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Thursday, January 7, 2016
"An Approved Worker Of Christ"
Message summary: May all we who love the Lord do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
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"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).
I want among the victor throng
Someday to have my name confessed;
And hear my Master say at last,
"You stand approved, you did your best!"
Among the very first people we met when we moved to Lancaster County, from New England in early 2001, was our neighbor Earl Martin who greeted us as we moved into our farmhouse we rented for a year. Not only did he introduce himself, but he prayed over me with a prayer he had written. (Brooksyne was out at the time getting groceries to fill our empty fridge.) He also invited us to his church just up the road which became our home church and where we still attend to this day.
Earl passed away a few years later. He was a godly man who vocationally was a farmer and pastor, which we think is a great combination. He had an interesting spiritual discipline of choosing an annual verse for his personal enrichment.
We can still recall him sharing it with our congregation the first week of January 2003 prior to his death the following summer. His theme verse he'd chosen was, "The joy of the Lord is my strength" from Nehemiah 8:10. As a matter of fact this verse was a backdrop for the theme of his funeral which, in addition to the inspiration of the written Holy Word, added special personal meaning.
Perhaps Earl's example of selecting a theme verse for the year might be something you'd like to consider.
I have chosen the daily text as my theme verse for 2016, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
I find it helpful to slightly modify the pronouns in this verse to make it very personal: "I will seek to do my best to present myself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
This verse is from a portion of Scripture written by Paul known as the Pastoral Epistles (along with 1 Timothy and Titus). Some may see this as an excuse for not personally applying this verse by reasoning, "I am not a pastor so I don't need to apply it." However I believe we are to seek after God's highest standard for our lives. These words apply to every Christian worker, godly parent, Bible teacher, youth worker, Bible student and all who teach and seek to live by the tenets of Scripture.
The HCSB renders this passage, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.
Pastor Steven Cole writes about the approval every workman should strive for: "A young man once studied violin under a world-renowned master. When his first big recital came, the crowd cheered after each number, but the young performer seemed dissatisfied. Even after the final number, despite the applause, the musician seemed unhappy. As he took his bows, he was watching an elderly man in the balcony. Finally, the elderly man smiled and nodded in approval. Immediately, the young man beamed with joy. He was not looking for the approval of the crowd. He was waiting for the approval of his master. Christians should be living for God’s approval. We will be approved unto Him as we use the Bible to grow in godliness. Are you growing as a craftsman who uses God’s Word of truth accurately and skillfully to grow in godliness? The misuse of the Bible will lead you to ruin. The proper use will lead you to godliness."
What a powerful commission this verse is for the man of God! The King James Version, which many of us are more familiar with, particularly in regard to familiar passages, uses "study" in this verse. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Apparently the translators are using the context to assist in the meaning of the word and certainly it includes study. However, we have here the Greek word spoudazo which has the sense of being diligent. Are you diligent in all your work for Christ and all that relates to His Kingdom?
Whether you choose to make this or any other passage an annual theme verse may we, who love the Lord ,do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved; a worker who does not need to be ashamed but correctly handles the word of truth.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, there is no higher calling in our life's journey than to be ambassadors for Christ. When we lovingly cradle infants in the church nursery, or teach youngsters Bible stories and spiritual truths, whether we provide spiritual guidance to teens during their often tumultuous years, when we lead support groups, or whatever setting in which we seek to spread the gospel message, we long for Your approval and blessing. We're tempted to listen to popular teachers, authors, and spiritual fads of the day and align our teaching and standards in accordance to their influence, but help us to ever be wary of those who stray from the written Word. Above all and in all, we desire Your approval that comes from our own in depth study of the Scriptures, and that which the Holy Spirit speaks to us about rightly dividing the Word of Truth in balance of the entirety of Scripture. We pray especially for pastors of our church, for professors of Christian colleges, seminaries and universities, and for principals and teachers of our Christian schools, that they would resist the temptation to be popular, politically correct, or academically acceptable but rather embrace the desire to be approved by You, our Master Teacher. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Challenge for each reader: What about you? Do you have a life's verse or a verse you often quote? If not, perhaps you'd like to consider one that affirms or directs your life's message! Put it to memory if you haven't already done so. Post it where you'll see it often, review it regularly and let it be your daily guide. Thank God for the power of Scripture!
Today's lead photo of the sunset over the lake was taken last November when we visited Tennessee. I also made a larger version which I now have as my computer desktop background (Click here).
An offer to each reader: I enjoy working with these photos along with a Scripture verse and have placed many up on the site through the years.
I would be pleased to make you a customized Scripture photo suitable for use as a desktop!
If you're interested, send a .jpg photo you took or have permission to use by the photographer. (Send in highest resolution possible) along with the Scripture verse you have chosen as your theme to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grant me permission if should choose to use this photo and Scripture selection on dailyencouragement giving proper credit, of course.
How quickly I am able to get this back to you depends on how many requests I receive.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
For further study: Here's a resource I find very helpful in my study on today's passage as well as in general while preparing these messages.
"May The Mind of Christ My Savior" Video Jake Armerding A very solid message clearly sung with guitar accompaniment.
"I Am Resolved" Video Dailey & Vincent
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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