Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Left Behind

Titus 1-Part 3
For this reason I left you in  Crete,  that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you. Titus 1:5 NAS


We can laugh about it now, but at the time, it certainly wasn't funny. Our family took a vacation to Kansas City one summer when the kids were elementary age. We spent the night in a motel where the door to your room was inside a hallway. The next morning, during our rush to load the car and begin our fun day, our son had to answer nature's call. We three waited in the car for a while. Finally, he burst through the door with this horrific look on his face. He was scared to death that we had left him there.(He couldn't find his way outside.) Why one of us didn't go back in to wait for him, I don't know and am sorry now for our lack of good judgment. The poor little guy thought he was left all alone in a strange place. I wonder if Titus felt the same way.

Paul first encounterd the people of Crete, a Mediterranean island, while he was being transported to Rome for his audience with Caesar's tribunal (Acts 27:1-13). There was a strong northerly wind, Euroclydon, (hurricane) that forced his ship to travel along the island's southern coast and take refuge there for a period of time. Although he was technically under arrest, Paul's guard gave him freedom to visit churches and conduct ministry (Acts 27:3). The island first heard about Christ from Jewish pilgrims returning from Jerusalem with amazing stories of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). Their isolation made them susceptible to the influence of local traditions, itinerant philosophers, and Roman temptations. Paul left Titus in charge for organizing and stabilizing work there. (Swindoll)

"Paul left a church and converts wherever he went and they needed to set in order a church and ordain elders in every city," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

Titus was left on Crete to correct the things that were wrong. The churches needed qualified leaders, some of which needed shepherding. One group of false teachers was trying to mix Jewish law with the gospel of grace (verses 10, 14). Some Gentile believers were abusing the message of grace and turning it into a license to sin (2:11-15). These weren't easy people to work with and Titus needed extraordinary patience and love. He could have easily left, but didn't. Titus was Paul's official apostolic representative with authority to work. It had been Paul's policy to ordain elders in the churches he had established (Acts 14:23), but he hadn't been able to stay  in Crete long enough to accomplish this task. (Wiersbe)

Do I leave God's work when people get hard to work with or hard to love?

In his book, Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Swindoll divides the apostle's letter into two sections:
the leadership of the church (1:5-2:10) and the mission of the church (2:11-3:11). Paul begins with a description of church leadership, giving all of his attention to matters of character, ignoring organizational structure. If men possess godly character, they will lead the church well regardless of the model they adopt.


Paul describes to  Titus the characteristics of the character that a man suitable for the high and holy office held in the church found in verses 6-9.  I divided them into two parts: those qualities he is and those he isn't supposed to have. (Shouldn't these also apply to all believers and church members?)

First, here are the character qualities of a church leader that he is supposed to have:
1. above reproach means "blameless" or "without accusation." It's not a requirement for sinless perfection,
    but a general assessment of a man's maturity and reputation. This general quality of character frames all the
    rest, dividing into 3 broad categories: home life, public life, and church life. This personal life is beyond
    accusation and public scandal.
2. the husband of one wife reads in the Greek "a one-woman man." This describes a man who is married
    to one woman and continues to live in fidelity and harmony with this same woman. This husband is
    consistently, both inwardly and outwardly, devoted and faithful to his wife (1 Tim. 3:2). An otherwise
    qualified single man is not necessarily disqualified. This is not speaking of divorce, but of internal and
    external purity in the sexual area.(Prov. 6:32-33) (MacArthur)
3. having children who believe describes a man who has effectively accomplished in his home what we
    hope he will facilitate in the church. The Greek term teknon, translated "child," doesn't imply any particular
    age range, but ususally has in mind any offpring still living under the roof and authority of his parents. Also,
    the term is plural, suggesting we consider his children in general, not any particular one. Let's face it, many
    of the very best families have a child who goes astray, at least for a time. This doesn't disqualify a leader
    by having a prodigal child.
    MacArthur tells us that these leaders have faithful children who believe in Christ and are submissive
    (1 Tim.3:4).
4. hospitable denotes loving someone who is foreign or different. He welcomes those who are different and
    easily overcomes the natural tension that exists between them because of their differences.
5. loving what is good describes a deep-seated love for and submission to the Lord, His Word and His
    will, as it is carried out in His way and in His time. He's quick to examine his actions and motives in a
    constant effort to do what's right.
6. sensible suggests being reasonable, having sound judgment. It's translated as "self-controlled." Sensibility
    should be the defining quality of the congregation, starting with the leaders.
7. just means "conforming to custom, fulfilling obligations, and observing legal norms. A just man seeks
    fairness for others but rarely for himself.
8. devout speaks of someone who authentically and completely devotes himself to the Lord. He doesn't
    seek perfection, but walks a consistent walk with Christ in which he remains open to change, ready to
    sacrifice his own way, and sensitive to the Spirit's conviction and encouragement.
9. self-controlled means having dominion or possession over oneself. He must not allow his emotions to
    dictate his responses.
10. holding fast the faithful word refers to men who base their lives on sound doctrine as it has been
      taught by a trustworthy authority.
11. exhort in sound doctrine uses the verb "exhort" which comes from parakaleo, referring to the Holy
      Spirit. It's a faithful teaching and defending of Scripture which encourages godliness and confronts sin and
      error. (MacArthur)
12. refutes those who contradict  uses the word "refute," which is to show people their sins and summon
      them to repentance. Leaders must know the truth, live the truth, teach the truth, and defend the truth
      against a clever, ruthless enemy.
[Reference: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus]

As I said earlier, I think these characteristics should be evident in all believers. Which ones do I need to work on? Which ones do you need to work on?


Ask the Lord which characteristic I need to develop in my life.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mine Own Son

Titus 1-Part 2
To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.   Titus 1:4


It makes me proud to say that I'm the daughter of my parents. Mostly, it happens at family reunions whenever I meet new relatives. That puts an identification on me, so they can figure out who I am. (The other day, my uncle intorduced me to his new wife as his brother's daughter. It made me smile.)
Sometimes I call my own son, not by his given name, but "Son". Why, I don't know. My second child is a grown male, now. (I never did call him "boy." when he was a child.)  I think it is a common thing for our culture. The other day, someone asked, "Why don't people say 'daughter' in the same way?" To that I don't have an answer. Do you?

Come to think of it, God called Jesus His " beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased," at Jesus' baptism. (Matt. 3:17) Maybe that's where it started and has continued.

In verse 4, Paul called Titus, "mine own son." In the Greek, that term has the word gnesios, which means "legimate born." Titus was another of Paul's converts. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Now for us gals, the word "daughter" is mentioned so many times that it fills up two pages of references in  Young's Concordance. I found a verse in Luke 8:48, where Jesus felt someone touch Him and asked who it was: And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

Does it really matter what we are called, just so the Lord knows and calls our name? Aren't we glad that He feels our touch? That He calls us His daughter? That it is faith that makes us whole? That He sends us peace?



What was the usual greeting Paul made in his Pastoral Epistles written to Timothy and Titus? Grace, mercy, and peace were all three included in all three letters. (Back in July, I entitled a lesson using those three words, if you want a better explanation.)

Am I thankful for God's grace, a gift I don't deserve? What about mercy, not getting what I deserve? And peace that binds me with my Heavenly Father? Do I pray for them to be given to others?


Smile, we're daughters and sons of the King.

Grace, mercy, and peace to ya'll.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Better Late than Never

Introduction to Titus

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. Titus 1:2

Titus was a Greek Gentile (Gal. 2:3) who was led to faith in Christ by Paul (Titus 1:4) before or during the apostle's first missionary journey. He is mentioned by name 13 times in the NT, of which 9 are found in 2 Corinthians. This letter is classified as one of three Pastoral Epistles, 1 & 2 Timothy being the other two.
This letter was written by Paul around AD 62-64, probably after 1 Timothy. Paul was ministering to Macedonian churches between his first and second Roman imprisonments, from either Corinth or Nicopolis (3:12). Titus joined Paul on the island of Crete and was left behind to continue and strengthen the work. After Artemas or Tychicus arrived to direct the ministry there, Paul wanted Titus to join him in the city of Nicopolis, in the provice of Achaia in Greece, and stay through the winter (3:12). Because he was involved with the Corinthian church during Paul's third missionary journey, Titus is mentioned nine times in 2 Corinthians. This brother and fellow worker was familiar with Judaizers, false teachers in the church, which insisted all Christians be bound by the Mosaic Law (legalists and circumcision). Titus had accompanied Paul and Barnabas years earlier to the Council of Jerusalem where that heresy was the subject. (MacArthur Bible Commentary)
The last mention of Titus is found in 2 Timothy 4:10 where he had gone for ministry in Dalmaria-what used to be Yugoslavia. The letter was probably delivered by Zenas and Apollos (3:13). (Shepherd's Notes)

Crete, the island:
It was one of the laragest island in the Mediterranean Sea, measuring 160 miles by 35 miles, lying south of the Aegean Sea, which was visited by Paul on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27). He returned there for ministry and later left Titus to continue the work, while he went on to Macedonia. It's likely that Paul wrote this letter in a response to a letter from Titus or a report from Crete.

