Monday, October 31, 2011

Give Up to Give

2 Timothy 2-Part 12
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instruction those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the turth.  2 Timothy2:24-25


Am I a servant? Pondering this question, I see that I serve others, but only to a certain extent. Why do I find it so hard to give up my will and do something that they want?(Selfishness) I found the definition of a servant is one who "gives up himself wholly." Maybe I should be asking, "What is your will?" to others and to the Lord. Give up, Linda. Give up wholly, Linda. Wholly is an adverb meaning "entirely, completely, totally. Now that puts a different perspective on the way I serve today. Am I willing to give up my will to do another's will? Will I give up to give today?
The seventh example Paul used to illustrate the life of a good minister/Christian is that of the servant.

According to Thayer's Lexicon, a servant is "one who gives himself up wholly to another's will; Those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing His cause among men: used of apostles."

The Greek word for servant is doulos which mans "slave." Paul called himself  "a servant of Jesus Christ" in Romans 1:1 and Philippians 1:1. A slave had no will of his own; he was totally under the command of his master. Once, we Christians were slaves of sin, but now we are the slaves of God (Rom. 6:16).
God's slave doesn't have an easy time teaching the Word. Satan opposes him and tries to trap his listeners (verse 26).

Here are some ways Paul says that the servant should be like:
  • Avoids arguing, debating, or fighting about Scriptures.
  • Be patient and gentle in one's manner, thoughtful and courteous with good manners.
  • Teach the Word of God in meekness (their disposition), ready, able, and willing to pass on biblical truth.
  • Instruct those who oppose them. 
What kind of servant am I? Do I wholly give up my will?


Verse 26 is talking about the rebellious person whose heart rarely repents. However, it is God who can and does work in their heart to bring this about. A person in the "snare of the devil" is a slave to sin (John 8:34, Rom. 6:17-18). The Lord sets us free to be His servants of righteousness. (Swindoll)

The word recover means to return to soberness; to be set free from the snare of the devil and to return to a sound mind (one's sober senses). Thayer's Lexicon

This man is coming out of a drunken stupor. Satan makes people drunk with his lies, and the servant's task is to sober them up and rescue them.

"Deception is Satan's trap. He is an inveterate, scheming, clever, and subtle purveyor of lies," says MacArthur Bible Commentary.

Do I recognize the rebellious person's need for recovery from sin? Do I pray for them and help them recover?


Give up and give.

Wholly serve another.

Wholly serve my Lord Jesus.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Empty Pans Still Need Cleaning

2 Timothy 2-Part 11
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22


Paul is direct and to the point with his advice to Timothy and us. He doesn't beat around the bush, but comes right out and gives directions to his son in the faith. What does he say? Flee youthful lusts. What are youthful lusts?
David Guzik describes them as "the sort of desires and temptations that are especially prominent when someone is an adolescent or young adult. Sexual temptation, illicit pleasure of the flesh, and a longing for fame and glory often mark one's youth."

Charles Swindoll describes youthful lusts as "those things that rob a mature person of his or her contentment-lust for money, power or control, admiration, achievement. People consumed by these lusts become impatient, dogmatic, competitive, argumentative, harsh, self-imposing, and stubborn."

Jerry Falwell said, "The youthful desires for fame, fortune and fun are to be run from."

Paul is telling Timothy how to cleanse himself.
Guzik said, "Cleansing must first cut off the 'supply' of 'dirt'! You can wash yourself five times a day, but if you keep going back to the mud puddle, you will stay dirty!"

The first thing mentioned here is flee youthful lusts. Don't entertain them. Don't challenge them. Don't try and endure them. This good advice comes from Guzik.
I certainly don't want to fall into sin and ruin my testimony for the Lord. (My sins will find me out eventually.)

Philippians 1:27a in the NIV says: Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.


When I was a child growing up on the farm and with five people in my family, we always saved our food scraps. I would take them outside after dinner and give them to our dog, Buster. (We didn't buy dog food.) I recall one particular time that I put the pan down and let him lick it clean. I never told Mom, though. (I'd have a fit if my children had done that.) Although the pan was an empty vessel and licked clean, it definitely was not sanitary for human use. That empty pan need cleaning, a good scouring,  before it could be used. (I don't recall if Mom caught onto what I did or not. Probably so.) I'm the same as that dirty pan, I need cleaning, too.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus states Paul's four cleansing agents:
  • righteousness that reaches outward to do what is right by others; 
  • faith that reaches upward to place trust in God;
  • love that extends grace to others by seeking their highest, greatest good;  
  • peace that is experienced within by resting in the friendship we share with God.  
We are never meant to walk the path of righteousness alone. Paul encouraged those who wished to cleanse themselves to find others of like mind.

Follow means to pursue, to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire. (Thayer's Lexicon)
How eargerly do I seek after righteousness, faith, love, and peace?

"For God to be able to use us as vessels, we must be empty, clean, and available. He will take us and fill us and use us for His glory. But if we are filled with sin or defiled by disobedience, He will first have to purge us, and that might not be an enjoyable experience," stated Warren Wiresbe.


Let go of youthful lusts and flee from them.

 Persue after righteousness, faith, love, and peace toward God and others.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Honorable Vessels

2 Timothy 2-Part 10
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.  2 Timothy 2:20


In our homes we all have various tools, utensils, and furniture. In my kitchen are valued items used for special occassions, such as crystal, china, and  silverware for serving family and guests food. Along with those, I have everyday, inexpensive items, such as plastic cups, chipped glassware, and nonsilverware utinsils, and items used for disposing of garbage. This comparison is similar to what Paul uses in reference to vessels of honor and dishonor. Let's look at verse 20.

The sixth example Paul used to illustrate the life of a good minister/Christian is that of  the vessels.

Paul has been using the picture of God's building, so now he thinks of that structure as a great house, in which there is a variety of vessels. Some of these vessels are made of gold and silver for honor, like fine dishes, china, and some are made of wood and clay for dishonor, such as a garbage bin or an ashtray. (David Guzik)

"The believer is now part of the great house of God being paralleled here," says Liberty Bible Commentary.

Which kind of vessel am I-honorable or dishonorable?


Verse 21 says: If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

We see Paul introducing a condition, "if," that is followed by four "then" results. The only condition for becoming a vessel of honor is to cleanse oneself from all things dishonorable. It places the responsibility for cleansing with the individual. The issue isn't salvation, but service. Believers are positionally cleansed of sin, declared righteous in the court of heaven, and set apart for good works. The Holy Spirit must guide us through a process of sanctification. While He will be faithful to complete the task, He nevertheless calls us to participate in His cleansing program. (Swindoll)

A long time before (this) Paul said, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate..." (2 Cor. 6:17). God doesn't play favorites, but He is holy and cannot use unholy vessels.

Here is what Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus has to say:
Once the condition has been met, four results follow:
  1. The person becomes a "vessel for honor."  This phrase describes the container's intended purpose. The cleansed vessel will serve an honorable role.
  2. The person is "sanctified." They are set apart for a specifice purpose. I don't use kitchen knives to repair something in the garage. Those utensils are reserved for food preparation. Similarly, cleased vessels are stored in a special place and used only for their intended functions.
  3. The person is "useful to the Master." The adjective means "valuable" or "profitable." Working in machine shop, I discovered I could turn out high-quality parts only when I used high-quality tools. That's when I learned to prize fine tools.
  4. The person is "prepared for every good work."  The verb translated "prepared" can be literally rendered, "one who has been made ready and remains so."
"Associating with anyone who teaches error and lives in sin is corrupting (1 Cor. 5:6, 11). This is a clear call to separate from all who claim to serve God, but do so as filthy implements useful only for the most dishonorable duties," states MacArthur Bible Commentary.

