Posts Tagged ‘Second Epistle to Timothy’

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart
2 Timothy 2:22

Youthful lusts are not limited to physical attraction. They include excessive desires for popularity, acceptance, worldly success, or academic achievement.

The lusts that Paul warns us against are any of the short-sighted cravings of youth for personal pleasure or gain, rather than for personal godliness. Youthful lusts include any hunger or ambition that distracts from our pursuit of true righteousness, faith, charity, and peace.

Interestingly, Paul is not content with our fleeing youthful lusts; he commands us, alternatively, to pursue hard after (the word “follow” is very strong in the original language) a pure-hearted devotion to God. We will not experience the vibrant, joyful, fulfilling Christian life until we are not only trying to avoid sin but are also seeking after Christ.

And one of the greatest encouragements for people as they pursue Christ is to follow after him with those that call on the Lord themselves out of a pure heart. Good friends are a great help to the Christian life, and are especially crucial when you are young.

So, young people, remember to flee away from sinful temptations, follow after Christ as your Lord, and look for good friends who will pursue Christ with you.

jesus calledEvil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of
2 Timothy 3:13-14

Not exactly an encouraging forecast is it? Evil men will multiply in number and in wickedness. Not only will they be set on deceiving others, but they themselves will be so hardened against God that they will justify their wickedness to themselves, deceiving themselves.

Why would the author of this part of the Bible, Pau,l be so straight-up about the coming days of hard times and sinfulness? Because he wants us to, in being forewarned, commit ourselves to patient pursuit of the truth. Continue thou…

Of course it is discouraging when fewer and fewer are standing with you for the truth of Jesus Christ. Of course it is disheartening to see increasing numbers of people give in to the deceptive pleasures, propaganda, and media of our age.

But, Paul insists, do not forget the things you have learned and know to be true. Do not compromise God’s perfect word for the fallible thinking of fallen heads. Do not give up, or even reduce, your commitment to live for Christ.

What about you, believer? Have the many voices of modern seducers caused you to question the validity of Christ’s call upon your life?

Do not be deceived. Continue on the course that Christ has set for you, trusting in the truth you have learned from him. And may his name increase in glory, even in the midst of the increasing wickedneswickedness in the world.

antagI have recently been faced with a person in my life who lives to argue. I am certain that this person would have a debate with a wall if nobody was around. The hard part is that they know how to push my buttons in ways that I never knew existed. Have you ever met someone like this? Someone who you honestly believe wants to fight and bicker? It’s a miserable feeling to be around them and can leave you wondering what the heck you should do. So what does the Bible say about it. Here’s a verse that is a good one in some cases:

Genesis 13:8-9 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers.  Is not the whole land before you?  Let’s part company.  If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

I’m not saying that we should split from everyone that antagonizes us, but sometimes it’s better to part on civil and friendly terms than to wait around for another fight to start. Give yourself some room to let emotions cool and anger to recede. It’s probably the best thing you can do. Having said that, let’s look at the scripture below to see what the Bible says…

2 Timothy 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,


2 Timothy 2:23-24 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord‘s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,


Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,


Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”


Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.


Titus 3:1-2 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.


Romans 14:19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

fearThe post below is written by a Facebook friend of mine, the Praying Medic. How aweome is this?


I receive a lot of prayer requests from friends who admit, ‘I’m worried’, ‘I’m afraid’ or ‘I’m fearful.’

I was asking the Holy Spirit about this yesterday. ‘Where does fear come from and how do we deal with it?’

He said ‘fear is a spirit’. And it is not from God. It’s from the enemy.

There is a spirit called fear. “We have not received the spirit of fear, but the spirit of peace, love and a sound mind.’

There is a spirit that causes fear and when you feel fearful, it’s because this spirit is controlling your thoughts and actions.

I’ve come under this spirit’s influence a lot. I’m not throwing stones at anyone. It affects all of of us at some time.

Imagine our mind is a car…

When we allow our mind to think about God, we allow the spirit of peace, love and a sound mind to take the keys to the car and steer our thoughts.

When we think of financial troubles, sickness, death, or anything we fear – we give the spirit of fear the keys to the car and it will drive us wherever it wants.

Fear is a spirit and it’s our response when our mind is being driven by the wrong spirit.