The Cretans were a people described by Paul in Titus 1:12 as liars, evil beasts, and slow bellies (lazy gluttons). The islanders first heard about Christ from Jewish pilgrims returning from Jerusalem with amazing stories of Pentecost. The isolation of those new believers made them susceptible to the influence of local traditions, itinerant philosophers, and Roman temptations ( idol worship). Titus had his hands full and needed extranordinary patience and love. He stuck it out and finished his work there.

There are three interdependent themes-God's redeeming grace, knowledge of truth, and righteous behavior-define Christian maturity and should characterize every believer in every church. (Swindoll)

Are you ready to to start walking in the Word?

The New Living Translation says verse 1-4 like this: This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidecne that they have eternal life, which God-who does not lie-promised them before the world began. And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we annouced to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him. I am writing to
Titus, my true son in the faith that we share. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.


In verse 2, Paul says he has the hope of eternal life (epi in Greek), which means "upon the basis of" a hope or expectation of eternal life. Isn't that what we are all seeking for the end? The rich young ruler, found in Matthew 19, wanted to know how to have eternal life in heaven. However, he wouldn't let go of his riches and follow Jesus. John 3:16 tells us to believe in Jesus and we will have everlasting life. God doesn't lie and He promised eternal life before the world began. He had a plan and He worked the plan.
We don't have to worry about it any more, if we've asked Jesus to come into our heart, forgive us of our sins, and be our Savior and Lord. Some day, friends, we will meet in heaven, if not here on earth. Now that's exciting, isn't it?

"In due times" refers to God having a schedule and is always on time. God's plan is revealed in His Word and It is manifested through preaching. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
God is always on time, never late. Whatever He does is just the right time for it to occur.

That reminds me of our family get-togethers. I have a relative who is famous for being late, 10-30 minutes late. Often, we would all wait around the table, food ready and warm, looking at the door, waiting for them to show up. Why they were always late, I don't know, but it became a family joke. We didn't have to guess who would be the last to show up. I know, it's better late than never.

I'm glad it won't matter in heaven who is the last to show up so we can feast around the Lord's table. (The first shall be last.) I think we'll just be glad we were there. God makes no mistakes and is always on time. I need to hear that every now and then, don't you? Do my attitudes reveal it?


Paul tells us in verse 1 that he's:
-a servant (slave) of God, [slave-one who gives himself wholly to another's will.]
-an apostle of Jesus Christ,
-sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen (elect),
-sent to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives,
-has eternal life, which was provided before the foundation of the world,
-stating that God doesn't lie,
-has a message reveal to him from God to be announced to everyone,
-was entrusted and commanded by God with this work for Him,
-writing to Titus, his true son in the faith that the shared,
-sends grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior to Titus (and us).

Now, that's a lot to say in just four verses, isn't it?
Whose slave am I? Am I going to the Master for His daily instructions, asking "What will You have me to do today, Lord?" Do I encourage the elect? Am I teaching the Truth? Do I teach about how to live godly lives?
Do I listen for a message from God through His Word, others believers, and the church? Will I send grace, mercy, and peace of God to others? That's a lot to consider.

Here are some questions I found in The Experiencing God Study Bible:
Are you God's slave? Is godliness a major goal of your life? What ministry is God speaking to you about?


My hope of eternal life in heaven comes from Jesus.

Live like I'm headed there tomorrow.

Trust God's timing for everything.

Remember, God doesn't lie.

Let it Glow, Grow, Go

Welcome to Country Road Faith, dear friends.

Years ago, when I came home to visit Mom, the two of us would often take a walk down the country road in front of her house. It was an enjoyable time, with just the two of us sharing our thoughts, feelings, and current happenings in our lives. Mom has gone on now, so won't you join me on this journey of life as I walk this country road of faith? Please feel free to share your comments with us.

I am reading through the New Testament using the the King James Version most of the time. Monday through Friday I will be posting my thoughts and others' thoughts from known authors. Also, something that spoke to me from each day's reading. Often, I use experiences from my childhood as example for life application. I'm excited to have you coming along. I hope you will find encouragement, love, and challenges from our Lord Jesus. I'm praying for you and ask you to pray for the Lord's guidance for me.

Here's the format being used:

Name something you read in today's Scriptures that is a promise, an encouragement, or an example of how God worked in this particular chapter or passage.

Describe a principle, a lesson to be learned, or a challenge from the focused Scriptures. What is God telling us through the writer that we should be doing?

Tell how we can apply, share, or go do the Word read in this particular passage.
What do you and I need to let go of in order to obey this Word today?

I hope to be hearing from you soon. Get your shoes on and take a walk with us in the Word of God.
May the Lord bless you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thirty-Nine Years Ago

Summary of 2 Timothy-Part 11

White lace and promises, a kiss for luck and we were on our way. We've only just begun. (Our theme song.) After exchanging vows and making the promise of  "till death do us part," we started our life's journey in a red GTO with a tank full of gas, which was a gift, no jobs, and a pocket full of love instead of money. Our bags were packed and our hearts were filled with  high hopes for a beautiful life ahead. (Thanks for letting me reminisce.)

Today is a big day at our house. It's our 39th wedding anniversary. Now I consider that a mildstone on this country road of faith, my journey in life. Oh, it hasn't been a smooth road to travel, mind ya. Marriage never is, is it? (That's because the two are sinners living in a fallen world.)
"Life is full of challenges," I always say. "It's how we deal with them that counts."

We have had our share of crooked roads, twisting roads, bumpy roads, and road blocks. We've been stuck in ruts, stumbled over rocks, turned the wrong way, gone up and down hills and climbed mountains, and even crossed flooded streams and dry deserts. But we have kept walking together. It helps to have someone that shares both the joyful and sorrowful times.
You may ask how we have managed to stay together this long. I can answer that by using scripture which
I read today in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love."  That 13th chapter has much to teach us about how we are to love.
I love you honey. Thank you for sticking with me all these years. I'm privileged to be your bird.

Okay, shall we get on with the summary?

Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy five or six years after he was released from his first Roman imprisonment, somewhere around A.D. 62-64. He wrote 1 Timothy and Titus before this second epistle. Due to Nero's persecution of Christians, Paul found himself in prison again in Rome. This was probably the last thing Paul wrote in our Bible, since he was beheaded there. I think Paul had time to reminisce, too.
Remember, Ephesus was a port city under the Roman Empire. People gathered there to worship around 50 different gods. The Romans had temples and shrines there. Timothy had a lot to contend with as he pastored a church of Christ believers in the city.
Paul gave Timothy about 25 different commands, which I won't list. He touched on important doctrines, including salvation by God's sovereign grace, the person of Christ, and perseverance. We are so blessed that Paul allowed the Holy Spirit guide his words for us to read and apply in our own lives.

After finishing a book in the Bible study, I always go back and read the verses that I have highlighted. Although I won't mention them all, here are some:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (1:7)

(God) Who 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. (1:9)

...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.  (1:12b)

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. (2:10)

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.  (2:12-13)

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

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

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  (3:12)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  (3:16)

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  (4:2)

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.  (4:6-8)

After 25 years of service, 3 missionary journeys over land and sea, and 20,000 miles of travels, Paul's end was near, so he wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy.
What will I do when the end of my life is near? What about you, friend? I've made preparations to enter the next life by Jesus. How about you?

(Just to let you now, I'm writing this 3 days early so my hubby and I can be free to celebrate our anniversary. I wonder how many more years we have left. Only God knows.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saying Farewell

2Timothy -Part 10
 Do diligence to come before winter.  2 Timothy 4:21a

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Ps. 136:1
My cup runs over with blessings from my God and Savior! I am sharing them with my family and friends today. Hopefully, you are, too.

