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2 Timothy 2

2019 2 Timothy 2:1 grace

This morning, I was meditating on the 1st part of this year’s chapter. “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” This meditation has turned into a multiple day journey that has led to deep, intense prayer, and a heart utterly broken as Jesus revealed bondage in myself and others… as a friend and I confronted together those dark places in ourselves and prayed for loved ones, I developed a different picture.

the grace that is Christ Jesus… what does that look like?

the word translated my son is also my child. Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son. I identify with that as one grafted into the root As a mother, “My child” feels to me like my loving Abba wrapping His arms around me, kissing my bruises and wounds, and saying, “it’s ok, child

be strong, be empowered by

grace – charis: graciousness, manner or act, esp the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life; including gratitude, acceptable benefit, favour, gift, grace, joy

Jesus loves the unlovely

Jesus knows our faults and loved us anyway

Jesus was humble – He renounced status…

Empowered by the grace that is in Christ Jesus… is that kind of like looking at someone and seeing them as Jesus’ beloved, so precious that Jesus forgave them all?

Jesus wept, His heart was utterly broken for His beloved who would turn away from His gift. Grace sometimes looks like being broken hearted for those in bondage.

Grace – Jesus exhibited that amazing grace that said, “no matter your social status, where you were born, what sins you’ve committed, etc… I love you so much that I died for you.” Jesus knows our every flaw, yet gently touches those scars, those pains, those insecurities and proclaims them precious in His sight.

I am still stuck on this verse… but that’s ok… those places that are deep, the Holy Spirit plants a garden that produces fruit. I eagerly await the harvest and am so thankful that no matter how long we know him, no matter how deep our struggles, no matter how significant our past or present… God started the answer to our prayers long before we were even born. 

2019 2 Timothy 2:2-7 Don’t Look Down!

I am continuing to dig deep into the chapter (2 Timothy 2) that God would have us live this year.

I am apprehensive and not thrilled about verses 2-6
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 
Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

Ok, commit God’s word to faithful people I get. We do that through a variety of methods: services and products provided at the Ranch, Retreats, yes even facebook.

But verses 3-7 take my breath way. Verses 3 through 7 sound HARD, they sound like surviving when I have felt called to not just survive, but THRIVE. It sounds like strengthening, preparation for war, but the part about the athletic events and the farmer sound like preparation for LIFE… not just survival.

We have several difficult evens looming on the horizon. I have no idea how we will get through them.

I believe that there is not a magic prayer pattern or posture – it varies. Sometimes it looks like walking, sometimes face down, etc… This morning, I lay in bed while praying. On a cold morning, it just feels like a Jesus hug as we talk. Talk requires not just moving your mouth, but also moving your heart to hear. As I contemplated what Jesus was saying, I was not disappointed, He filled my heart with joy.

The picture in mind was when we did the superman slingshot  at Royal Gorge. You are harnessed to a rope, they take you way up high, then someone (Mike) pulls the cord and you drop face first then swing out over a deep, beautiful chasm… Royal Gorge. I closed my eyes that first drop (I am afraid of heights), but opened them over the canyon and it was amazing!

I put my trust, my life in the safety of a cable that was going to drop me head first… how much more productive is trust put in Jesus? How much more amazing will be the view, the journey? Jesus said, Focus on me, hang on to me during the journey – the ups, the downs…

But there is more… the second thing He gave me this morning is related to this verse:

But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3

Enthroned in the praises… When we praise God we put Him back on the throne of our life. It made me consider… what did I allow to inhabit that throne in place of God?

That brings me to another favorite verse, “The Joy of the Lord is my strength…”
Ah but the full verses is beautiful:
And Nehemiah, who was the [b]governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah

The people had turned away from God. And when Nehemiah, Ezra and the Levites read the law, God’s word, to the people, they grieved because they had no understanding until this time. “No not mourn or weep… the joy of the Lord is your strength..”

God’s word is not a point of sorrow, understanding brings joy.

As I contemplated these verses, the visual is:
When God is on the throne, Jesus is in my heart, and the Holy Spirit inhabits all areas of my life praise drives out the shadows from all areas of my life. The Holy Spirits fills my life with joy in place of anger, bitterness, worry, strife, sorrow, despair, hopelessness, weakness… all things that would be enthroned in my life if I allow self on the throne and robe myself with all the wrongs, sorrows, and hurt that have been done to me in my life. But I choose to cast them at the foot of the cross, robe God in Praise (not that I can add to His glory), but when I fall on my face before God seated on the throne, when I praise God, He clothes me in Joy, and the Joy of the Lord is my strength.

