1 Timothy 4:16—Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
The Apostle Paul wrote his protégé Timothy to encourage him but what makes his words so powerful is his own example. He faithfully paid close attention to his life and his teaching. Next to Jesus, the case could be made that he influenced Christianity worldwide through his leadership more than any other man. His epistles continue as vital roots of the worship, theology, and pastoral life in the Catholic and Protestant traditions of the West, and the Orthodox traditions of the East.
What made Saint Paul such a strong leader was that he:
Psalm 138:8—The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me. LORD, Your love is eternal; do not abandon the work of Your hands.
I read a fascinating article in The Oregonian. The following sentences captured my attention.
Having a sense of purpose in life seems to provide a shield against illness—particularly in old age . . . Those with the highest sense of purpose were half as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those with the lowest sense of purpose during seven years of follow-up . . . In an earlier study, the same group [Rush University Medical Center in Chicago] found that the risk of dying from any cause was nearly cut in half among women and men with a greater sense of purpose.*
Mote worked in the building for years. As I got to know him I was amazed at his disdain for women—particularly his own wife. He would ridicule her at every chance and belittle her publicly. He made her seem stupid. He complained of her shortcomings yet seemed clueless to his own failings. In fact, the more I got to know him the more I could appreciate the pain his wife must have endured. Perhaps most grievous, was knowing that he was unfaithful to her and completely uncaring.
Providentially, Jerry discovered Reverationyears ago and signed himself and many African pastors to receive this weekly devotional. Over time he began to correspond with me and to invite me to come to Nigeria to minister. Because I had never met him, I resisted his requests. But in January 2007, I invited him to join us in Kenya so I could get to know him, he could see our work firsthand and then together we could seek God’s will regarding future ministry. I am so glad that God brought Jerry into my life . . .
Tim graduated from High School with no sense of purpose or ambition so he joined the Army. While at the reception station where new soldiers are in-processed, a chaplain handed out Bibles. Tim remembered the New Testament his dad kept from World War II and decided to take one he could keep as his own memento.
When we use the word providence in reference to God we mean that He faithfully foresees and effectively preserves, provides and governs over His creation most often through secondary causes. Proverbs 20:24 says, “The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” (The Message)
Ephesians 1:22,23--And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.
They built a dream-house overlooking the Columbia River. Their blueprint was excellent, their planning they thought complete. Unfortunately, they misunderstood and therefore violated the zoning regulations Skamania county officials insisted be kept. Their structure was too prominent in its profile, marring the scenic Columbia gorge in its natural beauty. Their unfinished home must be moved!
Twice in my life I have experienced occasions where I had no clue what God’s purpose for my life entailed. The first time this occurred, I had graduated from seminary firmly believing that God was calling me to the mission field. He did not. He blocked the door and called me into launching a church in another state and pastoring it—something for which I had no experience. I spent a restless year before the Lord made His purpose clear that I was to pastor.