Take the keys to your thought life back and hand them back to the Holy Spirit. Don’t allow the spirit of fear to dominate you any longer.

controversayOne of the things that I find interesting about blogging, or preaching is that the more controversial the topic, the more people will read it. That’s why I titled today’sblog like I did. If you post something about homosexuality or abortion you’ll get tons of hits, but if you post something about salvation and how to share Jesus with others, all you’ll get is a yawn.

Why do we seek controversial subject instead of sound theological teaching? I mean you have to have a sound understanding of what the Bible says and teaches before you can argue a point don’t you? Well maybe not. Maybe some Chirstians are more concerned with trying to prove a point than seeing others come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

So having said this, I have an idea. Let’s photoshop a portrait of Jesus on the cover on a National Enquirer, and slap a crazy headline on it and see how many Chrsitians start talking about Him then. OK, so we all know I’m kidding about this, but maybe we need to become as passionant about Jesus as the rag papers are about their crazy stories. Maybe if silly fictional papers can gain an audience like they do by printing junk stories, we can become more engaging with how we tell others about the basics of Christianity instead of wanting to become entagled in worldly controversies.

As I type this, I can just see people wondering how I got off on this tangent. I guess it’s just because I honestly want people to know the peace of jesus, not to argue and bicker over silly matters that have nothing to do with our salvation.

Below you’ll find a list of verses that tell us why worrying about silly things is not what we should be focusing on. I don’t care how long you’ve been walking with the Lord, you can neve have enough of good old fashioned basic teaching of salvation.

2 Timothy 2:23-25 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 16:28 A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

James 3:14-16 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Proverbs 29:22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.

Proverbs 26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

pridePhilippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

The world, and even a lot of Christians, have become more concerned about their opinion and egos over compassion and concern for others. I look at today’s verse and wonder how many people truly follow this to the letter. We see what was once a unified body of believers now split up into so many denoinations that we fight over the silliest of “Doctrines” that have nothing to do with our Salvation. We have people willing to hurt and act out in name calling over a political part rather than to be polite because they feel their team is right, while so many people suffer because of a stalemate in congress. It’s just gotten to the point of being something I’m sure that God is weeping in heaven about.

This morning I saw something posted on Facebook that I disagreed with. My first instinct was to post something that contradicted it (a nice way of saying I wanted my opinion heard), but the Holy Spirit stopped me just in time because He knew that it would put the other person in a place that they felt they would have to defend their position, and most likely an argument would ensue. The verse that He laid on my heart was, “2 Timothy 2:23-24 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.”

If we really KNOW that we’re right about something, then we don’t need to shove it down someone elses throat. Now there are times, like defending the name of Jesus, that there are exemptions to this rule, but that’s for a later discussion. I’m talking about having the Spiritual Maturity to smile and love a person even though deep down inside we want to disagree with them over something that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s a hard thing to do sometimes, but believe me when I say it’s for the better. Be the bigger person and swallow your pride when it comes to wanting to place yourself above others.

confusion2 Timothy 2:7

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.


1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,


1 Peter 5:8

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.


Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.


1 John 4:1

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.


Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.


Psalm 119:34

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.


Isaiah 40:31

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.


Psalm 119:169

Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word!


John 16:13

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.


Matthew 7:7

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.


2 Corinthians 4:8

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;


2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.


Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?


Matthew 5:1-48

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. …


1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.


Deuteronomy 28:1-68

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …

loadAfter hearing some famous pastors lately, reading contemporary Christians authors, viewing popular Christian Facebook Fan Pages, and attending some new churches for informational purposes, I have seen one common thread in a lot of contemporary teaching: the messages are not insightful or challenging, and often feel watered down intellectually or theologically to the point where they are “acceptable” or popular, but they do little to bring people to spiritual maturity

I do not mean this in a negative way, but I am making this observation based on years of knowing Christians friends who do not have relationships with God that are truly life-changing and vibrant, which leads them to struggle with crippling emotional issues, latch on to crutches of all types rather than trust God, and pursue him as if he is an after-thought rather the primary focus of their lives

Jesus died so that we could have freedom, not live as those crushed under the weight of the world and our own sin

Part of being a light unto the world means Christians should be living examples of freedom, not living as contradictions, bound in slavery

Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery

2 Peter 2:19
…for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
You are not your own; you were bought at a price

In no way am I critical of other people’s relationships, but the result of not having an intimate, mature connection to God is that even though people go to church, read the Bible, listen to praise music, and do their best to be “good”, they have not come to a place where their relationship with God changes them to the point where they are healed emotionally, become spiritually mature, and start producing a righteous crop as Jesus intended, but most importantly, they do not enter into an intimate relationship with God on a personal level

