1 Timothy 6:1-2a

1 Timothy 6_1-2a.jpg

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. – 1 Timothy 6:1-2a

Dear Jesus,

Too often we view our employment as a contractual agreement between us and others without any spiritual ramifications.  That’s why we get discontent and snarky about our jobs.  Our jobs are a place you sent us to shine for you.  If you put someone over me, give me the humility and faith to follow your word here and honor their wishes in everything.  If I must disagree, help me to check my motives to see if I’m thinking out of selfishness.  Help me to plan my appeal so I speak clearly and with respect.  And give me the faith to follow my boss’s decision with joy no matter how he or she leads me. All this, because I know you are at my job with me as much as you are at home or church with me too. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God works as mightily through us at work as he does in the choir loft, so sing well in that choir too.

1 Timothy 5:24-25

1 Timothy 5_24-25.jpg

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever. – 1 Timothy 5:24-25

Dear Jesus,

I cannot see everything good and bad as it’s happening.  So, slow me down from making quick judgements about matters and people. It’s comforting to know that although I am often surprised by what “goes down” without my knowledge, you’re never surprised.  You always saw the thought, word, and action from afar.  I want to be busy making things happen but not so quickly that I make huge mistakes in whom I trust as a partner in ministry.  Give me the faith to readily forgive and grant grace to those who disappoint me, without interrupting their opportunity to learn in the process.  Because of these words, “good deeds, … that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.” I have hope that I will soon see some good deeds that I cannot see today when I am discouraged by other’s failures.  If it’s all the same to you, show me the good deeds sooner so I can rejoice with you and the person who did them before I get to heaven.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

A good deed is like a hidden seed.  It will germinate and grow a blessing long after you are gone.

1 Timothy 5:23

1 Timothy 5_23.jpg

Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. – 1 Timothy 5:23

Dear Jesus,

You have always shown concern our bodies that house your Spirit.  You fed Elijah in the cave and by the brook.  You fed your disciples by the Sea of Galilee.  You fed thousands miraculously too.  It encourages me to see you tell Timothy to settle his stomach with wine.  You want us to be kind and gentle to our bodies.  Help me take this to heart by treating my body with the love and respect that you do.  Give me wholesome remedies for stress and fatigue.  Make me strong to do your will and patient in affliction.  I want to serve you whether with a healthy body or in firm.  Give me wisdom to be a healthy person, dear Jesus.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Show your thankfulness to God by how you treat the vessel he has loaned you. 

1 Timothy 5:22

1 Timothy 5_22.jpg

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. – 1 Timothy 5:22

Dear Jesus,

Oh, how many mistakes are made when we do not practice discernment before giving leadership in the church to people!  God give me a patient and loving eye that sizes up the potential leaders for my congregation.  Help me to be cautiously optimistic as I think through who is best for what job.  Keep me from just looking for warm bodies and people to whom I can delegate things I don’t like doing.  If someone has disqualified themselves as a leader, make me brave enough to remove them and loving enough to support them as they rehabilitate.  Help me to remember to grant forgiveness and to keep grace separate from temporal consequences.  And help church leaders everywhere to protect their flocks from the wolves that creep in and devour the saints with scandalous living, bad teaching and selfish agendas.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Responsible leadership in the church is the reward for sincere faith working itself out in love. 

Proverbs 15:4

Proverbs 15_4.jpg

The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
    but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. - Proverbs 15:4

Lord, 

I want that soothing tongue that puts salve on wounded souls, that puts wind in the sails of the discouraged, that builds up the value of those feeling worthless, that gently reproves and easily compliments.  Give me the tongue that refuses to cut and cajole, that will not recklessly tease or put down someone just for fun.  Give me the tongue that brings life and not death, joy not sadness and peace not conflict; a tongue that refuses to complain and gossip or let loose a rant.  Give me the tone of song bird that makes others smile when they hear my voice.  Touch my tongue and make it pure and sublime.  Make me like you, for you bring life with all your words.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love, in any language, sounds beautiful to tender hearts.  

1 Timothy 5:17-18

1 Timothy 5_17-18.jpg

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages." - 1 Timothy 5:17-18

Dear Jesus, 

Help your church to acknowledge the sacrifice of love that her leaders make so she can be well fed with your word of grace.  Help people to see that they experience a church environment that enhances their faith and spiritual growth because their leaders work hard to make it happen.  So many hours are put in behind the scenes so your children can hear your voice.  Give saints in your congregations the spiritual maturity to see the needs of their leaders and to take care of them, especially those who give up secular work to preach, teach, and shepherd the flock.  And when the church forgets to support them, step in with your Holy Spirit and remind your shepherds that you have their back and will meet their needs in due time. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

When we honor our pastors and elders we honor Christ. 

1 Timothy 5:9-15

1 Timothy 5_9-15.jpg

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds,such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan. 1 Timothy 5:9-15

Dear Jesus,

I see how you wanted the early church to help widows.  You wanted them to make sure they helped widows live with integrity, faith and love and not selfishness and manipulation.  You wanted them to be helped physically and spiritually at the same time.  Help me take the theme of what you are saying and apply it to how I show generosity to the less fortunate.  Help me meet the needs of their hearts as much as their bodies.  Help me point them to you for all their needs to be met and to confront their weakness just as honestly as I confront those of the more fortunate.  Help me also to seek help in the proper way when I find myself in need. You already promise to be my God and Savior.  That's enough to make me feel privileged in all circumstances.  

