2 Timothy 2:1-13 – Remember Jesus

Read 2 Timothy 2:1-13

“Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” That isn’t necessarily the message we want to hear. Suffering is never an option we readily choose for ourselves. Yet, in our suffering we can grow. From our mistakes, we can learn. In our weakness, we can see the power of Christ at work.

Paul cautions us not to forget Jesus’ resurrection. “Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach.” In other words, remember that Jesus was a man and Jesus is God. That can be a hard concept for us to wrap our heads around, but it is the basis for our faith.

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2 Timothy 1:9-18 – Stand Firm on Your Faith

Read 2 Timothy 1:9-18

Paul continues to give profound wisdom to Timothy and us as well. Despite being uncomfortable and in prison, Paul keeps his focus on the prize. He is also clear on the mission God called him to. “And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.” I’d say Paul did a great job with that assignment. I strive to do well with what God has planned for me.

Paul words of encouragement can really speak to us today amidst our own chaos. “Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.” No matter what happens in the world around us, nobody can take away the Biblical truths and promises that have shaped our lives.

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2 Timothy 1:1-8 – Fan the Flame

Read 2 Timothy 1:1-8

This is the last letter we have from Paul. We should be like Timothy and treasure every word, reading it over and over again for the boldness we need to live out our faith and help others do the same. Timothy was like a son to Paul. You can see that devotion in Paul’s writing. “I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.” At the time of this writing, Paul was imprisoned and facing death. He wanted to warn Timothy and the other believers of the opposition they would face in the last days from self-centered false teachers.

As we walk through 2 Timothy, it is my hope and prayer that we all recommit ourselves to stand courageously for truth, believing God’s word, and letting the Holy Spirit guide us through each day. We are living in an age of deception and lies. I suppose we could look at any time in history and say the same thing. It is because evil is in the world and can take advantage of even the strongest people if left unaware.

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1 Timothy 6:11-21

Read 1 Timothy 6:11-21

Today we have Paul’s final instructions to Timothy, but let’s read them as if they are to us today.  What do we see?  We see action.  As followers of Christ we need to:

  • RUN from evil
  • FIGHT the good fight
  • HOLD tightly to eternity
  • OBEY Jesus’ commands

We will encounter evil, you can count on that.  We will need to be wise to recognize it for what it is and then flee from it.  If we try to “fix” it, we run the chance of being caught in its snare.  When we are questioned about our faith, maybe even put to the test and ridiculed, what are we to do? Paul tells us to fight the good fight and stand up for our faith.  We belong to a God who loves us beyond all comprehension, how can we turn from that? Where else can we find total acceptance and love, forgiveness and reconciliation.

We know the answer to “Do you know where you’re going when you die?” It is our destiny to spend eternity with our Lord.  There is a great hope that wells within us at the thought of seeing Jesus face to face.  Hold on to that image when faced with a struggle or persecution.  Jesus has gone before us, suffered and died so that we might have life in him.  He is the only one we can trust for he is truth.  The only way to the father is through him.  We should yearn to obey him at all costs.

Well, you might be thinking, this all sounds good, but is it really that easy? How do I succeed in this life?  We are not called to be rich, but to share the riches we do have with others.  This is true success.  Look at the need around you.  If at first you cannot see it, look harder.  There are needs so great, and we can be used by God as his hands and feet.  What an honor to be used in this way!  Take a moment now and ask God to give you the eyes to see the need he’d like you to fill today.

Let’s pray.  Father we come to you eager to obey and follow you.  We a sk that you fill us with your compassion so we are ready to do your work in this world, to share what you have so generously given us, to make a difference to those around us.  Thank you for your provision.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

1 Timothy 6:1-10

Read 1 Timothy 6:1-10

I’m not sure what version of the Bible you read from, and if you follow the link above it takes you to New Living Translation, one of my favorites.  In fact, it’s the version in my study Bible.  So, today, as I was reading from my Bible, I noticed a very distinct difference in how this passage begins.  In my Bible it says, “Christians who are slaves…” where in the NLT version on Biblegateway.com (source of the link above) it says “All slaves”. Interesting.  I won’t spend a lot of time on this, but from a context perspective, it is my understanding that in the times Paul is writing, there was a huge gap between slaves and their masters.  However, if a slave and master were both Christians, they became spiritual equals, or as we might say, brothers and sisters in Christ.  To me, it is then that the rest of the verse makes sense.

As the reading continues,  Paul is masterful in assuring us that what he has prescribed for godly living is sound and from the teachings of Jesus–what greater authority can there be!  We all know that person, however, who likes to stir the pot or question these truths.  There is so much behavior in our culture today, and I’m sure in Paul’s time, that is counter to this and many feel constrained by a life devoted to Christ.

Read v. 6, “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.”  Ponder this for a moment until you feel like the richest person on the planet.  You may need to put aside your current financial needs for just a moment lest they interfere with your feeling the enormous blessing you  have as a follower of Jesus.

I’m struck again by the truth of  verse 9.   While I am not striving to be “rich”, I am hopeful that my current endeavors allow me the freedom for travel, and helping to build an orphanage in Haiti.  I am asking God for provision for those dreams.  What are you striving for in your life?

Let’s pray.  Lord help me to stay focused on you and you alone.   Don’t let the pressures of the world creep in and entice me to believe in something false.  Help me discern and be faithful.  As I look around at our world today, I am saddened by the hate, the anger, the doubt.  I trust you have all this worked out, and I pray wisdom for leaders and not arrogance.  I pray for love and not hate for all people.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.