Posts tagged ‘2 Timothy’

April 21, 2014

843 Acres: Metrics of Success

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Ecc 8 (txt | aud, 2:27 min)
2 Tim 4 (txt | aud, 2:36 min)
Highlighted: 2 Tim 4:7-8

Success: On Wall Street, success is measured when the closing bell rings. On Capitol Hill, it’s measured when constituents cast their votes. When it comes to our lives, however, how do we measure success? How do we determine whether a life was well lived?

Failure: Paul’s second letter to Timothy was his last. He was aging and imprisoned; he knew that his life was drawing to a close. [1] Was his life successful? First, let’s consider whether he was well liked. During his thirty years of ministry, he was deserted, opposed, flogged, beaten, betrayed, imprisoned, shipwrecked, left for dead, and stoned. [2] According to tradition, a few days after he penned this letter, Nero beheaded him as a criminal. What about the churches he planted? Were they successful? According to John’s vision in Revelation, the church that Paul planted in Ephesus would be told, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” [3] What about his apprentice, Timothy? According to tradition, Timothy was beaten, dragged, and stoned to death by an enraged mob. In other words, from all external appearances, Paul’s life doesn’t seem too successful—he wasn’t well liked by the cultural elite, the church he planted abandoned their first love, and his apprentice was killed by a mob.

Perspective: Yet Paul writes, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” [4] In other words, Paul did not measure his success by externalities, but by the Lord. And knowing that Jesus—who also seemed like a failure to many—was his great redemption, Paul knew that his life was successful.

Prayer: Lord, We praise you for making our success rooted in your love, not our achievements. Yet we confess that we often seek after those things that we think make us successful—popular opinion, professional reward, or influential relationships. Yet it is fighting the good fight, finishing the race, and keeping the faith that matter. Reform our hearts so that we take greater joy in being called your children than in accomplishing great things. Amen.

____________________________________ 

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________   

Footnotes

[1] 2 Timothy 4:4:6, ESV | [2] See 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 | [3] Revelation 2:2-7, ESV | [4] 2 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV

April 18, 2014

843 Acres Lent: How Great Is Our God

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Ecc 5 (txt | aud, 2:56 min)
2 Ti 1 (txt | aud, 2:20 min)
Highlighted: 2 Ti 1:8-9

Jerusalem: A few years ago, I traveled to Israel and Jordan with my parents. When we visited the Garden of Gethsemane, I entered the church on its grounds—the Church of All Nations—to pray. As I thanked Jesus for his sacrifice and the redemption of all people, I became very aware that behind me was the most contested piece of real estate in the world—the Temple Mount. Muslims, Jews, and Christians all claim it as rightfully theirs.

Nations: During my short time in the Middle East, I saw some of the brokenness between the Israelis and the Palestinians. As I prayed, I was so overwhelmed with sadness for this conflicted land that I wanted to sing. Since there is no talking allowed in the church, though, I used my headphones to listen to music. The first song that played was “How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin. When I heard the chorus, “How great is our God—sing with me, How great is our God—and all will see, How great, how great is our God,” tears began streaming down my face. I felt like I—praying in the Church of All Nations—was calling out to all nations to “sing with me” for “all will see.” It was then that I experientially realized that Jesus’s desire is for all nations—no matter how much war is between them—to know him. This is why he chose to die—to break down the barrier between him and us and the one between us and each other. [1]

Gospel: How does he do this? Through unmerited favor in Christ, who is righteousness for all who believe: “ … God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace …” [2]

Prayer: Lord, In Christ, you reconcile your people to you in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility between us. This is why Jesus died. This is why he chose to die. To break down the dividing wall between you and us and the one between one another. Today, as we reflect on the offering of his body, we pray that all the nations will see that Jesus is Lord. We pray that they might know how great our God is. Amen.

____________________________________ 

M’Cheyne Weekend Readings:

Saturday, April 19: Ecc 6 (txt | aud, 1:47 min) & 2 Ti 2 (txt | aud, 3:00 min)
Sunday, April 20: Ecc 7 (txt | aud, 3:24 min) & 2 Ti 3 (txt | aud, 2:01 min)

____________________________________ 

 Lent - logo

We invite you to join us and the Women’s Bible Society to a Lenten Bible Listening Event on Thursday morning, April 10th.
Click 
here for more details.

____________________________________ 

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________   

Footnotes

[1] See Ephesians 2:15-16 | [2] 2 Timothy 1:8-9 ESV

November 1, 2013

843 Acres: The Deep Magic of the Gospel

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: 2 Kings 14 (text | audio, 4:45 min)
2 Tim 4 (text | audio, 2:36 min)
Highlighted: 2 Tim 4:16-17 

Death: Aslan was silent when they muzzled him. Then the White Witch whispered, “And now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor? Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead, what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him out of my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die.”

