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1 Timothy 6-2 Timothy 1: Timothy’s Fears Comfort Me

Ancient Rendering of Paul and Timothy

Ancient Rendering of Paul and Timothy

 

 

II Timothy 1 is actually a great comfort to me. 

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it. However, in this chapter it appears to me that Timothy has been having some struggles. He has been dealing with some fears regarding doing his work as an evangelist. Paul is lifting him up and encouraging him to stay on track.

Paul lets Timothy know about how much he has prayed for Timothy. He reminds him of his legacy of faith. More than that, instead of shaming Timothy for any seeking lack of faith, Paul affirms he knows the faith really is there. Timothy just needs to rely on it. He reminds Timothy of the miraculous gift of the Spirit he has through the laying on of Paul’s hands. That is, Timothy is not alone but the Spirit is working through him therefore he does not have a spirit of fear but a Spirit of power, love and self-control. He reminds Timothy that there is no need to be ashamed of the suffering of the Lord or of Paul. This suffering is no reason to think Timothy has ended up on the wrong side. Rather, he is on the winning side and needs to join in the suffering because despite all the suffering, Jesus Christ can be trusted with what Timothy and Paul committed to Him, that is, their souls.

This gets into II Timothy 2, but Paul reminds Timothy of the grace that is in Jesus.

Of course, all this information is really good. However, what comforts me the most is knowing I’m not alone. Even a great evangelist like Timothy had times of struggle. He had times when he needed to be provoked to love and good deeds by the likes of Paul. How easy it is for me to hit moments of despair because I don’t have a 24/7/365 powerful motivation to do what is right and do my work. Sometimes I have fears and struggles with preaching the truth, talking to others about the gospel and just generally doing the work of the Lord.

Don’t misunderstand, this chapter doesn’t give me permission to wallow in that. Rather, it simply lets me know that I’m not a loser because I have struggles. Rather, I’m like every other person who works in God’s kingdom. We all need encouragement at times. We all need to be stimulated, stirred up, spurred on and provoked. I may have struggles, but those struggles don’t mean I’m lost. They just mean I’m still living on earth. 

Therefore, this passage has a twofold help for me. First, I see that Timothy went through what I go through and I don’t have to feel alone. Second, I can also read Paul’s encouragement and be provoked to love and good deeds myself.

Hope this encourages you as well.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

November 18, 2008 Posted by | Comfort, Encouragement, Evangelism, II Timothy, perseverance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Thessalonians 3-4: Comfort One Another with These Words

There were a couple of things in today’s reading that stood out, but how can I bypass these chapters without following the command at the end of them to comfort and encourage you with these words:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to me the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:13-17 (ESV)

There are two things that comfort me in this passage. 

1. If we live by faith, we can die by faith.

We do not have to face death with fear. We believe Jesus died and was resurrected, we know we will be as well. We know death is not an end, but merely a transition. We are not abandoned by Jesus when we die. Rather, we go to be with Him and will always be with him. What a comfort.

2. There is more than this life.

Some days life is just frustrating. I wonder why anyone would remotely want to keep on dealing with it. The reason…there is more to life than this life. There is something worth striving for when this life is over. I don’t want to give up because a victory is coming and I want to be on the winning side when it happens. 

Be comforted. Life is tough, but the goal waiting for us is worth everything we go through. Death may be hard, but for us it is a victory.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Comfort, Death, Encouragement, I Thessalonians, resurrection | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 4-5: Getting Past Discouragement


“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

II Corinthians 4:7-10 (ESV)

I need this attitude. How easily I get distracted and discouraged in my service to God because things in life aren’t easy. I get sick. Someone gets mad at me. Someone says something unkind. Somebody leaves the congregation. Somebody misunderstands me. These things happen and I get depressed and sometimes wonder why I keep trying. 

But then I remember Paul. He went through real trouble. Shipwrecks, beatings, persecutions, imprisonments, attempts on his life, thorn in the flesh… He kept his head up. He kept on in faith because he could see the big picture. All these things happened, but none of them took salvation away. None of them took heaven away. None of them took the love of God away. 

Sure, bad things happened to him. But the worst thing didn’t happen. God did not forsake Him. God won’t forsake me. God won’t forsake you. 

I think too often we get bogged down about all the blessings we would like but haven’t received that we forget the great blessing we have received. Jesus died for us and washed our sins away. He has reserved a home in heaven for us who are protected by the power of God through faith. I’m not shopping for a car here. What more could I ask for to sweeten this deal any better? 

I just need to keep in mind that the life of Jesus is in me, if I stay in Him and don’t let Satan discourage me and get me to turn my back on my Savior.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC 

September 30, 2008 Posted by | Encouragement, II Corinthians, perseverance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment