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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Inside Information

When the kids were young and we were highly involved with the church, I got in to the habit of recording my favorite Sunday football games so that I could watch them during the week and not take time away from the family in-between the ministry activities over the weekend.  I was never one to be upset about finding out the outcome of the game before I watched them.  In fact, I kind of liked knowing the final score before I turned on the VCR. 

That way when I watched the recording it was like I had “Inside Information” and observed the game from that standpoint, looking for particular plays, both good or bad that helped to determine the final outcome.  Added to this was the fact that I had a die-hard 49er fan for a boss at Hewlett Packard and by the end of the day on Monday we had the game completely diagnosed, knew what improvements were needed and were highly anticipating the next game.  So even before I actually watched the game, I had the complete game book analysis for it!

I got the feeling as I began a study in I Timothy this morning that young Pastor Timothy also had and endeavored to use the “Inside Information” that his spiritual father Paul gave to him as he attempted to minister to the needs of the church in Ephesus.  From the very beginning of the letter it is evident that the great Apostle is sharing with his protégé from his personal playbook, complete with play by play analysis from his years of practical experience in the field.

I think that one of the most important pieces of “Inside Information” that Paul gave him is found at the very beginning of his pastoral letter in I Timothy 1:1.  In his salutation Paul reminds Timothy of his credentials by declaring that the letter is “From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior…” and then gives him the greatest secret or “Inside Information” needed to undergird him throughout each and every day of his life.  Paul simply reminded Timothy that “Jesus Christ (is) our confidence.” (God’s Word ©)

The King James Version gives us a more familiar translation of that verse saying “the Lord Jesus Christ which is our hope.”  But when you look up the word "hope" in the Greek you’ll notice that it actually is talking about what we are “expecting.”  So you could read it as “Jesus Christ who is our expectation.” 

That understanding speaks a clear and deep message to me.  For in each and every turn that my life takes, Jesus Christ and His Word (See John 1:1) is all the “Inside Information” that I need to have concerning what is happening at that moment.  When things happen… the answer Jesus gives me in His Word is the outcome I am to expect!

The author of the commentary that I am using in my study of I and II Timothy, Titus and Philemon wrote concerning this verse that “To a discouraged Timothy, the title “Our Hope” (or “Our Expectation”) was a real boost.”  I have to tell you that I experienced that “boost” this morning after helping my wife partake of her morning meal.  She was having a hard time taking in the food and although she finally ate a good amount, it was difficult for me to see the changes that have been taking place within her system.

With patience waning and emotional distress taking its toll, I decided that it was probably best to just say nothing in English, but only pray in the Spirit and let the One with the “Inside Information” do what was best for us in that moment of need. (See Romans 8:26)  At moments like this I NEED to have the absolute peace of mind in the FACT that Jesus is my expectation, my hope and/or my confidence!  That “Inside Information” is part of the Word that I mentioned in a recent blog post that sets us apart from the rest of the world!

Without the knowledge of that “Inside Information” I don’t know how I would have made it through these last ten years.  How do you make it through each day?  Do you rely on Jesus’ “Inside Information” or do you look to other sources to meet, or be your expectations?  Think about it…

Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Who or What is my ‘Inside Information’ source of EXPECTATIONS today?”

*”Be Faithful” a commentary on 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon by Warren W. Wiersbe, ©1981)

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