Jottings – Labor in the Word and Doctrine

Commenting on 1 Timothy 5:17:


…the phrase ‘in the word’ suggests the ministry of preaching (see 2 Timothy 4:2), whether the gospel, e.g., Acts 15:7; Ephesians 1:13; cp. 2 Corinthians 5:19; or Scripture in general, e.g., ‘the word of truth,’ 2 Corinthians 6:7; ‘teaching’ suggests instruction from the Scriptures, the unfolding of the word of God. Faithful ministry in either respect is no light matter, it involves the spending of much time in prayerful and thoughtful meditation in the Scriptures, and thus ascertaining the mind of God revealed therein. The feet are to be shod with ‘the preparation’ of the gospel of peace. It involves the presentation of oneself to be ‘approved of God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15). Anything of a merely mechanical or routine nature, or the handling of Scripture as mere theology, is utterly incompatible with the ‘labor’ here mentioned, and renders such ministry fruitless.


W. E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine: 1 Timothy. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996).


Thanks Keith!


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Devotional – Simple Arithmetic

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  Genesis 50:20 ESV

Recently my son asked me to help him with his math homework.  He was having difficulty correctly calculating the total cost of purchasing several hypothetical items.  Looking over the problem it quickly became clear what was wrong: he forgot to include sales tax in his calculation.  The lesson was clear: failure to include all of the factors in an equation will result in a wrong answer.

When considering the evil acts his brothers perpetrated against him Joseph found purpose and meaning. How? He remembered to include God in his calculation!  “But God meant it for good.”

Failure to include all of the factors in a mathematical equation always leads to a wrong answer. Failure to include God in your search for meaning and purpose in life will always result in disappointment and grief.

As you go through your day today remember God has a plan and a purpose for good.


Editorial note: Originally published October 21, 2015 at


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Jottings – Encouragement for Those Who are Despised, Illiterate, Ignoble, Unknown, Meek and Quiet in Spirit


Commenting on Titus 2:2-10:


The comment of Chrysostom on these verses is worth quoting: he says that ‘Greeks form their estimate of doctrines, not from the doctrine itself but from actions and life.’ God often gets highest honor from the godly life and testimony of those who are despised by men in general as being illiterate and even ignoble. The meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price, even in cases where a believer is little known or heard of. If slaves in those olden days could bring glory to the name of Christ by the faithful fulfillment of their work, so surely can those whose occupation is in more favored circumstances.


W. E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine: Titus. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996).


Thanks Keith!


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Devotional – Five Simple Words

In the beginning, God created Genesis 1:1 ESV

Five very simple words– yet indescribably profound.  Five very simple words that clearly answers today’s most hotly debated questions:  Is there a God? Where did the universe come from? Where did I come from?  Five very simple words that sets the foundation for all truth.  If you can believe these five simple words you can believe all of the other words in the Bible that follow.  If you believe these five simple words it will radically change your life, for it is these five simple words that introduces you to the all powerful creator God.

Really?  Believing something so simple as these five words can radically change a person’s life?  Yes! Jesus Christ said: “if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.”

Yes! Faith as tiny as a mustard seed moves mountains… faith as tiny as a mustard seed will even move the mountain of your life.  Faith in these five simple words introduces you to the all powerful, eternal creator God.  The only God– the creator and sustainer of all things– who profoundly loves you and desires a personal relationship with you. Do you believe these five simple words? If not, believe them today and meet the God of the universe!


Editorial note: Originally published October 9, 2015 at


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Jottings – The Pastoral Necessity of Building Up and Tearing Down


Pastoral ministry is not merely a building up, but also a tearing down. As Paul would say elsewhere, it involves tearing down every speculation and lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). To fail to do this is ministerial malpractice and harmful to God’s people.


“How to identify False Teachers,” accessed on 5/4/2016 here:


Thanks Keith!


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Devotional – The Key to Winning Hide & Seek

You are a hiding place for me. Psalm 32:7a ESV

The key to winning a game of Hide & Seek is obvious: find the best hiding place!  Of course, it helps to be small and limber enough to squeeze into tight hiding places and have the patience and self-control to remain quiet until everyone else is found.

When I was a child I excelled at Hide & Seek. Like a contortionist I could shoehorn myself into the best of hiding spaces– I even had the patience and self-control to silently remain frozen in time and space until everyone else was found.

Now that I’m older Hide & Seek has become much more of a challenge!  Why? Well,  I keep getting in my own way. I’m no longer small or limber enough to squeeze into most hiding spots.  Nor do I have the patience or self-control to quietly hide for any length of time when I could be doing something much more interesting!

The key to living a victorious life is no different than the key to winning at Hide & Seek!  You need a hiding place and there is no better hiding place than the Lord.  Just, don’t let yourself get in the way!


Editorial note: Originally published October 3, 2015 at


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Jottings – Before Honor is Humility


Christ was designed for the highest honours, yet in his first step he thus abases himself. Note, Those who would rise high must begin low. Before honour is humility.


Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1620.


Thanks Keith!


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Devotional – Exalt His Name Together!

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:3 ESV

When it comes to worship we enjoy a tremendous amount of freedom.

The New Testament Christian is not limited to a particular geographic location– we are free to worship Him regardless of where we are.  The Christian is not limited by the calendar– we are free to worship Him regardless of the time or day of the week.  Nor is the believer’s worship restricted by their surroundings– we are free to worship Him indoors or outdoors, in a city or a desert, in a cathedral or a shack, alone or with thousands of believers.

While we can (should!) worship anytime and anywhere there is something special when God’s people join together in corporate worship.  David invited all who were willing to come and magnify the Lord with him.  He desired to join in unison with others to exalt God’s name.

Today is the first day of the week– it is our opportunity to gather together and worship Him corporately.  Yes! we can worship Him anytime, anywhere– but we should never abuse this wonderful truth by using it as an excuse not to meet with other believers.

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Psalm 34:1-3 ESV


Editorial note: Originally published September 27, 2015 at


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Jottings – Know Thyself vs. Know Thy God


Know thyself, O man, and that will make thee miserable; know thy God, O Christian, and that will make thee rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.


C. H. Spurgeon, “Dilemma and Deliverance,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 6. Originally preached on December 4, 1859. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1860), 9.


Thanks Keith!


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Devotional – The Liberator!

The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Luke 7:34 ESV

The enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ hurled at Him a seemingly endless barrage of insults and accusations. They accused him of overindulging in food and drink. “He’s a glutton and drunkard!” they shouted. They also accused Him of befriending societal outcasts– tax collectors and sinners!

They said these things to discredit Him. To shut Him up. To drive the common people of the day away from Him and His teachings.

Yet, what they failed to realize is their accusations were, in reality, ringing endorsements of Christ’s holy mission as the greatest of all liberators! A liberator? Yes! A liberator from the stifling, religious legalism of the Pharisees and the enslaving power of sin. Jesus Christ came to set people free so they might “have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10.

Are you enslaved by legalism and sin? Then allow the Lord Jesus Christ to set you free for “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36.

Jesus friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus friend of sinners the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to you but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours*


*Jesus Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns. Accessed 9/21/2015.

Editorial note: Originally published September 21, 2015 at


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