Guard the Deposit of Faith

Day 294 Jeremiah 37:1-38:28; 1 Timothy 6:1-21; Psalm 89:38-52; Proverbs 25:28

Guard the Deposit of Faith

Paul’s final charge to Timothy is to “guard the deposit entrusted to you” (6:21). As a minister of the Gospel, Timothy is being sent into a battle on the front lines for the very Gospel itself. He needs strong encouragement to see the importance of the task and ministry with which he has been entrusted. The need for Paul's letter was occasioned for two main reasons: geography and time. First, Paul was simply not able to be in more than one place at a time. The delegation of leadership to others was an essential task for Paul if there was to be a geographically broad gospel movement. As Paul traveled on his missionary journeys moving from region to region, city to city, town to town, many new congregations were planted. New leadership had to be developed in each region, city, and town. Coordination and support of those various congregations also became mission-critical for the gospel. The second issue was related to time. Paul was always keenly aware that his days of “fruitful ministry” were numbered. The issue of succession was critically important to Paul as he empowered Timothy to lead and then to identify and empower more leaders for the churches. In this way, we see the first examples of succession and delegation at work in the church in the personal and pastoral relationship between Timothy and Paul. For Paul, the issue is not merely the passing of a torch humanly speaking, but for him it was critically important that the content and character of the gospel be guarded in order that it may be passed on faithfully to the next generation of leaders. As each generation considers its own faith, it must also keep in mind the needs of the next generation of believers. We are given a sacred trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ, a trust to be guarded that it may be faithfully conveyed. In what ways are you delegating and passing on the deposit of faith which has been entrusted to you? The Rev. Charlie Holt The Church of St. John the Divine Houston, TX

Too Much Honey

Day 293 Jeremiah 35:1-36:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-25; Psalm 89:14-37; Proverbs 25:25-27

Too Much Honey

Solomon’s wisdom has given much insight into the downfalls of man. In today’s passage in Proverbs, he gives three important wisdom statements that apply to each and every one of us. He begins with telling of the importance of good news which is like cool water and finishes with warning us that it is not good to eat too much honey. Honey has been used for generations as a source of sweetness and medicinal uses.  Although it is all-natural, it must be used in moderation. When one consumes too much honey, a process can occur in the body which includes an inability to absorb nutrients and can even cause great discomfort. This condition will continue to worsen if the problem is not corrected. In infants, it is dangerous to eat any honey as it contains botulism spores which an infant's digestive system is too immature to handle. Solomon uses this picture to help us understand what happens when we find ourselves thinking too highly of ourselves. Although it is good to have self-confidence, if we find ourselves “eating too much honey,” we can become so absorbed in ourselves that we lose the ability to listen and absorb the wisdom and teaching of those around us. Emily Tallman St. Peter’s Church Lake Mary, FL

God of Kept Promises

Day 292 Jeremiah 33:1-34:22; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; Psalm 89:1-13; Proverbs 25:23-24

God of Kept Promises

Great nineteenth century musician Johannes Brahms, composer of A German Requiem, assembled the Biblical texts for his sacred masterpiece in a manner that set it apart from the traditional Latin texts of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. While the Requiem Mass of the Roman Catholic tradition begins with prayers for the dead ("Grant them eternal rest, O Lord"), A German Requiem focuses on the living, beginning with the text "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." The text of the second movement of the Brahms' work brings us a clear message that relates to a central theme in today’s readings. The essential words are taken from 1 Peter 1:24-25: “All flesh is like grass… but the word of the Lord remains forever.” The music is sturdy, comforting and uplifting. It reminds the living that, even in a time of grief and loss, God’s promise of hope and eternal joy is a reality – another of God's kept promises. As Jeremiah was captive in an alien and hostile land, he was sustained by the promise that offered hope of the restoration of Jerusalem and of the return of sounds of joy and laughter. It is, however, clear that the fulfillment of God’s promises comes to those who are faithful and attentive to His Word. In Psalm 89, a scholarly and enlightened man (maskil) named Ethan the Ezrahite vows to “make God’s faithfulness known through all generations.” Certainly we are called to give thanks to all who have raised us up in the knowledge of God’s promises – parents and grandparents, teachers and mentors, and all who have touched our lives in a way that instills in us the message of Scripture, so that we will know the Word of the Lord (that) remains forever. Randall B. Krum St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Lake Mary, FL

What Is Too Hard?

Day 291 Jeremiah 31:27-32:44; 1 Timothy 3:1-16; Psalm 88:1-18; Proverbs 25:20-22

What is Too Hard?

Lance B. Latham was an incredible man with many talents. One of the gifts he had was the ability to memorize. He was known to be able to recite whole books of the Bible from memory. Another area he excelled in was music, specifically piano playing. His piano playing was concert-caliber, and he could play hundreds of songs from memory. Through his musical talent, he was able to compose numerous hymns and choruses. That wasn’t all he did well, as he was also known as a great organizer and leader. Through these gifts Mr. Latham was able to launch the AWANA Youth Association; which quickly grew to thousands of clubs all around the world. Because of his leadership, many thousands of people came to know Christ. In spite of Lance Latham’s many gifts, there were some things he found very difficult to do. One thing that he could not do was change a tire on a car.  Even with all of his amazing talents, he could not accomplish this basic task. In our passage from Jeremiah, God asks a rhetorical question. “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27). The answer is a resounding NO! Our God finds nothing too hard for Him – NOTHING!  Unlike Mr. Latham, our God has no weaknesses. Nothing is too hard for Him. Isn’t it great to know that we can rest in Him no matter what? Brent Tallman St. Peter’s Church Lake Mary, FL