Category Archives: 2 Timothy

Leviticus 24; Psalm 31; Ecclesiastes 7; 2 Timothy 3

It was a day of errands and driving, and a true blessing to spend time with a woman who has long been a mentor to me. We talked about the real meaty things of life, right to the point. She is honest and wise. I’ve known her over half my life and it’s not long enough–I find as we’re both getting older and my own seasons are changing, there is still so much to learn.

10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. 2 Timothy 3:10-13, NLT (emphasis mine)

I think about examples–especially in regards to parenting and mentoring. One friend nearly despised his father for the type of husband/father he was–and yet, later in life, became just as harsh and hurtful as his dad. I feel certain he never wanted to become that way, but how did it happen?

My mentor and I talked about relationships and truth and integrity. We talked about perseverance. We touched on legacy, and I considered hers as a wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She is a model of a life lived in love. I thank God for her influence.

When someone sifts through the pieces of life I’ll one day leave behind, what will my story tell? Because my life will tell a story. Will it show Jesus? Will it be defined by love?

I cling tightly to God’s enduring Word.

14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17, NLT

Lord, I thank you for dear friends like family who have helped me and encouraged me, for women who’ve taught me how to love and serve by example. Thank you for your Word that is true and convicts and corrects. Thank you that you love me so much to equip me to do good work. Help me to remain faithful to the things you have taught me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 23; Psalm 30; Ecclesiastes 6; 2 Timothy 2

Holidays interrupt the ordinary activities of my life and give me an opportunity to revitalize my commitment to God or holidays can draw my spirit into contemplating my recurrent need to depend on God. Such interruptions can lead to restoration and hope of blessings. Leviticus 23 lists the times of many God-ordained holidays, reminders of God’s deliverance, provision, forgiveness, and mercy. His presence is the gift in the midst of community, and the same is true during Christian holidays. I didn’t know how much I missed community until this past Easter. I have felt like a nomad these last 10 years, moving from state to state, changing jobs, changing churches, leaving the bones of loved ones in strange lands.

Ecclesiastes 6:2, written by my soulmate, Solomon, says, “A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it…this is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.” Solomon contrasts this scenario with his earlier statement that every man to whom God prospers and gives the divine gift of enjoyment receives blessings, indeed. Holidays have a way of slowing down my soul’s race to acquire the object and turning my eyes toward the Giver of my soul’s redeemed desires.

Interruptions in my work week can illuminate the threads of discontent or the tears in the fabricated beliefs I’ve entertained. The simplicity of following Christ needs no interpretation – if I am faithless, Christ remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). I am therefore unafraid of the future, and I am free to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.”

So Lord Jesus Christ, resurrected Savior and lover of my soul, I am pleased to be interrupted with holy days that urge me to focus on You. Like King David, I can praise (Psalm 30:11, 12).

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my        sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise            to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

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Lev. 22; Ps. 28,29; Eccles. 5; 2 Tim. 1

“Dear younger me… please hear me… you don’t have to carry these burdens alone!”

I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return. 2 Timothy 1:12

How many of you out there reading this have had a perfect life? You know… the kind of life where there aren’t any problems and nothing ever went wrong. Surely, there has got to be someone who’s got that kind of life?!? So, if there isn’t anyone out there with the “perfect life”, why are we always comparing ourselves with others like there is? Could it we’re hoping we’re not alone? Are we grieving what could have been?

When we began life on earth, we became a part of a family legacy. We didn’t get to choose the family legacy we were associated with… that was decided for us. Unfortunately, many of us characterize our own family legacy with more pain than joy, even dreading holidays as they remind us of what we’ve endured and still grieve. If we could just go back in time and tell our younger self what to do and what not to do, what would we say? Imagine it… what would you tell your younger self? What foods to eat and avoid? How to get ahead in life? What about your faith… what would we tell our younger selves about our faith? Would this part of our discussion take the most or the least time?

Would we try to convince God to spare our family from the hurts that break the human heart? Unfortunately, God does not work in the past… He does, however, offer a future to those who seek Him! And if I could speak to the younger me, I would tell me that there is a future that can be so much better than the past. That our Lord and Savior invites each of us to a spiritual family legacy based on a foundation of healing, hope, and love, far surpassing any loss we’ve ever experienced or are grieving… That if we know Jesus, as Savior, we became part of a spiritual legacy that extends back to heal the past, while offering hope for the future… That God’s holy family covers all hurts including brokenness and pain, misery and fear… forever!

No matter the broken earthly family we have, as believers, we all have a loving family available to us always… from our Lord and Savior, to our brothers and sisters in Christ, to our heavenly Father, who knows our pain and disappointments, and offers His children unlimited grace!