Paul is telling Timothy to separate himself from false teachers. If he did, then God would honor him, set him apart, and equip him for service. What an honor to be "useful to the Master."
Do I watch out with who I associate?


Be an honorable vessel for the Lord to use.

Be a vessel that's clean, set apart, obedient, and prepared to say "yes" when my Master gives me a job to do for Him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Whose Baby is Crying?

2 Timothy 2-Part 9
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.  2 Timothy 2:19


I recall both times that I was in the hospital after having my two babies, I could recognize the distinct cry of both of them. It was different from all the other babies in the hospital nursery. Probably all mothers are like that-they can tell whose baby is crying. I think that the Lord knows the distinct cry of each of His children, don't you?

In Thayer's Lexicon, the word knoweth means to know his character, person, mind, plans.

Does this mean that God knows everything about me? Yes, even before time began. He knows the decisions I will make in certain situations. He knows what I'm thinking, too.

Verse 19 states: The Lord knoweth them that are his. He sure does and how glad I am. Since He refers to His children as His sheep, Jesus said in  John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish neither shall any, man pluck them out of my hand.

Jesus said in John 10:14: I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Paul said in Romans 8:29: For whom he did foreknow, he also did  predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1 Corinthians 8:3 states: But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus shares this:
Paul drew on the familiar imagery of a building cornerstone bearing an official seal. A seal carved into the stone protected the building against intrusion or destruction. The seal on the foundation of truth bears two inscriptions. These two statements, brandished on the foundation of the church, speak to the issure of identity from different perspectives:
1. The Lord knows those who are His.
    The true church consists of those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are the elect (Matt. 24:31,
    Rom. 8:33, Col. 3:12, 2 Tim. 2:10), those who have believed in Jesus Christ by placing their trust in Him
    as their sole hope of heaven (John 3:16; 11:25-26). No one has to declare to the Lord, "I am Yours; don't
    overlook me!" He cannot be fooled by hypocrisy, and failure cannot render His own unrecognizable.
    Whereas no one on earth can determine who is saved and who is lost-at least not for certain-God alone
    knows for certain.

Sweet friend, are you one of His sheep?


Continuing with what Swindoll was saying:
2. Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.
    The true church is filled with those who doggedly reject sin. They are not sinless; in fact, many are terribly
    flawed. But they hate their sin, and they devote themselves to living above and beyond the pull of
    wrongdoing. While God knows His own, believers should identify themselves to others through
    obedience. Those who claim to be God's own, yet continue to walk in sin, bring shame on the church and
    promote a toxic faith.

"How comforting it is to know that we may tremble on the Rock, but it never trembles under us! All the changes, shifts, and doubts have not in any way affected the foundation beneath us. We stand, by faith, on the solid rock!" Swindoll wrote.

If someone doesn't have the desire or the actions to depart from iniquity, isn't it fair to ask if they really belong to the Lord, or if they are just deceiving themselves?
God has given us a solid foundation-His Word, which never changes. God has a plan, a purpose, and a stategy that isn't going to fail. It doesn't matter how many fall away, how many reject the truth, how many go their own way. His solid foundation stands.
[Reference: David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible]

Act like I'm a child of God.

Strive to stay away from sin.

Repent when I sin.

Stand firm on the Firm Foundation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


2 Timothy 2-Part 8
Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith. 2 Timothy 2:16-18 NLT


Avoid worthless, foolish talk; shun profane and vain babblings; avoid worldly and empty chatter; keep away from empty, unholy talk; avoid irreverent, empty speech-different versions of the same thing, same verse. The King James Version uses the word shun means to turn one's self about for the prupose of avoiding something. Vain babblings are empty discussions of useless matters. (Thayer's Lexicon)

Have you ever had a person shun you? I have. Not only did they turn around when they saw me, but they walked away in the other direction. Now that's quite obvious that they are avoiding me.

Paul is telling Timothy and us to avoid and keep away from such practices. Why? They produce even more ungodliness.
Do I shun the things that are wrong or do I participate in them?


False belief produces foolish behavior. 1 Corinthians 14:28 says,"If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." There are some things and some people you just don't debate. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

These two men mentioned in verse 17 strayed from the truth, saying that the resurrection had alread occurred, which caused some to stray from the faith.

"An approved workmand knows that false doctrine is dangerous, and he will oppose it. Paul compared it to gangrene. Much as gangrene spreads, infects, and kill other tissue, so false doctrine spreads and infects the body of believers, the church. This infection must be exposed and removed," stated Warren Wiersbe in his book Be Faithful.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus says:
To illustrate his point, Paul named two men he had 'cut out' of the congregation-events Timothy probably witnessed. In years past, Hymenaeus joined the popular heretic Alexander (4:14, Acts 19:33) in teaching that the gospel didn't require obedience (1 Tim.1:18-20). Later, he joined Philetus to promote a twisted concept of resurrection, either that it was spiritual only or that it had already occurred. Because Greek philosophy, which permeated Ephesus, discounted bodily resurrection as absurd, false teachers probably adapted Christian doctrine to ease the tension. Greeks would have found mere spiritual resurrection very much to their liking-not very different from their own beliefs, in fact.

John 11:25-26 says, Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrecton, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: An whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this?

In order for me to not be led astray, I need to study the Word of God so I can know the Truth.


Watch what I say.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

Know the Truth.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sewing a Straight Seam

2 Timothy 2-Part 7
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15


The fifth example Paul used to illlustrate the life of a good minister/Christian is that of a workman.
Immediately Paul tells Timothy to "study."

Liberty Bible Commentary says:
Study, in the Greek is the word spoudazo, is not the normal word you think of as a student, but a word used of a workman meaning "give diligence," "endeavor," or "exert oneself." A workman is to give diligence or endeavor to show himself approved unto God. Approved  means one has been put to the test and measurses up, thus winning the approval of the person testing him. The workman here is one who is handling the Word of God and thus the conclusion of studying.

Am I diligently working so I won't be ashamed when my work is inspected?
Diligence is a noun that refers to constant and persistent attention to one's work; diligent is an adjective.

Am I constantly working for the Lord Jesus in a manner so as to not be ashamed when my life is over?
How diligent am I to study His Word?


Before we sewed anything in my first home economics class in high school, we practiced  sewing a straight line on paper. It was meant to help us learn  gain control of the sewing machine. I wanted to be able to sew a straight seam, instead of an uneven or squiggly one. It took me several days of practice before I was able to do it. After all the practice work, I was able to sew on material, making an apron. I still have my green calico apron, the first thing I sewed. I went on to make my own clothes and used that skill for many years.

It certainly takes diligent study of the Word to rightly divide it (orthotomeo in Greek) meaning "to cut a straight course," or "lay out a road," or "correctly interpret." All of the word of God is true. There are no contradictions when rightly laid out. You cannot add to nor take away any of it (Rev. 22:19). Liberty Bible Commentary

Cutting straight can be applied to many different tasks: plowing a straight furrow, cutting a straight board, sewing a straight seam.

Charles Swindoll says that the expression "rightly dividing" is better translated, "practically living out." So Timothy was to handle the word of truth accurately in his conduct. Beware of overweith nutritionists, attorneys serving prison sentences, physicians who chain smoke, bankrupt financial advisors, and preachers who live contrary to the Word of God!


What do I need to let go of so I can diligently study God's Word?

Apply to my own life what I teach.

Strive to please God.