Don’t look down, child… Don’t look at the sorrow, the hurt, the pain… if you must close your eyes, do it… but fix your heart on me. When you have to courage to open them, fix your eyes on me… and I will fill your heart, your life with awe.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12

2019 2 Timothy 2:6-7 A Farmer’s Life

As I took another look at our 2019 verse, I decided a “light look” was where I was at today in light of all the paperwork I have been playing catch up with since retirement… it was hard with Mike coming from moving 30 years worth of stuff from an office and storage area and integrating it here, just as our busy season was starting). I got behind and have been behind for 6 months.

We have been cleaning and sorting through the trailerloads of stuff… auto parts (from the car we dismantled), from the mustang the students worked on, etc. that were stored in the back lot at the school during our 1st move and we gathered up in May to bring the rest of the way home. We stashed stuff EVERYWHERE around here, but now we are trying to get Mike’s shop set up so he’s not having to look for this part and that part.

I probably should have been working on paperwork, to catch up more and helping with cleaning/organizing less, but, honestly, some times I just need to get out of the house and work outside… so I’ve been cutting firewood and helping rearrange the barn. In typical Linda fashion, I literally put signs on the doors: this stall is ONLY for these items. Don’t stash stuff temporarily in the wrong stall! I have been doing the same inside the lodge to get ready for next season.

Yesterday as I got ready to work on the paperwork, that shoulda, coulda, woulda monster tap danced all around me. Before I started my day’s project, I re-read 2 Timothy 2… if that’s the chapter God’s got for us, I need to know it well enough to stand on it this year.

So, after diving into 
2:1 be strong in Jesus
2:2 commit teachings to faithful men who can endure
2:3 endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus
2:4 don’t become entangled in the stuff of this life
2:5 athletes are crowned when they compete according to the rules

I decided 2:6 and 2:7 would be a reprieve… 
6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 2 Timothy 2

We’ve had a lot of farmers in our family, few work as hard as they do… with the exception of probably their wives. No problems there. What got me was “must be the first to partake of the crops…” As I meditated on that, it sounded a lot like, “if you are travelling with children, put on your own oxygen mask first…”

I am not good at putting myself first. I push through when I’m exhausted, I push through when I am sick… in the summer, I grab a cup of coffee and/or milk, a candy bar or a banana instead of a meal… but that isn’t what God wants, is it? He wants us to be still at times, to take time to eat a good meal.

“Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things… “

I don’t want to… but I really do have to admit, I am a whole lot more understanding when I’ve had a good meal and rest… I am also able to focus more on what God has to say. Instead of pushing through, I am able to sit and receive. In the summer I chew a thought, write it, work on my task at hand while chewing more… ultimate brain bounce. I hear God, but am distracted by the clatter of life.

We know we cannot keep up this furious pace and have decided to put up tighter boundaries. We don’t have to be on call 24/7 – if guests want to come during our off season or during our off hours, a phone call ensures that someone will be here. I’m not answering the business line during the winter, I return calls, texts, emails instead. That lets my quiet time actually be quiet. This is my time to refresh and streamline for the next season of ministry. I hear God saying to my heart, “don’t feel guilty for resting… I have prescribed that…”

I love all seasons here, enjoying the Sweet winter time of sustenance: food, coffee, and quiet fellowship with Abba…

Be blessed today, my friend… I’m going to make some breakfast… not something I normally do when I’m home alone, but I’m not alone today, Abba is here for breakfast and I’m going to indulge in a sit down meal with Him.

2019 The Farmer’s Life

Yesterday, as I looked at 2 Timothy 2:6-7 I knew it would be a two part thought. Yesterday, I meditated on the portion that, if you are not nourished and rested, endurance is an issue.

As I stated, I know of few who work as hard as farmers and honestly, farmers have great risk in their profession: too little rain, and there are little or no crops, too much rain, and the crops can be poor or even impossible to plant, too much heat and they wither, too little sun and they they don’t grow… year to year it’s a miracle if there is a great crop, and while it can be fulfilling and satisfying to live off the land, there are a lot of years that the cost of that land is greater than the income the land produces. Then you find yourself working more than one job just to keep a roof over your head.

