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Sunday, December 14, 2014

WHAT WE NEED TO SEE AND HEAR


 
ARE YOU GETTING READY 
FOR THAT GLORIOUS DAY 

--
That Glorious Day 
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son 
that whosoever believes in Him 
shall not (and will not) perish 
but (can and will) 
have everlasting life. 
John 3:16


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
MAY YOU WELCOME IT INTO YOUR HEART EVERY DAY NOT JUST CHRISTMAS DAY



What a beautiful Christmas blessing from Carrie Underwood





Thursday, December 4, 2014

Is Prayer Real in my Life? (A Koinonia study with Michelle)



                                                       Prayer in the Church

                                                              I Timothy II

                                                        Michelle Connolly 


We learned in the last chapter how Paul helped Timothy as a new young pastor to fervently seek his ministry that God bestowed upon him. We were taught through this letter to Timothy how to recognize our ministry, even when it does not look the way we had expected or planned. 

In this next chapter (Chapter Two) we learn about prayer in the church and how it should be done by both men & women. This book is a very difficult one to discuss as there is much confusing language and it is often misunderstood and represented by some.
I can only hope that this defines God’s meaning of prayer in the church by men and women, as well as our behavior in public.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ[a] and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Men and Women in the Church
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

So what of prayer? Is it important and why does Paul focus on this in his letter?  Take a moment to ask yourself why prayer is important to you.

SUPPLICATION:  an act or instance of supplicating; humble prayer, entreaty (earnest request), or petition.

“Philippians 4:6Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”

It is through prayer that we can ask

·         for mercy,Psalm 4:1,
·         for leading Psalm 5:8,
·         for deliverance Psalm 6:4,
·         for salvation from persecution Psalm 7:1,
·         for our daily bread Matt 6:11.

For this reason we were created

One of our roles as women of God is to be in prayer. It is through prayer that we can speak over those who cannot speak for themselves. Having the opportunity to represent our family at home and those we care for at church. It is our way of guiding our husbands through their charge as head of household and it is a way for single women to be heard and represented as well.  And finally it is important that we remember other reasons for prayer is that God wants us to ask and remind him of the promises He has for us.

Our God is a God of balance and reminds us
we have not because we ask not
James 4:2.

Now the church at this time was in complete disarray and Timothy did not know how to get the church back on track and that is what the essence of the letter Paul wrote was, to guide Timothy and remind the church how to pray. Unfortunately, due to the Judaizers  (Jewish Christians who wanted to retain much of Jewish Legalism) it skewed the perception of what church looked like and how women were treated in the church. It has been said that Paul was trying to help the women to understand that certain conduct was appropriate in church and that yelling out to their husbands across the church was really not a good display of a Godly women. 

This of course made it possible for scripture to  be taken out of context and could be understood to mean that women are of lower class and should be subservient to men. Scripture teaches us what a “Godly women” is throughout scripture.

To be a Godly women, a women of pray and humility the Bible tells us, “Do not let your adorning be external --the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear –but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” I Peter 3:3-4.

We should be adorned inside with Jesus and the Holy Spirit….

1 Peter 3:15  says “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” and  I Thessalonians 5:17  says, “Pray without ceasing…”

ADORNING: to decorate or add beauty to, as by ornaments to make more pleasing, attractive, impressive, etc.; enhance

Paul did everything he could to help explain to Timothy how to handle things in regards to the issues of this time.  This part of scripture and many throughout the bible that discuss women’s role are often miss interpreted and miss represented. This last verse in Timothy seems to sum up the importance of our role as women of God and the need for prayer so that we can remember our path. 

15 "Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.”

Our God is a loving God of both men and women, although our role was forever changed due to sin in the garden, changing how we would live to represent the fall and suffer. We can redeem ourselves as we remember to as said in  Ephesians 5:1. 
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

The Greatest Gift

1 Corinthians 13  13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Take time this week to consider your own prayer life. Ask yourself again:

What is prayer to me? 
Is it real? Do I believe God will answer?
If it is important  how do I show this in my life?


We'd love to hear your thoughts. 
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Friday, November 21, 2014

We All Have a Ministry

WE ALL HAVE A MINISTRY
Koinonia Community Studies 
Come Join us 



1 Timothy 1 
Michelle Connolly

Please join us as we begin our trek together through Paul's letter to Timothy. May the Lord bless the teachings by these women of faith as they continue to share.

What is Your Ministry?