Friday, October 21, 2011

If We...

2 Timothy 2-Part 6
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.  2 Timothy 2:11-13


Years ago, my husband directed  several of our local summer church camps for children. I wrote and taught the Bible lessons. Everyone would meet for early morning chapel before breakfast. We would have a short devotional and sing praise choruses to the Lord surrounded by such a peaceful setting. Birds were joining us. No television or radio noises. What a way to start the day.
I enjoy reading David's songs that he wrote and sang unto the Lord. We sing several  as praise choruses in our church. These stay in my mind and I sing them throughout the day.

Paul was telling us that these are trustworthy statements which he was about to say. I can trust his statements; depend on what he says is true; count on it. He was quoting an early Christian hymn known to the Christians of his day.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus says this:
 Paul presented four truths as conditional clauses beginning with "if we..." and followed by a result. Let's find out what he said:

1. If we died with Him, we will also live with Him.
     By trusting in Christ, we receive His gift of eternal life and will live with Him forever. We don't need to
     suffer martyrdom to receive this gift. It's by grace through faith that we experience union with Christ, do
     that His death, resurrection, and eternal life is ours too. (Romans 6:1-23, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

2. If we endure, we will also reign with Him.
    Genuine believers will endure, as the apostle assures in verse 13. The promise is that enduring injustice in
    this life will be vindicated in the next. While we enjoy unending intimacy with the Father, all evil will have
    been cast into the pit.  

3. If we deny Him, He will also deny us.
    Imposters will deny Christ and forsake the gospel before suffering for someone in whom they do not
    genuinely believe. Those who deny Him are not "in Christ" and never were. So those who are truly His
    need not worry about cracking und torture and then losing their place in heaven. (John 10:27-29)   

4. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
    The genuine believer can rest in the faithfulness of Christ. Where we fail, He will succeed. When we lose
    confidence, become disillusioned, falter in our walk, or fail morally, Jesus Christ will be faithful to carry us
    through to the end. (2 Tim 1:12, 1 Thess. 5:23-24)
    Christ cannot go back on His promise without violating His own nature. He is holy; He cannot lie or break
    a promise. While a Christian's road is a rough and rugged one, it nevertheless leads to a wonderful
    destination. We can say with Paul, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to
    keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day (1:12).


As I've said before, this journey of faith follows a rough and rugged road. Though I'm bound for heaven, the Christian life is difficult because it runs contrary to the ways of the world. How do I stay on such a challenging road to my destination? How do I keep from denying Christ, forsaking the gospel, and going with the flow of the world?
According to Charles Swindoll, Paul exhorts Timothy with two specific rules, that if followed, will keep us moving in the right direction:
Rule 1: When you lack understanding, reflect on God's Word and "the Lord will give you
             understanding in everything" (verse 7).
             Understanding means a coming together, a merging. It carries the idea of puzzle pieces falling in
             to place to form an intelligible picture. Instead of going on a futile search for cause-effect solutions,
             immerse yourself in Scripture.
Rule 2: When you feel overwhelmed, cling to God's promises, knowing He has already fulfilled them
             in the not-too-distant-future (verses 11-13).
             Be sure that so-called promise of God which are found in books are not lifted out of their original
             context. Not every promise in Scripture belongs to me, but to the one to whom it was made.
             ( I find encouragement in the Bible, obeying what I have learned.)


Die to self, live with Christ.

Endure whatever.

Don't deny Christ as my Savior with my life and words.

Remember, He remains faithful even when I am faithless.

Ask God to give me understanding when I  reflecting on His Word.

Cling to His promises when I feel overwhelmed.

Sing His praises!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chained to My Bed

2 Timothy 2-Part 5
Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.   2 Timothy 2:8-10


Oh the long hours in a day, lying in bed or on the couch, day in and day out for 5 months.  My world as a five year old consisted of what books and toys fit on the coffee table in front of me while Mom was at work, Dad was outside working on the farm,  and my two siblings were at school. The instructions of my doctor were "no walking," so I had to be carried to bed and the bathroom. Looking back, I can describe that experience as being "chained to my bed." Oh it wasn't a physical, rattling chain, like Paul had, but my disease of Rheumatic Fever had me in chains, restricted. The reason was so my heart valves would not be damaged by exercise or exertion. For 15 years I took a monthly shot to prevent any infection damaging my heart. I obeyed those instructions and as a result, today I am free from that chain. I only take a cute little pink pill in the shape of a heart, a Beta Blocker. God is merciful!

After saying all of that, I asked myself if I am currently chained to anything? Does some sin, habit, responsibility, or weakness keep me from being free to live for Christ and serving Him as He wants me to do? How about you? Do financial problems, physical limitations, or any relationships hinder you, keeping you in bondage or chained to it?

Paul was chained in a dungeon located in Rome while he wrote this letter to Timothy. This may have occured during the time the Emperor Nero set fire to Rome, blaming the Christians for it. He was very cruel, using Christians as entertainment while wild animals attacked them and the Romans were spectators. My sufferings seems like a small price to pay for being a Christian in comparison to these martyers.

Although he was in bonds, Paul said, "the Word of God is not bound." The Word of God has been burnt, banned, mocked, distorted, and ignored, but It still exists and will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8). Nothing has been able to stop the work of God's Word-no scientists, government, philosophers, religious authorities, nor book burners. (David Guzik)

Paul was freely witnessed for Jesus while in chains. Do I witness while I am free?


Jesus Christ was the supreme model of a faithful teacher (Verse 2), soldier (verses 3-4), athlete (verse 5), and farmer (verse 6) that Paul used to illustrate the Christian life. Speaking of His humanity, Jesus was of the lineage of David and rightful heir to the throne of Daivd. He deserved a throne, not a cross. If anyone had a right to cry "injustice" it is He. We are to remember Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. His body and blood were given in order for us to obtain salvation. (1 Cor. 23:24-25) He was raised from the dead, making Him a living Savior, unique from all other gods that are worshiped.

"The Resurrection of Christ is the central truth of the Christian faith (1 Cor. 3:4,17,19). By it, God affirmed the perfect redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:4)," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

Paul said that he endured all things for the elect's sakes so they could obtain salvation in Christ. Certainly he spoke the truth. How much do I endure so a person will come to know Christ as their Savior? John put it plainly in 1 John 4:20-21: He who loves God must love his brother also.


Suffer trouble if need be, for the gospel to be spread.

Freely speak about salvation in Christ.

Endure all things so the lost will be saved.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


2 Timothy 2-Part 4
And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.  2 Timothy 2:6-7 NLT

The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits. consider what I say: and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.  KJV


In verse 7, Paul tells Timothy to give deep thought as to what he was writing.
Consider means to think upon, heed, ponder, clear perception, careful consideration.
Reflecting on these three, a pastor/Christian must be a focused soldier, a dedicated athlete, and a diligent farmer. The Lord will give "understanding in all things" as he ponders what he has been taught. Understand of the Scripture is one thing I need.

Matthew 13:12, NLT  states To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge.

"Let it sink in" is how Liberty Bible Commentary puts it. How can it sink in without studying on the Word?
I shall meditate on these things as Joshua 1:8 says. I will listen to the Word's  instructsions.


For ten years we lived in the eastern part of our state. That area is fatlands and noted for its farming. Rice, soybeans, winter wheat, and cotton are the main crops grown. It is such a beautiful sight to see bright green fields of winter wheat surrounded by leafless trees and dead grass; wavy green rice fields; golden wheat waving in the wind; white cotton hanging onto dead plants; soybean plants turn from green to brown. The whole process is amazing. Oh, the size of the equipment used to work and harvest hundreds of acres at a time is astounding. You see, I grew up on a cattle and chicken farm, so I was not familiar with crop farming. That's why I was so intrigued by it. It was a totally new experience for me to see and observe.

