~ Praying through the Scriptures

Each posting contains a first-person prayer based on a particular chapter or passage from the Bible. The Bible passage reference is provided above the devotional prayer, so you can also refer to the scripture which inspired the prayer. Posts that are found via Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn usually provide an excerpt from the full post.

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2 Timothy 4

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

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“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge:” (v 1 NIV)

“PREACH THE WORD” (v 2 NIV)

“Proclaim the Message with integrity” (MSG).

Thank You for training me in understanding and teaching Your Word.  Keep me grounded in it, regularly, daily in it’s pages, so that it dwells in me richly (Colossians 3:16).  You be the one to formulate the words that proceed from my mouth when I open it in the midst of the opportunities You give to touch lives.

BE PREPARED in season and out of season” (v 2 NIV)

“Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable.  [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome,]…” (v 2 AMP). Cause me to be looking for the opportunities You supply.  Help me not to be so focused on my tasks connected to this world that I miss the tasks You have for me which are linked to eternity.  (“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.  But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, … in Christ all will be made alive … thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 15:19-20, 33, 58 NIV]).

CORRECT, REBUKE, & ENCOURAGE — with GREAT PATIENCE and CAREFUL INSTRUCTION (v 2 NIV)

“Challenge, warn, and urge your people.  Don’t ever quit.  Just keep it simple” (v 2 MSG).

When a blacksmith is altering the shape of a piece of metal to make it more useful or for a particular use, he takes it through a process.  The metal is thrust into intense heat in order to soften it, so that the following step is most effective.  Next the smith pounds the heated metal into the shape it’s going to become, changing its appearance and resourcefulness.  Then, it’s doused into water to cool it down again, the forging complete.  Oh, often this process is repeated many times, with perhaps different tools used for the pounding and great care and patience are employed.  All work together to bring the metal into the shape needed to carry out the work for which it’s destined.

Many times, Lord, You’ve held me in Your hands as the blacksmith holds that metal.  Through the correction, rebuke and encouragement You’ve given through Your people, Your Word, and Your Spirit, You’ve been shaping me with Your “great patience and careful instruction.”  You’re forging me so that I can be an effective tool in doing the same in the lives of others.  Keep on with the process, Lord.

“KEEP YOUR HEAD IN ALL SITUATIONS” (v 5 NIV

Father, continue to help me not to react quickly to jarring circumstances.  Bring Your peace upon my heart and mind as You supply understanding, discernment and wisdom in the process of my choosing my actions instead of reacting.  Hold a stalwart guard over my mouth, not letting me flippantly speak, until You’ve had the chance to speak to me first.  You’ve guided me in this direction for quite a while; keep on doing it.  Thank You for the advantages of “keeping my head” when it comes to being alert to temptation, “resistant to pressure, and ever vigilant when facing heavy responsibility” (from the NIV Life Application Study Bible, p. 2204).

“ENDURE HARDSHIP” (v 5 NIV)

“Accept the hard times along with the good” (v 5 MSG).

Here’s Paul at the end of his life — one that had been flooded with MANY “hard times” — encouraging a young servant.  This same Paul is the one who wrote to the Corinthians about the “thorn” You’d given him (2 Cor 12:7-10).  You taught him to be thankful for that “gift,” because through this weakness, Your grace radiated.

DO THE WORK of an evangelist, DISCHARGE ALL THE DUTIES of your ministry” (v 5 NIV)

“Keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant” (v 5 MSG).

When I became Your child, Father God, You commissioned and ordained me for Your ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:11-21).  You have sent me forth with Your (1) Great Commandment and (2) Your Great Commission:

1) “LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND” (Matt 22:37 NIV) – Great Commandment

2) “…GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS…” (Matt 28:19-20) – Great Commission

“The Great Commission encapsulates what we DO while the Great Commandment embodies who we ARE.”  (David Ferguson, The Great Commandment Principle, p. 9)

Help me to love YOU with all of me, so that it’s You loving and serving through me as I engage my energy, gifts, and resources in the ministry You’ve designed for me.  Keep forging me into the likeness of Jesus.  Amen.

2 Timothy 3

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

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“Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble … Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers — why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk!  There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another — showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.  Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (v 12, 14-17 MSG)

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (v 16-17 NIV)

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Father, may I never stray into the practice of simply reading Your Word just for the knowledge to be gained.  Nor let me study just so I can prove a point in a discussion.  You have intended that Your Word be more than known, but that it would be lived.