Farewell friends. It's a hard thing to to say farewell and move away-leave a church and friends, then start over on a new church field.  We have had to do that seven times during our 30 year ministry. We were leaving behind Christians with who we developed a close realationship as we worked for the Lord Jesus together. Sometimes we felt that our work was not finished. Circumstances bid us go, which was ultimately the Lord's way. Often, we kept in touch for a while, then as time marched on, and busyness with our new life, they dropped by the wayside. But they stayed in our hearts, wondering what was happening with them and the church.
Paul was the one always traveling on his missionary journeys, establishing churches, developing Christian friends, saying "See ya later."  He was always the one leaving, not having a dear friend leave him. Again it was so. Paul's end was nearing and he knew it. His last greetings showed Paul's deep concern for these people. Wasn't it also God's concern for people? As he dictated this last letter to his dear friend Timothy, he mentions them by name.
Who were those people, which meant a lot to the apostle Paul?

Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila were husband and wife that Paul first met in Corinth soon after Emperor Claudius had expelled Jews from Rome (Acts 18, Rom. 16). They immediately became close friends, sharing the craft of tent making and the conviction of the gospel. This couple followed Paul when he left Corinth for Ephesus and eventually settled there (Acts 18:18). They later returned to Rome for a period of time
(Rom. 16:3) and settled in Ephesus where they were helping Timothy. The couple proved to be Paul's advocates even when it placed them in jeopardy (Rom 16:3).

Paul sent greetings to Onesiphorus' household probably meant the man was either dead or was lost somewhere in the Roman persecution. We read about his faithfulness to Paul as he visited in Rome
 (chapter 1).

Erastus was the treasurer for the city of Corinth. He is mentioned in Romans 16:23 as having been a ministry partner with Timothy. Paul had sent the two ahead of him to prepare Macedonia for his visit after leaving Ephesus (Acts 19:22). He had sent greetings to the church at Rome by way of Paul's letter.

Trophimus was a native Ephesian who was left sick at Miletus, a seaport city about 40 miles south of Ephesus (Acts 20-21). By now, the man would have recovered.

Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia were sending their greetings from Rome. The first three names are Latin, which could indicate ther were from Italy and had been members in the church at Rome. Claudia was a believer and close friend, of whom nothing else is known. (MacArthur) They were not mentioned elswhere in scriptures, but the Lord knew them and we see Paul's grace by mentioning them. But I wonder where they were when Paul stood alone at his first trial in Roman court.  Anyway, Paul still loved these men as friends, don't you think?

There we have it, nine friends to whom  Paul was saying farewell. I'm sure they were touched by it and saddened when news of Paul's death reached them later. I can say that because we get news of long ago friends passing away and it saddens me.


In our key verse, Paul instructed Timothy to hurry up and come before winter. In view of the coming season and the cold Roman jail cell, Paul needed the cloak for warmth. He'd also have less opportunity to use the books and parchments as the duration of light grew shorter in winter. (MacArthur)

All the ships would be in port during the winter since it would be too dangerous for sailing. If Timothhy waited too long, he would miss his opportunity to travel to Paul, and then it would be too lated. (Wiersbe)

Paul ends this letter desiring that the Lord empower Timothy with His grace.

In Swindoll's book, Come before Winter...Share My Hope, he ends the book with this:

The leaves of your life will again turn to gold, red, and yellow. They will be ripped from their brances by autums's winds of adversity. Heaavy snow clouds are sure to return as dungeon-like days again become dark and dreary. This fall may be your finale. Death may step into your dungeon before spring emerges. As Paul once needed Timothy, you need Jesus. Don't delay. Please come. Come before winter.

Other devoted believers and Timothy carried on the work. As John Wesley used to say,"God buries His workmen, but His work goes on." You and I must be faithful so that (if the Lord does not return soon) future generations may hear the gospel and have the opportunity to be saved. (Wiersbe)

Friend, be sure to join us tomorrow as we close our study in 2 Timothy with a summary and highlighted verses.


Let my friends and family know they are loved by me.

Be there whenever a friend needs me. Drop all and go.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trumps in Spades

2 Timothy4-Part 9
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  2 Timothy 4:18


When our children were growing up, we often played a card game called "Spades" on Saturday night. In this game, you would play your cards according to the suite on the table for each round. The highest card won that round for the team. However, if a person didn't have a card of that particular suite, they could play a spade, which was called a "trump" and win that round, picking up a point. The challenge was to make your bid using the cards in your hand. Because of the trumps, this did not always happen, thus the fun of the game.
We didn't know if anyone would trump our hand and take away our expected point.

I thought of the word "trump" used in that card game when I read it in his book, Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus: "Regardless of the final outcome of his next trial, Paul knew he would emerge from his dungeon a free man. He fully expected the Lord to rescue him "from every evil deed," not by helping him avoid suffering or pain, but by triumphing over it. The Lord does this by trumping the evil deeds of humanity to give them divine purpose. He also triumphs over evil by giving external glory to the one who bears suffering with patience, endurance, faithfulness, and grace."

"Deliver me and preserve me. What security! He was sure of being delivered from evil work here and preserved to the glory up there! Preservation from the wicked one is a certainty for the believer (Eph. 1:13; 4:30)," says Liberty Bible Commentary.

According to Thayer's Lexicon, deliver means "to rescue" and preserve means "to save and transport into."

The Bible tells us of  a lot of times that the Lord delivered people-Hebrews from their enemies, slavery, Babylonians, Assyrians, Daniel and the lions' mouths, three Hebrew boys out of the fiery furnace, David from the giant Goliath, Peter from prison, Paul and Silas in the dungeon, and so many others.
Won't He deliver us from our enemies, ourselves, and death?

2 Corinthians 1 9-10 says: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in who we trust that he will yet deliver us.

Ultimately, we will be delivered from this body's sinful nature, from this cruel world, and into the arms of our dear Savior. Now is that a reason to shout?

Do I seek the Lord and allow Him to "trump" over evil in my circumstances? Do I trust Him to deliver me from whatever has me in bondage, prison?

Paul was trusting God to preserve him unto God's heavenly kingdom. Paul knew the completition of his own salvation was nearer than when he first believed (Rom. 13:11). (MacArthur)
In Philippians 1:21, Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
He was ready to go on to his heavenly reward and be with his Savior. Can we say that?


Paul was giving glory to the Lord Jesus for ever and ever, at the end of verse 18.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus states:
In the midst of his anguish, Paul gave glory to God. He used the term doxa, from which we derive the word doxology, by which we sing our praise of God. Doxa derives from the verb dokeo, which means "to believe, think." To be glorified is to be revealed in such a way as to be thought good. To be glorified is to be vindicated in the eyes of all witnesses. Paul championed the righteousness of God while suffering in prison and plans to proclaim His goodness by dying well.

Oh that we could do the same.


Allow God to triumph over evil in my life.

Trust Him to be my deliverer and preserver.

To God be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (So let it be.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


2 Timothy 4-Part 8
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.   2 Timothy 4:16-17


The other night I  made tea for the men in our revival team to drink.The problem was, it was weak.  I had put a little water in a bowl and heated it in the microwave, then put one family-sized tea bag in it. Well, either I didn't get the water hot enough, didn't use two family-sized bags, or didn't leave it in long enough. At any rate, when I added cool water to the pitcher, I knew it was too weak. Men like strong tea, don't they? We can be like tea-weak or strong in faith.
Poor Paul, where were his friends? Was Paul weak or strong during his trial?

After all that Paul had done for his colleagues and friends, you'd think the least they would do was come and stand in his defense. However, to support a Christian at his trial would have been a death wish. As it happened, Paul's friends in Rome either had been captured and tried, or they fled like rats from a sinking ship. (Swindoll)
In spite of it all,  Paul wasn't alone-the Lord Jesus stood with him. Hebrews 13:5-6 reminds us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Jesus will always stand with us. He is the one we need and all we need. What was available to Paul in his trial? Strength was available and came.

"Strengthened me is how Paul put it. It's the Greek word endynamoo, which means pour in strength. It is always available. There is no need to give in or give up," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

The next night, I used two bags to make the tea. It turned out stronger and more was drank. It's been my experience that when I asked for His strength, Jesus gave it to me. Do you need strength to carry on today? Do you feel weak and deserted? Turn to Jesus, friend. He will pour it in like tea is poured from a pitcher into a glass.


