I John 3:17-18, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
These two verses dig down to the depths of my bottom line theology and challenge the fundamental truth of that theology, which is SOVEREINGTY. If I hold the conviction that God is sovereign and in charge of all things (material, spiritual, and emotional) and if He has blessed me with the “world’s goods” why would I withhold them from another in need? How/why would I “shut up” my heart? That type of withholding comes from selfishness, pride, and being my own master. Many times I have felt the judge and jury over whether another was in need because they squandered, were foolish, and in essence “didn’t deserve it.” Do I deserve the lavish gifts of God? “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called the children of God.” (Also I John) This is the EXACT manner of love that should be overflowing out of my heart. Love given to the undeserving…esteem placed on the unworthy. If I can’t love in this way then I don’t fully understand God’s love for me. Love, this boundless love, is only truly shown in our actions and in the risk of truth. I have a long way to go in this department but I KNOW this is the key to so much living “as Christ” and I must allow God to have His way here in my heart in this area.
“Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2 -> me: Today my verse of the day is the verse referenced on the front of Pastor Steve’s pulpit at church -> “Preach the Word”. In verse one, Paul says that he ‘Charges’ Timothy with these following 5 exhortations. He says that he charges, really nothing short of orders, Timothy in the presence of God and Jesus Christ. Paul would never say this unless he serious meant Timothy to take to heart and take proactive action to engage on what Paul has said. The five exhortations are 1) Preach the Word 2) Be prepared in and out of season 3) Correct 4) Rebuke and 5) Encourage. The last quiet time was about the fact that God’s word is profitable for these 5 things. There is so much focus on speaking God’s truth, not trying to twist His word in working for us and our needs. This is so hard today, because a lot of what we read in God’s word flies right in the face of what the world is trying to tell us is right. But no, we are to correct and rebuke. However, look how Paul follow up after the ‘correct’ and ‘rebuke’ -> encouraging them with inexhaustible patience and teaching. Correction and Rebuke can never come without instruction and teaching…in other words, you better know your stuff…know your stuff through your own study and meditation on the TRUTH.
“Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand].” 2 Timothy 3:12 [AMP]-> me:Yesterday and today my reading was 2 Timothy 3:10-17. Two areas of this passage stand out to me. Verse 12 (the one for today) and verses 16 & 17 -> “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” [ESV] Put these 3 verses together and you have a glimpse in what it means to walk in way of a Christian in Fellowship with his Savior. There are more awesome verses in this passage but I am struck by what it being said -> 1) If I am not under persecution by the world, then I am not doing something right. I cannot shy away from sharing who I am in Christ. 2) When I study, recite, and meditate on God’s word, I am hearing His voice. Paul says it is profitable — it always produces a return. It will gains in teaching, reproofing, correction, and righteousness. It will make me complete and at the ready to launch into God’s work when called upon. This is powerful! So what is the cost again? Persecution through devotion and dedication to knowing God’s word….I mean, come on…I know from experience that God is so faithful to show up in my heart and life when I pursue Him this way. I just need to be reminded….how?….that’s right, by reading God’s word…like today. 🙂
“[They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].” 2 Timothy 3:4-5 [AMP] -> me: Here in chapter 3 Paul start to describe the moral decline that will come. I am reminded of Romans 8:21 where Paul talks about the bondage of decay and corruption; this is the course of events, over and over again, that we can expect in this fallen word before Jesus returns. Paul is telling Timothy to watch out for these shallow, shell of religiosity, people he will run into…that they look pious on the outside but their motives are earthly focused; focused on their sensual desires, love of money, and love of themselves. They have no interest in the Power of the Gospel, they only operate in the scope of shallow righteous living in order to serve their own needs. I believe that Paul is telling Timothy to be on the watch for these types of people and not only turn away from them but to also not allow them into church membership. The sobering final thought in verse 9 is that these people will not get far operating this way as ultimately, their rash folly will become obvious to everyone.
“Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart. But refuse (shut your mind against, have nothing to do with) trifling (ill-informed, unedifying, stupid) controversies over ignorant questionings, for you know that they foster strife and breed quarrels. And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong.” 2 Timothy 2:22-24 [AMP] -> me: This passage today really resonated with me. It calls out personal instruction, actions toward fellow Christians, and then our witness to EVERYONE. Personal Instruction – flee youthful passions. I would read this as immature earthly desires. Instead, pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Fellow Christians – we pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with our fellow Christians. This is our accountability group, our church, our Christian community in Life Groups and friendships. Then it follows on, in regard to fellow Christians, that we should refuse controversies over non-heretical doctrine/theology. To me I see Paul telling Timothy that this provides an opening for the evil one. Everyone – finally we are to be kind to EVERYONE (non-Christians, enemies, persecutors, etc.) and not quarrelsome or argumentative. We must be ready to teach with God’s word in our hearts and patiently endure evil. What a passage for me in the world today. This world of diametrically opposed views to our Biblical Christian beliefs. I needed this today…
“But the firm foundation of (laid by) God stands, sure and unshaken, bearing this seal (inscription): The Lord knows those who are His, and, Let everyone who names [himself by] the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it.” 2 Timothy 2:19 [AMP] -> me: Finally have time to write my thoughts down!! It has been a stressful week but God, through His grace and mercy, provided success in our efforts here at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Tonight as I was meditating on this passage, it led me to Numbers 16 -> God dealing with Korah and others who wanted to be more than workers in the Tent of Meeting and be Priests. Please go read this chapter as it is very sobering to see how God deals with those who not content in their position of service and seek more for themselves as well as grumble and complain. Moses and Aaron, more than once, fell on their faces asking God for leniency for the ‘Assembly’. The application is found now in our 2 Tim 2:19 verse. We are to stand tall in knowledge that as a believer in the Son of God, we are ‘KNOWN’ by the Father. So then, if I call myself a Christian, having been purchased by the Blood of the Lamb, then I must not only flee the sinful desires of this fallen world but actually turn away and leave them behind as I would a forsaken land. When I live with my sight set on the glory that is being IN the Son of God and the inheritance I am afforded as an adopted child; the old ways and things of this world become small and unappetizing; because I crave the future of Eternity with the One Who saved me and strengthens me.
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” 2 Timothy 2:8-9 -> me: I have been pondering over these 2 verses for the last two days. First while I was on the plane here to Virginia and now here in my hotel room before a stressful week. For Paul, the resurrection is the most prominent Christian truth because it guarantees all other aspects of the work of Christ. Then Paul talks about his own situation and suffering in the name of the risen One. Paul might be chained, but the Word of God is not. In Pastor Steve message today about the Holy Spirit in us, he taught about the power of God in and through His word. The Holy Spirit is the reason that you can read the same passage hundreds of times but then there is the one time where you are so caught of guard by a meaning reveled to you at that moment…and you back away thinking, “why has this never resonated with me in this way?” Because the Holy Spirit is at work in you through His Word…and His Word is every where, being propagated by you and me and, hopefully, every other born again Christian out there. Heed Pastor Steve’s call today to share your testimony with someone this week. I am praying that the Lord would divinely set that appointment for me.
“Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy 2:7 -> me: What an amazing simple verse! Paul reinforcing in Timothy that when we petition the Lord for an understanding and wisdom in His word, He will reveal it to us. In the verses preceding this one, Paul talks about a CALLING to a way of life, FOCUS, OBEDIENCE, and DEDICATION using examples of a soldier, athlete, and farmer. The Lord WILL give you understanding in EVERYTHING…what a great promise! It makes me want to saturate my quiet times in prayer with a petition for deep understanding of His precepts and direction. God already has delivered on this many times in the last several years, but to hear this again is so encouraging and inspiring. Thank you Lord for this little tidbit I needed today.
“May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.” 2 Timothy 1:16-18 -> me: I love Onesiphorus! I think that he is a model for Christian kindness. What I also like is that it was not just Onesiphorus who Paul was acknowledging, he was acknowledging his whole household. The family worked as a team to extend kindness to Paul. Most version say ‘refreshed me’ but it can also mean ‘to brace up’, ‘to revive’, or ‘to comfort’. It is almost like Onesiphorus’ presence was like a warming elixir to Paul and his imprisoned body. It didn’t matter where Paul was; Onesiphorus was not ashamed to meet Paul where he was…in fact, contrary to being ashamed, Onesiphorus search night and day all over Rome to find where Paul was being kept. Rome was notorious for making it difficult to find where prisoners were being held. I am sure that Onesiphorus was mortified that Paul was calling him out in such an acknowledging way…just from this little passage I see this man being someone I want to emulate. Paul understands the impact that Onesiphorus is laying up for in eternity so Paul has the mindset to look forward to ‘that Day’, the day of judgement, to express to God through prayer how much good work (through faith) Onesiphorus has done to get a “Well done my good and faithful servant”.
“…I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that HE IS ABLE TO GUARD until that day WHAT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED TO ME. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, GUARD THE GOOD DEPOSIT ENTRUSTED TO YOU.” 2 Timothy 1:12-14 -> me: The ‘guarding of what has been entrusted’ really caught my eye with these verses. In verse 12 it is God who will guard what has been entrusted to me and in verse 14, it is by the Holy Spirit that I am to ‘guard the good deposit entrusted to me’. I believe the ‘good deposit’ is the calling on Timothy’s life that Paul talks about earlier. Paul here is showing us that we can not do this guarding unaided…we not only need the Holy Spirit within us to help us guard that the calling God has put on our lives but we also need Him to help us unlock the power needed to fulfill our calling through sanctification. Our relationship with Jesus and God the Father are clearly spelled out here – it is symbiotic. God guards what He has entrusted to me in my ministry, and I lean on Him alone for the strength and power to guard the deposit that will grow into a return as I seek Him and remain obedient to His word, will, and purpose in my life.