You have said (Eph 2:10) that You’ve created me FOR good works.  You’ve given me a purpose here.  With that purpose, You’ve provided a source of training.  The main reason You’ve given me Your Word is to prepare me, to equip me “thoroughly for every good work” that You’ve “prepared in advance” (Eph 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:17) for me to do.

Thanks for using Your Word too in “showing me truth,” “exposing my rebellion,” “correcting my mistakes,” and “training me to love Your way” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).  Continue to equip me daily as You transform me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

2 Timothy 2

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

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“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (v 1 NIV)

Father, cause my life to be characterized by Your grace.  How grateful I am that You’ve extended this gift to me.  Now, strengthen, equip and guide me in passing it on to others.

“Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple.” (v 15 MSG)

Set my sites on excellence for You, knowing that the only way to achieve it, even in the small things, is through Your strength.  In the opportunities You open up for sharing Your Word, guide me in doing so.  Help me to be on-target with what You intended to say and to convey it so simply that even a young child can understand and be changed by it.

“In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets — some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage.  BECOME THE KIND OF CONTAINER GOD CAN USE TO PRESENT ANY AND EVERY KIND OF GIFT TO HIS GUESTS FOR THEIR BLESSING.” (v 21 MSG)

May I be a bowl of fine china at Your table of grace, serving up a delicacy for the souls of each guest who dines.  Purify my heart; make clean my mind; and fashion a genuine and deep love in me for Your people, both the fallen and the forgiven.  As I continue to learn to walk in Your mercy, grace and forgiveness, keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

2 Timothy 1

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

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“…I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you…” (v 6 AMP)

“…I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…” (v 6 NIV)

Father, You have gifted me by Your Spirit for a variety of things.  You’ve worked through many influences to develop skills in me.  You’ve been at work to fashion me into a tool You can use for building up Your kingdom.  Early on, the desire to serve others through these gifts was strong, alive, and active.  The embers are still there, though sometimes in need of stoking, so that there’s a blaze instead of merely a warm glow.  Stir me up, Lord.

“God doesn’t want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.”  (v 7 MSG)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (v 7 NIV)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” (v 7 AMP)

Gather up all these descriptions of what You’ve given to me and shape my understanding and application of Your Word.  Yes, You’ve gifted me.  And yes, in the past We’ve done some exciting things together through those gifts put to use in Your kingdom.  Now, Lord, strip away the “cringing” and “timidity” that can hinder me these days from diving in and letting You fully use me wherever You desire.  Only in You can I be free from fear; so I look to You to cut those chains and free me to more fully serve You.

“We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work … I couldn’t be more sure of my ground — the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what He’s trusted me to do right to the end.” (v 12 MSG)

“…Still I am not ashamed, for I know (perceive, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with) Him whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day.” (v 12 AMP)

Thank You, Father, for the confidence that knowing You can bring.  Continue to deepen my relationship with You as I fall more in love with Jesus each day.  Work in me the way You long to work.  Shape me into the likeness of Your Son.  Amen.

1 Timothy 6

Father, fill me up with Your truth.

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Thanks for the admonition You convey in this letter written to a young Christian leader by a seasoned follower and disciple-maker.  Help me to apply Your exhortations regarding what to flee and what to pursue as I live out my life in You.

“But you, man of God, FLEE from all this [see vs. 3-10], and PURSUE righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (v 11 NIV)

FLEE

In the verses prior to this one, You led Paul through a discussion of at least three “things.”  Noted initially are those who teach false doctrines which do not agree with Your Word (v 3).  These same false teachers also carried out lifestyles contrary to the godliness You desire.  Secondly, You use Paul’s words to expose the self-serving motive of seeking godliness as “a means to financial gain” (v 5), or to get rich.  Thirdly, You spell out the dangers of allowing the gathering of wealth to drive oneself in this life.  You led Paul to highlight all these aspects and then said, “flee from all this” (v 11).

PURSUE

Now, since fleeing means to run away from something, there naturally must be something else to run toward.  In this case, You give me an entire list of traits to keep on chasing after, a lifelong pursuit or quest:

(1) RIGHTEOUSNESS — The Amplified Bible states this as “…righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness),…” (v 11 AMP). In his letter to the Romans, You use Paul’s words to help clarify this: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22 NIV).  Under the Old Testament law, Your followers were declared righteous, like gaining Your stamp of approval, by their obedience.  Yet, because You knew that I’d never be able to be fully obedient to You, out of Your mercy and grace, You sent Your Son to redeem me from my “missing the mark” or sin.  “…where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:20-21 NIV).  YOU declare me righteous by my faith in Your Son.

