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.

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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.

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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)

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 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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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Footnotes

[1] 2 Timothy 2:3-4 ESV

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