Have you ever been deserted? I can recall a few times in my life. Mostly they occurred when a parent had a bone to pick with me, their child's teacher. That's when my colleagues scattered. So who deserted you? Was it a parent or a spouse? I get the feeling that Paul felt deserted by his friends at his time of need.

The word forsook means to abandon, desert, to leave in straits, leave helpless, (leave in the lurch).

Let's back up to the beginning of this verse: At my first answer, no man stood with me, but all men forsook me.

Liberty Bible Commentary explains this verse in this manner:
Answer in the Greek is apologia. We get our word  apology or defense from it. He is referring to his trial.
Stood with me in the Greek is this word paraginomai. This is a technical word and would refer to a defense lawyer or advocate.
All me forsook me The same word used of Demas in verse 10, abut he did not let it make him bitter. No matter how it hurts, no root of bitterness can be allowed lest many others ge hurt (Heb. 12:15).

Paul must have preached the gospel to Nero at his trial, just as he had done when before Felix. What does Paul says next? He was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. What lion, Paul? Was it Nero the Emperor, a symbol of Satan, or the lions to whom the convicted were thrown? Certainly he was delivered from which ever he meant.

Paul had been deserted at his trial by everyone, but did he hold a grudge? No.
"He was a man of grace, who estended grace to so many, he believed in grace enough to ask for it and to receive it gratefully when offered," said Charles Swindoll.

Time to look within. Will I show grace or hold onto grudges so they can make me bitter? Do I live with regrets or my Redeemer? Does grace cover me or does shame? Am I fearful or strong as a rod of iron in my spine because grace put it there? If I practice grace daily, will I resemble Paul in his last days? If I knew I only had one day left in which to live, how would I respond? How about you?

I think Paul continued to preach Jesus to his fellow inmates, guards, and friends. I am thankful for his writing of these prison letters-1 & 2 Timothy and Titus while he was in Rome awaiting his death for Christ. Did you catch it-Paul prayed asking God to not charge anyone guilty of his death. So did Stephen and Jesus. Could I do the same? Can I love my enemies to this extent?


When forsaken, turn to Jesus.

Ask Jesus for strength to carry on through my trials.

Trust my Deliver's timing and method.

Remember that Jesus never leaves me nor forsakes me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just a Few Good Friends

2 Timothy 4-Part 7
Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 2 Timothy 4: 11 


Just a few good friends-isn't that what we all need to carry us through this life, to love us in this cold and cruel world, to encourage us on this journey, to pick us up when we stumble and fall. Yes, just a few good friends. Those people who listen to our troubles, feel our pain and disappointments, who point out our wrongs that need to be made right, who accept us as we are, inspite of ourselves. Who do I have as that kind of friend? To whom am I that kind of friend? Are there others that would consider me one of their few good friends?
Is Jesus? Does Jesus? What about Paul?

As I've said before, Paul's life is coming to an end, and he knows it. It sounds like he's looking back over it and contemplating people who have come into his life-encouragers and hinderances alike. There were a lot of folks who shared the load to spread the gospel in Paul's day. What's happened to those "friends?" Let's check it out in this last chapter.

"It is heartening to see how many people are named in the closing part of this last letter Paul wrote. I believe that there are at least one hundred different men and women named in Acts and Paul's letter, as a part of his clircle of friends and fellow laborers. Paul could not do the job by himself. It is a great man who enlists others to help get the job done, and who lets them share in the greatness of the work," states Warren Wiersbe in his book Be Faithful.

Paul names five faithful men who could be placed in the apostle's circle of honor:

I think it odd that this man was mentioned with other notable men of which Paul highly thought, yet we don't know much about him. Crescens' name doesn't appear anywhere else in Scripture. Paul likely deployed him to Galatia sometime between his first and second imprisonments. He must have been a faithful laborer who assisted Paul in an hour of great need. Am I a faithful friend in their hour of need?

Paul named Luke as the only man who remained faithfully by his side. At that time, prisons only provided the very least of provisions, so the prisoners depended upon family and friends to bring them food, water, clothing, and medical supplies, which was usually by bribing the guards. Luke had written his gospel and Acts of the apostles, by this time. This "beloved physician" knew of Paul's many injuries (2 Cor. 11:23-28) and probably experienced many as well. Probably, Paul dictated this letter to Luke. Wasn't Luke invaluable to the apostle? What a comrade. He kept walking that road as Jesus lead Paul on three missionary journeys and about 20,000 miles.
Do I keep walking with my friends, or do I drop by the wayside?

He was Paul's closest friend and coworker next to Timothy. Paul left him in Crete to straighten out the problems in the churches there (Titus 1:5). We learn more about this friend from the book which is actually a leter Paul wrote to him before writing 2 Timothy. Titus met Paul in Nicopolis during the time between Paul's arrests (Titus 3:12). Paul summoned Titus to Rome and sent him to Dalmatia, which was our Yugoslavia. It was a wilderness and those people had piratical habits. What a challenge for Titus. Do I trust my friends?

Mark, known as John Mark:
Mark was a cousin of Barnabas, Paul's first partner in missionary service (Acts13:1-3). His mother was a noted Christian in Jerusalem (Acts 13:5,13). Because Paul refused to take Mark on his second missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas had a falling-out. But, Paul admitted Mark was a valuable worker and wanted Mark with him in Rome. (Acts 15) Time passed and Mark matured. Mark wrote the memoirs of Peter in his gospel. What a complement to be called to Paul's aid in Rome. Mark was a dependable frien. Am I a dependable friend?

They probably met in Ephesus (Acts 20:4). He traveled with the apostle and served as courier, taking his letters of his hometown of Ephesus (Eph. 6:21) to Colossae (4:7), and probably to Philemon (Col. 4:9). He may have relieved Titus on Crete, allowing Titus to join Paul in Nicopolis. Then, sometime before his second imprisonment, he sent Tychicus to Ephesus to relieve Timothy to go to Paul in Rome. Do I do favors for another friend? Or do I set limits?

Timothy would have been on Paul's list of faithful friends, after all, he was the recipent of this letter. It's one of those understood things  you don't have to mention. So there we have five faithful friends of Paul. What an honor to be considered one of them. Do I consider it to be an honor to be a friend's friend?


Webster's Dictionary defines friend as a person on intimate and affectionate terms with another; a supporter; well-wisher.

Well, after reading about Paul's close friends, he mentions two men, Demas and Alexander. Demas was a friend who forsake Paul and his teachings to love the world. Demas was spoken of in two other of Paul's letters, Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24, only in passing. This man  was a fellow-worker, but something happened to Demas. He was a follower of Christ, though Paul never invited him to join his entourage.
The Greek word for forsaken means "to utterly abandon," with the idea of leaving someone in a dire situation. Was he a fair-weathered friend? When the goin' got hot, he got goin'?

Alexander is the other man mentioned by Paul. However, he was never a close friend. On the contrary. Alexander accused Paul of many evils through false accusations. There are three other places in the Bible where Alexander is mentioned-Acts 19:23 (a Jew who tried to address the rioting crowd in Ephesus, 1 Timothy 1:18-20 (an apostate teacher in Ephesus whom Paul disciplined with Hymenaeus, and 2 Tim.4:14-15 (a coppersmith who did evil to Paul). Paul was mentioning this guy to warn Timothy about him.

Do I use discernment in picking my friends?


Be a faithful friend to Jesus and others.

Let go of friends who are not faithful to the Lord.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Needin' to Talk

2 Timothy 4-Part 6
Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me. 2 Timothy 4:9 KJV

Make every effort to come to me soon. NAS

Timothy, please come as soon as you can. NLT


There have been times in my life that I wished I could phone my daughter and say, "Come on over for tea, I'm needin' to talk." But she lives hundreds of miles away from me, so it would not happen even if she wanted to. I'm sure she would if she could. I miss that. I miss talking to her. Hey, it's been three weeks now since we have talked on the phone. I'm ashamed to admit that I've let my busy schedule interfere. Why have I allowed this to happen? So what's holding me back? Nothing. I'm going to call and talk to my sweet girl today. (I would now, but she likes to sleep in on Saturdays.) As I read this verse, I could sense Paul's needin' to talk, too.

You know, Paul has been in this cold, dark dungeon for a while. It sounds like he is suffering from loneliness. He uses the word diligence. Thayer's Lexicon says diligence means to hasten, make haste. 
Twice in this chapter, Paul uses the plea for Timothy to speedily come visit him soon. Verse 21 will have more detail about Timothy's coming before winter and what Paul requested him to bring.

Obviously, Paul didn't know how much longer he'd live. Once his trial came, he'd only have a couple of days before he was executed, beheaded. Probably he'd be in maximum security highly guarded.

"Hurry up and get here!" is what Paul would have said today. Paul must have been lonely, even though Luke was with him.
How diligent am I to go when a friend, brother or sister needs encouragement and a listening ear?
Am I diligent to talk to Jesus?
Am I diligent in my serving the Lord Jesus? Do I quickly drop everything, change my plans, and go when the Spirit says to go? That's one area I have to work on.
How about you? Is there someone you need to talk to today? Have you talked to Jesus yet today?


Come shortly. There were 2 pages describing that word come  my Lexicon. I can't read Greek, so I don't know which one Paul used in verse 9. The best I can tell, come signifies "to walk, take steps." That makes sense. When someone wants us to come to them, we have to walk, step, or ride something in order to get there. I'm glad you are walking with me through the Scriptures, dear friend. It's lonely being alone.

Since the end of Paul's life was coming shortly, he wanted to see his special friends. In the rest of the chapter, Paul mentions 17 friends, some faithful and others unfaithful to the Lord. He had five faithful friends at the end. We'll talk about these people next time.

My concordance has 8 pages showing the scriptures where the word come is found in the Bible. That's a lot of coming. I happened to think of Matthew 11:28-30 when Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 

Am I walking to Jesus, with Jesus, for Jesus? Do I come unto Him when He says come? Do I come to Him whenever I'm burdened and the load is too heavy for me to carry? A yoke connected a pair of oxen so they both carried the load. Jesus will carry my load if I will let Him. Thank You Lord. Jesus will give me rest if I'll only come to Him, too.

Paul wanted Timothy to come shortly, quickly. We don't know if he actually made it in time before Paul was killed. I like to think so. Paul ministered to so many. He deserved to be ministered to, don't you think?


Diligently come to Jesus on a daily basis.

Come to Jesus with my needs.

Obey when and where He tells me to come.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Looking Back

2 Timothy 4-Part 5
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7


Looking back-old folks like to do it. Grandparents reminisce about the "good ole days." Church people recall "how it used to be." Family members remember "when." Yesterdays become yesteryears. Sometimes it's fun to look back and sometimes it's not. There have been things I have had to deal with in my past, so I could go forward. So looking back can be a good thing.
Paul glanced backward to see a fight, a course, and the faith. I'm  curious to see what he saw when he looked back, aren't you?

Where was Paul looking?
First, he looked around. And when he looked around at his situation, in a dungeon, awaiting death, he knew the end was near. His time on earth was short. His departure was coming and he was ready. Ready to meet his Lord Jesus. Ready for his sufferings to be over. So Paul was pouring himself out as a drink offering unto the Lord. Aren't we glad that he didn't waste his time in prison and wrote all those letters to churches and individuals?

Next, Paul looked back. He summed up his life in verse 7. As Paul glanced backward, he saw a fight, a course, and the faith.

Paul says that he "fought a good fight."  A fight refers to any struggle with dangers, annouances, obstacles, standin in the way of faith, holiness, and a desire to spread the gospel. The term  fight can mean a striving for victory, agon. From it, we get our word "agony" from the Greek concept of giving all of oneself to win a contest or to reach a goal. Didn't his fight begin  the day our Lord stopped him in his tracks with a blinding revelation of Himself, a cleaning of sin and healing of blindness, then being called, equipped, sent, supported, and strengthened for ministry.
(In his first letter, Paul  told Timothy to fight the good fight of faith, in 6:12.)
Do I agonize in my labor for Christ? Agonize means to distress with extreme pain, according to Webster Dictionary. I don't find myself agonizing in prayer before I do a service for the Lord, do you? Neither do I agonize while doing it. Do I give my all in order to complete a task well done? This is an enlightenment.

Romans 8:37 describes us as more than conquerors through HIm that loved us.

Second, Paul finished the course-ran the race, a 30 year super-marathon, and gave his all while doing it. He didn't hold anything back. Not only did he run well, but  he finished well. The course he completed wasn't one Paul chose. We don't choose our course in life. It  is prepared for us. Although, we do choose whether to run it or not. We can live for ourself or for the Lord Jesus.
No two courses are the same, yet we can all run ours with faithfulness and determination, purpose and completion as we obey our Savior. We might be surprised by difficulties we encounter, but the Lord isn't. He knew beforehand the challenges we would face, and has promised to equip us to overcome them.
I am reminded of Jesus who finished His course well. Does He require anything less of me?

"The Christian's life is not a hundred-yard dash; it is a marathon and most often an obstacle course," says
Liberty Bible Commentary.

 Paul kept the faith. Even though beatings, stoning, dangers on missionary journeys, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure, he grew in faith in his Lord, trusting that His provision. We don't know who and what kind of influence we have as others watch us struggle on our journey through life.
This faith is not personal faith in Christ but the whole body of Christian truth, doctrine, truths and standards of the revealed Word of God. Paul was never detoured by new winds of doctrine. He knew what Jesus told him and what the OT said. He knew the Truth and stuck with it. What about me and you?


Verse 8 says: Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Where was Paul looking? The last place he looked was ahead, forward to the life he was going to live in the hereafter.
This crown, stephonos in the Greek,  referred to the laurel wreath, the one placed on the athlete's head of the winner of the contest. There are crowns mentioned in Scripture, all of which we will cast at Jesus' feet in adoration one day (Rev. 4:10-11). Some crowns are mentioned in the previous lesson "Playing Horse" chapter 2, verse 5.

Righteousness is a gift of God, given by grace to those who trust in His Son. None of us, nor Paul can earn it.
It is the source of the crown. Believers receive the righteousness of Christ, justification, at salvation. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us in our lifetime of struggle with sin. We will receive through glorification, Christ's righteousness when we enter heaven. (MacArthur Bible Commentary)

Did you notice the verbs Paul used-have fought, have finished, have kept? They indicate completed action with continuing results. Paul's life was complete. He was able to accomplish, by the Lord's power all that God called him to do. 

Where am I looking? Do I look around at the person who makes my life miserable or do I keep looking at Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith? Have I cleared away the trash of regret? Have I stopped dragging around the anchors of resentment and blame? Do I let the past be in the past? Will I begin living today in light of an eternal tomorrow? How's my faith? Am I remaining faithful to my Savior?

My goodness. And I thought Paul was wrapping up his letter in this chapter. He had some challenges left  for me.


Let go of the past and look to the future with Christ.

Take my focus off my circumstances and unloving people and keep it on Jesus.

Stay faithful to my Lord so I can say that I have fought a good fight, finished my course, and kept the faith.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I am Now Ready to Be...

2 Timothy 4-Part 4
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 2 Timothy 4:6


There he is, standing at the open door, keys to the truck in hand, waiting on me. I really do try to be ready before my husband is, but most of the time I' m not. When  I  make it to the door, I  usually recall something I need, which  I didn't get, be it grocery list, bottle of water, jacket, or whatever. I confess that this has been an on going occurance for years. How patient a husband I have.

I wonder if  Jesus is doing the same thing? Does He open a door, patiently waiting on me to go get more faith before I follow Him through it?  Is He ready for me to go and I hesitate with excuses? Are His keys of opportunity jingling and I don't hear them? Probably the answers to all the above is yes. Will I ever be ready to go, do, help, follow?

Paul said he was ready. For what was he ready? He was ready to be offered. What do you mean by that, Paul?
New American Standard Bible says it this way: For I am already being poured out as a drink-offering, and the time of my departure has come.

