Today's Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 4
Selected Biblical Text
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: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage -- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:1-8 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
Have you considered why and how Paul so confidently faced the end of his life? What was it about him? Was it not that he had lived out the advice he was giving to Timothy -- preach and teach constantly and consistently, patiently encourage, stay focused, endure, do the work to which God calls you. The conclusion of a life well spent is confident readiness.
Reflect on the journey you have completed to this point in life. How are you doing with the calling and claim of God in your life? Selfishness is the tool of Satan. Evaluate how often you suit your own desires rather than doing what God wants. Consider how easy it is to hear what we want to hear rather than what God is trying to communicate to us. Finally, consider the meaning of the phrase, "to long for his appearance." What does it mean to long for something? Are we eagerly anticipating Jesus' return, longing for his appearing?
Dear God, thank you for all you have done to make our faith possible. Give us courage, confidence, and renewed compassion. Hear our hearts, mold us and renew us as we seek to be ready for all that comes, and as we long for His appearing, in His name, Amen.