2 Timothy 2 Part 1–Discipleship

One of the most critical parts of living the life of a Christian is passing what we have gained from the Lord on to others. Paul reminded Timothy to take what he had received and pass it to people who will, in turn, pass it to others.  Christ’s message is valuable and as we incorporate it into our lives, we are changed forever. That change comes from within and yields eternal fruit.  When we pass what we have learned to family, friends, and associates; they grow and change and become like Christ.  Then like the concentric, circles in a pond, the ripples move out and grow and ultimately change the world around them. 
 
In addition, As disciples, we incorporate disciplines into our lives that allow us to keep sin at bay. We then focus our attention on being the best workers, parents, and spouses we can be. That also is infectious and impacts our communities for the gospel.  We simply cannot give up or give in to the attacks of our enemy. Instead, we must cling to the hope set before us and conduct our lives in a manner worthy of our calling.  
 
God Bless You
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

I Timothy 6 Part 2–Fighting the Good Fight

Paul’s final command to Timothy was huge! As a man of God, run from evil and pursue righteousness. Fight the good fight!!! As General Patton would say, “This is war boys!!!” As Christ faced death, He stood firm and made no excuse.  Paul calls Timothy to do the same.  Face death and make a good confession that Jesus Christ is Lord. Paul further reminds Timothy, let those in your group be God-focused and not focused on the material things. Let the rich worship God not their stuff; understanding God gave them what they have to enjoy and to be generous with others. Use the resources God gave to help others and honor God–by doing that one will lay up treasures in Heaven.
 
That reality is still the same.  This is war and as we march forward, we must do so with a righteous heart and a spirit focused on God. We live as warriors facing death every day.  We use all the resources we have been given to honor God.  We need to hold on loosely to the material things God has blessed us with.  Not fearing the enemy, but treating the enemy with righteous respect for the evil that he is, and the enemy’s focused desire to end us and our mission. if we will, then in God’s time He will lift us up. We will be the Lord’s ambassadors and will leave an impact and legacy for generations to come!
 
God Bless You

 But you, a man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.

Grace be with you all.

I Timothy 5 Part 1–Treating People With Dignity

Paul continues his instruction to Timothy by reminding Him that all people should be treated with respect. Old Men should be treated as fathers, young me as brothers, etc. No matter one’s personal sentiment, it is critical that the church act with kindness, tenderness, and wisdom.  In addition, the Church needs to be ready to serve the poor, the infirm and the abandoned.  BUT, not if those people have a family to care for them. Part of treating folks with respect is accepting the responsibility to care for one’s own–even when it is inconvenient.  Paul also reminded Timothy to make sure those in need were properly placed in that category–not there simply to take advantage.  
 
In our current world, many have lost the ability to be respectful.  Unless there is a personal advantage, our culture dehumanizes about every group with need. The old, the poor, the abandoned and the unborn all have been tossed aside as useless and treated as simple inconveniences. The church must do better. We need to treat all people with proper care and respect.  We need to champion the ones left behind.  We need to honor those that have faced life’s battles.  We need to live lives that show kindness and selflessness. We need to be kind, selfless and respectful.  We are to be in the world, but not of the world.
 
God Bless You

 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and  continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

I Timothy 4 Part 1–Spiritual Fitness

Paul reminded Timothy to be on guard for false teachers.  These leaders promote very structured and sacrificial lives for their congregants and yet, have no desire to follow the codes they espouse. They promise the world in exchange for being treated like royalty; but in reality, they intend to deliver nothing.  Paul urged Timothy to stand up to such teaching and to the leaders that make their fortunes promoting it.  
 
In addition, Paul reminds Timothy to remain spiritually fit.  Paul does not diminish the value of physical discipline, but, wants Timothy to note that spiritual fitness is more important. Its importance lies in the eternal nature of the outcome.  Our physical health is as temporal as life itself. The spiritual fitness is preparation for the eternal.  We need to think eternally, live eternally and act eternally.  We can never be afraid to press on to take hold of the Spirit’s teaching, leading and comfort.
 
In short, we have to make the main thing, the main thing. We cannot lose sight of what God has taught and promised.  We have to live our lives focused on becoming like Christ and honoring Him in the way we work, the way we act, and in the way we live!
 
