December 9

I Timothy 1 -- 6

The Roman Emperor Nero was persecuting Christians and committing many of them to death at the time Paul wrote this letter. Yet, Paul emphasized the importance of Christians praying for those who were in authority over them, regardless of their conduct. He wrote: I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all who are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (I Timothy 2:1-2).
As we pray for world leaders, as well as our local officials, we can be sure our prayers will have an effect upon their actions, whether the men themselves are godly or evil, for the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord (Proverbs 21:1). Prayerlessness is disobedience to God, but it is also a sin against our fellowman, for God would have all men to be saved (I Timothy 2:4).
Bible reading is as important to our spiritual lives as eating regular healthy meals is to our physical lives, for both give strength and vitality. Just as an athlete disciplines his body to develop physical endurance and alertness, so the Christian is urged to discipline himself -- to set aside a definite time each day to read the Bible, meditate on what was read, and pray. The result of God's truths being assimilated into our lives is that we receive more of Him who is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). His Word strengthens our spiritual lives, just as the food we eat becomes part of our physical bodies.
When Peter and the other apostles were commanded by the religious authorities to stop telling others that Jesus was the Messiah Savior of the world, as faithful Christians they responded: We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
Christians should faithfully witness to the truth as revealed by Christ and His Word, even when it could mean imprisonment or death. Later, Peter also emphasized the responsibility of Christians to be law-abiding citizens, writing: Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or to governors . . . sent by him for the punishment of evildoers (I Peter 2:13-14).
The early believers never reacted with hatred against those who tried to silence them. In fact, the code of Christian conduct both then and now is to speak evil of no one, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness (gentleness) unto all men (Titus 3:2). No one is ever justified in responding to corrupt government with force or by trying to avoid paying taxes. It is Satan who instigates rebellion, violence and riots.
We ourselves also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, to all sorts of lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another (Titus 3:3).
Cross Reference:
For Timothy 5:18: See Deut. 25:4.

Prayer:

Government Officials: Sen. Tom Daschle (SD) and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (TX) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WEKT-AM, Elkton, KY · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in memory of Margaret Sheridan Gibson · Country: Mauritius (1 million) 500 miles east of Madagascar · Major languages: English and Creole · Limited religious freedom · 50% Hindu; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% Muslim; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for guidance in training your children (Judges 13:12).
Memory Verse for the Week:
I Peter 1:22