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Category Archives: 2 Timothy

2 Timothy 3:14-17

But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
2 Timothy 3:14-17

Dear God, on a scale of 1-10, I wonder how surprised Paul would be to know this letter to Timothy is now scripture to me. That there is a New Testament that stands next to the Old Testament.

There’s an important aspect to this passage that I think can get easily overlooked. Verse 14 starts out by saying the people who taught Timothy are an important part of what he has learned. There are a lot of different types of teachers, and even those who are wrong or bad can be well-meaning. I’m sure a lot of the Pharisees were well-meaning, but they were influenced by their teachers. As for me, I am influenced by my teachers. Those who I submit myself when it comes to church, teaching, and even commentary through podcasts and articles are an influence on my life. I have to be careful to whom I expose myself.

I think that is one reason that these personal times with you are important. It’s me, scripture, and the Holy Spirit. Not that I am trustworthy on my own. I can be as flawed as any teacher. But I think these are the moments when the Holy Spirit can speak to me in a still small voice and guide me into your truth at any given time.

Father, thank you for the scripture and the way you laid it out. Thank you for the stories of flawed and failed individuals. Thank you for the rules, but also for the grace. Thank you for preserving these letters from Paul; the stories Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John compiled; the psalms and proverbs captured in the Old Testament; the stories of Israel’s failures and subsequent repentance; etc. Thank you for loving me through all of this. Now, help me to take it into the world. Help me to be a good teacher simply in my role as your ambassador. Keep me from heresy and from hurting your kingdom with my own foolishness. Do it all for your glory, Father.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2021 in 2 Timothy

 

2 Timothy 1:11-18

And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.

As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.
2 Timothy 1:11-18

Dear God, it’s special when we can look back and see how you put people in our lives through whom you changed us forever. You out Paul in Timothy s life. You even used John Mark in Paul’s life towards the end, even though Paul and Barnabas split over Mark years before. Now you were using Onesiphorus and his family to bless Paul. No one does it on their own.

I had lunch with a wealthy, successful man this week who came from humble beginnings. He rattled off at least five people in our time together as he told me about his life. All of them showed him mercy and kindness. I know my father has had similar people in his life. I have had them too.

So first, thank you for what you have done for me through others. Second, please help me be that person for other people. Start with my wife and children. Then my family. My coworkers. My friends. Even those in our community who will benefit from volunteers or charitable giving that I do who will never know me. I was reading in a book earlier today by Skye Jethani called What if Jesus was Serious about the idea that the kingdom of heaven to which Jesus refers is actually all around us now. So as I participate in your kingdom coming on earth, right now, use me to be what you need for others, and please help me to not miss the blessing or assistance you are giving me through others.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2021 in 2 Timothy

 

2 Timothy 1:8-9

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

2 Timothy 1:8-9

Dear God, I wonder what Paul would have to say to modern American Christians. What kind of suffering would he call us to? What kinds of sacrifices? How would he admonish us? What criticisms would he have? What exhortations? And then the best question of all, how would we respond?

Sometimes, I almost feel like the kid who is left alone at home without supervision. Sure, I’m doing most things right. The house is still standing. I’m not throwing any wild parties. But how much is there that I’m not doing? I’m not cleaning my room like my parents want me to. I’m not making my bed. I’m not eating healthily. I’m letting the seeds of lethargy grow.

Taking that analogy, I think the church (and I, as part of the church) is doing that right now. We are doing the worship services. We have some programs that serve people. But are we really willing to get into the weeds with people? Are we willing to expose ourselves to the suffering of others and perhaps even suffer ourselves as we serve them? I have to say that I doubt Paul would only have positive things to say to me.

Father, this is all a process, but help me to make progress in this process. Show me in this moment what I am supposed to do to serve you by serving others. Help me to know how to bring your light, hope, grace, joy, and peace to others so that they, in turn, might find the wonder that is found in submitting to you and your grace.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2021 in 2 Timothy

 

Mothers of the Bible — Lois and Eunice

[Paul to Timothy] I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.
2 Timothy 1:5

Dear God, when I sat down to start praying to you about these two faithful women this morning (Timothy’s grandmother and mother, respectively), I thought of the song “Legacy” by Nichole Nordeman.

“Legacy” by Nichole Nordeman

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
And you could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all the who’s-who’s and so-and-so’s
That used to be the best at such and such,
It wouldn’t matter much.
I won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights,
We all need an ‘Atta boy’ or ‘Atta girl’
But in the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world.

