P & F – Day 18. Wednesday, April 12. 2017

DAY 13 – Keep In Step With The Spirit

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

As we walk the pathway of grace it’s easy to get knocked off. Rather than keeping in step with the Spirit we can enter into speculation about controversy and form opinions and debate about the latest issues which are actually affecting the lives of those around us. And those opinions can hurt.  Paul actually commanded Timothy to put an end to such talk. Then proceeds to say that,1Timothy 1:5-6 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk.

As we are in this time of fasting and prayer let’s think about how our words advance God’s kingdom and ask him to shine his light on areas where perhaps we’ve promoted controversy rather than God’s work.  Where we’ve departed from sincere faith, good conscience or purity of heart. I found the Hebrew word for fasting fascinating. To put one’s hand over their mouths.   Of course as has been pointed out that includes not eating but perhaps also not indulging in certain conversation and instead answer Jesus’s invitation to eat, or fellowship with him. Revelation 3:19-20 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Paul actually ends his exhortation to Timothy with a focus on his testimony and the grace, faith and love poured out on him.

1 Timothy 1:12-18 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well,

Personal prayer.  Father I confess that there are times when like Paul I’ve walked in ignorance and unbelief and have spoken things out of that mindset. I know my conversation hasn’t been 100% beneficial to those who hear and I’ve somehow lost step with your Spirit at those times. Forgive me Lord, help me to put my hand over my mouth at those times, I truly want to advance your kingdom and promote your work. I want nothing to do with conversation that isn’t beneficial to others or worse, hurts others. Help me to not trust my own heart when I start looking at others sin as greater than mine and to remember the great grace and mercy you’ve shown me and the call that you have placed on me.  Cleanse me from these things and fill me with your Spirit Lord Jesus.

Corporate prayer. Father, I think of the mercy you showed to Paul when you showed yourself to him on the road to Damascus where he was heading to do harm to your kingdom. He was even approving of the murder of Steven a great man of God. Father pour your mercy upon those in this day who stand against your kingdom especially those who are taking the path sincerely out of strongly held belief. Intervene Lord, convince Lord, raise them up as champions of your grace and a display of your immense patience.  Amen

Author: Karen Tomlinson