Imprisonment: At the end of his life, Paul was under house arrest in Rome. In his final letter to Timothy, he wrote, “At my first defense, no one came to stand by me … But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” [1]

Unstoppable: Paul was arrested, but the gospel was not stopped. “You can kill its preachers or imprison its believers. It doesn’t matter,” says Tim Keller. “The gospel will find a way. It is the most powerful and vital force in the earth.” How do we know? Because Jesus himself was raised from the dead. When Aslan was resurrected, he told the Pevensie children, “Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

Prayer: Lord, What wondrous power is the gospel that it cannot be stopped! May its power awaken our hearts and hopes when we wonder whether things in our lives or our cities have grown bleak. For when Christ died, his followers wept, not knowing what was to come. Yet he rose from the dead and defeated the sting of death itself. Fix our eyes on redemption and may it be on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

M’Cheyne Weekend Readings

Saturday, November 2: 2 Kings 15 (text | audio, 5:45 min) & Titus 1 (text | audio, 2:10 min)
Sunday, November 3: 2 Kings 16 (text | audio, 3:31 min) & Titus 2 (text | audio, 1:41 min)

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________ 

Footnotes

[1] 2 Timothy 4:6-8 ESV

October 31, 2013

843 Acres: Throwback Thursday (Lewis): Lucy, Edmund, and the White Witch

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: 2 Kings 13 (text | audio, 4:23 min)
2 Tim 3 (text | audio, 2:01 min)
Highlighted: 2 Tim 3:12-13

Apostle Paul: 2 Timothy 3:12-13

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

C.S. Lewis. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (an excerpt)

“If I’d known you had got in I’d have waited for you,” said Lucy, who was too happy and excited to notice how snappishly Edmund spoke or how flushed and strange his face was. “I’ve been having lunch with dear Mr. Tumnus, the Faun, and he’s very well and the White Witch has done nothing to him for letting me go, so he thinks she can’t have found out and perhaps everything is going to be all right after all.”

“The White Witch?” said Edmund; “who’s she?”

“She is a perfectly terrible person,” said Lucy. “She calls herself Queen of Narnia though she has no right to be queen at all, and all the Fauns and Dryads and Naiads and Dwarfs and Animals—at least all the good ones—simply hate her. And she can turn people into stone and do all kinds of horrible things. And she has made a magic so that it is always winter in Narnia—always winter, but it never gets to Christmas. And she drives about on a sledge, drawn by a reindeer, with her wand in her hand and a crown on her head.”

Edmund was already feeling uncomfortable from having eaten too many sweets, and when he heard that the Lady he had made friends with was a dangerous witch he felt even more uncomfortable. But he still wanted to taste that Turkish Delight again more than he wanted anything else.

“Who told you all that stuff about the White Witch?” he asked.

“Mr. Tumnus, the Faun,” said Lucy.

“You can’t always believe what Fauns say,” said Edmund, trying to sound as if he knew far more about them than Lucy.

“Who said so?” asked Lucy.

“Everyone knows it,” said Edmund; “ask anybody you like. But it’s pretty poor sport standing here in the snow. Let’s go home.” …

By this time, they had walked a good way. Then suddenly they felt coats around them instead of branches and next moment they were both standing outside the wardrobe in the empty room.

“I say,” said Lucy, “you do look awful, Edmund. Don’t you feel well?”

“I’m all right,” said Edmund, but this was not true. He was feeling very sick.

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________ 

October 30, 2013

843 Acres: The One Who Enlisted Us Is Close at Hand

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: 2 Kings 11-12 (text | audio, 7:24)
2 Tim 2 (text | audio, 3:00 min)
Highlighted: 2 Tim 2:3-4

Entangled: When Paul tells Timothy, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him,” what does he mean? [1]

Trembling: When the Beavers and the Pevensie children arrived to the place of the Stone Tablet, they fixed their eyes on Aslan. Immediately, uncertainty crept into their hearts. Lewis writes, “[T]he Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Aslan’s face, they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn’t look at him and went all trembly.”

Seeing: After Aslan laid his paw on Peter’s shoulder and showed him all of Narnia, Susan’s bugle sounded, indicating that she was in trouble. When the other animals ran to help, Aslan waved his paw, saying, “Back! Let the Prince win his spurs.” Peter himself had to go into battle; Peter himself had to wield his sword. Lewis comments, “Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.” He ran to fight and ended up gaining victory. At the end of the battle, Lewis writes, “Peter, still out of breath, turned and saw Aslan close at hand.” His eyes were fixed on the Lion. He fought to please the one who enlisted him.