The farmer knows just the right time to till the soil, plant the seeds, fertilize, water, and spray for insects. Not hours but days and weeks would be spent doing each task so there would be an abundant harvest. I remember being awakened on several Saturday mornings  by a crop duster flying over, back and forth, spraying fields in order to kill insects that were a danger to the plants. There were times we had to follow slowly behind a huge tractor pulling equipment while driving on a two-lane highway on the back roads. Without all of that, I wouldn't enjoy the food and clothes I have as a result of those farmers' hard work, to whom I am grateful.

The fourth example  Paul used to illustrate the life of a good minister/Christian is that of a farmer. In 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, Paul compared the local church to a cultivated field in which all believers worked together. Each Christian has his particular task to perform, but it is God alone who give the increase. Here are some practical truths found concerning the farmer and his field:
  1. A farmer has to work. Left to itself, the field mostly produces weeds. Christians work in their spiritual fields, sowing the seeds, which is the Word of God, encouraging and teaching Christian principles for life. As God multiplies that seed in peoples' hearts and lives, souls are saved and grow in faith. sometimes the harves is seen and sometimes not.
  2. A farmer needs patience. A farmer does his part taking care of the seeds, waiting for plants, but he must wait for God to give the rain and cause it to grow, then a harvest to be produced. James 5:7 tells us about this. Spiritually, our harvest will be reaped in heaven. Challenges of pests, disease, frost, drought, or flooding can ruin the entire season's work. The farmer doesn't have a guarantee on a good return on his investment as the worker for Jesus does.
  3. A farmer deserves his share of the harvest. This hardworker should be the first to benefit from his long hours of hard labor. Paul states here that a faithful pastor ought to be supported by his church. In 1 Timothy 5:18b, the laborer is worthy of his reward. the laborer is worthy of his reward. However, Paul gave up his right to support by the church. In 1 Corinthians 9:11, Paul asks, "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?"
[Resource: Be Faithful by Warren Wiersbe]

The spiritual leaders who share the Word with the people are the first ones to enjoy its blessings. More is recieved during prepration of a lesson or sermon than when it is actually heard or read. There is great joy in seeing planted seeds bear fruit in the lives of others. Just as farming is hard work, has its disappointments and challenges, and rewards, so it is in spiritual farming.


Consider what Paul and the Lord is saying to me.

Diligently sow, water, and till the Word.

Patiently pray for a spiritual harvest.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Playing Horse

Timothy 2-Part 3
 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.  2 Timothy 2:5 NLT
And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. KJV


I wasn't an atheletic person growing up. The only sports I participated in, beside bike riding, and dodge ball at school, was playing horse with a basketball in the backyard with my older brother. He had a netless goal attatched to the back of our garage. In case you don't know how to play horse, I'll explain quickly. When one person makes the goal, the next person has to stand in the exact same place and shoot the ball in the same manner. If they miss, they get a letter, which eventually spells "horse." Since he was seven years older than I am, I had to practice in order to hold my own. My two best shots were made up close, almost under the rim on the right side, and back at an angle on the left side. The further back from the goal, the less likely I was to sink the ball. Of course, that was when I had to throw it "granny style" just to hit the garage. Sometimes I would actually win, if my brother missed his long shots. I never won any crowns or ribbons for my victory, though.

The third example Paul used to illustrate the life of a good minister/Christian is that of an athlete. He used
wrestling, boxing, running, and exercising. We know that the Greeks and Romans were enthusiastic about sports, because the Olympic and Isthmian Games were important events to them. In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul urged Timothy to exercise like an athlete.

I found several scriptures using the word crown:
a corruptible crown-1 Cor. 9:25;
a crown of rejoicing-1 Thess. 2:19;
a crown of righteousness-2 Tim.4:8;
a crown of life-James 1:12, Rev. 2:10;
a crown of glory-1 Peter 5:4;
crowns of gold-Rev.4:4;
golden crown-Rev.14:14;
Jesus crowned with glory and honor-Ps. 8:5, Heb. 2:9;
crowned with loving kindness-Ps. 103:4;
24 elders will  cast their crowns before the throne-Rev. 4:10.

According to Thayer's Lexicon, crowned in verse 5 refers to encircle with a crown; is the victor in a contest.

Do I crown Jesus as king in my life?


Wiersbe said in his book Be Faithful: 
Paul admonished Timothy to obey the rules. A person who strives as an athlete to win a game and get a crown must be careful to obey all the rules of the game. The Greek athlete had to be a citizen of his nation,  with a good reputation, and follow specific standards. If not, then he was disqualified. He could loose his crown if it was found out after winning.
Paul was telling Timothy,"The important thing is that you obey the Word of God, no matter what people may say. You are not running the race to please people or to get fame. You are running to please Jesus Christ."

Charles Swindoll said:
Many people define "grace" as the absence of rules. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Word of God is, among other things, a rule book, a guide for life. The Bible contains principles requiring discernment to apply, but it also contains specific precepts--hard-and- fast rules--that must be obeyed without question.
  • Abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thess. 4:3).
  • Be kind to one another (Eph. 4:32).
  • Husbands, love your wives (Col. 3:19).
  • Love one another (John 13:34).
Jesus, the Giver of grace, said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). This isn't legalism: this is how we stay on course throughout the journey.


Obey God's Word.

Keep running the race to please Jesus.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stewards and Soldiers

2 Timothy 2-Part 2
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  2 Timothy 2:3


(If this illustration is a repeat, forgive me.) My granddaughter enjoys playing in a small  hole that she has dug in our backyard. However, usually the next morning it has often filled in and she repeats the process again. There is no gold, silver, or precious stones found. Occassionaly there's a piece of glass or a rock dug up. Why does she keep on digging? The only thing I can figure out is that she enjoys the process. She has me fill up a little bucket with water and pour it into the empty hole. During the hot summer she'd stick her feet into the water. Sometimes she'd float a boat in it. Now she floats fallen leaves in it. Maybe that hole is a learning tool of science. Who knows what goes through a three-year olds mind. She certainly is the only one who takes care of that hole.

Warren Wiersbe, in his book Be Faithful states this:
We are stewards of the spiritual treasure God has given us. It's our responsibility to guard the deposit and then invest it in the lives of others. They, in turn, are to share the Word with the next generation of believers. It takes strength to teach the Word of God. We must dig out of the rich mines of Scripture the "gold, silver, precious stones" that are hidden there. This strength can only come from God's grace. The secret of Paul's great ministry was the grace of God (1 Cor.15:10).
The ability to study, understand, and teach the Word of God is a gift of God's grace. "Apt to teach" implies apt to learn; so a steward must also be a diligent student of the Word of God.

Am I a good steward of God's Word, diligently studying and teaching as the opportunities arise? I have lots of gold nuggets, yellow highlights, marked in my Bible. How about you? Am I sharing them when I find them, or keeping them to myself?