There is also a certain amount of work and yes, risk, in ministry. 
the one thing you can be certain of is that if you don’t plant seeds, you won’t harvest crops and will not partake of the crops. 
Different climates can have a different method of planting, growing and harvesting which has proven successful for producing a good crop. While there are methods that cross over from climate to climate, they are not all exactly the same.

A farmer will occasionally change his crop – it’s better for the soil, it’s a calculated risk as to what crop he expects to produce better in that year.

The blessing in ministry is that God knows the climate and if we are attentive, if we seek and consider His wisdom, He will give us understanding as to when, where and what we are to plant, to nurture and to harvest. The other blessing is that we plant, but God gives the increase – He knows what and when to provide water and light to the seeds that are planted. Some seeds lie dormant for years before producing fruit while others sprout quickly. Our calling is to plant, to water, and tend to the weeds that threaten to choke the crop. The responsibility for bringing light to that buried seed is The Holy Spirit’s and the glory for the harvest is Jesus’. My words, our words, are designed to reflect His light, but I cannot produce, of my own ability, the necessary light to enlighten hearts and minds. We are blessed by partaking in the harvest, but ultimately the harvest is His, we cannot produce it without Him.

The joy of ministry is seeing what people and opportunities He brings into our lives each day… It is seeing those seeds sprout, grow and mature… It is in partaking of the harvest. As we prepare the soil for next season, I look ahead with hope. I anticipate seeing what God has in store for this next season. I wonder what the harvest will look like? I do not know, but I do know that it will be enough.

The blessing for both the farmer and the minister is seeing a fruitful harvest… praying for the harvest.

Deeper Still:
7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:7

6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 2 Timothy 2


2019 2 Timothy 2:13-17 Blessings and Challenges

God called me back to this year’s verse… when I shared it with a friend, she said, “You are going to be amazingly blessed, and amazingly challenged.

This has been a challenge week. And I can honestly say, I didn’t handle it as well as I would have liked. The joy of the convertible ride down the coast, windows up, seat heater on took on new meaning when the doctor told me thursday I had an ear infection and sinus infection. My sinuses definitely hurt, but my ears didn’t hurt, I had bad vertigo. I have hayfever. Sinus infections are an annual/bi-annual event, other than normal hayfever, this one came on suddenly. I have too much to do to be down, but light hurt my eyes and I couldn’t compute, nor could I climb on ladders to clean the upper cabinets. Sometimes God’s command is to rest, and when we don’t, He will show us how.

This year’s chapter (usually just a verse): 2 Timothy 2… what speaks to me today is 13-17 13 If we are faithless,

He remains faithful;

He cannot deny Himself.

14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer.

God is faithful, even when we are not/can not be. He gave us the Holy Spirit to teach, to lead, to guide, to provide in our spirit.

As my heart wrestles with so many things, the Holy Spirit said, “quiet child… you don’t need answers, you need peace…” So often the answers resolve themselves and worry was wasted, and our spirit was burdened for naught. God is faithful. God sees. God knows our needs, our hearts

Let’s face it, we have good days, we have bad days. God teaches us through the bad days, He does not turn His back on us.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

and we move on, putting these things, these hurts behind us, we get through the by/in/through the grace of God.

As I was studying, my eyes also went ahead to 2 Timothy 3. Ok, Lord, isn’t one chapter enough for this year?

2 Timothy 3:3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Isn’t narcissism all too prevalent these days? “ME! ME! ME! I want… I deserve…. poor me….”

We wound and tear each other down because to honor someone else might make us face our own sins…

We turn from God and turn inward,

Our thoughts are destructive because they are all about “me”…

Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth….

The truth is that in many situations we are neither innocent nor 100% guilty…

I posted a couple quotes on repeating lessons… and I beg God to clarify the lessons of this week so that I don’t have to live them again. Unfortunately, there is much is these lessons I don’t like, but I will follow God anyway.

I come to this place with my heart repeating Paul’s words,

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God sees my heart… my struggles… my desires.

I am so very grateful and amazed that He is faithful and doesn’t give up when I stumble, but picks me back up and puts me back on the path.

Psalm 32:6 6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You

In a time when You may be found;

Surely in a flood of great waters

They shall not come near him.

7 You are my hiding place;

You shall preserve me from trouble;

You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will guide you with My eye.

God did not say we would not endure storms, but He has promised shelter through them.

Isaiah 25:25 O Lord, You are my God.