(2) GODLINESS “…godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike),… “ (v 11 AMP).  Here’s how Chuck Swindoll put this in one of his study guides: “…an authentic, abiding desire to glorify God through self-sacrificing service and humble obedience.”**  Form that in me, Lord.

(3) FAITH — Father, help me to take my hands off the steering wheel and allow You to drive, to allow You to be the door opener, without my trying to pry the doors open or manipulate them to fit my design.  Help me to trust You.

(4) ENDURANCE — This is like perseverance and both mean “to abide under.”  Guide me in moving through life, handling what comes my way with the strength You provide and looking to You to supply stability and balance.

(5) GENTLENESS — Guide me in allowing Your Spirit to keep my strength under control, utilizing my strength as You reveal it’s appropriate to do so.

Run with me, Lord, as I flee what is not of You and pursue all that You lay before me, as You’re at work to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

** from Excellence in Ministry by Charles Swindoll, Insight for Living, 1985.

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Draw my heart toward Yours, Jesus, so that I fall deeper in love with You every moment.

1 Timothy 5

Father, fill me up with Your truth.

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Relationships–an entire chapter about the kinds of relationships You desire among Your people, in Your Church! …Lord, teach me what You want me to learn and to live.

You use all sorts of terms to describe how You desire us to interact:
“Do not rebuke… harshly, but exhort” (v 1).
“Treat as [family members]…with absolute purity” (v 2).
“Give proper recognition…” (v 3).
“…provide for his relatives and especially his immediate family” (v 8).
“…help those who are really in need” (v 16).
“…do nothing out of favoritism” (v 21)
“…do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” (v 22).

Guide me, Father, in growing my relationships with others, both those related to me through my birth and those connected to me by my rebirth.  Teach me to love them like You do.  Pare away the skin of this fallen world which can cover, hide, or keep in the nutrients necessary for healthy relationships.  Continue to heal the wounds in me that hinder me from reaching out and loving others freely and fully like You love them.  Free me from the past to step forward into the future with each opportunity You supply today.  Make me just like Jesus.  And when a person has encountered me, may he or she love Him more.  Amen.

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Draw my heart toward Yours, Jesus, so that I fall deeper in love with You every moment.

1 Timothy 4

Father, fill me up with Your truth.

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“You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching.  Now pass on this counsel to the Christians there, and You’ll be a good servant of Jesus.” (v 6 MSG)

“If you explain this to the brothers and sisters, you will be doing your duty as a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is fed by the message of faith and the true teaching you have followed.” (v 6 NLT)

Thank You so much, Father, for feeding me throughout my life with the truths of Your Message, Your Word which has produced faith in me as I look to You.  Guide me in staying firmly grounded in Your Truth and in passing it on to others.

“Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion.  Exercise daily in God–no spiritual flabbiness please!  Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.  You can count on this.  Take it to heart.” (v 7-8 MSG)

Be my Coach, my Personal Trainer, Lord.  Equip me for living, using, and teaching Your Word wherever You lead me each day.  Guide me in discerning Your Truth and in paying attention to what I allow into my mind.

“We work hard and suffer much in order that people will believe the truth, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and particularly of those who believe.” (v 10 NLT)

Stir in me, Father, that intentional energy that is focused on the purpose You’ve called me to as Your child, Your follower: To make disciples.  Remind me repeatedly of this work that You’ve put me here to do.  My current job is not what You’ve employed me to do.  It’s merely a means through I can touch lives so that I can make disciples.  You’ve supplied a home, a car, a job, a church family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, places to do business in the community, communication means (phone, email, postal service, etc.) … all these things and more — You’ve supplied them as my tools for carrying out this ministry You’ve given me.  Help me to view these things from THAT perspective more than getting caught up in them for self-serving reasons.

“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 … focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.  Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received … Give your complete attention to these matters.  Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.  Keep a close watch on yourself and on your teaching.  Stay true to what is right, and God will save you and those who hear you.” (v 12-16 NLT)

Let others see Jesus in me, Father:
May the words that I SPEAK or use to teach communicate solely the Truth found in YOUR Word.
May the actions of my LIFE reflect the motives, energy and activities of YOUR Son.
May the sharing of my LOVE convey the passion and authenticity of YOUR love.
May the example of my FAITH inspire others to trust in YOUR faithfulness.
May the model of my PURITY enliven the courage and endurance of others to strive to embrace YOUR virtue.

In all these things, may You receive glory, honor, and praise, as others are led toward a more intimate relationship with You, our extraordinary God, because they have encountered this ordinary servant of Yours.  Amen.

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Draw my heart toward Yours, Jesus, so that I fall deeper in love with You every moment.