Practical Proverbial, from 2 Timothy, 16 April 2019

Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.   2 Timothy 2:7 (NIV).

One of my pastor’s favorite pieces of good advice is to take 5 minutes daily with God.   In that five minutes, simply be silent.  Clear you mind; focus only on God and whatever He may say to you.   It may take a hundred days; it may take only five minutes.  Eventually, no matter how long it takes, you’ll begin to perceive more of what God says to you in His Word, in messages He gives you through others and the world, in matters put on your heart.  He’s speaking; we listen.

Paul would have understood this.   He was advising Timothy to do much the same thing.   Paul was telling Timothy to be still, to know God is God of all, and to let Him speak to his heart.

That’s still good advice today.   Just ask Pastor Mark.

Indeed, we need insight more than ever.   Just yesterday, I was called a hypocrite online by politically opposite friend…and she was right.   What’s more, her rebuke was enjoined by my own daughter, who was also right.   I had resorted to name-calling in a comment, and it took the rebuke from a political adversary and my flesh & blood for me to see they were correct.  A man of better insight (maybe Timothy or Paul, or even my friend, Mark) would likely have seen that sooner, maybe not even posting the words at all.   When I saw what they were saying, I quickly deleted the name.  Seems I should have done some more reflecting before posting yet another political opinion.   Yep, I need insight more than ever.

And just yesterday, Notre Dame cathedral burned.   We don’t know why, though the cause is most likely something innocuous.  But it’s still suspicious given the number of unaccounted church vandalisms in France, as well as the fact that it’s Holy Week and the cathedral would make a ripe target.   Yet even pushing that suspicion aside, we need insight about the event.   Not insight into why it happened but, perhaps, insight into the good things that Jesus will do through the efforts of first responders, engineers, and builders to restore this ancient house of God.

It’s the insight into what Jesus is saying that Paul was invoking into Timothy.   It’s that kind of insight we would all do well to contemplate today.   Then act on it.

On behalf of my friend, let me invite you to act today by taking five minutes to be still and know that Jesus is God.   That He will speak to you as He does.   That He loves and forgives you.   That He wants to work through you today.   Take five for insight, my friend.

For further reading: Psalm 46:10, 2 Timothy 2:8.

Insightful Lord Jesus, open my eyes to Your purpose for me today.   Guide my thoughts, words, and actions to better serve Your purpose.

Practical Proverbial, from 2 Timothy, 21 March 2019

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.   2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV).

How are you doing with living your holy life?   Let me be clear:   this is NOT to guilt you, to make you feel bad.   If you’re like me, your bad language and dirty thoughts and petty grudges and not-so-clever hypocrisies and just plain judgmental attitudes that comprise “daily life” have corrupted your holy life.   If you’re like me, you stink on ice at living out your holy life even when you want to live it out better.

Welcome to our daily need for Jesus.

He knows it.   He hurts when we turn our backs from Him.   When we do, say, and think those things that are contrary to the holy life He designed for us, those holes in His hands and feet must pain Him.   I can almost hear Him say to Himself, “I’m so sorry you’re going through that, Dave” when I choose words and deeds that aren’t what He originally had in mind.   And when I’ve realized, yet again, how I messed up and how much I need Him to make me clean, I can also hear Him say “of course I love you.   I’ve been here with you all along.”   He went through those same sins that pain me.   Amazing.

Jesus saved us from the death that is separation from Him.   He saved us from that awful truth designed for those who actively reject Him.  Instead of creating us for hurt and pain and hell, Jesus created us to call us to live a holy life; a life declared sacred, consecrated, dedicated to serving Him.   For some that means serving in the formal church.   For others it means using our talents as parents, welders, managers, engineers, dentists, teachers, and every talent you can think of in helping others and providing a thankful living.  We don’t do the work we do just because it’s good work (which it often is).   We do it because He calls us to do it.

Jesus did this not because we’re so wonderful (though in His eyes we are) but because He is a loving, just, holy God who was this way since before we were born.  He understood we would love Him but rebel against Him and, therefore, need Him to make things right again.   Every time we do work well, we get to look to Jesus and say “thanks.  I need You!”   Every time we realize we’re thick with our sins again, we get to look to Jesus and say “thanks.   I need you!”

So I’ll ask again:   how are you doing with Your holy life?   The better answer is “forget that.”   Focus on Jesus instead.

For further reading:   Romans 8:28, Romans 11:14, Ephesians 2:9, 2 Timothy 10.

Lord Jesus, thanks.   I need You!