Encouragement for the new year and the new life

This is from my blog...hope it works.

Recently the wife and I have started a Bible reading practice of reading through an entire book in the Bible each day, and a consistent reading through of another book in the Bible…perhaps 2-3 chapters at a time together. We’re reading the entire book of 1st Timothy each day, and we read two or three chapters from Genesis. In my own time I have been reading through 2nd Timothy as well.

The imprisoned and ailing Apostle Paul knew that his time on earth was coming to an end soon, and he was writing to exhort and encourage a younger, Gentile believer named Timothy who was the current leading elder in Ephesus. Timothy was going through a hard struggle. The Christian church in Asia was falling away from the teachings of the apostles, and was slipping away into immorality and false doctrine which approved of the immorality. That was no doubt stressful enough, but when you take into consideration who Timothy was…or was going to be…you can see the extra stress. Paul’s earlier ministry and “headquarters” had been in Ephesus, and Timothy as the leading elder there was chosen to take Paul’s place. He was stepping into the shoes of the Apostle Paul…no pressure there, right? You know, when the Apostle Paul (1st Timothy 5:23) tells you to no longer drink only water, but drink a little bit of wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities, that would indicate you’re under so much stress that it is affecting you emotionally and physically. In his first epistle to Timothy we can see what was going on. In chapter one verse 3 he told Timothy to stay in Ephesus (hinting maybe Timothy was wanting to get out) so that he may charge some that they teach no other doctrine. In chapter four he tells Timothy that many will depart from the faith (while retaining the name of the faith) and give heed to “deceiving spirits” and “doctrines of demons.” This makes it clear who was at work. It is the same deceiver who twisted the word of God to Eve. It was from his dark Roman prison cell that the Apostle Paul writes this inspired message of exhortation, encouragement and instruction to Timothy…and from his words to Timothy we can also have equally true exhortation, encouragement and instruction for the new year…and for our new life in Christ. This will probably be spread out over about three or four blogs.

In 2nd Timothy chapter 1 Paul greets us in a very specific way. He is Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God. That is no small thing. He wasn’t simply someone who felt a call into ministry. He had a frightening, blinding encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Himself (Acts 9.) He was to be the hand-chosen Apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. Not only was He divinely appointed to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, but also divinely appointed and equipped to provide sound doctrine for the church (Acts 2:42, 1st Timothy 4:6, 6:14, 2nd Timothy 1:11, 2:2, 3:10). It is not our place to judge Paul, nor our place to take him lightly or re-interpret what he wrote. Today, we find ourselves as Bible-believing Christians in an atmosphere like that of Paul and Timothy. The modern church of America has declared its freedom from the authority given to the apostles by Christ and the doctrines as clearly laid out by the apostles, all the while still claiming to be followers of Christ. As in the days of Paul and Timothy, those who advocate not deviating from doctrine and morality as laid down by the apostles are, at the very least, ignored and dismissed, and at the most (in America) mocked, attacked and ridiculed.

This brings us to Paul’s first exhortation to Timothy in the epistle of 2nd Timothy. After affirming the true faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother, he then re-affirms his confidence in Timothy’s faith. Then, in verse 6, he exhorts Timothy to once again “stir up the gift of God which is in you.” Timothy had been called and equipped to step into Paul’s place to proclaim the gospel and to continue to call the church to follow and obey the gospel and apostles writings. Discouragement can be powerful on us. The modern church, which appeals to the wants of the culture (and thus develops a theology that matches) mocks and discredits those who simply believe and obey the gospel and the New Testament writings as they are given. As human beings, this has an impact upon us, especially when we see it affecting people we know. In our discouragement and disappointment there is the temptation to pullback…to withdraw. We are tempted to say “What’s the use? What good am I doing?” That is exactly what the deceiver wants us to do! That is not what the Lord has saved us to do, called us to do, nor equipped us to do. We are not called to the path of least resistance! The narrow way is still the way we are to pursue and point others to, and the wide, broad way is still the way that leads to destruction. Let us stand up and “stir up” that which is within us that believes the word of God as it is given…that which wants to obey it. That is the spirit which the Lord has given us. In verse 7 we have not been given a spirit of fear…that is what the world and the deceiver wants us to do…to fear, doubt, fall back and despair. Rather, we have been given a spirit of “power,” “love,” and a “sound mind.” The New Testament Greek word for “power” is where we get our word “dynamite” from. It refers to an expanding energy that makes an impact. As we stir up the gift within us and obey the Lord, the power of the Lord will work through it. Even negative reactions indicate that this spirit of power is at work. The spirit of “love” is not the warm, friendly, huggy kind of love. It is “agape,” and it focuses on the willingness to sacrifice our comforts and pleasures…and as we do this He will strengthen us. Lastly, He will give us a “sound mind,” not in the sense of mental health, but the word points toward having the right priorities. The Lord will, by His Spirit, enable us to keep our focus and priorities straight as we trust and obey.
Good thread! Thanks for sharing it.

New testament love, is the love that God loves us with, and was deposited within our spirits when we were born again (Romans 5:5)

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

Blessings to you and yours
The Lord will, by His Spirit, enable us to keep our focus and priorities straight as we trust and obey.
Trust and Obey is the Big Key.
This starts in the little things that people shuck to the side as meaningless and as nothing But To God it is Big.

Yes Sir, it's Always going come down to Trust and Obedience.