October 23

Today's Bible Reading
        II Kings 4
        I Timothy 1
        Daniel 8
        Psalms 116
            “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith...” (I Timothy 1:5)
            As Paul mentors young Timothy, he makes it clear in I Timothy 1:1 that he is an apostle by the commandment of God. Now he tells us that the purpose of that commandment is to produce in him love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.  He is not only emphasizing that love is a high priority but he tells us the kind of love that it must be. He is speaking of a disciplined and Godly life.
            These characteristics do not happen accidentally or coincidentally in a person's life. You do not instantly have a pure heart, and a clear conscience. You are not gifted in the early stages of your Christian walk. We do not have a guileless faith. These are developed through a disciplined lifestyle.
            Many of those who heard Winston Churchill speak would say that he was a natural at public speaking, but the truth is that Churchill had a distracting lisp which made him the butt of many jokes.  This resulted in his inability to be spontaneous in public speaking, yet, he became famous for that very thing. Actually, Churchill wrote everything out and practiced it.  He even choreographed the pauses and pretended fumbling for the right phrase. The margins of his manuscripts carried notes, anticipating cheers and ovations. This done, he practiced endlessly in front of mirrors, practicing every facial expression and movement. A natural?... Perhaps, but most likely a naturally disciplined, hard-working man. So it goes in whatever the area of life.
            As children of grace, our spiritual discipline is everything - everything! I repeat ... Disciplineiseverything! You do not have these characteristics in your life without discipline.
            The main purpose of the book of I Timothy was for Paul to teach Timothy how to develop these characteristics in his life.  He wants him to know that this does not happen without a disciplined lifestyle.  Paul exhorts Timothy to “exercise yourself toward Godliness” (I Timothy 4:7).
            In a word, he is calling for some spiritual sweat!  I have a T-shirt that says, in large letters, “Holy Sweat.” This is what Paul is talking about. Just as the athletes discarded their weight and participated in the games gumnos, which means ''naked'' , and became free from everything that could possibly burden them, so we must get rid of every encumbrance, every association, and avoid any tendency which impedes Godliness. We will never get anywhere spiritually without a conscious divestment of the things that are holding us back.
            When one seriously trains, he willingly undergoes hours of discipline, and even pain, in order to win the prize, running 10,000 miles to run 100 yards at one's best.AsuccessfulChristianlifeisasweatyaffair.No manliness, no maturity; no discipline, no discipleship; no sweat, no sainthood.
            The sad thing is, that in today's world and church, disciplined Christian lives are the exception, not the rule. You can be an exception to the rule; you can demonstrate a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith, but it will require discipline. Remember - no pain, no gain!
        It is time for every believer to get in the game. Are you just a fan or a faithful and disciplined follower of Jesus? 
            One of the greatest revolutions in Christian missions has been the commitment of short-term, volunteer missionaries who serve the Lord cross-culturally for period s of a few weeks to two years. They most come from western nations, but now almost every nation has had at least one believer involved in short-term missions. Some large groups facilitating this are Youth With A Mission, Operation Mobilization, and Teen Missions. They work and serve in as many capacities as there are needs. Our ministry, RHEMA, involves several hundred people each year in these short-term mission projects. Pray for God's anointing on this.