First Timothy & Second Timothy are a series of letters from Paul to help counsel us on Ministry. Embedded in the letters are directions and instructions on how to act appropriately in the church; in a public setting, for pastors and for men and women alike.
Don’t we all have a ministry?  Ministry comes from spiritual gifts also known as gifts of the spirit as found in; 1Corinthians 12:8, Romans 12:6-8 & Ephesians 4:7-13
 I Corinthians 12:8   For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues”.
Romans 12:6-8   we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
 Ephesians 4:7-13     
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”[(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first[c] descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
By definition Ministry means…

 "The act of The act of serving; ministrations . One that serves as a means; an instrumentality." (The quality or state of being instrumental).

Examples of Ministry are educating oneself to help others gain knowledge, prayer, worship offering, administrative, family, parenting… 

Think about what God has called you to do as your ministry? When God calls, He also enables. If He calls us to do something, He gives us the ability to do it” Chuck Smith, (I Timothy 1:12, The Message) I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry.” 

The more we understand ministry and the ministry we have been asked by God, to shepherd, we as believers will be strengthening the Church.
While we might have our specific ministry or gift of the spirit, our primary ministry is to represent God, Jesus and the Holy spirit by understanding and by knowing the word. Jesus tells us, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 (New International Version), “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” John 6:29 (New Living Translation), For God did not send his son into the world to condemn but, to save the world through Him” John 3:17 (English Standard Version)

I Timothy
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, [a] be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Paul’s ministry was to Shepherd Timothy so he could in turn shepherd those in his charge. We are connected together as we bring forth God’s plan for eternity. The challenge God puts in front of us is for us to listen with His ears, watch with His eyes and feel with His heart “The Lord God has given me, the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened my ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.” Isiah 50:4-5; (King James) “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." Exodus 4:12 (New International Version) He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:9 (New International Version)



I Timothy 1:1-2   “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, who is our hope,” (V1) Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” (V2)

How does your pastor minister to you? 

Paul wants us to pay attention to what and how we are ministered to by Pastors as well as the world around us and that includes each of us to each other.  We see in the first few verses how Paul ministers to Timothy first by saying where his authority comes from and then the grace, mercy and peace God has for him (us) as he fulfills his Ministry and as we work within ours. Paul talks about the authority he was given not to gloat or brag, but to show the seriousness of the ministry God put him in.

I Timothy 1:3-7   As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

Jesus was asked, “Teacher what is the greatest commandment of the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 this is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 22:37 (New International Version)

Keeping it Simple

Why does Paul talk about the misrepresentation of the law in this way? Because ministry can be confusing and we can misrepresent how we use the word of God just as was happening in Ephesus. Keeping it simple and sticking to the basics is what Paul is talking about. When we take our ministry seriously we will find the importance to sticking to the truth, the facts, ultimately letting God’s light shine through and not needing words at all. 

Maybe our ministry is to be a pillar in our home where we are the only one representing God, believing that He created the earth and all that is in it. Perhaps, being in an environment like this words just don’t work, law does not mean anything to those that don’t understand the ways of God. 

Let Jesus work his magic through you just being of “clean hands and pure heart”, Psalm 24:4. Ministry is not always about those we help nor what we think it should look like, as we minister and shepherd those around us we are actually being prepared and shaped for eternity as God primes us for our eternal job, God had planned in advanced for us.

I Timothy 1:8-11 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. 12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 
This portion of scripture is a reminder of how easy it is to sin even those who are in ministry and since we have established, that by faith in Christ Jesus, we have a ministry to speak his truth; we are not exempt for such lawlessness. We are to be followers and leaders, who by example demonstrate the ministry of God and who God is, so those who don’t understand the law can find ways to reconnect or connect for the first time with God and follow his ministry; Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:1 (New International Version) 
I love how Mathew Henry says it... “When careless, ignorant, and immoral persons are turned from their carnal pursuits and connexions, to believe in and obey the Lord Jesus, to live soberly, righteously, and godly, the matter speaks for itself. Let all, without delay, flee from the wrath to come, and seek refuge in Christ and his salvation.”
I Timothy 1: 14-17
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise,[a] be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Driving it all Home
Paul often restates the same information to drive home a point. The point he makes in these verses is the true essence of our ministry. To walk in true faith and share how that applies to your personal life speaks much louder than any lecture or conversation. It is the examples of our lives and the true heart which can only come from the true understanding of God and Jesus Christ, which anyone can truly understand. This is our Ministry, to walk in faith, to love God with all our being and give to those around us as God has given to us.
 I Timothy 1:18-20
18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Final note from Paul to Timothy, is being on the front lines is challenging at best, and when we take heart to remember, what we see, is not the true ending. God’s plans are greater than we know and through our simple ‘yes to ministry’ wherever, whatever and with whomever you may encounter stand firm and know God is with you. 

Remember this 

“But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,” I Timothy 6:12 (NIV)

(Next week we will include 1 Timothy 2. See you here.) 
In the meantime, be blessed this Thanksgiving.