In this chapter, Paul gives the characteristics of a good soldier of Jesus Christ:

  • endures hardship (verse 3). Ministers and Christians often endure jokes, being made fun of, and prejudices from the world. A soldier is at war so he may have to endure wounds and suffering. God didn't start the war, Satan did. Are we prepared to endure what he shoots at us? Am I properly armed as Ephesians 6 tells me to be?
  • avoid worldly entanglements (verse 4). A good soldier can't be distracted by business or faimly affirs while serving. A soldier is totally committed to his Commanding Officer, the One who enlisted him, Jesus Christ. He can't let his focus be on other things, but on the task at hand. So it is with a Christian, his or her focus must be on the Word and aiding in meeting needs of others. 
  • magnifies Jesus Christ (Verses 8-9). Jesus is the Captain of our salvation (Heb.2:10). Our purpose is to bring Him honor and glory. His example is that of suffering and dying for God's cause. Since Jesus was treated as an evildoer, His soldiers can expect the same treatment.
  • thinks of the whole army (verse 10). Not only did Paul suffer for the Lord's sake, but for the church's sake too. The elect are God's people, chosen by His grace and called by His Spirit (2Thess. 2:13-14). 
  • trusts his Commanding Officer (verses 11-13). We don't fear the enemies because Jesus has already conquored them. It is faith in Him that gives us victory (1 John 5:4). We obey our Commander because he knows what is best for us. We trust our very life and soul to His care.
  • must be brave. Fickle soldiers are of no use in the heat of battle. Neither are untrustworthy soldiers who go AWOL (absent without leave) at the first sign of stress. Good soldiers bravely accept suffering as the mantle for service.
[Resources: Be Faithful by Warren Wiersbe, Paul, A Man of Grace and Grit by Charles Swindoll, Liberty Bible Commentary]


Be a good steward of God's Word.

Be a good, brave soldier for Jesus by enduring hardships, avoiding wordly entanglements, magnifying the Lord, thinking of other Christians, trusting in Him.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Traveling Rough and Rugged Roads

  2 Timothy 2-Part 1
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 2:1


What a week I've been having! The antibotic I'm taking makes me run to the bathroom; our neighbors' cows got into our soft, wet yard leaving poop and hoof prints, and holes; the computer messes up at work; hubby gets upset with me; my car window won't stay up so the seat got wet when it rained. And the week isn't over yet.
But God is still on His throne! This was definitely the day I needed to here, "Linda, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
How about your week? I hope it isn't going like mine.

Friend, I am so glad that you have decided to join me on this journey, walking through the New Testament. There is always room for more, so I'll move over as we walk along this rough and rugged road called life. We've been experienceing some plesant and not so pleasant times, haven't we? I've often said that life is full of challenges-it's how we handle them that counts. Do we expect anything different of our Christian life?

"We can expect life to present difficult challenges as the Christian walk follows a rough and rugged path," said Charles Swindoll.

Perhaps this is so because God wants to make us like His Son Jesus. In order for this to develop, He sends joys, sufferings, trials, and tests our way.

Charles Swindoll quotes the British theologian and author F.B.Meyer's book Christ in Isaiah, published in 1917:
          Think it not strange, child of God, concerning the fiery trial that tries thee, as though some strange thing had happened. Rejoice! For it is a sure sign that thou art on the right track If in an unknown country, I am informed that I must pass through a valley where the sun is hidden, or over a stony bit of road, to reach my abiding place-when I come to it, each moment of shadow or jolt of the carriage tells me that I am on the right road. So when a child of God passes through affliction, he is not surprised.

All right, Brother Meyer, I must be on the right track.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus says:
While the Christian journey toward joy is, indeed, rough and rugged, we do not travel without help. We have within us a divine GPS device; the Holy Spirit continually gives us expert guidance toward our destination-if only we will listen and heed His instructions! We have in our hands a perfectly reliable map of the terrain in the form of sixty-six books, bound together as the Bible. And the Lord has called and equipped trustworthy guides to lead the way. These we call "pastors."
 Be strong is a verb form of  endynomoo, meaning "to empower," which calls for an ongoing response, better translated "keep on being empowered." In other words, God does the empowering, so our responsibility is to submit to His work and to cooperarte with it.
Christ is the source of the power, we receive that power from Him, and grace is the means by which it flows from Him to us. Just like electricity in your home, if the flow of power stops, nothing works.
A pastor is to be empowered continually in the grace that is in Christ Jesus and lead his flock on the journey we call the Christian walk.(Swindoll)

Am I continually being empowered with the grace of Christ so I can be strong? Wow!
Excuse me while I hit my knees.


I will be sharing in the next several lessons  the seven pictures of the Christian minister that Paul gives in this second chapter. I think they can also be used by us ordinary believers, too.
The reference used is from  Warren Wiersbe found in his book Be Faithful: 

Paul warned Timothy that the journey would not be easy. He chose seven examples that we will discuss:
  1. the steward 
  2. the soldier
  3. the athlete
  4. the farmer
  5. the workman
  6. the vessel
  7. the servant
Friend, as the road can be hard, crooked, untraveled, full of roadblocks and ruts, rough and rugged, be strong in the grace of Christ. Let's be encouraged because we aren't traveling alone. We have each other and our Savior walking with us.


Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Support others as they travel down their rough and rugged road of life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It Took my Breath Away!

2 Timothy 1-Part 10 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.  2 Timothy 1:17


After two weeks of dust blowing and ragweed's pollen scattering, it finally rained. I opened my front door that morning and took a deep breath. I could smell the rain. How refreshing it was! The air was clean and cool once again. Another deep breath-the freshness, it took my breath away! I listened to water dripping off the corner of the house. How relaxing it was! The wind was blowing, not pollen and dust this time, but sweetness surrounding me. I wanted to sit on the porch swing, but I knew I'd get wet, so I went back into the house, smiling and giving thanks for the rain. Isn't the Holy Spirit like that? He comes and cleanses my heart, refreshes me, cools off my disposition, surrounds me with His sweet presence, softens my attitudes. Thank You Lord for another day to live in Your presence. Thank You for life and breath, and most of all, Your Holy Spirit. His wonderful presence takes my breath away.

Verse 16 says: The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain.

Paul wanted a special blessing for a special friend and his family because Onesiphorus visited and encouraged Paul in his time of need. He was "a breath of fresh air" Paul indicated as he used the word refreshed.
Refreshed means to refresh one's spirit, by fellowship, consolation, kindnesses, to recover breath, take the air, cool off, receive, refresh one's self.

Did you catch that little word "oft" which Paul used? It is the word we use for "often." He often visited and often refreshed, encouraged Paul. It wasn't just a one time occurance, was it?

How often I need refreshing! Can others say that I refresh them? Do I encourage them more than once?


We don't know much about the special friend of Paul's, Onesiphorus. He may have been a deacon in the Ephesian church where Paul pastored three years. This is concluded from verse 18 where Paul says that Onesiphorus ministered to him at Ephesus.

Thayer's Lexicon says ministered means to attend to, anything that may serve another's interests. Paul was saying, "How many things I owe to his ministration."

Another thing Onesiphorus did for Paul was he diligently sought Paul out and found him. Whether it was a business trip that took Osesiphorus to Rome or just a special trip with the intentions of meeting Paul's needs, scripture doesn't say. At any rate, It was a special effort made on his part. In fact, it must have been difficult for Onesiphorus to find Paul since he diligently sought Paul; diligently means active, zealous, earnest; sought means to seek in order to find.

"His search involved time, effort, and possibly even danger," states MacArthur Bible Commentary.

Ezekiel 34:11 says: For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

I am so thankful that the Lord sought me. I was His lost sheep and then He found me and saved me. Dear friend, He is still seeking us to draw us near Him. He is diligently seeking. How will I react when He finds me?

Psalm 53:2 says God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

The question is, "Am I seeking Him?"

A good man will seek opportunities of doing good.