Offered is a word used of pouring out a drink offering, spendomai, in the Greek. Paul used it himself in Philippians 2:17, referring to pouring out himself for the Philippians. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Charles Swindoll explains it this way in  Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1& 2 Timothy, Titus:
Common to Paul's world, a "libation" was a familiar Jewish custom in which a worshiper poured  wine across the base of an altar. The wine represented the blood of a lamb given as a sacrifice. The Hebrew poetic expression "poured out" (Ps. 22:14, Job 30:16), is one in which a person is emptied of strength to the point of death. To be "poured out" is to be drained of one's life energy.
During an earlier imprisonment, Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi, Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
(Phil. 2:17)
He felt his life draining away during his long wait for trial, and he was prepared to give his life for the Lord. Even so, he considered the sacrifice of his life worthwhile for the sake of their salvation and continued growth in grace (Phil. 1:21).

What a servant of Jesus Christ. Paul  willingly gave his life in order that others would find salvation and grow in grace.
John 15:13 says, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Things to ponder, friend. Where does that leave us? Are we ready and willing to be...?


Paul uses the analogy of life being a journey. He speaks of his death as my departure. This Greek term analysis (untying again) paints four word pictures. Swindoll explains:

1. The idea of examination.
    Transliterated into English, analysis carries the idea of unbraiding a rope, dividing the complex unit into its
    individual strands. Paul anticipates that his death will result in his life and accomplishment being unraveled,
    laid bare for all to see.
2. The idea of release from bondage.
    The term analysis was used of unyoking a beast from its burden. Paul regards death as unyoking his life
     from the toils of responsibility. When used of humans, it pictures the breaking of shackles and leg irons.
     Death means freedom.
3. The idea of moving one's residence.
    The Greeks used the term analysis to describe striking a tent in order to relocate. In English, we say:
    "We're pullin'up stakes." Paul sees death as a relocation to a much better land.
4. The idea of voyage.
    Sailors used the word analysis in the sense of deparature. They untied their ship from its moorings in
    order to launch the vessel. Paul's death released him from his earthly moorings to make the voyage to the
    realm of his Heavenly Father.


What do you and I need to let go of so we pour ourselves out as a drink offering unto the Lord?

Give whatever God wants as that sacrifice in order for others to be saved and grow in grace.

When it's time for my departure from this world, I want to unravel the rope, unyoke the burden by laying it down, pull up stakes and prepare to move, leave a legacy of faith and love for my Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Itching Ears

2 Timothy 4-Part 3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4


One summer  my left ear kept  hurting me. I would put ice behind it to relieve the pain, but it continued to hurt me. Finally, I went to my doctor, who sent me to a specialist. He stuck a sharp instrument into my ear  and pricked off a crusty thing on my ear drum. It never did itch, but it hurt for a few minutes afterwards. Then I was able to hear fine, and  without pain. I can't imagine what it would be like to have an ear itch and not be able to scratch it, can you? Well, that's the illustration Paul used in verse 3.

Paul told Timothy that there would come a time when:
  • People won't endure sound doctrine. This refers to holding up under adversity, and can be translated "tolerate." There will be people in general who will become intolerant of the confrontive preaching of God's Word. Endure means "to be patient with, in the sense of enduring possible difficulty." They find the truth of God to be so torturous to their sinful desire that they must "endure" in the same way Christians do hardships. (Sounds like our present time, doesn't it?)
  • They will surround themselves with people who tell them what they want to hear. Their preachers will avoid the word "sin," preferring pep-rally sermons that "give people a boost for the week" and "focus on the goodness of God." Professing Christians and nominal believers in the church follow their own desires and flock to preachers who offer them God's blessings apart from His forgiveness, and His salvation apart from their repentance. They have an itch to be entertained by teachings that will produce pleasant sensations and leave  with good feelings about themselves.
  • They will close their hearing to truth in favor of myths, fables. Myths are stories that tell of supposedly ancient events in order to justify the universe as it exists and to rationalize behavior. The Bible doesn't rationalize or justify sin, but challenges us to rise to its standard of right and wrong. These people will deliberately turn away from the Truth.
[Resources: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus; The MacArthur Bible Commentary]

This sounds like a warning to Timothy, his future congregation, future ministers, and believers.


In verse 5, we are told: But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Swindoll tells us four personal instructions Paul gives here:
1. Be sober. To be sober is to have one's mind clear of anything that might impair thinking. Stay balanced
    and remain a model of self-control.

2. Endure hardship. Walk in the same way of suffering as Christ and Paul did.

3. Do the work of an evangelist. This involves more than merely presenting God's plan of salvation. It
    includes feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, sheltering the homeless, caring for widows and orphans,
    fighting for justice, and rescuing the helpless. An evangelist puts the words of the gospel into action.

4. Fulfill your ministry. The word fulfill means "to bring to complete fullness or satisfaction." It's like a
    large sailboat, filled with the wind, allowing the crew to fulfill their purpose, reaching its destiny. Ministry,
    in the Greek is diakonia, which is the same term for the service of deacons, waiting tables, both
    figuratively and literally.

So, a pastor is to preach, confront wrongdoing and correct error while enduring hardships, evangelize the community, and serve the congregation. Are we in the congregation to do any less?


Beware of itching ears and fable followers. Make sure that I am not one of them and not keeping company with them.

Allow the Holy Spirit to control me.

Look for needs that I can help meet.

Fulfill my calling, destiny.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stew for All Seasons

2 Timothy 4-Part 2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  2 Timothy 4:2


I recall that Paul is writing this letter to Timothy and the Ephesian church while he is in prison. The end of his life and ministry is soon to be, so we read of the charge Paul gives them.
Warrnen Wiersbe said that it should read "I solemnly witness." It was a serious time in Paul's life, so he wanted to give his son in the faith a sense of its importance. Since Paul was facing death soon, he knew that he would be facing God and his works would be judged. Like Paul sooner or later, we will all stand before our Supreme Judge Jesus, won't we? If I knew that I only had two months to live, what would I do differently?


During our four years in college, we were a family of four living on a tight budget. I had only a small amount of cash to spend each week on groceries, so I learned to be frugal with it. That's when I began saving our leftover vegetables in a quart jar in the freezer. Instead of throwing away small amounts of vegetables, I'd add them to my quart jar. When the jar got full, it was time to make stew and cornbread for supper. Now this happened throughout the years, not just in the winter, which is the season for hot stew. It was good in season and out of season, so to speak. Tasty stew is good in winter and summer. So it is with God's Word. Truly, His Word is spiritual food for all seasons of our life. Am I ready to share it always?

In verse 2, we find five specific commands that Paul gave in association to Timothy's call to the ministry. I think they can apply to us ordinary believers, too.

1. Preach the Word.
    The term kerysso means "to herald, proclaim." An official representative of the king bore the king's
    message, not his own, to the realm or to a specific person. Paul called himself a proclaimer, a keryx, and
    now passes that title onto Tomothy. We are called to proclaim the Scriptures to humanity. Do I proclaim
    my King's message whenever the opportunity arises?

2. Be ready in season and out of season.
    The literal translation of the verb is "stand over." A guard stands over the city, a treaure, or a person to
    protect his charge against attack. We must stand ready at all times and in every circumstance. We are to
    be on the job, no matter what. Am I ready to faithfully proclaim God's Word?

3. Rebuke.
    To rebuke is to call attention to wrongdoing and to assign responsibility. It's closely related to reprove,
    except that the desired response is humility instead of conviction. We must declare the truth and its
    consequences if they are being ignored. Do I rebuke in a humble manner?

4. Exhort.
    Derived from the verb parakaleo, one of the names for the Holy spirit is "Paralete."  It pictures the
    relationship of a coach to their athlete-in training. Do I patiently training others in the church in godly living?
    Do I help people  get back on their feet after they have fallen down?

[Resource: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus]

All of these commands are to be followed with longsuffering and doctrine, patience and instruction. We must have a long fuse, slow to address wrongs against us, not be a doormat, but a reprover and rebuker with humility. Sounds like we need self-control and discernment from the Holy Spirit.


Patiently teach the Truth and leave the consequences to God.

Always be ready to share the Word.

Seek the Lord whenever there's a need for rebuking, so it's handled with humility His way.

Encourage others' faithfulness.

Friday, November 11, 2011


2 Timothy 4-Part 1
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom.  2 Timothy 4:1


During my 15 years as a school teacher, I  had many evaluations by my principals. They would sit in on a lesson that I was teaching, and take notes while observing me. Afterwards, they would sit down with me and go over my lesson, pointing out my good and bad techniques. They would make suggestions as to how I could improve. The main thing considered was if I taught my objective-what were my students going to do at the end. So it will be when we teachers of the word of God stand before our ultimate Judge, Jesus Christ. Did I obey his commands to me? Did I accomplish what He wanted?

