Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 4:9-22
(Click on the link to read today’s version.)

Paul finds himself almost completely alone at this point in our reading. Some have deserted him and others have been sent out into the world… only Luke is left.  Not only was Paul left behind but Alexander treated him terribly.

We’ve all been there… deserted… mistreated… feeling completely alone. Sure there may be other people around, but being lonely is not about having people around you. It’s about connection. God made us that way. He created us to connect with Him, and to connect with others.

The problem is we’re broken and broken people have broken connections. Have you felt lonely lately? like no one just quite understands? Friend, you are not alone. The Lord is standing by you and giving you strength. He will deliver you and rescue you from every single evil scheme… provide a safe journey to His kingdom. Some may never choose faith, but our God is faithful.

Lord, thank You for standing by me.
Please, make Your presence known,
remind me I am never alone.

Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 4:1-8

(Click on the link to read today’s Word.)
Paul’s words to Timothy remind me of instructions a parent might give to their child when they leave for college. Paul had a deep love for Timothy. He wanted the very best for him just like we do for our children. The letter Paul wrote we read now as Scripture… a letter from God to us. Imagine for a moment God writing these very words to you today.

Dear Child in the presence of God and Jesus Christ. You are in my presence, you know. Not for one minute of one day am I ever far from you. I know it seems tough to realize at times since you can’t see me standing there, but I AM there. You are in my presence always… no matter your circumstance or frustration… your sin or failure… your joy or success. Know I am here and I have a challenge for you. Be prepared in season and out of season. Whether times are good or bad, let me prepare you through my Word. Let’s talk about things. Remember to be grateful. 

So many still don’t know my presence. Preach my Word… rebuke, correct  and above all encourage them to be who I designed them to be. There are teachers out there who don’t understand my Word. Some are being deceived by those who use my Word to further their own desires. They turn away from truth. But you, you keep your head in all situations. Don’t get angry or frustrated but endure the hardship and keep doing the work of an evangelist. 

Fight the good fight… finish the race… keep the faith. When it seems hard keep going. I’m not looking for you to win the race, I just want you to finish with a mighty faith. Faith in who I am and whose you are. There is a crown in store for the righteous… that’s you! I can’t wait to put that crown on your head and the heads of all those who have longed for his appearing. 

Honestly, writing this was a bit surprising. I don’t plan words before I sit to write. The process goes more like this: Read… pray… listen… write. Some days we need to hear a personal word from God. It can be so easy to forget His Word is personal, that He is personal. That’s me today. In the midst of tough stuff, I’ve forgotten God knows me intimately. He gets my hang ups and baggage. He understands my anger… my pain. Somehow in the writing of these words His Spirit gently reminded me… I. Got. This.

Maybe you need to hear it too. No matter what you are facing you are in His presence. He loves you enough to write a letter just to you… just for you. These are the moments when His strength inspires us to just keep moving towards the finish line… each step strengthens our faith… each step teaching us to trust Him in all things. Always remembering on the glorious day He appears He’ll place a crown on our heads and whisper, “Well done righteous one.”

Father God, speak to me through Your Word.
I need to hear Your truth today, not what I want to hear,
not what others want me to hear, but what You have to say.
Thank You for being near and loving me.

Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 3

Mark this, terrible times are coming.
Read verses 2-5 again.
How many of these things could you mark as current concerns in our culture?

It seems we are living in the last days. This passage reminds us how to deal with these times and face the inevitable persecutions we will experience if we want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus: Follow the teaching of the disciples, the teaching of Jesus, be in the Word!

The heart behind this blog ministry is to encourage our congregation to be in His Word. God wrote a book for our benefit. So we can know who He is and who we are before Him. So we can know His love and grace. So we can be equipped for the work He’s prepared for us to do.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God
may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
As we come to know Him we come to know Truth and become less susceptible to the deception of false teaching, unfounded tradition, and worldly philosophy.

It is essential for Believers to know His Word. Allow it to work its way into our lives and live by it. Jesus fought off temptation in the wilderness by knowing the importance of God’s Word and its relationship to life:

“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word
that comes from the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4 ESV
Most of us wouldn’t dare miss a meal. We certainly eat several times a day, feeding our flesh. But are we feeding our spirits?

Do you consume His Word everyday? multiple times a day? and not just go through the motions but meditate on it and work it into your life?

If you are one who currently follows Beyond the Gospels regularly, I challenge you to invite someone you know to join. Encourage those in your circle of influence to follow along. Get into His Word. Be prepared for the terrible times to come.

Forgive me, Lord, for the times I’ve neglected Your Word.
Bless me with a hunger for Scripture and for truth.
Reveal any doubt in my heart concerning Your Word as Truth.
Bless me with faith. In Jesus’s name.

Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s verses: 2 Timothy 2:14-26
[Click the reference above to read online.]

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed and 
who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Correctly handling the word of truth first implies familiarity with the word of truth. How well do you know His Word? Are you able to recognize foolish arguments and ungodly chatter? Do you know how to avoid the trap of the devil when it comes to quarrels?

From the beginning of my walk with Him, I knew I would only find out who He is by reading the Bible and praying. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to teach us and remind us of everything He said. Unless we know His Word, how can He remind us?

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,
He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. …”
John 14:26 NASB95

Some dangerous talk takes place in the church. The enemy uses divisive quarrels and arguments as traps to lead us away from truth and make us ineffective in His Kingdom. Don’t unwittingly be used by the devil. Know His Word. Be prepared to be reminded by the Spirit. Seek Him in His Word. It’s never too late to begin equipping yourself with truth.

But remember. The point of knowing His Word is not so you can win an argument or get the upper hand in a quarrel. The sole purpose of being in His Word is spending time with Him, gaining experiential knowledge of the Father through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t get carried away with quarreling. And if you find yourself enjoying the argument, you may want to take time to ask God what’s at the root of your desire to argue. Is it Him? Or another power egging you on?

Lord, I long to know You, to be one who correctly handles Your Word.
Kindly teach me truth and enable me to gently instruct others.
Bless me with the ability to discern between a teachable moment
or a setup for an argument. Protect me from the enemy’s traps.

Beyond the Gospel: Timothy

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:1-13
[Read the verses before reading on. Either open your Bible or click the reference above to read on BibleGateway.com.]

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1
His grace makes us strong. Strong enough to be good soldiers, avoiding the trappings of the world around us and staying focused on the mission. Strong enough to be competitive athletes, intent on victory, disciplined in training. Strong enough to work hard in the fields, patiently awaiting the harvest, tirelessly hoeing and weeding.
His grace makes us strong. It is in this strength we endure the suffering which comes with being a herald of the gospel. It is in this strength we remember His Word is never bound by chains. Even if we are.
His grace gives us strength to share His Word wherever we happen to find ourselves. Willing to die to self and live with Him. Willing to endure difficulties, keeping Him before us. Recognizing His faithfulness, when we fail to be faithful.
His grace gives us strength. Only if we are willing to receive it. Willing to confess our sins, repent, and be forgiven.
Apart from His grace we are paralyzed by shame and guilt. In which case, His Word goes unshared.
Apart from His grace we miss His forgiveness. Leaving us without a witness of His great work on the cross.
Apart from His grace we have no strength.
Lord Jesus, I don’t want to miss Your grace, forgiveness, or strength.
Thank You for Your grace.

Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:10-18
[Open up your Bible or open up the link above to read today’s verses.]

And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle
and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am.
Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed…
2 Timothy 1:11-12
Paul suffered because of his appointment as a herald of the gospel. Have you heard this truth before? that we suffer because we’ve been chosen as Believers? It seems like much of the popular teaching today focuses on how much the gospel can do for you. Giving joy, peace, prosperity. Really make your life great. But we rarely hear about the suffering.
This letter from Paul, inspired by the Spirit, was written while he was in prison awaiting execution. To be on death row is a shameful thing. But Paul said he had no cause for shame because he knew just who he had put his faith in.
I find it interesting how little the church thinks of its suffering these days. When hardships cause suffering we think it’s because we’ve done something wrong. We don’t really get the magnitude of the unseen spiritual war waging around us which is the source of most of our suffering. We also seem to forget that every trial is actually a test. A testing of our faith, a forging of our collective (and individual) character as the church. 
And I wonder if this confusion comes from the reality of how little we actually know the One we say we believe in. Perhaps, we haven’t spent enough time pursuing Him individually or collectively. Maybe, we haven’t really sought and followed His Way.
Paul’s confidence, zeal, and faith are no less because he finds himself on death row. If you remember, the One in whom he believes, the One he knows, also found Himself in the same place. It was at that point of His death, leading to His resurrection, that He had His greatest victory. Paul trusts the One who overcame death to be with him now. Even in death.
Suffering. It’s part of what we’re called to do as heralds of the gospel. And if you are a Believer, you are called to be a herald of the gospel. A teacher of disciples. It is our great commission, both individually and collectively.  With this commission comes not the possibility, but the probability of suffering. How do you handle times of suffering? Do you let them transform and strengthen your faith? Or do you find yourself undone?
Maybe it’s time to draw closer to the One in whom we say we believe.
Maybe it’s time to really consider what we do believe and why we believe.
Maybe it’s time to reconsider what suffering is all about.
Lord Jesus, You suffered much for me.
Your suffering made the way for many to be saved.
Open my heart to You and what it means to be Your herald
and to suffer in Your name.

Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:1-9
[Click the reference above to read online.]

…in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus…
2 Timothy 1:1
Paul lived out his calling according to the promise of life found in Christ Jesus. 
Jesus said:
“…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. …”
John 10:10 ESV
And I wonder… Are you experiencing the promise of life in Christ Jesus?
Do you experience the abundant life He came to give you?
If not, consider… Are you keeping His Way? living according to all that He calls you to?
The world offers much that looks like life, but for the most part ends in emptiness and a continual longing to search for something more.
When we live life according to Jesus’s promise, things are much different. Fulfilling. But life according to Jesus looks very unlike what the world calls life.
“…And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for
my sake will find it. …” — Jesus
Matthew 10:38-39 ESV
After Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus, he underwent persecution, attempts on his life, imprisonment and finally a martyr’s death. None of this sounds much like living according to our culture. But to Paul this was life. For every Believer this is where true life is found. Laying down our lives for Jesus and His purpose for our lives. 
He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done
but because of his own purpose and grace.
2 Timothy 1:9
So, I ask again. Are you experiencing abundant life according to the promise of Jesus?
If not, consider how you are living and who you are living for.
Lord Jesus, bless me with the faith and boldness to live totally for You
no longer for myself. Teach me the truth about truly living for Your name’s sake.

Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s verses: 1 Timothy 6:11-21
[It would be good to read from your Bible today. We are doing something a bit different. But if you must, click the reference above to read online.]

Paul closes his first letter to Timothy with urgency. An inspired list of instructions and warnings. Outbursts of praise to God and affection for the church. This passage has something for everyone. Instead of me telling you what I hear Him saying, spend some time listening for what He has to say to you. Take a few minutes, ten to twenty, and meditate on this passage.

Begin with a prayer asking God to speak to you: Your servant is listening…
Read the passage through. Out loud if possible.
Read it again.
Pay attention to words or phrases which seem highlighted or louder to you.
Read it one more time.
Whatever phrase or word catches your attention, meditate on it, repeat it in your mind. Write it down.
Focus on the phrase or word asking God what He’s telling you.
Dig deeper into the word or phrase. If it’s a single word, look it up in the dictionary. If a phrase, consider what it is saying to you personally. Investigate to see if the word or phrase is used in another place in the Bible using a concordance. BibleGateway.com is a great tool for this. In the search box enter your word or phrase (enter phrases in “quotation marks”) and click the search button.
Respond to what you hear.
If you don’t hear anything during your time of meditation, don’t worry. Be open to Him the rest of the day. Continue to listen.

I have prayed for those who will take the time to practice this spiritual discipline of meditation. You are not alone. He is listening and is faithful to respond.

Grace be with you all.
1 Timothy 5:21
Father God, open my heart to hear what You want to speak to me today.
What is it I urgently need to know?

Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:1-10
[Open up your Bible or click the reference to open up BibleGateway.com.]

But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:6
Serving those you work for with respect in Jesus’s name: godliness.
Teaching what Jesus taught, even when others disagree: godliness.
Understanding the gospel is not a means to money: godliness.
Practicing godliness with contentment: Great gain.
Do you serve those you work for with joy?
Are you willing to confront those teaching lies?
Do you understand that you can’t take it with you?
If Yes is your answer to these questions, you are on the path of godliness.
But do you practice your faith with contentment? 
Or do your circumstances determine your mood?
Godliness with contentment is great gain.
Godliness is rooted in accepting God’s sovereignty and purpose for everything in your life. Being confident that all He allows is for your good and His glory.
Accepting God as who He is and who we are before Him brings contentment, peace, fulfillment no matter what circumstances we find ourselves and no matter whether we are rich or poor.
Godliness is knowing we can’t take anything from this world with us, except what we have gained through faith in God.
“…And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. …” —Jesus
Matthew 6:18-21 ESV
Father God, You alone know the extent of my faith
and the limits of my godliness. Increase my capacity for both.
Free me from the emotional bond to the things of this world.
Free me to serve You in love and with grace.
Teach me to store up eternal treasures and
truly experience the contentment of godliness.

Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 5:12-25
[Read the verses before you read the rest. Open up the link to read online or open up your Bible.]

Keep yourself pure.
1 Timothy 5:22
Pure. The Greek translated as pure means pertaining to being without moral defect or blemish and hence pure (Geek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains, Louw-Nida).
In a fallen world, as fallen people, where none are without sin, this is clearly not something we can achieve on our own. Jesus is the only One who purifies and makes us white as snow. But there are things we can do to keep ourselves pure once Jesus has washed us clean:
Be obedient to His Word.
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:9 ESV

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth…
1 Peter 1:22 ESV
Recognize your sin and come to Him with a repentant heart.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, 
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; 
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:2-7 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 ESV
Memorize His Word.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11 NIV
Guard your mouth.
When there are many words, transgression is not lacking,
but the prudent are restrained in speech.
Proverbs 10:19 NASB95
Be careful where you look and focus your attention.
“The eye is the lamp of the body.
So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.
If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!…” —Jesus
Matthew 6:22 ESV
Guard your thought life, don’t let your mind wander.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ…
2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
Test what you hear against the Word by the power of the Holy Spirit.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit,
according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world,
and not according to Christ.
Colossians 2:8 ESV
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit.
You must test them to see of the spirit they have comes from God.
For there are many false prophets in the world.
1 John 4:1 NLT
These are a few of our responsibilities in maintaining the purity Christ blesses us with at our conversion. They are important to our faith and our witness.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8 ESV
Share ways you keep yourself pure. Write them in the Comment Box. Click the post title and scroll to the bottom to find the box. Follow the directions.
Father God, I want to see You clearly and for others to see You through me.
Teach me to keep my way pure. And thank You for Your forgiveness in Christ Jesus.