Oviously, Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul's chains. It would have been a disgrace to be in prison in the world's view. However, Paul was inprisoned because of his preaching Jesus. Paul had other friends, Luke, Mark, and Timothy who were not afraid to risk their lives to give Paul aid in person.

To sum up these last three verses in chapter 1, Paul says to be a loyal servant like Onesiphorus, not like Phygellus and Hermogenes, who turned away from him.

What kind of friend and servant am I?


Diligently seek the Lord.

Often refresh others.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What Lasts Forever?

2 Timothy 1-Part 9
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.  2 Timothy 1:13-14

There are few things on earth that last forever. Due to high winds, our barn and one old chickenhouse, which were over 50 years old, blew down and another chickenhouse collasped due to two feet of snow. Ponds fill in and the creek changes its course. Children only remain children for a short period of time, then grow up  and have their own children. Even towns change and two-lane highways become four lanes. My old high school and home economics building were torn down years ago to make way for new ones. Yes, even my hair is changing color.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus says:
There are a few things which will last forever. They are God's Word (Isaiah 40:8, Matt. 24:35) and the souls of people. When the time comes, everything else will be consumed by the fire of God's judgment. Then He will make a new earth (2 Peter 3:7; Rev. 21-22). These are two types of eternal investments. Paul reflected on the timeless treasure of God's Word and pondered the immortal souls of people.

Are my investments eternal or temporal? How much time am I spending in God's Word and bringing souls to the Savior?


New American Standard says verse 14 this way: Guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

What are some things Paul told Timothy to do that are found in these two verses?
  • Be loyal to God's Word.
  • Hold fast to the precious deposit of Christian truth,  the principles of sound doctrine. A form is a pattern to be copied, a template.
  • Pass this doctrine along to others (2:2). Paul taught Timothy and he is to teach others, handing it down to the next generation.
  • Do this with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 4:15 talks about "speaking the truth in love."
  • Guard the truth as the Holy Spirit enables you. He is the one who must teach us (John 16:13). Guard means "to protect by keeping careful watch." It's like a deposit in a bank that is guarded. We have the power of Almighty God living with us to help us.
[Resource: Be Faithful by Warren Wiresbe]


Invest in God's Word and the souls of people.

Hold onto doctrine in faith and love.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


2 Timothy 1-Part 8
For the which cause I also suffer these things: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.  2 Timothy 1:12


People can persuade you to do a lot of things when a child or teenager. Once when I was a younger teenager, my girlfriends persuaded me to attended a Vacation Bible School with them at a different denomination. During a lesson, the teacher explained the plan of salvation, then invited anyone to come to Christ. I was almost persuaded that day. but pride kept me away. I was surrounded by peers. Little did I know that they would have rejoiced with me if I had only made the decision for Christ as Savior that day. Then one night, a few years later,  I became aquainted with Him, and He came into my heart. So I know Jesus in the same way that Paul did, with absolute knowledge. I am now persuaded, beyond a doubt, that I have eternal life with Jesus in heaven. Do you?

In verse 12, Paul says he was not ashamed of his life, suffering for the furtherance of the gospel. He knew, which means absolute knowledge, beyond a shadow of a doubt,  Christ was faithful and would reward him. Jesus was the One in whom he believed for salvation and eternal life.
Persuaded means to believe. Experience and years with Christ taught him all that he was saying in this verse was Truth.
Jesus would keep, which means guard, Paul's salvation and service. He had unwavering confidence and boldness because of the Truth revealed to him. The day Paul is talking about is called the "Day of Christ" when believers will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and be rewarded for their works and service.

I have committed my soul to Him, have you? I am persuaded that He is able to keep that soul which I have committed to Him, from Hell and through the judgment. In Whom do you believe?


Verse 11 says: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

I looked up these words in Thayer's Lexicon:
appointed means to make; to place, usually with a strategy in mind;
a preacher is a herald, a messenger; used of the apostles as the divine messengers of salvation procurred by Christ and to be embraced through him;
 an apostle is a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders; with these apostles Paul claimed equality, because through a heavenly intervention he had been appointed by the ascended Christ himself to preach the gospel among Gentiles, and owed his knowledge of the way of salvation not to man's instruction but to direct revelation fromn Christ himself, and moreover had envinced his apostolic qualifications by many signal proofs (Acts 26:12-20);
teacher in this passage means a teacher of the apostles.

How shall anyone believe this gospel without a preacher (Rom. 10:14)?
"Not every Christian was an apostle of Jesus Christ, for a person had to meet certain qualifications and be chosen by the Lord personally, or through His Spirit (Acts 1:15-26, 1 Cor. 9:1). An apostle represented Jesus Christ. To reject an apostle was to reject the Lord," states Wiersbe in Be Faithful.

Paul was made an apostle of Jesus by Jesus. Paul was appointed strategically by God in the furtherance of His plan. Paul had shepherded, pastored, local churches, thus he was a teacher of the Gentiles. I don't think Paul was giving his credientials to Timothy because Timothy already knew this. I think Paul was reasurring him because of the false teachers there in  Ephesus.

Since this is the inspired Word of God, aren't we Christians appointed by God to share the gospel with Gentiles, too?


Suffer for the cause of Christ, if need be.

Persuade others that He is able to keep our soul eternally.

Teach others about this loving, gracious, Savior.

Monday, October 10, 2011


2 Timothy 1-Part 7
Who (God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  2 Timothy 1:9-10


I seem to make plans by the month. Mind you, I write down appointments made months ahead of time, but my main focus is on what's happening this month. Sometimes I write a significant time on a bright orange or red note paper and put beside the handle of my refrigerator in order to remember it. Are you with me? Sometimes it's a birthday, a meeting, a doctor or dentist appoint for me or for others. At any rate, you know it's something that I don't want to forget when that bright colored paper appears. Hold on, I'm going to go write the word grace on one of those note pages. Be right back. Now I will remember "God's Grace."

Plans. God planned out everything, before the world began, on the first day of creation found in Genesis 1:1 to the last amen in Revelation 22:21. Now that I think of it, I can trust Him by faith to work ALL things out for my good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). Oh no, hold the phone. I said "I CAN trust Him," didn't I? Shouldn't it be "I am trusting Him" or "I do trust Him?" Yes, I hung myself on my own words.

So Paul's sufferings fell under the authority of God, His plans. How did he do in the area of suffering? Paul didn't complain or give up. No siree, he kept on keepin' on. God's grand plans existed before time and space. They accomplish His purposes, yes, HIS PURPOSES, not mine. So is His plan of salvation-it accomplishes His purpose. It's based on His grace, given to undeserving people, like me and you, who trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Charles Swindoll said,"He (God) established His plan, based on grace alone, accomplished by Christ alone, to be received through faith alone. And we have the astonishing privilege of communicating it to the rest of humanity!"

Warren Wiersbe said, "It is His purposes that we are to fulfill, and if these purposes include suffering, then we can accept it by faith and know that God's will is best. This is not fatalism. It is confidence in the wise plan of our gracious heavenly Father."

A promise I found in verse 10 was Jesus abolished death. Abolished means "rendered inoperative." Physical death still exists, but it is no longer a threat or an enemy for Christians (1 Cor. 15:54-55). God chose to make known fully the truth of immortality and eternal life, a reality only partially understood by Old Testament believers. (MacArthur Bible Commentary)

Christ was not only the Destroyer of death (Heb. 2:14-15), but He was also the Revealer of life and immortality. For the most part, the picture was dark. But then Jesus Christ shone His light on death and the grave. Through the gospel, He has given us assurance of eternal life, resurrection, and the hope of heaven.
(Be Faithful by Warren Wiersbe)

Immortality means "incorruptibility," and refers to the resurrection body. The present body is corruptible; it dies and decays. But the glorified body we shall have when we see Christ will not be subject to decay or death (Phil 3:21). In fact, the heavenly inheritance that we hare will be "incorruptible, and undefiled, and [one] that fadeth not away" (1Peter 1:4). (Wiersbe)

Yes! Amen! Glory to God!