Pastor Don Patterson 

People need us to love their whole person enough to show discernment when we help them. 

1 Timothy 5:3-8

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:3-8

Dear Jesus, 

Our nation with it's work ethic, economic prowess, government programs and resort style living for the elderly, makes all of us think that parents and grandparents have to take care of themselves.  Then comes your word that lays care for the elderly at the feet of the family and the church.  Help us to fully embrace the rich spiritual experience of caring for our family until you call them home.  Make us people who won't leave them lonely and afraid.  Help us to give them friendship, provisions, rides and encouragement.  Make your churches everywhere places that honor the experience and tenderness forged by years of living in our elderly members.  And give the elderly courage to tell of their needs and to share their perspectives with the next generation. Thank you Lord for the privilege to live with people of all ages in our short sojourn on earth. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Having a friend who is long in the tooth will slow you down long enough to enjoy the deeper meanings of life. 

1 Timothy 5:1-3

1 Timothy 5_1-3.jpg

Do not rebuke an older man harshly but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers and younger women as sisters in absolute purity. 
1 Timothy 5:1-3


Dear Jesus,

I love how you lead me to treat people. You have given me many older men as friends and mentors. They have looked into my soul and told me things about myself that I could not have understood without them. Help me to give them the love and respect I gave my own father. Cause me to be loyal to men more my age like a brother. Give me  tenderness toward older women I would give my own mother. Make me pure around women my own age and those younger than me so that they feel safe and encouraged. I want all people to feel the family connection your Spirit creates. When I'm not getting it right get my attention and bump me back in line. I want to treat people like family just as you intend. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love treats family like friends and friends like family. 

1 Timothy 4:15-16

1 Timothy 4_15-16.jpg

 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. – 1 Timothy 4:15-16

Dear Jesus,

It’s easy to make my Christian faith a hobby in my life while I major in making money, recreation and exercise.  But you urge me to persevere in my faith.  You even tell me to watch my life closely to make sure it reflects my faith in you.  You tell me to be careful about what I believe and teach others to believe too.  Oh, Jesus make me a serious albeit not somber Christian.  Make me someone who values your word more than anything else in the world.  Make me diligent in faith and deliberate in living.  All, so my life has the impact you want and not just the toys I want. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

The kind of faith the Holy Spirit inspires is ardent, intentional and thought consuming.

1 Timothy 4:11-14

Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. – 1 Timothy 4:11-14

Dear Jesus,

It’s clear that you want young and old Christians to be busy telling your word to others.  I am deeply thankful that you have placed me among a group of Christians that gets it.  I have so many partners in the work.  I hear what you are encouraging me here.  My life is a limited resource on your earth to get your salvation to more souls.  You want me busy being your mouth to speak love and truth into human hearts.  Help me teach your word more effectively, more often and more joyfully.  Also, arouse my Christian friends at my church to scheme how they can engage in the movement of grace instead of finding ways to avoid helping in the greatest restoration project on earth.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Like a dad who gives his child money to buy a gift for his mother, God gives us gifts and talents so we are able to experience the joy of giving back to him.

1 Timothy 4:6-10

1 Timothy 4_6-10.jpg

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. – 1 Timothy 4:6-10

Dear Jesus,

My culture is addicted to self improvement. Diets, exercise programs, and self-help books are everywhere. I like the blessing you have brought to all of us through these things because they teach us to take better care of ourselves. But two things they do not do: 1) they do not make us live forever through grace and 2) they do not supply the proper motivation. Very healthy people can maintain that health for selfish vain reasons. People who exercise can judge those who don't. Give me the godliness of grace that leads me to take better care of myself while resting in the security of my acceptance from you. Help me not to exploit any success I have at better health by using it for a reason to be prideful in myself. Help me exercise love even more than my muscles.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Godliness produced by grace makes us do the right things for the right reasons at the right pace.

1 Timothy 4:1-4

1 Timothy 4_1-4.jpg

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. – 1 Timothy 4:1-4

Dear Jesus,

I know of churches that regulate what people eat and forbid their pastors to marry, although I am not in those churches.  I also know that some weird and small cults have done the same for their adherents for many centuries.  I’m in a church that gets grace and understands that true spirituality is found in your salvation and love and not in our self-imposed religious rules about diet and celibacy.  But I know that since we are human we too, at times, will reduce the measure of our faith to the level of conformity we see in our fellows to our habits and ways of doing things.  I know the demonic world is after us to make us think it’s all about what we do and don’t do instead of about who we believe in and why.  Protect us all dear Jesus, from the dubious trail of self-made worship that looks nothing like the pure mature freedom to love and trust that comes from understanding your great gracious rescue.

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

The minute we stop looking at ourselves as a burning stick snatched from the fire (Zechariah 3:2) we will fall into a smug self-made righteousness.

