Posts Tagged ‘Second Epistle to Timothy’

(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it – and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10

Back in the olden days of yore, much of the known world’s inhabited landscape was dotted with castles and walled cities. Towards the back of each – furthest from where enemy forces were most likely to approach and attack first – were large, tall, and strong towers in many locations.  They were the most heavily fortified and protected.

They were places where people could run to – to seek refuge and safety from invading armies.  Soldiers could come to regroup and rearm themselves with more munitions which were stored there.  These towers were called “keeps” – hence our modern phrase of “playing for keeps”.

God and Satan are “playing for keeps” daily.  Satan is trying to devour all of us and take us captive at will (1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Timothy 2:26).  The Lord is trying to deliver us  – by us doing His will (Luke 11:2).  The wicked one launches his fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) at our bulwarks of belief – trying to set them ablaze and burn them down to the ground.

When we feel like we’re being attacked on all sides by this world’s warfare and worries – the right thing to always do – is run back to the strong tower of the Lord’s name (lead verse). There we can be safe and regroup.  Then we can go back out into the world as Christian soldiers with a new coat of God’s armor on (Ephesians 6:11-17).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees – and of the Herodians to catch him in his words. – Mark 12:13

Jesus certainly had his critics and doubters while he lived upon this earth. Some certain Pharisees and Herodians were hoping they would catch Christ in his words – that he would slip up and contradict something he had said – so they could at least justify to themselves he wasn’t who he claimed to be. Likewise, Christians today certainly have their critics and doubters. Some certain unbelievers are most likely hoping we’ll slip up and contradict something we say – so they can at least justify to themselves why they continue to live as they do. They’re not sure we even know who we are – or what we’re talking about – so why would they ever want to join in?

We are to study to show ourselves approved unto God – workmen who need not be ashamed – rightly dividing the Word of truth when we present it (2 Timothy 2:15). So we understand what we are saying and affirming before we speak or write words to others. So we don’t come across to the unbelieving as just a bunch of irritating and jangling noise-makers – but not much of anything else (1 Timothy 1:6-7). Confusion and contradiction don’t go far in reaching and presenting a consensus in any matter or subject – Christianity included. It usually just leads to a bunch of vain babbling – which only increases ungodliness among believers (2 Timothy 2:16).

It’s like the riot at the Ephesus theater. Apparently, something really important was going on inside. However, many didn’t really seem to understand what. Some cried out one thing – some another – but a large majority did not know why they had come together to begin with (Acts 19:29-32). Are we the same today as believers? Doesn’t a confused noise coming from Christians – of which God is not the author of – only serve to send a message to the lost that a large part of us don’t even seem to know why we’ve come together to begin with (Isaiah 9:5, 1 Corinthians 14:33)? When we appear this way to the unbelieving – won’t many most likely just be chomping at the bit to catch us in our words?

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(Scripture from the KJV)

– Of making books there is no end … and much study is a weariness of the flesh. – Ecclesiastes 12:12

Plato once said that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Well, perhaps it should be the brother of education and learning as well. Abraham Lincoln never went to college. In a short autobiography written in 1859, the future 16th president described his education like this: “All my formal schooling took place when I was young – in the way of reading, writing, and ciphering. The little advance I now have upon this state of education – I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.” (Source: American Presidents (11th Edition) by David C. Whitney).

Especially in modern times, more and more people seem to be acquiring more and more knowledge – often at great expense – simply for the sake of doing so.  With the explosion of the internet in the past 20 years – we are bombarded daily with all kinds of information that must be filtered and processed by our limited minds.  Daily decisions get harder to make with this deluge of data. The prophet Daniel warned that in the last days, many will run to and fro – and knowledge will be increased (Daniel 12:4).

As Christians, we should always be very careful and prayerful that we are not learning a bunch of Bible verses – simply for the sake of learning them – without asking the Holy Spirit on how to compare them with other spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:13).  If we don’t, then we can easily and frequently start quoting them to others in an often – almost clinical “matter of fact” manner – to show off our Biblical “book knowledge” to others.   We are not in tune with the Holy Spirit as to if they actually apply to any circumstance or situation we are encountering.  

When we present the Word like this – it sometimes leads to nothing but back and forth exchanges of our Scriptural “smarts” or “stupidity”. They usually fall on mostly deaf ears. It only serves to puff us up – or pull us down against each other (1 Corinthians 8:1). Sadly, we can spend years like this – always searching and learning Scripture – thinking we have eternal life but never being able to come unto the knowledge of the truth (John 5:39, John 16:13, 2 Timothy 3:7, 1 John 2:27).

Too much knowledge and too little love can kill common sense – even among Christians (1 Corinthians 8:1). Verses we may use as our own personal mantras to get through difficult times can be totally meaningless to someone who is lost. Love always edifies others – but too much Bible learning can paralyze us from responding the way God has commanded us to first and foremost. Remember love covers all sin (Proverbs 10:12, 1 Peter 4:8).

Instead of being sensitive to every situation we encounter daily as Christians – as to how we can show others God’s love immediately – we’re searching our brains to find what we think is that one verse that will somehow be the perfect and quick solution to whatever the difficulty, problem, or trial may be. This is very close to striving about words to no profit (2 Timothy 2:14). We can get so overly focused on trying to find and say the right thing – that we can forget that all we have to do sometimes is go the extra mile with someone – with our mouths mostly shut (Matthew 5:41).

Yes, we are to study to show ourselves approved to God – but not to others (2 Timothy 3:15). As with any area of life we are directly involved in – we should be continually broadening our scope of knowledge – even if we may not be using it in our day-to-day lives. But if all we are doing is studying – and never showing others we’ve discovered how to apply what we’ve learned – we’re nothing more than talking heads. Is this how some who are lost see many Christians? Confucius once said, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”

Perhaps the last thing any unbelieving person wants to hear from us first is some verse we may like – but which they will probably forget as soon as we walk away. Wouldn’t they rather see us show them God’s love first – so they will remember it much longer than sharing a snippet of Scripture? And in the process of doing so – we may actually start comprehending and understanding a little better each time what God’s love really is – instead of just learning about it?

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(Scripture from the KJV)

– Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15

We have just ended a man-made day of thanks in America.  The world has now officially entered into a season of gift buying, giving, and receiving.  However, these are all gifts that will perish one day (Matthew 6:19).  The greatest gift ever given was forever.  It was not made by the workmanship of man – but God making Himself manifest in the flesh (John 1:14, 1 Timothy 3;16).  It is the gift of His only Son – our only hope of eternal life promised to us by Him before this world began (Titus 1:2). But this gift was not wrapped up in pretty paper – or colorful boxes with bows – neatly tucked under some tree.  Instead, it was human – hung and nailed nearly naked to a wooden cross for all to mock and scorn (Matthew 27:28-21).

This gift cannot be bought with our own gifts, money, works, or righteousness (2 Chronicles 19:7, Acts 8:20, Ephesians 2:9, Titus 3:5).  Our sins were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary (1 Corinthians 6:20).  It is a debt we can never repay (Romans 4:4).  Christmas is a time that comes at the end of the year – when we hope to receive gifts from family and friends.  Our salvation is a time that comes at the end – when Christ returns in His glory.  It is something we hope for until that time when God’s grace is finally brought to us at the revelation of His Son (Lamentations 3:26, Romans 4:16, Romans 8:24-25, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, 1 Peter 1:9,13, Revelation 12:10).

It is a free gift – it is not a free ride Matthew 7:14, Matthew 24:14, Luke 13:3,5, Luke 24:47, 2 Timothy 2:21-22, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 12:14).  Our own personal deliverance from hell was not God’s primary intention and purpose for this gift. Otherwise, why wouldn’t we all go to heaven the second we accept it? There are many things that accompany our eventual salvation (Hebrews 6:9) while we are still living on earth.  Much has been given and much is required (Luke 24:48).  It cost God everything to give us in the life of His only Son. It should cost us everything – including our own lives – to use (John 15:13).

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