Dear younger me… get to know your Lord and Savior… with all your heart and soul… the One you can trust, completely, as He is able to guard what you have entrusted to Him, until He returns again.

Lord, You know our hearts desire for a happy and loving family legacy based on love… Please help us to use the model of family legacy You graciously offer us until You come again! Amen…

Greg (gstefanelli)

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Ecclesiastes 7-9; Psalm 46, 2 Timothy 3

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It seems that everything I hear, learn, or experience lately has the theme of story. It started last summer when my best friend died. I did not know how to process what had happened and I cried out to God as I tried to make sense of it.  I really felt Him tell me that I need to share her story and He has given me multiple occasions to do just that.  Being able to talk about her has helped me deal with the loss of my friend who was not only a sister in Christ but someone who was like a sister to me.  She adopted me into her family like I was born there.

I met her eight years ago at Celebrate Recovery. If you aren’t familiar with CR, it is a Christ-centered twelve step program.  Anyone with hurts, habits, or hang-ups is welcome to attend.  We were both believers who were looking for healing from past hurts and knew Jesus was the only way to find it.  She became my accountability partner and I became hers.  Over time, I learned I could trust her and she is the person I opened up to and was honest with about everything in my life—all those things you really don’t want to share.  But there comes that time in recovery when you have to bring them out into the light in order to heal from them. As she walked through this process with me, I learned the meaning of love—not just the feeling part of love but the willingness to love another no matter what. I learned that there are people who will encourage you, cheer you on, help you grow, keep you grounded.  When she saw me heading in a wrong direction, she would call me on it, and I would do the same with her.  We used to talk to each other every morning as we drove to work and share a devotional we were reading or something we had learned in a bible study.  Together we would figure out how to apply it to our lives.  We were each other’s “safe haven” when things weren’t going so well.

After we finished CR, we both headed into ministry in different directions but we were there for each other,  supporting each other, as God used our gifts to help others. We had conflicts, but we had learned tools to work through them.  We could talk and be honest when one of us had done something to hurt the other knowing that our brokenness was behind our actions.

As I read these verses in 2 Timothy, they made me think of her and our friendship. Our friendship was based on our relationship with Jesus.  He was the focus of our healing; He was the basis of our growth and maturity. We discussed Scripture and how it “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Just as Timothy knew Paul’s “story” (You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured), she knew my story and I knew hers. We would remind each other of the things we learned in CR (continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,).

In a few days it will be the first anniversary of her death. I am thankful and blessed for having her in my life.  When her mother was cleaning out her house last year, she asked me if there was anything I wanted.  While there are pictures of the two of us together that are precious to me, I took her Recovery Bible and a journal of pages of Scripture written in her own hand—she had every page filled.  They are reminders to me of a journey we took together.  For a period of time, our paths merged and we walked together.  I wonder if that is how the letter Paul wrote to Timothy felt to him?

Heavenly Father, thank you for the people you bring into our lives who love us just as we are—broken and hurting, empty and needy. They invest into our lives and pour love into us, the love You first poured into them.  Thank you for Scripture and how you speak to us personally through it.  I know from these verses Timothy was someone Paul loved.  He shared his life with him, the good times and bad.  He shared his relationship with Jesus with him.  It is a model to me of how I can relate to people and do the same.  You are so good to us and know just when we need those encouraging words from You the most.  Thank you for blessing me!  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Ecclesiastes 1-3; Psalm 43; 2 Timothy 1

 

Celebrate life! That is what the wisest man in history, King Solomon, determined was the best a man could hope for during his sojourn in this world. The simple things of life, as my elders used to say, are what make us happy. Yet divorced from the love of Christ, the fellowship of the saints, and the worship of the Creator of life, even the simple things fail to give pleasure.

Have you wondered how it is that what we yearn for and cannot wait to experience comes slowly, yet passes into memory so quickly? Even our thoughts and feelings, musings, and worries, ebb and flow daily, yearly. I’m a once in a while journal writer, and when I stumble across an old journal and read what at that time was important to me, I have noticed a pattern or theme. My concerns for family, for instance. My prayers for each and my personal desires. Not so different today, really.

What is most evident in all that I’ve written is this tension between the world and me. How I experience living this life. In fact, the weakness written between the lines to God in my journals and prayers illustrate fears and disappointments, usually followed by thanksgiving for spiritual answers. Miraculous answers, tender comforts, gentle corrections.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. To know God, to be reminded that I am a child of the Almighty, and to see my purpose on earth is bound with the life of Christ frees me to celebrate life with gratitude.

On this 4th of July we celebrate our freedom as a nation. God, thank you that I was born in America.

On this day we celebrate our differences from state to state in a United States. Lord, thank you for Your unending, amazing creation of soul after soul, different yet tied together by a common thread of humanity.

On this July 4th we celebrate the simple things of life – church, family, friendships, national pride. Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for Your mighty work of salvation that offers eternal life where the real celebration begins.

I celebrate life today and can’t wait for the day when the party never ends!

Happy 4th of July!

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Ecc 10-12, 2 Timothy 4

The events of the last several months have shocked even the un-believing world. Right is wrong and wrong is right. I remember my mom telling me when I was growing up that things aren’t getting any worse, we just hear about it more and more. I’m not sure that’s the case, things are getting worse and it seems, by the minute. With each new event or overturned ruling reminding us this world is not our home. I have a tendency to become more and more anxious, quickly reverting back to my flesh and I worry about the future like I somehow have control of things yet to come. It’s difficult in this day and age, with all the technology we have at our fingertips and all the resources available to us to become led astray but fancy teachings. We live in an over you fill in the blank society where you can pick and choose what to believe. There are no absolutes, rights or wrongs. If you stand up for truth you must be a hater.

Once again, Paul’s words form 2,000 years ago ring true today. As he reminds Timothy to be strong and charges him with a huge task that he could only do with the Spirit of God:

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober- minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Be ready in and out of season. Reprove. Rebuke. Exhort. Patient. Sober- minded. Endure suffering. FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY. Wow, what a list. Am I ready for this, Lord? Have I done enough to prepare for such a time as this? I look at the world around me and see so much hurt and evil. You can’t look at anything anymore and not see it. It’s everywhere. I know without his strength on a daily basis I will not be able to fulfill my ministry, whatever that may be. For me, right now that is teaching my children about the loving and gracious Lord I serve who came to rescue me from my own sin. Tomorrow, my ministry may be different. Seasons change, times change, ministries change but the goal remains the same. To serve the Lord by and through the gift of the Holy Spirit, helping others see the amazing gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s death burial and resurrection.

Our window of time is closing to be able to share this good news freely and openly. I want to make sure I can say at the end, whenever that may be,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will ware to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

Dear, Lord. Help me to not despair at the events surrounding me but to lean into you and follow you even harder than before. My days are numbered and in your hands and my ministry was planned in advance by you. May I use every opportunity you give me to share your good news with others and fight the good fight. What an honor to serve you, Jesus. Amen.

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Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 125; 2 Timothy 2

Singlemindedness

Easy to recognize and define, but not so easy to live out. Second Timothy 2 paints a vivid picture of this goal. A soldier, an athlete, a farmer. All know their focus. Jim Elliot wrote the reference for these forthright words next to Elizabeth’s (who would one day be his wife) yearbook picture. “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” He knew what God had called him to, and he would not let earthly distractions take away from that.

We can learn from the example of a soldier’s life. Shift your focus to the front lines. Training, preparing daily. Working together with other soldiers. Seeking to please the one that enlisted him. Single-minded determination.

And the athlete. We visited the olympic training center in Colorado Springs last year and the amazing facility showed what it took to come home with the gold. Hours of practice. Moving there for as long as possible. Training with leaders and coaches that knew their field. Daily dedication. Working together with others. Knowing and following the rules. Single-minded determination

Further down in verse 22 it says, “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Pursuit – yearn, chase after, earnestly desire. ACTIVE. Not a passive, occasional part of the Christian life.

Undistracted, undefiled pursuit of God. Does that characterize my life?

Rather, I often find my life more in the pages of Ecclesiastes – futility, vanity, striving after the wind. Time spent browsing facebook, playing computer games, time I really don’t have to spare.

God convicts me on this and yet I keep straying back. Here’s to a fresh start. Leaving behind the emptiness that the world tries to entice me with and pursing with single-minded focus God’s design for my days.

How can you make following Christ the single-minded focus of your training plan?

Here’s my list:

– Start in God’s Word, prayer list in hand

– Spend spare time (when I’m tempted to grab my phone) memorizing Colossians 1

– Seek daily says to interact more deeply with my family (the circle of Christians that I find myself in daily). Ask questions, spend time, turn off screens, live life together instead of just in the same house.

Intentional. Single-mindedness. Everyday.

Lord, keep calling, I’m listening. Help me resist those temptations that keep dragging me away from the relationships that really matter. Help me to train harder and know more clearly how You want me to order my days. Give me strength to follow through and be the wife, mom, and Christ-follower that you have created me to be. ~Amen.

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