Every Moment (Titus 1-2)

Basically how we should be interacting with each other at all times. I like how chapter 2 (I’m not getting into roles here) gives ways for everyone to be in discipleship/mentor relationships. Paul has this vision in his mind for how the church was going to function. It is a self-sustaining, multiplying entity. And the best part is that through the different functioning parts glory is given to God. Because, really, that is the end goal of basically anything we do.

It’s easy to forget that everything we do is for God. All the things that we do should be to serve him. This is something that has been standing out a lot for me as I read Paul’s letters. He was completely connected to God, and everything he did related back to his relationship with God and how he was saved through Christ. It was a constant, present knowledge that he needed God in every moment, and that every moment belonged to God.

 

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Know It (2 Timothy 3-4)

There are so many passages on last days and the second coming of Christ in these letters…

Over the last year, I have begun challenging myself to know scripture better. Growing up a pastor’s kid I’ve read a lot and heard a lot, but I don’t know where to find a lot of the verses or passages that I want right when I need them. Part of learning has been specific memorization, but a lot has come from just reading consistently. The more often you read the more familiar you become! It makes it easier, then, just as Paul told Timothy, to live out what you know.

Also, since the scripture is fit for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness (3:16), Timothy is then able to actually fulfil the role that Paul asks him to. He is equipped because of what he has read, learned, and now knows.

As a side note, Paul seems almost desperate for Timothy to come to him. It is easy to see why when he explains how he is alone, which is kind of sad. Again, though, he continues to focus on how through what he is doing even know, Christ is glorified. Such faith.

Christ at All Times (2 Timothy 1-2)

I am not ashamed of the name above all names
For it has the power to heal and to save
A strength for the weary, peace to the troubled soul.
Peace to the troubled soul.
It’s the name of Jesus. It’s the name of Jesus.
Mightier than mountains, He lives among the weak.
Ruler eternal, a lover to me.
Jesus, name above all. Jesus, name above all.
– Name Above All (Vineyard)

I was reminded of the lyrics of this song as I was reading Paul’s writing. In so many circles I’m a part of, it isn’t hard to be unashamed. Actually, it is easier to be unashamed of the gospel than it is to be ashamed of it! Clearly that isn’t the situation Paul is talking about here. It is the times when we are out and about and the name of Jesus is not looked upon with favour. These are the times when we actually need the reminder of who it is we serve. The challenge to pursue the higher things like faith, love, and peace.

Paul somehow figured out how to latch onto the hope he found in Christ so that it was real to him every day. Whether he was embraced by people or persecuted heavily, he was able to rest in knowing that God had called him to do these works to further the glory and gospel of Christ. I think that it is this reason that Paul is a role model to so many. His ability to rely on Christ in all times.

Fight the Good Fight (1 Timothy 5-6)

I feel like there is much to apply to our lives within the concluding thoughts of chapter 6.  First off, not worrying a whole lot about people who reject the message that we bring. If we know that our message is from God, we shouldn’t worry about people arguing for the sake of having an argument. Also, not worrying about achieving riches (or popularity?) in life, but instead being content with what we need in Christ.

Paul’s challenge to Timothy is going to be written on something and stuck in a place I can see it, because it is so good. To honour Christ and live his life thus is a definite challenge, but it is the necessary step for Timothy to be taking.

“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” – 6:11-12

Walk the Talk (1 Timothy 3-4)

If we want to teach others and impart wisdom that we have gleaned in our lives, our actions can either back us up or disqualify what we are saying. It makes sense, then, that Paul also tells Timothy to live above reproach. To continue to live his life in a way that others will see and respect means that it will be easier for him to instruct the church and continue to correct their doctrine.

This whole section (4:6-16) is also applicable for most of us today in it’s reminders to continue to live with Christ the focus and centre of what we do, especially if we are in positions of leadership. However, the only way we can persevere and do all these things and act in confidence is remembering that we have our hope set in Christ and that it doesn’t matter what others may think or say. If we lead by example, it is easier for others to follow.

Faith and Knowledge (1 Timothy 1-2)

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:5

The goal of this whole mission is pure hearts and sincere faith. It seems so simple, how could the church be missing it? Because things get in the way. There’s a reason we get hit in the face every time we read about childlike faith. Doctrine and theology are cool and important and all that jazz, but head knowledge is worthless if the heart is not sincere in love and faith. Both aspects are necessary, but it is easy to miss one or the other.

Faith must equal knowledge; we must learn to walk the way we talk. I find that I continually must refocus myself on God and remind myself that simple trust is necessary, even though all the complicated things seem to be pulling me in other directions.

Rely and Encourage (2 Thessalonians 3)

Even in the event of someone not following what they were told and leeching off of other people, the Thessalonians are told to still approach them like a brother, not an enemy. Yes, they begin to distance themselves to hope that he begins to understand and see the err in his ways, but they do not consider him to be an enemy of them

Again, Paul refers to God being the centre of everything because it is him who directs our thoughts and paths. It amazes me that he has such faith that it is evident in every single thing he says that we should be relying on him to help us.

Jesus Changes Lives (1 Thessalonians 1-2)

An interesting letter, this one. It’s kind of neat to see how the Thessalonians are continuing to grow after the last letter. It is a common story in the early church, but one that still amazes me when I read it, that they would be thriving so much under persecution (and apparently someone saying that Christ had already returned!). I said it a few posts ago, but I’ll say it again. Clearly lives were being changed here, and it was evident.

Also, I like how everything they tell the Thessalonians to do is for the glory of Christ Jesus. It makes sense to continue to push them to greater things but always to bring it back to Jesus. It’s a reminder for me too – that everything I do be for his glory and not my own.

Eternity In Mind (1 Thessalonians 5)

And here we have my verse that I have on my blog!

I find it interesting that this letter includes comments on how we will be taken to heaven. It doesn’t seem like a huge issue to me for newer believers, but it appropriately gives us reason to continue to build each other up and strive to live for Christ in all moments. When we have eternity in mind, we look at the present things in a different light. It makes more sense to persevere through persecution, to serve Christ in all aspects possible, and to encourage others to continue on in faith. It’s also something I’ve been trying to do more of lately.

Brotherly Love (1 Thessalonians 3-4)

It is super encouraging to read these chapters. The excitement Paul has that the believers have remained in the faith and that he gets to continue to encourage them is easy to see. I love that the encouragement tells them what to do, but also commends them for what they are already doing. Also the fact that they are known for their brotherly love which they learned from God. It is great that they have this base because it makes all the other things they’re told to do easier. When we have a community of brotherly love, we are able to continue to strive together to live the lives we are called to, to be transparent with each other, and to challenge each other. Bravo Thessalonica, Bravo.