1 Timothy 1.1-2 – Grace, mercy, and peace

In 1 Timothy, Paul is writing to Timothy as a new church leader. Even if the letter is specifically addressed to Timothy, there is still much attention needed by those under his charge.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.


Paul sets out his credentials and his authority (an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Saviour…). Even if the letter is specifically addressed to Timothy, there is still much attention needed by those under his charge.

Timothy and the church are addressed with grace, with mercy, and with peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord

Churches need grace, mercy, and peace, for sure. Individuals need grace, mercy, and peace too. I read something interesting that mercy is added to Paul’s address only to Timothy and in Titus, the other letter written to a church-leading Pastor. Does that mean only church leaders need mercy? Absolutely not, we all do.

For you and me now, today, the church body we are a part of, both global and local expression is a place to find grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a place where we take our failures, shortcomings, anxieties, doubts, and questions and find them answered in Christ Jesus our Lord through His people. 

The church is also a place that needs your grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. It is full of broken people who need you to come alongside them and show them in the grace, mercy, and peace He offers. 

Why not take a moment and pray and see to whom you can minister today?

3 John 1.13-15 – Truth in Talking

Today 3 John finishes remarkably similarly to 2 John.

13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink.

14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

Now here’s 2 John,

12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

Both speak of John having much to write, both tell us of his desire to not write with pen and ink

3 John 1.14 is the perfect ending to this letter about living out the truth of Jesus personally, because personal truth always wants to connect with other personal truth.

So, simply, when we profess and possess the truth of Jesus, this will ALWAYS result in the desire to spend time with others who have professed and possessed.

Preaching through Hebrews we phrased it like this – 

There is no true heart change and decision for Jesus that results in the desire to NOT be with other believers.
Simply, followers desire fellowship.

John then finishes with a familiar blessing in Scripture, for which we have the resources in Jesus. He writes, peace be to you, and again, the truth of Jesus lived out in our lives brings true and lasting peace (John 16.33, John 14.27, Galatians 5.22). 

3 John shows us how the truth of Jesus looks in our individual lives, and this ending shows us how we are to interact and talk to others; face to face, with peace, and as friends.

Point to ponder – Do my interactions look like this?

Prayer – Father, we thank you that despite this letter being short it speaks to us in powerful ways. Help us to live the truth of Jesus both collectively as believers, and individually too. Amen. 

It Is Well With My Soul

Scripture references – Psalm 42.1–11, 103.1–22, Romans 8.31–39

Horatio Spafford was born in New York in 1828, and God blessed him and his wife with five children and considerable wealth. Horatio was a lawyer and owned property. 

In 1870 his then four year old son died of scarlet fever, and a year later much of his property was lost to fire. Two years after that in 1873, tragedy struck again. Whilst crossing the Atlantic on their way to England, their ship was struck by another vessel and sank. Horatio was delayed due to business, but his wife and four daughters were aboard. His wife, Anna, survived and cabled her husband which included the phrase “saved alone”. All four of his daughters died. 

Horatio dropped everything and set off for England to be with his wife, and whilst on the journey the captain told him they were passing over the very spot where that fateful ship had sunk. Horatio returned to his cabin and wrote ‘It Is Well With My Soul’. 

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
Though Satan should buffet,
though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

His life had further ups and downs, and Horatio died in 1888 of malaria. He entered into the rest of his Saviour and was laid to rest in Jerusalem, where he had been caring for the sick, poor, and orphaned with Anna.

If Horatio Spafford can experience such peace and comfort in a time of such horrible, gut-wrenching loss, then so can we. It was well with his soul, as he wrote, because he knew that in his own words,

“We passed over the spot where she went down, in mid-ocean, the waters three miles deep.

But I do not think out dear ones there…

they were safe…dear lambs…”

This wonderful hymn encourages us to praise our gracious God no matter what the circumstances, for, as Paul writes to the Romans, I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Revelation 17.15-18 – Be careful what you wish for – pt. 2

Today the angel continues and completes his explanation of what John is seeing with the beast, the horns, the prostitute, and the water. Lots of symbols and lots of imagery…

15 And the angel said to me,

“The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, 17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”

First he explains that the waters…are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. The Antichrist will come and join them all in a one-world religion, he demands and accepts worship and will seek to unify people under one global, all-encompassing world religion.

Then, in a turn of events, the ten horns…and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire…So, here is a tyrant using religion to get what he wants, then throwing it away when he has no need for it. The worldly, worldwide, weak willed false religious system that the Antichrist has unified and glorified is then tossed aside when it is no longer required for his purposes, and, in 2 Thessalonians 2.3-4 we read

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

So, from joining everyone together, this man of lawlessness now exalts himself against everything that could be considered religious or of faith and actually takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Just think on that for a moment…the Antichrist will stop all worship of anything else in the whole entire world and have it all directed to himself as he sits on God’s throne in the temple.

Think about this; for this to happen, people have got to be SO enthralled with who he is, what he is doing, we read of no violent takeover, which means that people are on board with what he is doing. How great a deception is this!

For us, then, do we want to push towards a global, one-world religion?

Do we want to strive to overlook basic, fundamental, contradictory differences in the name of peace, when, in actual fact, what we are hastening is not peace, but this?

Love people, yes.

Spend time outside of your Christian bubble, yes.

Respect other people’s freedom to choose a religion (a forced freedom is not freedom, is it), yes.

But, paper over the cavernous differences in how we see the world, no.

Pretend that my truth is my truth and your truth is your truth but we all have truth, no.

Consider the possibility that there may be another way to eternal life other than Jesus, no.

As the world becomes more and more interconnected, modernised, and global, we need to hold to the timeless truths of the Word of God, including the clear and cogent warnings about what is around the corner, what it will look like, and ultimately, how it will end.

Revelation 6.3-4 – War and Peace

Last time we began this section on the opening of the seven seals on the scroll taken by Jesus from the right hand of God. Each brings something important, and yesterday’s opening of the first seal brought a rider on a white horse (not Jesus) who came to conquer and to establish himself as a leader through the hunting of others, basically, not a good leader, kind of the opposite of Christ, someone with an antiChrist spirit, we could say.

Today, the second seal is opened and another living creature calls forth another horsemen. This time, he rides a red horse. The first horse brought a demonic dictator, the second brings war.

3 When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say,


4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Interestingly, we read Its rider was permitted…so, ultimately, God is still in control here. He never takes His hands off the wheel, there is no ‘wind up the clock and watch it wind down’ in the mind of our God; He is active, He is present, we are theists, not deists. So, God has permitted this rider of the red horse to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another

So for war to be the result, what do we need? We don’t need much, in fact, we need only to remove peace.

This is really clear; remove peace and people will start to fight, make war, slay each other.

Peace is God’s gift to us (John 14.27), given to us by Jesus Himself, and when this gift is taken away from us, rejected by us, forgotten about by us, the result is conflict, struggle, war, and turmoil.

Peace, as a concept in the Bible, means that everything is present, everything is working as it should, it describes a complex situation where everything is working together in harmony. We read of peace in Job 5.24 in relation to all his tents and sheep being present.

A lack of peace, then, brings war. Peace is given to us as a gift from Jesus, we need Jesus to experience true peace.

No Jesus, no peace.

No peace, no Jesus.

Today, if we seek Him first, if we seek first the things of God, if we pray ceaselessly throughout the day, if we seek the peace that comes only through the Prince of Peace, then our lives will start to be less hectic, less tumultuous, less conflicting, more harmonious with Him, His will, His ways, and His people. If we seek first the Kingdom of God, He will take care of the rest.