I will exalt You,

I will praise Your name,

For You have done wonderful things;

Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

2 For You have made a city a ruin,

A fortified city a ruin,

A palace of foreigners to be a city no more;

It will never be rebuilt.

3 Therefore the strong people will glorify You;

The city of the [a]terrible nations will fear You.

4 For You have been a strength to the poor,

A strength to the needy in his distress,

A refuge from the storm,

A shade from the heat;

For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

Deeper Still

Job 34:21 “For His eyes are on the ways of man,

And He sees all his steps.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

2019 2 Timothy 2:15 Approved:  Self- Righteous words are not the same as Righteous words

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer… 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
…23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.

Meditating on our 2019 chapter again today as I beseech God for discernment and wisdom as to what He is calling us to do this year. We seek constantly to be that faithful, approved worker. My heart grieves at each time I falter, even though I know I am human and will falter and fail frequently. One thing He has clarified, we are here to please God, not to be people pleasers. Ultimately our service to others is a product of our service to God not service to people to obtain favor from God.

Words have weight, have value. Criticism, gossip, telling others what they should do… aren’t those actually signs of someone who is not engaged with living life and so divert focus to telling others how to live? Lead by example… live an example! Our policy is lifestyle evangelism. Our Words are ineffective if our life does not confirm and model our words.

Diligence… one of the old buzz phrases in leadership has been “exercising due diligence”. We are instructed to be “wise as serpents but harmless as doves.” This is difficult and I pray constantly for discernment… what is diligence and what is excessive fear and mistrust? Isn’t diligence an excellent tool in my own life, but diligence over monitoring and commentary of someone else’s actions classic codependency control?

One thing my years have taught me is that there are an abundance of people who are willing to offer commentary on the SHOULDs: how I should live life, how we should work – should operate our business, should spend our money…. how I should speak, what I should fear, what I should focus on… the shoulds are discouraging. I am living life trying to attentively listening to God… when I take my eyes off Him to be a people pleaser, to chase down rabbit trails, I get lost, I stumble, I get discouraged and I am ready to give up.

If I have so much time left over after living my life that I feel obliged to supervise another’s… well, time to talk to God about it… I am missing what He is calling me to do. God does not call us to idleness or to fabricate drama.

If God has put something on my heart, He is probably also trying to put it in my life. My life is the life I can live. I cannot live your life any more than you can live mine. We see a small piece of each others lives – we do NOT see all the intricacies of that life, that calling, why those choices are made. Thank you, Captain Obvious… so much of what we think others should be doing is more relevant to our life than to theirs – it is the face in the mirror that needs to be doing what is in our hearts and the life we live that reflects our heart. The saying, “don’t talk the talk if you’re not walking the walk,” comes to mind. There is a point where I just need to quit moving my mouth and start moving my hands and feet. Some times that looks like drawing near and offering a hand up, sometimes that looks like walking away so as not to be drawn into a pit.fwhen they request help. This is to say that the best way to help is often to ask how/what I can do to help… to be a supportive listener, to pray for them, and to resist the urge to infuse drama and misinformation into those prayer requests.

The tongue is sharper than a two-edged sword… our words have the power to clear away entanglements, but they also have the power to destroy. How precious are those who offering encouraging words instead of criticism, whose words build up instead of destroy. Whose words offer encouragement, love and support instead of consistency wounding, cutting and bruising. There are times when we journey through the brush, over the harsh, cutting rocks because there is no way around or because we up to that challenge at the moment. There are other times when we choose the more gentle path because we know we have not the strength to climb the summit. There are those people in our lives whom we must choose to be around only when we have the strength to withstand the harsh path and there are those whom we choose to be around when we need that refreshing, healing journey.

Psalm 19:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of [a]great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my [b]strength and my Redeemer.

Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth,
And adds learning to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

Deeper Still

The Word Discovers Our Condition
Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
James 3:13
[ Heavenly Versus Demonic Wisdom ] Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a [a]cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.

Matthew 10:15-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless[a] as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.

Psalm:15 LORD, who may [a]abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
2 He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
3 He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he [b]take up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the LORD;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

Proverbs 12: 17 He who speaks truth declares righteousness,
But a false witness, deceit.
18 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise promotes health.
19 The truthful lip shall be established forever,
But a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy.
Psalm: 12 Help,[b] LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
2 They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and [c]a double heart they speak.
3 May the LORD [d]cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks [e]proud things,
4 Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
5 “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”
6 The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.