Doing “all the stuff” does not make us close to God, it just makes us religious

I do not say this to condemn anyone as we are all on a journey towards greater righteousness and wisdom, but after looking at a large number of popular teachings, music, theology, blogs, Fan Pages, etc…, it is easy to see that Christians are not being fed messages of deep wisdom that reveal intimate parts of God’s character and righteousness

By making messages “seeker friendly” and geared towards the masses, this often results in causing them to be watered down, resulting in a “feel good” faith that does not accurately reflect God’s personality and character in key areas (especially on resisting sin and gaining godly wisdom), and usually focuses on “Christian cheerleader” type messages that pump people up but do not leave them with long-term wisdom or growth

Here are some examples:

“Like this if you think Jesus is awesome!”

“Like this picture of a puppy if you think God’s Little Helpers are adorable!”

“You will go to heaven no matter what you do, yay!”

Aside from being generally pointless, and often alienating to our friends when they appear in our news feeds, these teachings and snippets tend to anchor themselves in the promotion of God’s promises and blessings rather than revealing his actual character, and they rarely discuss the conditions necessary to actually receive the blessings they promote

Most of all, these messages do not help people achieve intimacy or spiritual strength–this means people focus on what they want, rather than being taught, let alone follow, the steps it takes to have a life-altering relationship with God

I mean honestly, I do not remember anyone’s life changing because they read puppies were cute, and people typically do not stop themselves from sinning when they think there are no consequences and instant forgiveness waiting for them regardless of whatever choice they make

Sin hurts God’s feelings tremendously, but if people are stuck in the place of “God will always forgive me no matter what I do”, it will be very difficult for them to suddenly understand they are hurting God and pushing him away through sin, because they will be constantly focused on their own guilt (the enemy loves playing people like yo-yos with their own guilt and shame)

Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear

I will not argue that a “bright outlook” message here and there has its place, but this type of “promises first” approach to faith ends up, intentionally or not, “baiting” people into becoming Christians. In these cases, it is very difficult for people to mature past wanting God’s promises and blessings, which leads their prayers and relationship to be about what they want from God, not about drawing near out of love and a genuine desire to know him intimately

Ecclesiastes 5:1
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice offools, who do not know that they do wrong

Another aspect of this, is that some people try to make their teachings and messages accessible to the largest possible audiences

For example, people teach that salvation is for everyone who says “Jesus is Lord” and believes he exists, and that they will go to heaven regardless of how they live their lives


If this were true, Jesus would be a liar

So would Paul, Peter, etc…

Read the verses below and judge for yourself whether these are messages spoken by shepherds who are eager to please their congregation by sharing a message of “you get into heaven no matter what happens, yay!”

Matthew 7:21-23
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. any will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

(Note that Jesus is not talking about “fake” Christians who just act religious, he is talking about people who have gifts of prophecy, can drive out demons, and also perform miracles–this means they have a relationship with God and did great things, but it did not mean they were guaranteed a place in heaven as a result!)

1 Peter 4:18
If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

Hebrews 10:26-27
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God

To be fair, even though some people distort the word of God for their own benefit, others mean well, but since they are not mature themselves, they still lead people astray with inaccurate teachings all the same

2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear

Luke 6:39-40
Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher

Hosea 4:6
…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge

The last verse is especially important, as if people’s faith is based on “feel good” promises, it will do little to carry them through difficult times–making them easy targets for the enemy to take down through trials or temptation

Guidance on developing an intimate relationship with God involves the “standard” encouragement to study the Bible and live righteously, but it also means eating food meant for the mature, and evolving past “seeker friendly” messages that do not line up with God’s Word–no matter how uncomfortable they sound at first

Rather than react to things we do not like with statements like “that’s not *my* Jesus!” and get offended because something sounds “outrageous”, we should have an ear to hear, and make sure our points of view are grounded in scripture, not just our personal preferences for who we want God to be

To get close to God in terms of spiritual maturity and wisdom, I have found no replacement for studying the Bible eagerly as it reveals so much about God’s character and personality–the perfect love we should be modeling ourselves after!

And of course, living righteously is key

Hebrews 5:14
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil

1 Corinthians 2:6
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth

Isaiah 66:2
This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word