Prayer: Lord, No matter what vocation we pursue, you call us to be single-minded in our devotion to you. In all of our lives, we aim to please you, the one who enlisted us. Make us mission-minded in everything we do, knowing that you are close at hand. Grow in us a fear of the Lord so that we remain tethered to you. Fix our eyes on you. Amen.

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________ 

Footnotes

[1] 2 Timothy 2:3-4 ESV

October 29, 2013

843 Acres: Tuesday Tweetables: Made Brave by the Sight of Christ

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: 2 Kings 10 (text | audio, 6:26 min)
2 Tim 1 (text | audio, 2:20 min)
Highlighted: 2 Tim 1:12

Discerning Brokenness

The modern approach to overcoming fear and gaining courage is self-esteem. The ancient approach is stoicism.

Lucy: “I think – I don’t know – but I think I could be brave enough.” Father Christmas: “That is not the point.” #Narnia 

Imagining Redemption

The gospel approach to overcoming fear and gaining courage is looking away from ourselves (humility) and looking toward Christ (hope). [1]

I’m not ashamed for I know whom I’ve believed and I’m convinced that he’s able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 2Tim1

Real courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of joy – so much joy that fear plays its proper role. @timkellernyc

At the name of Aslan, each one of the children felt something jump in its inside…Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. #Narnia

Praying ACTS

Lord, We #adore you for courage is found in you, not us. By your Spirit, you guard the deposit of faith in our hearts.

Yet we #confess that, when we are afraid, we often seek courage within our own hearts and strengths.

#Thank you for empowering us to have courage. For without courage, all else – love, patience, truth, generosity, etc. – comes to naught.

Therefore, we offer our #supplications to you. Make us courageous people, who look away from ourselves and look at Christ. Amen.

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________ 

Footnotes

[1] For more on this topic, see Tim Keller. “The Gospel and Courage.” May 26, 2013.

April 20, 2012

An Elevator Pitch for Christianity

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: 2 Tim. 3:12
Full Text: Ecc. 72 Tim. 3
Photo of the Day: #TPFperspective 

HBS | Harvard Business School’s Elevator Pitch Builder advertises, “You have one minute to explain yourself, your business, your goals and your passions. Your audience knows none of these. Are you prepared? Can you present your vision smoothly, enticing them to want to know more?” [1] What would your elevator pitch for Christianity include? How about Paul’s words to Timothy: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” [2]? Will that leave the audience wanting more?

Counter-Cultural | Godliness, not suffering, is the goal of the Christian life. Yet in this culture – that often rewards those who are “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” [3] – those who long to be like Christ will be persecuted and slandered. As Jesus told his disciples, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you … Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” [4].

Eternity | As we’ve seen this week [5], our lives are short and eternity is long. If we long to be like Jesus in this life, then our lives might end up looking a lot like his. He was born to a teenage mother, came from a small town, was mocked and homeless throughout his ministry, never married or had children, was betrayed by one of his closest friends and then murdered. This is the God we worship – “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” [6].

Include | Why did Paul warn Timothy and Jesus warn the disciples about this part of the Christian life? Jesus explained, “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away” [7]. In other words, as we aim for godliness and the eternal rewards that it brings, we ought to endure hardships as crucibles – knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope [8].

Prayer | Lord, We rejoice that our final destination is your kingdom. Yet we must endure many trials before we enter into your presence. When we are slandered for our obedient pursuit of godliness, therefore, let us rejoice insofar as we share in Christ’s sufferings that we may also rejoice when his glory is revealed [9]. Amen.

____________________________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] See HBS Elevator Pitch Builder.  |  [2] 2 Tim. 3:12 ESV  |  [3] 2 Tim. 3:2-5 ESV  |  [4] John 15:18, 20 ESV  |  [5] 843 Acres, He Set Eternity on All Hearts. 16 April 2012.; 843 Acres, What Currency Counts Beyond the Grave? 17 April 2012.; 843 Acres, How the Love of Money Disguises Itself. 18 April 2012.; 843 Acres, Our Days Pass Like Shadows. 19 April 2012.  |  [6] Is. 53:3 ESV  |  [7] John 16:1 ESV  |  [8] Rom. 5:3-5 ESV  |  [9] 1 Peter 4:12-14 ESV. See also Acts 5:41 (where the disciples “left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” ESV).