God Bless You

 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

I Timothy 3 Part 1–Desire to Lead

Leadership is critical in any organization.  In the body of Christ, the character of a leader is as critical as the leader’s skills and gifts. Paul told Timothy to do a careful search of the character of church leaders. They must live Godly lives, have a noble character, display restraint, gentleness amicability and have families that do the same. Are leaders supposed to be perfect? In Paul’s mind, he knew no leaders–especially himself, were perfect. But, due to the scrutiny and the importance of the role, Leaders need to be a cut above.
 
In our society, we have forgotten that character is often what distinguishes great leaders. Our culture looks at wealth, celebrity, charisma and social status as the hallmark of great leaders. In spite of that, there are many folks of amazing character that rise to the tops of their field and remain unassuming, noncontroversial and humble.  They work hard and are extremely gifted, but see leadership as a wonderful honor; one not to be taken lightly.  They have a lasting influence on those that they lead, and they are recognized and remembered for their legacy and character–not their title and wealth.  God calls his leaders to be servants, He prepares them, promotes them and uses them to shape the church and the community to become like Him.  Thank you, servant leaders, and thank You, Lord, for providing them.
 
God Bless You

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

I Timothy 1 part 1–Standing Guard for the Faith

Paul loved the Church at Ephesus. He spent nearly 2 years there teaching the Gospel and building a body of believers focused upon Christ, His grace and their amazing Journey. Paul knew, however, that as soon as he departed, the Judaizers and gnostics would attempt to undo the work he and his team spent in building the Church at Ephesus.  Paul charged young Timothy to be the voice of grace and reason when others would try to muddy the waters.  Paul reminded Timothy that the love we have comes from a pure heart, a clean conscience, and a sincere faith. Talks of law based religion and a deeper knowledge that would somehow create better Christians flew in the face of the very idea of grace.   Checklist religion does not, neither then or now, fit the Gospel story. So Paul left Timothy on duty to speak the truth in love and move the church forward in faith.  Even John in Revelation spoke to the church’s faith and service.
 
Then and now, we must also remain on guard to assure we preach the Gospel of grace through faith in Christ! (Ephesians 2:8-9)  It is so easy to fall into the trap of Christian pride that comes from”Superior Knowledge” or checking the boxes of Churchianity! Paul was that guy! Pharisee of Pharisees! God changed him and used him to introduce Christ to the world at large. We, like Paul, need to trust in God’s leadership. We need to exercise peace, patience, and trust in the Lord’s leadership and His power. As we do, we will be on post; ready to call other gospels that add to grace–wrong doctrine and lies. We speak the truth in love and honor God with our lives and our families. Help me, Lord to be watchful and mindful of your grace and leading!
 
God Bless You

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship[a] from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desirings to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,[b] liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound[c] doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

II Thessalonians 2 Part 2–Artificial Vs Truth

I was praying with a good friend yesterday. During our discussion, he brought up the topic of artificial intelligence. Artificial literally means a very realistic but NOT authentic copy of the truth. What Satan has done his entire existence is to make artificial likenesses of God’s holy truth.  Eve was tempted to be like God through eating the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  The truth was that Adam and Eve were already like God. He made them in His image. The artificial knowledge they received brought sin and death–everything that was NOT God!  Since that time, Satan has used artificial means to fool people into rejecting God–again and again. Usually, Satan’s trick is to ask the same two questions–“Did God Really Say…?” and  “Don’t You want to like a god?”  That is why most sin circles back to Lust of the flesh (Control, gratification, and power) Lust of the eyes (Power, independence and did God really Say…) and Pride of Life (Power, control and being God!)
 
Satan has been using these tactics since the dawn of time. God allows people to be fooled and blinded by them.  But, Christ freed us from the artificial means to “be like God”. When we receive Christ in our lives, we become new creations. We are hidden in Christ–free from sin and death.  But, we are still tempted and do fall, from time to time, back into the trap. In that place, we must stand firm in the power of the spirit; and, we must cling to the truth. We do not need any of the artificial stimuli the enemy offers to receive life. We simply need to trust and follow the Lord and allow Him to transform us into the true image of God. He intended such a life for His chosen. 
 
We must then stand firm in God’s truth. We do not have to believe the lies and fall into the trap of deception our enemy sets each and every day. God reminds us that if we will resist the enemy, he will flee. It is never easy, but it is always effective. Satan’s most beautiful artificial copy can never compare to God’s reality. What is more, when put to the test, Satan’s lies are easily exposed and fall apart.  We simply must trust God, follow our Lord’s lead, and focus upon His truth!!!
 
God Bless You

0

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Stand Firm

13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits[b] to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings[c] we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.