Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
This past Monday I was working outside in my yard and went to lock the tongue of my trailer. However, when I reached for the lock I was surprised to find only half of the lock with the keys, and the other half was missing. I looked on the ground. I looked on the trailer and in the truck, but I did not find the missing part of the lock. Then, the third time I looked on the ground I examined the area more closely. There was the missing piece of lock, its dark color blending in with the dark brown color of the ground. When I looked more closely I saw something I had previously missed.
As I read through 2 Timothy in my devotions this week, I saw something I hadn’t seen before. I remember the section of 2 Timothy that warns about ungodly behavior in the end times. I have memorized the verses in 2 Timothy 3 about the purpose and the power of God’s Word. But I had somehow missed that these verse were connected.
Listen with me to God’s warning to the people of Paul’s day about the dangers of the last times.
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Does that sound familiar? Yes, people have always battled sinful desires. But it is my experience that in the last few decades selfishness, greed, boastfulness, disobedience, unloving behavior, and loving pleasure rather than loving God, has increased in the world around us. Such behaviors unfortunately have also increased even among God’s people.
Now consider God’s solution to the troubles of these last days.
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Young pastor Timothy was facing some real challenges as he sought to shepherd the people of God. God does not point Timothy to some new program of that time as a solution. The Lord uses Paul to remind Timothy that it is in God’s Word that Christians find a foundation for their faith and a foundation for their lives. Scripture first of all points people to wisdom “for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” In other words, God’s Word creates and grows faith in Jesus as our Savior from sin and death. And, in contrast to the evil direction of our selfish world, God speaks to Timothy through Paul, and God points Timothy and his congregation to righteous lives, directed by the sure word of truth found in Scripture.
I knew both of these verses from previous readings of God’s Word. But, somehow I had not put them together. It was sort of like having only half of my lock for the trailer. But, this past week when I read 2 Timothy in my morning devotions, I found something, God revealed something, I had not seen before.
This experience teaches me, and perhaps it can be a lesson to you. Time in God’s Word (and time in prayer and in worship as well) is vital to the faith and life of the Christian person. I have known that truth. But, finding the connection between these verses, was like finding the other half of my lock. This discovery re-affirmed what I knew.
Will you join me in regular daily time in God’s Word?
A Child of God, Thankful for Daily Faith and Direction found in God’s Word,
P.S. In the past I have alternated devotional studies every two years, but I will re-use this year’s devotions so we can study and grow TOGETHER. I am encouraging you to join me in studying God’s Word together by using the same devotional Bible I plan to use in the next two years. I will use the “Today’s Light Devotional Bible” from Concordia Publishing House (our church’s publishing house) in 2019 and 2020. If you want to buy one of these Bibles and study with me starting in January here are links for the Bible.
· From CPH for $26.39 + $7.00 shipping - https://www.cph.org/p-22950-todays-light-devotional-bible.aspx
· From Amazon for $32.99 + free shipping - https://www.amazon.com/Todays-Light-Devotional-Bible-Fryar/dp/0758643519/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540403689&sr=8-1&keywords=Today%27s+Light+Devotional+Bible
P.P.S. God acted with grace through baptism in the lives of two of his children the last two Sundays in early worship.
· Here is a picture of the baptism of Walter Lee Downing, October 14
· Here is a picture of the baptism of Lorrie Ann Lutz, Sunday, October 21.
P.P.P.S. Here are 2 pictures of confirmation students eating “snacks” Wednesday, October 17. https://photos.app.goo.gl/6UEj588g1Wx5u9Gt7
P.P.P.P.S. Here are some pictures of those at the St. John Youth Dinner Auction. Ethan says we made about $3500 with this year’s event. Money will go to help our St. John Youth go to the National Youth Gathering in MN next July. https://photos.app.goo.gl/6Ubvg3wHQoH8hjio9
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.