2019 2 Timothy 2:19-21 Vessels of Honor and Dishonor

Meditating on the next section of our 2019 Challenge Chapter

2 Timothy 2: 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, [h]sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

The Lord knows those who are His…
our Jesus Journey changes regularly. When I was a baby, He swaddled me, fed me, carried me…
As a toddler, I was encouraged to walk a little on my own, but then comforted and carried when I could not walk.
As an adult, I walk more… but there are still limits to my strength, and there are still so many times when Jesus carries me when my strength fails. Each day, my strength is renewed and we journey to different places, each day I learn more, each day The Holy Spirit teaches me more and more on this amazing Jesus Journey. The days are never the same.
Only the Lord knows our journey.

I love the visual in the next section:
There are different vessels, some for honor, some for dishonor.

We often think of a vessel having only a specific use and it cannot be used for anything else.
I am thinking of a plain aluminum can… I can use it for trash, for ash, or clean it, add ice and put cool drinks in it for a BBQ… we have often repurposed dishes… Candlesticks fastened to plates to make beautiful Tea trays.

I think of some of the chamber pots we’ve seen in museums…  some were intricate and beautiful… and yes, used for a different kind of ash. Cleaned up, could they not be beautifully used for a feast for a King? We think that if a vessel was once dishonored, it is no longer fit for honor. Praise God, that He is not how He sees us!

We can get this self-righteous attitude: they are of the wrong church; they don’t have the right training; do you know what they’ve done; do you know who they are; do you know their family; they are not equipped the way I am equipped… they can never be real, they can never be truly used by God… they are hypocrites…  arrogance and pride… is that not exactly what Jesus was referring to in His conversation with the scribes and Pharisees? When we call someone a hypocrite, is it not possible the person we are truly speaking of it the one in the mirror?

Matthew 23:25-27 New King James Version (NKJV)

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and [a]self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.

Oh, do not so casually cast aside the formerly dishonorable vessels… Jesus is the original repurposer… and what He has cleansed is no longer dishonorable, but a precious vessel of honor to be used at His feast for the King of Kings. When the feast is prepared, it is not the vessel itself which will satisfy the honored guests, it is what the vessel is filled with…
An ornate silver vessel filled with ash will leave a bad taste,
A plain chamber pot cleansed, sanitized and filled with luscious treats plays a delicious part in a heavenly feast.

As one who prepares frequent feasts, I can tell you: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER stand in the way of a cook on a mission! How much more true of the feast God is preparing in Heaven. That which WE call honorable, is often weighed on a false scale…  That which Jesus cleanses is Holy, Honorable and precious!
That is an accurate measure and I will treat them as such.

Deeper Still:
Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.

Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.

Acts 10:15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”

Mark 1:40-42 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.

2 Corinthians 7:1 [ The Corinthians’ Repentance ] Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Jeremiah 33:8 I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me.

I think back to the beginning of January, as I asked God for a verse and He gave me instead, 2 Timothy 2. I have been slowly digging deeper into that as we have lived this chapter this year. A couple days ago He reminded me that I need to finish before summer. I opened my Bible and read verses 22:-26 and initially balked. In fact, I went back over the rest of 2 Timothy 2 and put my previous studies into one note…  I had a note from the beginning of the year that I have had to review and refresh several times:
As I look at the picture hanging on the wall of the lion, it reminds me again of God’s provision and the journey with Him. He told me in January that this year would be a year of change.. This year, will require courage – change does.

He has reminded me that…

He will teach me to please Him, while showing me the futility of being a “people pleaser”.

He will teach me to Love as He loves, by showing me what love is not.

He will teach me courage by first having me face my fears.
He will teach me freedom by revealing my captivity.

He will teach me “yes, “by first teaching me the necessity of “no.”

He will teach me His provision, by first walking me through loss.
He will teach me who my friends are, but showing me what friendship is not.

He will teach me strength through my weakness…

He will teach me the voice of truth by quietly speaking above the shout of the lies.

As I reviewed the first sections of this 2019 chapter, I came to the last part with a desire to absolutely know what God is saying to me. As a result, I could be the only one interested in this section. I will not interpret here, I am putting forth my research and leave each to their own findings and conclusions. Our lives are all different and this is something that will be applicable in each life differently. I will not attempt to interpret application for you, nor can you interpret application for me. I pray blessings and discernment over you each as you seek God in this… The Holy Spirit will instruct as we ask, and the answers are individual between us and God.

2 Timothy 2:  22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

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