2 Timothy 1

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

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“…I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you…” (v 6 AMP)

“…I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…” (v 6 NIV)

Father, You have gifted me by Your Spirit for a variety of things.  You’ve worked through many influences to develop skills in me.  You’ve been at work to fashion me into a tool You can use for building up Your kingdom.  Early on, the desire to serve others through these gifts was strong, alive, and active.  The embers are still there, though sometimes in need of stoking, so that there’s a blaze instead of merely a warm glow.  Stir me up, Lord.

“God doesn’t want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.”  (v 7 MSG)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (v 7 NIV)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” (v 7 AMP)

Gather up all these descriptions of what You’ve given to me and shape my understanding and application of Your Word.  Yes, You’ve gifted me.  And yes, in the past We’ve done some exciting things together through those gifts put to use in Your kingdom.  Now, Lord, strip away the “cringing” and “timidity” that can hinder me these days from diving in and letting You fully use me wherever You desire.  Only in You can I be free from fear; so I look to You to cut those chains and free me to more fully serve You.

“We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work … I couldn’t be more sure of my ground — the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what He’s trusted me to do right to the end.” (v 12 MSG)

“…Still I am not ashamed, for I know (perceive, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with) Him whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day.” (v 12 AMP)

Thank You, Father, for the confidence that knowing You can bring.  Continue to deepen my relationship with You as I fall more in love with Jesus each day.  Work in me the way You long to work.  Shape me into the likeness of Your Son.  Amen.

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1 Timothy 6

Father, fill me up with Your truth.

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Thanks for the admonition You convey in this letter written to a young Christian leader by a seasoned follower and disciple-maker.  Help me to apply Your exhortations regarding what to flee and what to pursue as I live out my life in You.

“But you, man of God, FLEE from all this [see vs. 3-10], and PURSUE righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (v 11 NIV)

FLEE

In the verses prior to this one, You led Paul through a discussion of at least three “things.”  Noted initially are those who teach false doctrines which do not agree with Your Word (v 3).  These same false teachers also carried out lifestyles contrary to the godliness You desire.  Secondly, You use Paul’s words to expose the self-serving motive of seeking godliness as “a means to financial gain” (v 5), or to get rich.  Thirdly, You spell out the dangers of allowing the gathering of wealth to drive oneself in this life.  You led Paul to highlight all these aspects and then said, “flee from all this” (v 11).

PURSUE

Now, since fleeing means to run away from something, there naturally must be something else to run toward.  In this case, You give me an entire list of traits to keep on chasing after, a lifelong pursuit or quest:

(1) RIGHTEOUSNESS — The Amplified Bible states this as “…righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness),…” (v 11 AMP). In his letter to the Romans, You use Paul’s words to help clarify this: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22 NIV).  Under the Old Testament law, Your followers were declared righteous, like gaining Your stamp of approval, by their obedience.  Yet, because You knew that I’d never be able to be fully obedient to You, out of Your mercy and grace, You sent Your Son to redeem me from my “missing the mark” or sin.  “…where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:20-21 NIV).  YOU declare me righteous by my faith in Your Son.

(2) GODLINESS “…godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike),… “ (v 11 AMP).  Here’s how Chuck Swindoll put this in one of his study guides: “…an authentic, abiding desire to glorify God through self-sacrificing service and humble obedience.”**  Form that in me, Lord.

(3) FAITH — Father, help me to take my hands off the steering wheel and allow You to drive, to allow You to be the door opener, without my trying to pry the doors open or manipulate them to fit my design.  Help me to trust You.

(4) ENDURANCE — This is like perseverance and both mean “to abide under.”  Guide me in moving through life, handling what comes my way with the strength You provide and looking to You to supply stability and balance.

(5) GENTLENESS — Guide me in allowing Your Spirit to keep my strength under control, utilizing my strength as You reveal it’s appropriate to do so.

Run with me, Lord, as I flee what is not of You and pursue all that You lay before me, as You’re at work to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

** from Excellence in Ministry by Charles Swindoll, Insight for Living, 1985.

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Draw my heart toward Yours, Jesus, so that I fall deeper in love with You every moment.