I want to leave a legacy,
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

I don’t have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such
Will soon enough destroy.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

Not well-traveled, not well-read
Not well-to-do, or well-bred.
Just want to hear instead,
Well done, good and faithful one

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me.

Source: LyricFind

Songwriter: James Newton Howard

I like how this song begins and ends with the same line: “I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me.” I look at faithful women like Lois and Eunice, and I’m sure they liked a good compliment as much as the next person. I certainly like compliments. But what is it that we remember about them 2,000 years later? And even if we didn’t rememer them by name, what is the legacy they left? In fact, Eunice married a gentile. How did Lois feel about that at the time? Was this a rebellious phase for Eunice? But then her faith apparently became very important to her at some point because we can see it in how she raised Timothy.

Being a person of faith is about just showing up and being faithful over and over again. Loving you over and over again. Loving our spouses. Loving our children. Loving our neighbors. Then that legacy might not get attached to my name or my photograph, but it will ripple through time. Father, help me to be that person today.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2020 in 2 Timothy, Mothers of the Bible

 

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2 Timothy 1:13-14

Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.
2 Timothy 1:13-14

Dear God, I wonder what it was like to be a disciple of Paul. I mean, the guy was in prison and seemed to completely accept the idea that that is where you had him. Society considered Paul a radical to the extent that it put him in jail and ultimately killed him. I never thought of it before, but that fact had to be sitting in the back of Timothy’s mind all of the time. Would that be his fate as well? Would listening to Paul’s teaching and loving you land him in prison? What kind of a life can one build with that?

I have to admit that I just can’t relate to this, and I’m grateful for it. My faith in and worship of you doesn’t cost me very much in terms of material things. In my community, I am able to live out my faith without disruptions to my marriage or my work. I’m not looking over my shoulder to see if someone is ready to throw me in jail, so listening to Paul’s teaching through scripture has only upside for me.

Father, maybe my faith in you costs me more than I realize, but right now, sitting here, it feels like an amazing gift. I’m sorry for when I let you down, get petty, or try to promote myself over others. I’m sorry when my ego takes control. I want to be all yours so that I only think of your glory and not my own.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2019 in 2 Timothy

 

2 Timothy 4:2-4

Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

2 Timothy 4:2-4

Dear God, verse 3 hardly seems prophetic. I cannot imagine a time when most people would not follow their own desires and look for teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. That’s just how we roll.

During the last presidential election, I saw everyone, including me, seeking out an echo chamber that would affirm our point of view on the candidate. Whether it was only getting news from specific news sources we knew probably saw things the way we saw them, visiting with friends who were going to vote like us, or only following people on social media who believed like we did, it was a surprise for one side that one candidate won the popular vote because “everyone they knew” was voting for the other person, and it was a surprise to the other group when the other person won the electoral college.

I use this as an example because I think social media and its ability to customize what we consume from the Internet is helping to only entrench all of us into only hearing what we want to hear and causing us to lose the skill of listening to an opposing argument without being offended. Then, when it comes to putting ourselves into a position where someone comes along to speak your truth, it becomes even harder for us to hear them because our hearts are even harder and our ability to process an opposing view is diminished.

Father, I like to think I am more evolved and open minded than that, but I fell into the same trap during the last election that a lot of other people did. I love to think that I am smart and wise, but the truth is that I need to hear from the Holy Spirit, I need to be challenged, I sometimes need to receive rebuke, sometimes I need to repent, and sometimes I need to change my perspective, paradigm, or opinion. So I submit this prayer, that you will give me what you need me to have, teach me what you need me to know, and motivate me to do what you need me to do.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2018 in 2 Timothy

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17 

Dear God, it’s interesting to note that at this point Paul was referring to Old Testament scripture only and didn’t realize that his own letters would one day be considered Scripture. I wonder if that would have scared him a little or made him doubt his statement here. I know he was confident about himself and his place in your church, but I doubt he would have been confident enough to say that his writings should be taken to be Scripture. It’s a reminder that these books were written by real people, and while I believe they are divinely inspired and useful to teach me, the writers probably have more in common with me than I realize. 
But to get to the point of Paul’s message here, Scripture can only be useful if we actually use it and use it effectively. There are many ways to do this. Some just sit down and read it. Some take copious notes. Some participate in Bible study classes that guide them through it. Some read commentaries. And some, like me, use it as a jumping off point to journal prayers to you. 
Father, teach us to use your Scripture to know you and to find the relationship with you that we need. Be glorified in me and speak to me in these times with the words you want me to hear so that I might be the man you need me to be in any given situation. 
In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2017 in 2 Timothy