"God called us with a holy calling," Paul told Timothy and us. Paul put Timothy's calling on the same level as his own. This must have encouraged Timothy. On the Road to Damascus (Acts 9), Jesus met Paul and personally called him into the ministry. Have we had a similar experience?


Turst God.

Be grateful for God's grace.

Always remember that I'm getting an immortal, incorruptible body one day.

Friday, October 7, 2011

When I'm a Prisoner

2 Timothy 1-Part 9
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.   2 Timothy 1:8


Although I haven't been in an actual jail or prison, but I have been held in physical captivity by a disease. For 40 years, without knowing what it was, Crohn's disease held me captive. I wasn't free to go canoeing, camping, hiking, or any place where a restroom was not quickly accessible because at anytime I could need one. My activities and places I could go were restricted due to this bondage. The Lord helped me identify this bondage. If I will stick to my diet and not eat fried foods, raw fruits and vegetables, drink soda pop, restrict red meats, then I experience freedom from the captivity of food. It is so wonderful that I can't describe it, only give praise to my Savior!

In order for a person to be a prisoner held captive, do they have to be behind bars? Can't we be walking around free to go anywhere, yet be held captive by something? Aren't there different kinds of prisons? Examples are abuse, drugs, alcohol, sexual sins, homosexuality, dishonesty, bitterness, doubt, food, tv, criticism, discouragement, loneliness, worry, fear, physical, emotional, mental, financial, or spiritual prisons. Certainly these can hold us captive. Is there anything holding you captive?

A prisoner  is bound, in bonds, a captive.

In her book  Breaking Free, Beth Moore defines captivity this way: "A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective spirit-filled life God planned for her."

Are we aware of a stronghold presently holding us captive? If so, have I agreed with God about and confessed all sin involved?

Isaiah 61:1 NAS says The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, To proclaim liberty to captives, And freedom to prisoners.

Ephesians 3:1 says For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 states:  For  though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh (For the 
weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

In the same book, Beth gives us ways to deprogram or reprogram ourself:
  1. Recognize the captor (Satan). The imprisoned believer is held captive by controlling thoughts.
  2. Stand in agreement with God. Confession means coming to the point of saying the same thing God says about any specific matter. Agree with God concerning the personal sin involved, your personal stronghold or high place.
  3. Tear down the lies. Satan uses lies and deception. God is greater (1 John 4:4). Stop repeating the sins and lies after confessing them and asking  forgiveness from the Lord Jesus.
  4. Put up the truth. Renew, transform your mind (Rom. 12:2) so we think thoughts of Christ about the situation. 
  5. Bow thought to the truth. Memorize scriptures and take them with you.
No matter what our strongholds have been, God can plant us deeply in His love, grow us by the water of His Word, and call us "oaks of righteousness." (Is. 61:3) We can be called persons of honesty, integrity, and liberation. (Beth Moore)


Getting back to verse 8, according to Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Paul gives Timothy four action steps to strengthening our resolve:  
  1. Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. Christ's "testimony" includes His teachings, His life, His death on the cross-then considered a shameful, humiliation death-and His resurrection. Paul is writing from a dungeon; Timothy enjoys freedom. Paul faces beheading for the sake of the gospel; Timothy, little more than ridicule.
  2. Do not be ashamed of the people of God. Paul is sitting alone in a prison cell, surrounded by other abandoned souls, because no one except Luke dares to be close to him for fear of arest and persecution.
  3. Be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Paul didn't consider himself a prisoner of Nero. He called himself a prisoner of Christ. So far as Paul was concerned, he remained in a dungeon because the King of kings wanted him there in service to the kingdom of God. He expected persecution (3:12).
  4. Anchor your life in the Lord's sovereign grace (verses 9-11). We like grace so long as it's on our terms-without humility or suffering, in our time and manner of choosing.
If I am in a prison, stonghold, it's of my choosing. He has revealed the name of my captive. Now when I stick to a diet and not eat of the forbidden foods, I am free. He can use me to spread good news to the afflicted, bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, freedom to prisoners. Can He use you, too?


What do I need to let go of and let God have control?

Reach out to the Lord for freedom from any stronghold of Satan or my own doing.

Be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel.

Anchor my life in the Lord's sovereign grace.

Testify of His power to free a person in captivity.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


2 Timothy 1-Part 5 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7


Standing on the edge of the South Bend of the Grand Canyon, a cold, strong wind blew. I was afraid to get too close to the edge in fear of falling off into the deep canyon below. That happened when I was 11 years old. One summer my brother, mother, and I went on a vacation out west. You must not visit Arizona without going to the Grand Canyon because no words can describe it. (Linda's Law) This marvelous place is so evident of God's power displayed by water flowing through rocks. (I think it happened during the Flood.) The various colors of rocks is so gorgeous. How can a person stand there gazing at God's creation and not believe in Him is beyond me. Although I wasn't a Christian at that time, I did believe in God. To me, it has to take the power of God to make something as magnificent as the Grand Canyon. What an awesome God He is!

There have been other things that I have feared? Certainly.  How about you? Yet, this verse tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear. So why do we fear?

The Greek word for fear means "timidity, cowardice." It denotes a cowardly, shameful fear caused by a weak, selfish character. Timothy may have been overwhelmed by the Roman persecution under Nero's rule, hostility within the Ephesian church, and false teachers assults.

Swindoll said: "The 'spirit' in this verse should be 'Spirit' with a capital S. Paul's reference to the Holy Spirit in 1:14 strongly suggest the divine spirit here, God-given courge emanating from a life submitted to and dependent on Him. We might be timied-as Timothy apparently was-but the Holy Spirit is bold. Our competence might falter, but the Spirit never fails. We might lack confidence, but the Spirit of God never disappoints and never suffers uncertainty."

If a person is fearful, it didn't come from God. (MacArthur)

Blackaby had this to say about fear in his devotional book, Experiencing God Day-By-Day:
Fear causes us to stop and question what God has clearly told us to do. Perhaps we were confident in our obedience until persecution came; now we doubt whether we heard God correctly. Most fear is fear of the unknown. We do not know what lies ahead of us, so we become apprehensive. Our imaginations can magnify problems until they seem insurmountable. We need a sound mind to see things in proper perspective. That is why God gave us His Holy Spirit, to enable us to see things as God sees them.
Fear is no excuse to disobey God. Fear will enslave you, but Christ has come to set you free. As He reveals the reality of your situation, He will enable you to continue in obedience.

"Fear is human, not divine," said Charles Swindoll.
"Fear is not of God! Satan must be resisted and rebuked by faith (James 5:7, Matt. 16:23)," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

This has put a new perspective on what things I fear.


Paul describes the qualities produced by the Holy Spirit in the man or woman who yields to His control:
  • dynamis-power, the supernatural ability to do the will of God;
  • agape-love, the distinctly Christian brand of love that begins with a decision, behaves unselfishly, seeks the highest and greatest good of another, and flows with deeply-felt godly emotion;
  • sophronismos-discipline, a rational, reasonable, sound-minded manner of thinking and behaving that reflects the orderly mind of God; it is seeing the world from His perspective.
[Resource: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus]

As believers, we already have spiritual resources for every trial and threat (Matt. 10:19-20). Divine power-effective, productive spiritual energy-belongs to believers (Eph.1:18-20). This kind of love mentioned centers on pleasing God and seeking others' welfare before one's own (Rom. 14:8). This sound mind is a
disciplined, self-controlled, and properly prioritized mind. Focusing on the sovereign nature and perfect purposes of our eternal God allows believers to control their lives with godly wisdom and confidence in every situation (Rom 12:3). [MacArthur Bible Commentary]

1 John 4:18 says There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

I think I need to read this more than once so it can sink in.


Instead of fearing, turn to God.

Pray for His Holy Spirit to take control.

Have faith.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

She was Your Grandmother?

2 Timothy 1-Part 4 I remember you genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into the flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
2 Timothy 1:5-6


When I get to heaven I'm going to look up my two grandmothers right away. Mom and Dad will introduce me, I'm sure. You see, I never knew either of my grandmas. One died 7 months before I was born and the other died 2 months before my birth. I'm sure they were sweethearts from the stories I heard about them.
Also, I know they loved Jesus. Grandma Mary played the guitar and taught her children songs about Jesus. They even sang on our local radio station.

Now time has moved on and the tables are turned. I am a grandmother to 5 beautiful dear ones. What kind of legacy am I leaving them? Do they hear about Jesus and His faithfulness to me? Do they hear about all the wonderful things He has done in my life? Can they see and feel His unfailing love through me? Will they be proud when someone asks, "Was she your grandmother?"

Originally, the purpose of this blog was to serve a  testimony of Jesus' workings in my life in relation to scripture. However, the Lord has taken it beyond that. I've been digging into the Word and learning for myself.

In verse 5 we hear Paul remembering the unfeigned faith (anhypokritos in Greek), which is unhypocritical faith. Timothy is no fake. His grandmother and mother raised him in the fear and instruction of the Lord (3:15).
"Eunice sang to him the songs of Zion and whispered the prayers of Moses. She instilled in her son the best attributes of Joshua, and David, and the prophets," stated Charles Swindoll.

"When Paul came to Lystra on his first missionary journey, that was probably the occasion for Timothy's conversion. When Paul returned on his second journey, he enlisted Tomothy into Christian service. Paul had watched Timothy's life and service during those years they were together. He was certain that Timothy's faith was genuine," says Wiersbe's book, Be Faithful.

Was Timothy's heritage a great one? He was reared in a godly home, trained by a wonderful apostle, and given marvelous opportunities for serving the Lord, so I would affirm that statement.

Perhaps some day someone will ask one of my grandchildren or yours, "Was she your grandmother?"
Wouldn't it be an honor? Glory goes to the Lord Jesus on high.


Look at verse 6. Paul uses the phrase "stir up the gift." Stir up means literally "to keep the fire alive," gift refers to the believer's spiritual gift. The gifts of God are without repentance (Rom. 11:33), but they must be used and exercised (1 Tim. 4:14).

Do I need to ask the Lord to stir up a fire in my heart for using my spiritual gifts? What about my talents?
Has my excitement in using either burned down?


Pray for my grandchildren.

Be a Lois or Eunice so there will be a Timothy in my family.

Use my spiritual gifts and talents for the glory of God.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

If Only

2 Timothy-1: Part 3                                                                         
 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.   2 Timothy 1:3-4


If only I hadn't thought that...
If only I hadn't said that. ..
If only I hadn't done that...
If only I hadn't gone there...
If only.

We can "what it" it to death, can't we? Haven't we all thought, said, or done something that we regret? Paul didn't seem to have any regrets of his decisions. At least he didn't mention any in his writings. Someone said, "Let the past be in the past." Make any repairs needed, then go on.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus says this:
In fact, Paul gives his apprentice a threefold gift of encouragement. Charles Swindoll gives us an outline where Paul lifted himself out of his circumstances to express admiration (while in a dungeon).
     First, he adopts an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is the first prerequisite of genuine encouragement. It comes from a generous spirit.
     Second, he cultivates a heart of worship. The primary purpose of the priests in the temple was service, which was a form of worship.
     Third, he maintains a clear conscience. Always do what is right and you relieve anxiety. Whenever we violate our conscience, fear of God's wrath starts twisting our perspective and gives Satan the opportunity to drive a wedge between us.

Even though Paul was in prison, he knew he had obeyed the Lord, so his circumstances were perfectly aligned with the Lord's will. It doesn't mean Paul never sinned, but he kept short accounts of wrongdoing. He pormptly repented, learned from his mistakes, and didn't repeat them.

How's my attitude, heart, conscience? Is it an attitude of gratitude? Is it a heart of worship? Is it a clear conscience?


How often was Paul praying for Timothy? The answer is night and day. This spiritual leader remembered to pray for his dear friend. Is that encouraging or what? How wonderful it is to have a busy person take your needs before the throne of grace.

Another thing Paul mentions is his longing to see Timothy. He enjoyed Timothy's presence and missed him.
It probably had been a couple of years they were together on Paul's second missionary journey. There are some friends I miss, but miles have seperated us.

Do I pray for my distant friends? Do I pray for those in ministry? How often?


Be grateful and thankful.

Keep a heart of worship.

Stay confessed up.

Pray day and night for  others.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Do You Need a Refill?

2 Timothy 1-Part 2
To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 2 Timothy 1:2


Here we have Paul, a prisoner in Rome and facing death (2 Tim. 4:6). (See previous lesson for a description.) Now Paul's missionary team has desolved, except for Luke (2 Tim. 4:11). Small in statue but not small in faith, sitting in shackles and deserted, there's not a trace of self-pity in this letter. Time is precious and Paul knows it.
Paul sent this letter to Timothy by way of Tychicus, who would stay in Ephesus to fill in while Timothy went to visit Paul at Rome. (4:9,12) We don't know for sure if he made it before Paul was beheaded or not. At any rate, Timothy was to take Paul's place and give spiritual leadership to the churches. Let's get a closer look at the Word.

Paul addresses this letter personally and individually to Timothy. He affectionately calls Timothy "my beloved child," a literal translation. The Greek term refers to one's legitimate progeny, offspring. Paul had adopted him as his spiritual son, though Timothy was the son of a Greek father and Jewish mother, Eunice. Although this letter was directed to Timothy, it was also intended to instruct other pastors and ministers of all kinds. (Swindoll)

Am I encouraging those called of God into the ministry? Am I encouraging them, praying for them?


Whenever we go out to eat at a restaurant, the waitress returns to our table inquiring if we need a refill on our drink. "At those prices, just bring the whole pitcher of tea," I think but don't say. I like refills during my meal because I don't wait until I have finished eating before I drink my tea. Similiarlly, I am always in need of being filled with God's grace, mercy, and peace. Aren't you?

In Paul's threefold greeting, he sends to Timothy "grace, mercy, and peace" from our Father and Lord. This is the only appearance of these three words in Paul's salutations. Didn't Paul have the right to say, instead, "Pain, mistreatment, and misery accompany me?" After all he had suffered, beatings and mistreatments, and now was experiencing imprisonment for the cause of spreading the gospel of Jesus, we would have understood. But his message wasn't about himself.
"The gospel message is about grace, God's gift to the worthless. It's about mercy, God's ministry to the helpless. It's about peace, God's love for the restless," stated Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus.

Aren't we all in need of a refill of grace, mercy, and peace from our heavenly Father? Do I show His grace, mercy to others? Am I living in peace with others?


Be encouraging to those in the ministry.

Share God's grace, mercy, and peace with others.