2 Timothy 2:3 – Endure

2 Timothy 2:3
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

-Paul helped get Timothy started in the ministry by writing him letters teaching him how to be a man of God.  In the course of those letters, Paul makes this statement in 2:3 to Timothy as a reminder that trouble and opposition is never far from those who follow Jesus.  We will have good days, and for certain there will be a day where sin has been put away and everything will be good; but we must never forget that we live in a world presently ruled by Satan (John 14:30, 2 Corinthians 4:4), the one who hates God the most.  It should come as no surprise that he wants to make things difficult for us.  Paul’s admonition to Timothy holds true for us as well:  when hardness comes, ENDURE; for “if thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10)  And when you endure, don’t be as those who murmur and complain; but rather, endure with patience and longsuffering as a battle-hardened soldier in the Lord’s Host.

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2 Peter 1:5-10 – Add To Your Faith…

2 Peter 1:5-10
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

-Have you ever cranked your car and, without realizing it was running, tried to crank it again?  When we get ready to drive, our first instinct is to crank the car.  If we don’t recognize any evidence of having already completed that step, our instinct kicks in and we turn the key.  I often come across Christians making this same mistake in regards to salvation.  At one point in their life, they followed Biblical command and wholeheartedly committed themselves to the Lord; but if they fail to see any evidence of having completed the first step their instincts tell them that they need to start the process over from the beginning.  Hence people make professions of faith and “get saved” multiple times throughout their spiritual journey.  The problem (in some cases, not all) is not a lack of salvation, the problem is a lack of spiritual growth.  Just like a quiet car won’t give you many signs that it’s already fired up, a Christian without signs of sanctification, increased knowledge of God’s word, and spiritual maturity will appear to be someone who was never saved in the first place.

John 6:26-27 – But Because Ye Were Filled

John 6:26-27
26 
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

-So often those who are skeptical of the Lord will seek after a miraculous sign or a convincing argument in order to see the light; just as often those of us who believe attempt to employ those same tactics to win the skeptics over.  The Bible teaches us, however, that eloquent words and strange signs won’t bring a lasting faith and nowhere is that truth better stated than by Jesus Himself right here in verse 26.  Those who follow Jesus do so not because of a miracle or a “sales pitch”, but because He filled the emptiness in their life which is here represented by physical hunger.  There is a void in each of our lives, created by God to be filled by His companionship which we seek to fill with money, love, excess- but all of these things will ultimately fall short of a true relationship with the Lord.  There is a depth to the love of God that answers any need.  If you feel as though something is missing in your life, “taste and see that the LORD is good”.  (Psalm 34:8)

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 – Death

1 Corinthians 15:55-57
55
 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

-They say only death and taxes are certain; “they” are half right.  Death stalks everything that lives and it has been that way since mankind first rebelled against God. (Genesis 3)  Death stalked a Man roughly 2000 years ago and the Man did succumb.  Was this Man defeated in death?  No.  He said Himself that He had “power to lay [His life] down, and power to take it again”.  (John 10:18)  Jesus proved too strong for death to hold.  What’s more, He proved strong enough to completely defeat death and now holds “the keys of hell and of death “. (Revelation 1:18)  All hail Jesus Christ the victorious!

Matthew 1:21 – Call His Name Jesus

Matthew 1:21
21
 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Hebrews 7:22
22
 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Hebrews 8:6
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

-Did you know that the word “Sin” occurs 336 times in the Old Testament and only 112 in the New Testament?  “Shame” is mentioned 84 times in the Old Testament and only 16 in the New Testament while the word “Remember” occurs 121 times in the Old Testament and only 27 times in the New Testament.  What could account for the difference between the two?  There is another word that is mentioned 983 times in the New Testament but never spoken in the Old Testament.  That word is “Jesus” and, just as the Angel declared here to Mary, the Lord was so named because He would save His people from their sin, from their shame, and from their awful remembrance of having carried both.

Philippians 4:7-8 – Power of Prayer

Philippians 4:7-8
7
 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

-There are many out there who have no peace in their lives and the reason is because they have no prayer in their lives.  We can’t hold onto the vain hope that circumstance will just magically start to go our way; as Jesus warns us in scripture, “It is impossible but that offences will come.” (Luke 17:1)  We must learn to live with and work through the trials we are certain to face and that means taking our burdens to the Lord, confessing our faults and failings to the Lord- praying to the Lord.  1 John 5:14 tells us “that if we ask any thing according to [The Lord’s] will, He heareth us“; remember the power of prayer is not in the one who prays, but in the One who hears.

Philippians 4:12-13 – Through Christ

Philippians 4:12-13
12
 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

-To indulge the flesh is human nature, but why does that have to be the order of the day?  Strive for better things; strive to exist in the very presence of temptation and keep your resolve.  Not to prove how special you are, but because that’s Christ.  Christ looked into the face of hunger and still said “No” to food.  (Matthew 4)  Christ looked into the face of pain and torture and still said, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22)  Christ looked into the faces of His enemies and killers and still said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23)  Of course Jesus can do these things, He’s God; but the Biblical truth that so many of us seem to forget is that, in Him, we can do these things too.  (Philippians 4: 13)

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – Constrained By Love

2 Corinthians 5:14-15
14 
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

-Two related and often debated topics in Christianity are the ideas of eternal security and the freedom to sin after salvation.  First off, the Bible teaches that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made [us] free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2) Eternal security is a sure thing because those who have been saved are no longer subject to sin and death.  Establishing that brings us to the second topic; could not those who are saved live their lives any way they wish and not have anything to worry about?  From that perspective, yes; but that way of thinking ignores the fact that when the Lord redeems us, He buys us and we belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  We can’t live Godly to earn our salvation and we can’t live Godly to keep our salvation; but since Jesus Christ died the death that we should have died, we are constrained to live for Him.

Acts 27:22-25 – There Stood By Me This Night

Acts 27:22-25
22 
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.
23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

-Paul found himself in the hands of men who would rather see him dead than risk him escaping and at the mercy of a terrible sea storm and yet he was still able to have assurance of safety.  His assurance was based in the two facts he shared with the other men: 1) He serves the Lord and 2) He belongs to the Lord.  The Bible teaches that we are bought with a price and so belong to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  This is more than just a reminder that we cannot live any way we choose, it is also a reminder that the Lord has a personal interest in what happens to us.  In John 10:29 Jesus said, “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”  In addition to no one being able to break God’s grip, no thing can either.  How do we know this?  It was Paul himself who shared this truth with us in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 41:7 – Sure and Steadfast

Isaiah 41:7
So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.

-Isaiah is speaking here of workmen coming together to build an idol.  The Bible has much to say on the subject of making idols and most of it revolves around the idea of how foolish such a notion is.  Consider this very verse of scripture: the blacksmith fastens the idols in place “that it should not be moved”.  A “god” that is secure because some guy made him that way doesn’t sound very secure at all.  Is that really where we want to put your trust?  Consider that Jehovah, the God of the Bible, is a Rock (Psalms 18:31).  The Lord is not strong because we fastened Him down; we get to be strong because He is there to secure us.  “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”  (Psalm 18:2)  “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”  (Proverbs 18:10)