Here we are reading the last chapter of Paul's second Epistle to Timothy. Paul knew his death was soon coming, so he had a few last things to say to Timothy and the church at Ephesus.
Paul gives a charge to Timothy. A charge is to testify, earnestly.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary says: "The Greek has the idea of issuing a forceful order, directive, or command. Everyone who ministers the Word of God is under the omniscient scrutiny of Christ. Christ is about to judge. He will one day appraise the works of every believer (1 Cor. 3:12-15; 4:1-5). With regard to salvation, believers have been judged already and declared righteous; they are no longer subject to the condemnation of sin (Rom. 8:1-4)."


Swindoll's New Testament Insights for 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus states that it is as if Paul said, "Timothy, you will eventually stand before this One to give account for your work. He will judge your motives, He will assess your public ministry, evaluate your private life, and sift through the secrets of your soul. Therefore, heed the counsel I am about to give."

So, whether we are a teacher or preacher of God's Word, or not,  we will still be held accountable for the things we said and did with our life.

I wonder how  my evaluation by Jesus will turn out. Considering this, I will do my work more carefully and faithfully. There is potential for gold, silver, and precious stones instead of hay, wood, and stubble. I need to keep in mind that I am serving Him and not myself.


Be faithful and obedient to God's Word and Holy Spirit.

Keep in mind that I will be evaluated one day by our Judge Jesus.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who Needs a Road Map?

2 Timothy 3-Part 8
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.    2 Timothy 3:16-17


Last week my husband I took a trip to our state capital for an annually denominational convention. I have no idea as to how many times in our married life that we have made that trip without a map. However, I put one in the truck just in case. (Of course, we had already used the internet to find the location of our destinations.)Well, we made it fine to the motel and then to the church the next morning where the meeting was held. But, I was glad to have the road map because it was needed in order to find our way back to the motel. All those streets seemed the same. I suppose that I didn't pay close enough attention when we went the first time. I admit that I was taken in by all of those beautiful, elaborate, expensive houses.
I am also glad that God gave us a road map to heaven and for our Christian life-the Bible. All we need to do is read and follow it. He has provided a direct road to heaven, through Jesus Christ as Savior. Stay with me, dear friend.

Verse 16 provides us with a  firm foundation for using the Bible. If in doubt about it's authenticity, we can read this verse. Friends, I don't mean to be so wordy today, but this is a very important topic to be discussed, so I have used many resources. Of course, God said it, and that makes it so, to me.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary states,"Grammatically similar Greek constructions argue persuasively that the translation "all scripture is given by inspiration...' is accurate. Both OT and NT Scripture are included."

The word all used in this verse means "every one, the whole number of particulares; the whole quantity," as the King James Dictionary points out.

Paul describes these scriptures as "holy scriptures" in verse 15.

Matthew Henry's Commentary says this about the holy scriptures:
They come from the holy God, were delivered by holy men, contain holy precepts, treat of holy things, and were designed to make us holy and to lead us in the way of holiness to happiness; being called the holy scriptures they are by this distinguished from profane writings of all sorts, and from those that only treat of morality, and common justice and honesty, but do not meddle with holiness. If we would know the holy scriptures, we must read and search them daily (Acts 17:11). They must not lie by us neglected, and seldom or never looked into.

How were the scriptures given? They were given by inspiration of God.

Inspiration, theopneustos in Greek, means "God breathed out" the Scriptures and not that God breathed into the human authors. The authors themselves were controlled by God so that they were not left to their human limitations (2 Peter 1:21). [Liberty Bible Commentary]

Matthew Henry's Commentary said:
It is a divine revelation, which we may depend upon as infallibly true. The prophets and apostles did not speak from themselves, but what they received of the Lord that they delivered unto us. That the scripture was given by inspiration of God appears from the majesty of its style, -from the truth, purity, and sublimity, of the doctrines contained in it,-from the harmony of its several parts,-from its power a efficacy on the minds of multitudes that converse with it,-from the accomplishment of many prophecies relating to things beyond all human foresight,-and from the uncontrollable miracles that were wrought in proof of its divine original (Heb. 2:4).

"The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy," from  The Baptist Faith and Message.

"So identified is God with His Word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks (Ex. 9:16). Scripture is called "the oracles of God" (Rom. 3:2; 1 Petrer 4:11), and cannot be altered (Rev. 22:18-19), stated MacArthur Bible Commentary.

That gives me a different perspective on the scriptures whenever I read them-God breathed them out through the writters. He gave these words through Moses, David, Solomon, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As I read it, He sends His Word to me. (That is humbling.) Do I let Him breathe His Word into me? Or do I reject what He has to say to me? Wow! I won't take His Word lightly any more.


Now that is settled-All scripture is given by inspiration of God.
What is its purpose?

  1. It is profitable for doctrine. The word doctrine means teaching, instruction.(Thayer's Lexicon) Teaching (didaskalia)is a crucial element in growth toward maturity. As being taught to read helps us reach our full potentioal, so abeing taught from the Scriptures develops us fully. God's Word gives us tools for life.
  2. It is for reproof. The word reproof means conviction; for convicting one of his sinfulness.(Thayer's Lexicon) Reproof (elegmos) convinces us to behave differently by rebuking us, revealing areas that others may not see or we prefer to ignore. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to reveal the truth of sin or foolishness within.
  3. It is for correction. The word correction means restoration to an upright or a right state; improvement of life and character. (Thayer's Lexicon) Correction (epanorthosis) builds on reproof. It means restoration or reformation. Whereas reproof reveals our sinfulness or foolishness, correction shows us how to straighten out what we're doing wrong.
  4. It is for instruction in righteousness. The word instruction used here is whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing the passions; it's instruction which aims at the increase of virtue. (Thayer's Lexicon) This training in righteousness shows the correct way to behave before mistakes are made.
  5. It is for equipping us for good works. God intends for us to be supernaturally equipped to accomplish every kind of good work.
[Resource: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus]

Do I set aside time-wasting activities to train in the Scriptures? Do I read, hear, study, memorize, meditate, and live it? 


Treat the Word of God as though He is blowing it out on me.

Ask what it is teaching me.

Listen as the Scripture convicts me of sin and repent.

Meditate on its corrections and instructions.

Surrender so God's Word  is living in me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


2 Timothy 3-Part 7
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.  2 Timothy 3:14


Last weekend we had two women come visiting us in our yard. They had a good heart, thought they were sharing what was right, but in reality, they were deceived and trying to deceive others with their printed materials. My husband was prepared and knew what this cult believed-used a Bible that was changed, their Jesus was not our Messiah Jesus who is part of the Trinity, the Son of God made flesh. He told them what the original Greek said, but they didn't agree. I finally told them that he was telling them the truth. (Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.John 14:6) Unfortunately for them, their minds had been so messed up with a false teaching, that they would not listen to the Truth. Paul is warning Timothy of this very thing in verse 13. It is sad that this happens. These two women were imposters, though they were unaware of it.

Again, Paul is warning Timothy what it will be like in "the last days." Verse 13 says that the "evil men" and "seducers" will get worse and worse. NLT says it this way: But evil people and imposters will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.

Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus has this to say:
"The latter term appears only once in the Bible and literally means "wailer," as in one who howls incantations as thou possessed by a spirit. Classical Greek literature always uses the word in a derogatory sense, casting the "wailer" as traveling swindler of the weak-minded. Paul predicts that many will rise to places of prominence and carry many into apostasy. "

The only way to defeat Satan's lies is with God's truth. In the last days there will be deception and imitation. How will the believer be able to tell the false from the truth? By knowing the Word of God is how.

Am I prepared with scriptures to confront false teachings?


Timothy's mother and grandmother taught him the Old Testament Scriptures. Later as an adult, he learned the gospel from Paul.

Swindoll's writings continues to say:
In verse 14, the word continue is used by Paul. The verb is meno, which is the same word used by Jesus in
John 15:1-11 where He said "abide in Me" in the upper room. It means "remain, live, stay." Furthermore, the present tense has an ongoing force to it, such that the message is "keep on remaining."
In so many words, Paul is saying, "Difficulty plagued our past, yet we continued on. Difficulty will only intensify as the gospel grows, but that doesn't mean we should do anything different. Continue doing what has been successful."