April 19, 2012

Our Days Pass Like Shadows

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Ecc. 6:12
Full Text: Ecc. 6; 2 Tim. 2
Photo of the Day: #TPFperspective

Nostalgia | New York City, writes Pete Hamill, is “the capital of nostalgia” [1]. In his book, Downtown, he reminisces about the fourteen apartments in which he has lived, the Third Avenue El, the Brooklyn Dodgers and, of course, the World Trade Center. He writes, “New York teaches you to get over almost everything … Irreversible change happens so often in New York that the experience affects character itself. New York toughens its people against sentimentality by allowing the truer emotion of nostalgia” [2].

Vapors | It’s not just the things of New York that pass away. As we’ve seen this week [3], it’s the people, too. Our lives are vapors that appear for a little while and then disappear quickly. One day, we will be no more and the hustle and bustle of life will go on without us. As the Teacher in Ecclesiastes pondered, “For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?” [4]

Labor | What are we supposed to do with our short lives? Jonathan Edwards suggested that we ought to become like what we hope to attain: “We should be endeavoring to come nearer to heaven, in being more heavenly, becoming more and more like the inhabitants of heaven in respect of holiness and conformity to God, the knowledge of God and Christ, in clear views of the glory of God, the beauty of Christ, and the excellency of divine things, as we come nearer to the beatific vision. We should labor to be continually growing in divine love – that this may be an increasing flame in our hearts, till they ascend wholly in this flame” [5].

Prayer | Lord, You are the creator who is from everlasting to everlasting. We are the created who live in time – even though we are made for eternity in the age to come. As we pass by old storefronts or abandoned restaurants in our cities, remind us of our own mortality so that we long to become more and more like you and increasingly crave the excellency of divine and permanent things. Increase the flame in our hearts that burns with love for you until we ascend wholly into it. Amen.

____________________________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] Pete Hamill, Downtown: My Manhattan. Chapter 1.  |  [2] Id. at pp.18-19  |  [3] 843 Acres, He Set Eternity on All Hearts. 16 April 2012.; 843 Acres, What Currency Counts Beyond the Grave? 17 April 2012.; 843 Acres, How the Love of Money Disguises Itself. 18 April 2012.  |  [4] Ecc. 6:12 ESV  |  [5] Jonathan Edwards. Works. “The Christian Pilgrim, Or, The True Christians Life a Journey Toward Heaven.” Banner of Truth. (p. 244).
April 18, 2012

How the Love of Money Disguises Itself

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Ecc. 5:10
Full Text: Ecc. 5; 2 Tim. 1
Photo of the Day: #TPFperspective

Money | The book of Job teaches us about the meaninglessness of this world by losing it all; the book of Ecclesiastes teaches us about the meaninglessness of this world by having it all. As we saw yesterday [1], money cannot buy the greatest and longest gains. In fact, Paul told Timothy, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” [2]. Today, we see that the Teacher in Ecclesiastes – who wrote hundreds of years before Paul – similarly reflected, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity” [3].

Disguise | “The love of money” disguises itself in our affections. After all, we usually don’t see people hugging money or taking cash out on dates. What do we see? Perhaps we see a man who takes pride in obeying all that the law commands, but fails to sell his possessions and give to the poor [4]. Or maybe we see someone who thoughtlessly and effortlessly spends money on entertainment or clothes, but hesitatingly contributes to the work of the church [5].

Reason | Since “the love of money” disguises itself differently in different people, each of us should test our relationship with money regularly. Why is the love of money so dangerous? First, we brought nothing into the world and can’t take anything out of it [6]. Second, we don’t want to wander away from the faith and fall into ruin and destruction [7]. Finally, we don’t need extra stuff to make us peaceful and secure [8] because we already have God, who is the greatest good in the universe and who has eternal pleasures at His right hand [9].

Prayer | Lord, Let us flee from the love of money and, instead, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness. Help us fight the good fight of the faith and take hold of eternal life to which we were called. As for those of us who are rich in this present age, let us not be haughty, nor set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. Let us do good, be rich in good works, generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for ourselves as a good foundation for the future, so that we may take hold of that which is truly life [10]. Amen.

____________________________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] 843 Acres, What Currency Counts Beyond the Grave? 17 April 2012.  |   [2] 1 Tim. 6:10 ESV  |  [3] Ecc. 5:10 ESV  |  [4] See Matt. 19:16-22 (The Parable of the Rich Young Ruler)  |  [5] See, e.g., Is. 55:2; Prov. 11:24; 28:22; Acts 20:35  |  [6] See Ecc. 5:15-16 ESV; 1 Tim. 6:7.  |  [7] See 1 Tim. 6:9-10  |  [8] See Heb. 13:5, 6  |  [9] See Ps. 16:11  |  [10] Prayer entirely based on 1 Tim. 6:11-19.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 162 other followers