1 Timothy 3:16

1 Timothy 3_16.jpg

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:

He appeared in the flesh,
    was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,

    was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,

    was taken up in glory. – 1 Timothy 3:16

Dear Jesus,

Jesus, you are the source of all true spirituality.  If we didn’t know you we would be destined to be a profound pile of trash when it comes to the inner person.  We’d be boasting of spiritual insight and moral maturity that ultimately leads to death’s dead end without hope or true and lasting peace.  But you have appeared and saved us.  Your life washes ours.  Your message changes our everything.  We are redeemed, loved, forgiven and most of all saved for eternal life.  Now out of thanksgiving I want to love people and grow spiritually.  I just want life the way you intend it for your glory and my good.  So, today make me godly in grace that your godliness creates.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

All true spirituality springs from a vehement and clear presentation of the meaning of Jesus Christ. 

1 Timothy 3:11-13

1 Timothy 3_11-13 (1).jpg

In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus. – 1 Timothy 3:11-13

Dear Jesus,

Give us leading couples in our churches who grow daily in your word, who are not strangers to Bible classes and race to help the infirm or the troubled souls.  Give us leading couples whose homes are oasis of love and faith, who share with others and change lives through generosity and intervention. Give us adults who act like adults and authentic communities that give lost people a place to be found.  Make us like you Jesus, in words and actions.  Put a gaurd over the mouths of leading women and men in our churches so they do not whisper words that divide people.  Make them good stewards of what they write in email, texts and other social media.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

One person can make or break a church.  One should never underestimate the power of his or her words to either repair or destroy the flock of God.

1 Timothy 3:8-10

1 Timothy 3_8-10.jpg

In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. – 1 Timothy 3:8-10

Dear Lord,

Help churches everywhere not to just put warm bodies into leadership but instead to vet their leaders and train them in the deeper truths of the faith.  Cause lay leaders to be sincere and ardent in their guardianship of your bride, the church.  Give them a supportive attitude that blesses their pastors with strong supporting friends as they carry their shepherding load.  And help your people to respect and honor such leaders who volunteer their time for the good of the flock.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

A good solid deacon can change the course of history at a church.

1 Timothy 3:1-7

1 Timothy 3_1-7.jpg

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. – 1 Timothy 3:1-7

Dear Jesus,

You love your church so much that you spell out the godly character traits you want all pastor’s to have.  None of us are perfect or sinless.  But you still demand maturity and virtue.  Give us such leaders, dear Lord.  And forgive the moments when your servants lapse into sin or act carelessly in front of your people.  Put a special hedge of protection around every pastor on the planet so they do not fall into temptation too large for them to resist.  Give them good health and bold souls robust to teach and encourage their flocks in your word.  Enlarge their hearts to love the lost.  Give them a passion for serving banquet level sermons on which saints can dine.  Make their children models of fidelity and spiritual maturity and bless their marriages with closeness and mutual love and support. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

The greatest need in the church is leadership.  We already have the gospel.

1 Timothy 2:9-15

1 Timothy 2_9-15.jpg

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. – 1 Timothy 2:9-15

Dear Jesus,

You had a plan from eternity on how the two sexes would reflect faith and love toward you and each other.  But we have fallen into sin on both sides and everything we organize struggles to be what you wanted.  Women are objectified in the eyes of others and themselves.  They are tempted to push men aside and run things themselves.  Men are tempted to live for lust of the eyes and to abdicate their responsibilities to women.  Everyone is stressed and tends to trust themselves more than you and the word about your plan.  Oh Jesus, visit us with your Holy Spirit and make us fulfill our divinely appointed roles as men and woman instead of exploiting our sex to fulfill our selfish ambitions.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God made men and women to be amazing complements to one another, not competing forces.

1 Timothy 2:8

1 Timothy 2_8.jpg

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. – 1 Timothy 2:8

Dear Jesus,

So often when things don’t go my way, I fall headlong into anger and resort to scheming in order to cope.  But you call me to prayer at such times.  You tell me to get rid of stress and frustration by dumping my concerns at your feet in prayer.  So, here they are.  In work and family I have several recurring anxiety themes and I need to let go.  I look forward to see how you are going to work things out in ways I could never have imagined.  You have promised to run our lives.  So, I am banking on it.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God doesn’t need us to worry about things that he already has planned from here to eternity.

1 Timothy 2:1-7

1 Timothy 2_1-7.jpg

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. – 1 Timothy 2:1-7

Dear Jesus,

I love this passage because it tells me how to reframe all the political news I hear.  Nothing in politics is important enough to take the front seat in my heart, because it doesn’t take the front seat in yours either.  My biggest concern is that more people be saved not that earthly kingdoms triumph or parties survive. Since your gospel has gripped my heart by the throat I care mostly about one thing, the salvation of the planet.  So, dear Jesus, guide all governments and especially mine to be protective of religious freedom so your people are free to proclaim your love and truth without interruption in large and small places.  Help your word to reach the rulers of spiritually dark countries so they throw open the doors for missionaries.  Cause your gospel to sprout in new and unpredictable places. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

The two greatest activities on the earth are prayer and preaching and they are interdependent on one another.