In verse 15 Paul uses the words learn and convinced. (found in  NAS) We learn by gaining information, changing perspectives, and acquiring skills. To be convinced invades the will. Convictions motivate the person to transform knowledge into action. Much like faith without works is dead, so theological training is pointless unless the minister, motivated by his or her convictions, decides to make a difference.

Regardless of the outcome in your eyes, you are making a difference to someone. Press on!

Am I striving to make a difference with my life? Am I allowing Jesus to make a difference in my life?


Beware of imposters, false teachers.

Make a difference in someone's life today, share the love of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Letting go of the Rope

2 Timothy 3-Part 6
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  2 Timothy 3:12


I recall a time when I was a kid and we went down to the "ole swimmin' hole" near my cousins' house. It was called Ole Blue. You guessed it, the water looked blue because it was deep. Across  to the other side was a  bank where someone hung a long rope from a tree. A knot had been made at the end of the rope so one could hold on or ride it. Kids would swimg out on the rope and drop down into the water. My cousins would have a blast doing it. Of couse, they had to swim back across the deep and climb up a steep bank in order to repeat the process. Not me, though. I was a scardy cat, afraid of water and heights so I watched from the rocky sand bar.

When I think about it, those guys had to come to the end of their rope and let go so they'd experience the fun of splashing into the water. Otherwise, they'd be swinging back and forth, and eventually dangle there near the cliff, which could get them hurt. (There was no turning back once a person was swinging. Dropping was the only way down.)
Dear friends, today, I'm at the end of my rope and I'm ready to drop into Jesus' arms. I am in need of some grace and love as salve for my wounds. Have you been there lately? This verse didn't come none too soon. It was right on time for me and my situation.
So,  I am delighted to inform you that I have found another promise in God's Word for us. The only thing is, it is very hard for me to swallow. The reason being, I have to let go of the rope, give up my will, and surrender to God's will; I have to trust in His timing as He works in people's hearts and lives; as I am  at the end of my rope, and I must let go so He can do His work, His way, and in His time. Do you see what I mean? This is very hard to do. I want Him to stop hateful words spoken to me by Christians, stop rebellious people from being angry at me and turn away; stop  friends avoiding me; stop lies being told about me; stop people from making fun of me. Need I continue?

All right, Lord, You catch me as I let go of the rope, control of my life and will. I'm surrendering.
Are you ready for the promise? Here it is:
"All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall  suffer persecution.

"Here is a promise with a great prospect," says Liberty Bible Commentary.

The word persecution  in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology:
Two Greek words, dioko and diogmos, which both emphasize the concept of "pursue" (Luke 17:23, Gen. 44:4), "press on" (Prov. 11:19, Phil. 3:12); their meanings can be extended to include"pursuing or pressing on, to oppress, harass, and to bring to judgment or punishment." Two other Greek words, used mean "oppress," "persecute," are thlipsis (opression, affliction) and thlibo (press on, oppress; to be oppressed, persecuted).

Examples given were Cain, Elijah, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Stephen, Paul, and Jesus.
All the persecution of the godly came as the result of the sin and animosity of sinners who rejected these who lived godly lives and also rejected their message that sinners must repent and turn in faith to Jesus Christ for salvation. (Baker's Dictionary)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping up and down with joy over this promise. so I'm taking it by faith. There are more scriptures concerning persecution:

Matthew 5:10-12 says,  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 Peter 3:14-17 says, But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be toubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for will doing, than for evil doing.

So persecution will come and I need to get my attitude right so I can rejoice and grow bitter.


If I want to live a godly life, to make a lasting difference, I will be misunderstood, mistreated, maligned, and hated. (Swindoll)

Now that it has been established, I'll be persecuted because I am trying to live godly, how do I handle it?
  • Love my enemies, because God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked (Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:35).
  • Exercise forbearance and mercy, because God will avenge and repay (Rom. 12:19, Deut. 32:35).
  • The world hated Jesus and will hate his disciples (John 15:18-19).
  • Follow in Jesus' steps: "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retalliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly" (1 Peter 2:21-23). [Baker's Dictionary]
"Living a godly life will not insulate you from hardship. Paul said that the more blameless your life, the more likely you wuill be persecuted. As the world increasingly embraces sin, worldly people ware becoming increasingly intolerant of godliness. Darkness cannot tolerate light; the more your life illuminates the presence of Christ, the more you should expect opposition from the forces of darkness. Your Christlike nature will be offensive to those in rebellion against Christ's lordship.Persecution may be the best evidence that your life is like that of Christ." [from  Experiencing  God Day-By-Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby]

For Paul, persecuting Christians could be a living and visible testimony to the crucified and risen Christ
 (2 Cor. 4:7-12).

Am I continuing to live by faith and obedience to the Word? I should continue with patience, endurance,  steadfastness, prayer, thanksgiving, and with the grace of God.

This was a different kind of promise, wasn't it? One that is difficult to accept, but is truth. How will I react to it-with expectation of being persecuted or with discouragment, dropping my  rope of faith? What am I hanging onto anyway?


Let go of the ropes of my life  and fall into Jesus arms.

Follow His will and His ways, no matter what the consequences.

Expect persecution when I live a godly life.

Don't let bitterness and unforgiveness be a part of my life.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Wooden Leg

2 Timothy 3-Part 5 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!  2 Timothy 3:10-11 NAS


It was an every morning event-Dad putting on his wooden leg (a prosthesis) so he didn't have to hop or use crutches in order to get around. That was its purpose. And it served him well. Come to think about it, his  limp was hardly noticeable.  (His leg was cut off below the knee because he stepped on a mine in France during WWII.) He continued his work on the farm and other things, not letting his life be hindered.
What is the purpose of my life? Am I seeking to find out what God has for me daily and to do it? Is my purpose hidden like Dad's wooden leg or revealed because I'm doing it?

Paul reminded Timothy that he knew Paul's teaching, conduct, and purpose. Timothy recalled those times of teaching-sitting with listening to Paul instruct him as a younger man, the sermons and lessons he heard from Old Testament Scriptures in dozens of towns.
Timothy saw how Paul behaved himself not only in front of people, but also in private. Conduct means "manner of life."
Purpose, prosthesis in Greek, means "set before." The apostle's purpose had been "set before" God, just like the consecrated bread in the temple (Ex. 25:23-30).

So I wonder, is my teaching that of the Word  of God, the Truth? Is my conduct that of a hypocrite or sincerely a true follower of Christ? Am I fulfilling the purpose for my life that God has for it?

The next for words go together-faith, patience, love, perseverance. These are virtues of the Christian life. Did Timothy observe them in Paul's life? Yes, as Paul daily trusted in the Lord, endured with patience the criticism and vicious attacks on his character, his tender love for the foolish, and stonings, floggings, mock trials, and imprisonments with perseverance.
Does my faith, love, and patience show up as I persevere for the cause of Christ?

The apostle concluded his brief review of the past to acknowledge the hardships and to praise God for delivering him through them.
Psalm 34:19 says, Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
2 Corinthians 1:10 says, Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.

Timothy saw the high personal cost of ministry (Acts 13:14-14:23). Would he continue on? Will we continue on? Remember, Paul is writing this letter while he is in a dungeon, awaiting his final trip journey-to Rome for beheading.

[Reference: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus]


Tradition says that the Egyptian magicians named in verse 8 imitated Moses and Aaron-turned the rod into a serpent, water into blood, grought up frogs. But when it came to the miracle of the lice, the magicians couldn't imitate it (Ex. 8:16-19). Satan is an imitator. What God does, Satan counterfeits. False religious leaders in the last day will promote lies, deny the authority of the Bible, deny the reality of sin and people's need for salvation. (Wiersbe)

Warren Wiersbe, in his book, Be Faithful, says:
Those who are truly a faithful servant of God will have these characteristics:
  • Their lives are open for all to see. (verse 10a) John 18:20, Acts 26:4
  • They teach true doctrine, the gospel of Jesus Christ. (verse 10b)
  • They practice what they preach. (verse 10c)
  • Their purpose is to glorify God. (verse 10d) Paul was a man of love who willingly gave himself to serve.
  • They are willing to suffer. (verse 11-12) He didn't ask others to suffer for him; he suffered for others. His persecution was living proof that he was living a godly life.

Continue with faith, patience, and love through persecution.

Stay faithful to my Savior.

Pray for those who persecute me.