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“Now, there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” II Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

How could the Apostle Paul claim that he had the CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS waiting for him? Here is why…because he had “fought the good fight…finished the race…kept the faith.” (Verse 7). Sometimes life seems like a FIGHT — a fight to DO the right thing…SAY the right thing…BE the right kind of Christian. God is pleased by your efforts. He rewards YOUR efforts at righteousness with HIS crown (gift) of righteousness.

The Lord Jesus alone is YOUR righteousness, “For [God] hath made him to be sin for [you], who knew no sin; that [you] might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (II Corinthians 5:21)

Are you fighting the good fight and keeping the faith so that you can finish the race that is set before you and be judged accordingly? Are you “longing” for Christ’s appearing today? Do you desire “the crown of righteousness” that only He can place upon your head? KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH!

PRAY: “Righteous, Holy Father, Your Son Jesus admonished His disciples to ‘Have faith in God.’* Send Your Spirit to help me keep fighting this good fight of faith today. I truly desire Your gift of righteousness. Amen.”

*Mark 11:22b

Someone has designated the second Sunday in September as a day to honor grandparents… perhaps it was a greeting card company (smile). Anyway, it is a great idea, because grandparents are very special. In the eyes of their grandchildren, especially, they are:

G— generous
R— reassuring
A— amiable
N— nice
D— dependable

P — patient
A — admired
R — respectable
E — earnest
N — neat
T — thoughtful
S — sincere

When Paul wrote an encouraging letter to young Timothy, he said: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois…”  (II Timothy 1:5a, NIV)

Where do you fit into this picture today? Are you the kind of grandparent described in the acrostic above, or are you the grandchild who honors your grandparents and desires to emulate their sincere faith?  Say a prayer for your grandparents or grandchildren today.

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”                II Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV)

Catherine Marshall LeSourd wrote an entry in her journal back in the early 1970s concerning an experience with praying God’s protection over a house. There was a home on their property reserved for farmhands which had been occupied by many different families, all of whom suffered misfortunes of one kind or another. They decided to clean and paint and PRAY, asking God to cleanse all sin committed in the house, send all evil spirits away, and fill it with His presence. Consequently, future families living there experienced happiness and health.

One denomination calls a similar practice of encircling a home with praying people “house binding.” It is important that your home be a spiritual refuge, so it needs to be consecrated and dedicated to God to be used under His authority and protection.

If you rent your home or apartment or lease office space, be sure to pray over each room before you move in. You do not know what has taken place in the area before. Begin to pray and let the Holy Spirit be your guide as you redo the spiritual decor. Bring God into your entire living arena and invoke His personal protection.

PRAY: “Protecting Father, I am glad You made provision for my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Please enter and fill my home with Your precious presence. In the Name of Your Son, Jesus, amen.”

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” II Timothy 3:12 (NIV)

The Apostle Paul was a good teacher. He informed young Timothy, as he was beginning his ministry, that living a godly life in this present world was not entirely a “bed of roses.” Timothy may have had “stars in his eyes” in his youthful ardor, and Paul wanted him to be prepared for the future. He was well aware of the truths of Jesus’ counsel in Matthew 5:10-12:

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

The writer of Hebrews 11:35-38 records the persecutions of faithful men and women of old, and then says that “the world was not worthy of them.”

Despite all of the hardships endured in his flesh, Paul proclaimed, “Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.” (II Timothy 3:11b, NIV) That can be YOUR testimony today as well…even in the middle of persecution!

PRAY: “Father, thank You for deliverance from evil persecutions and jeers. I praise You that Your kingdom will prevail in my life as I trust Your strength completely. Amen.”

“Whereunto I am appointed…a teacher of the Gentiles.” II Timothy 1:11

In Acts 13:1-3, Paul and Barnabas were separated out from the early church leaders in Jerusalem and appointed by the Holy Spirit to go teach the Gentiles. They were given a divine anointing for the office after prayer and fasting.

Teaching is listed in I Corinthians 12:28 as the third spiritual office God has set in His Church for its edification and growth in grace. Teachers are held accountable to God for their acquired knowledge and for what they teach their students. (See James 3:1.)

As schools are reopening this fall, it is important for all Christians to pray diligently for teachers everywhere, not just for those in the church. Their lives are on the line daily, and they need the wisdom of God to touch young lives in a meaningful way. Pray that they teach strong moral codes and refrain from New Age falsehoods and human secularism.

Even if you are not appointed to the office of a teacher, others still are watching your actions and listening to your conversation. What are your co-workers, neighbors, friends, and children learning from you?

PRAY: “Dear Father, HELP! My responsibility toward my family and fellow man is so great. I need Your wisdom. Teach me thoroughly so that I do not lead others astray. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:9

Someone has determined that—

*People hear only half of what is said;

*They understand only half of what they hear;

*They believe only half of what they understand; and

*They remember only half of what they believe.

If that is true, you actually will absorb only one-sixteenth of the knowledge that is shared with you verbally.

Isaiah even prophesied: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” (Isaiah 6:9-10, NIV)

After Jesus told His parables to the people, He explained them to His disciples and said, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:16) They had a willingness and desire to hear and learn, which Jesus honored.

How about you? Will you “hear” the teachings of Jesus today so that your heart can be healed?

PRAY: “Open my ears and my understanding, Lord, so that I may catch all you want to teach me today. Help me to believe and remember it, too, so my life will be fruitful in Your kingdom here on earth. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”  Ecclesiastes 1:14 (NIV)

“Meaningless, a chasing after the wind,” occurs nine times in the first six chapters of Ecclesiastes. “Everything is meaningless…There is nothing new under the sun.” (1:2, 9b) One day, King Solomon decided to devote himself to studying and exploring by wisdom all that is done in the earth. (1:13)

At first glance, his conclusions seem dismal…a common destiny for all men (righteous or evil)…DEATH. However, every once in a while, he had glimpses of hope and surety of mind. “I KNOW that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live…I KNOW that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it, so men will revere him. He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  (3:12,14,11) (Emphasis supplied.)

Solomon ends his discourse with a warning about any words added to his “upright and true collected sayings,” which he likens to “firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd,” and concludes simply: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (12:10-14)

PRAY: “Heavenly Father, I also have had many questions in my mind about life’s seeming inequities, but I will follow You and trust Your plan. Amen.”

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