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2 Timothy 4

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

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“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge:” (v 1 NIV)

“PREACH THE WORD” (v 2 NIV)

“Proclaim the Message with integrity” (MSG).

Thank You for training me in understanding and teaching Your Word.  Keep me grounded in it, regularly, daily in it’s pages, so that it dwells in me richly (Colossians 3:16).  You be the one to formulate the words that proceed from my mouth when I open it in the midst of the opportunities You give to touch lives.

BE PREPARED in season and out of season” (v 2 NIV)

“Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable.  [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome,]…” (v 2 AMP). Cause me to be looking for the opportunities You supply.  Help me not to be so focused on my tasks connected to this world that I miss the tasks You have for me which are linked to eternity.  (“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.  But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, … in Christ all will be made alive … thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 15:19-20, 33, 58 NIV]).

CORRECT, REBUKE, & ENCOURAGE — with GREAT PATIENCE and CAREFUL INSTRUCTION (v 2 NIV)

“Challenge, warn, and urge your people.  Don’t ever quit.  Just keep it simple” (v 2 MSG).

When a blacksmith is altering the shape of a piece of metal to make it more useful or for a particular use, he takes it through a process.  The metal is thrust into intense heat in order to soften it, so that the following step is most effective.  Next the smith pounds the heated metal into the shape it’s going to become, changing its appearance and resourcefulness.  Then, it’s doused into water to cool it down again, the forging complete.  Oh, often this process is repeated many times, with perhaps different tools used for the pounding and great care and patience are employed.  All work together to bring the metal into the shape needed to carry out the work for which it’s destined.

Many times, Lord, You’ve held me in Your hands as the blacksmith holds that metal.  Through the correction, rebuke and encouragement You’ve given through Your people, Your Word, and Your Spirit, You’ve been shaping me with Your “great patience and careful instruction.”  You’re forging me so that I can be an effective tool in doing the same in the lives of others.  Keep on with the process, Lord.

“KEEP YOUR HEAD IN ALL SITUATIONS” (v 5 NIV

Father, continue to help me not to react quickly to jarring circumstances.  Bring Your peace upon my heart and mind as You supply understanding, discernment and wisdom in the process of my choosing my actions instead of reacting.  Hold a stalwart guard over my mouth, not letting me flippantly speak, until You’ve had the chance to speak to me first.  You’ve guided me in this direction for quite a while; keep on doing it.  Thank You for the advantages of “keeping my head” when it comes to being alert to temptation, “resistant to pressure, and ever vigilant when facing heavy responsibility” (from the NIV Life Application Study Bible, p. 2204).

“ENDURE HARDSHIP” (v 5 NIV)

“Accept the hard times along with the good” (v 5 MSG).

Here’s Paul at the end of his life — one that had been flooded with MANY “hard times” — encouraging a young servant.  This same Paul is the one who wrote to the Corinthians about the “thorn” You’d given him (2 Cor 12:7-10).  You taught him to be thankful for that “gift,” because through this weakness, Your grace radiated.

DO THE WORK of an evangelist, DISCHARGE ALL THE DUTIES of your ministry” (v 5 NIV)

“Keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant” (v 5 MSG).

When I became Your child, Father God, You commissioned and ordained me for Your ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:11-21).  You have sent me forth with Your (1) Great Commandment and (2) Your Great Commission:

1) “LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND” (Matt 22:37 NIV) – Great Commandment

2) “…GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS…” (Matt 28:19-20) – Great Commission

“The Great Commission encapsulates what we DO while the Great Commandment embodies who we ARE.”  (David Ferguson, The Great Commandment Principle, p. 9)

Help me to love YOU with all of me, so that it’s You loving and serving through me as I engage my energy, gifts, and resources in the ministry You’ve designed for me.  Keep forging me into the likeness of Jesus.  Amen.

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