Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Second Epistle to Timothy’

Respond to Your Call to Influence.


 

group of women
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

The church has not always recognized the spiritual gifts of women. But God has fashioned them to be key players in His kingdom.

Let’s imagine for a moment what the world would be like without women. All the wonderful traits women are capable of providing with exuberance—gentleness, nurture, care, refined beauty—would be missing.

Men possess these same qualities but in smaller supply; women, on the other hand, overflow with them. Without women the world would look like an army base where everything’s painted white or gray and designed for efficiency at the expense of beauty. An awful sense of incompleteness would permeate the planet.

Women have many qualities unique to their gender, one of the grandest being the ability to host life. This privilege to shelter another life at such an intimate level has been granted exclusively to Eve and her daughters.

Women can nurture their newborns through the most intimate interaction between a female adult and a child: breastfeeding. The image of a baby being nursed by a loving mother is a picture of total dependency, perfect care and the most sublime transfer of nurture from one being to another.

Women are also the ones who predominantly shape the character of their children during their crucial early years. They plant tender gestures in the inner layer of a child’s malleable soul and watch as, like the seeds in a flowerbed, the spiritual seeds sprout, spreading beauty over the adult landscape in the form of noble deeds.

When were the seeds planted? During the nurturing years when a child spends most of his time with a woman: his mother!

Jesus’ First Teacher
It was a woman, young Mary, who first heard beating within her the heart of God Incarnate when she was pregnant with Jesus. It was her hands that first touched Jesus’ body and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes.

Think for a moment what this reflects: God Almighty, Creator and Preserver of the universe, took the form of a baby and became dependent on the care of one of His creatures. When God experienced human flesh, with all its limitations, who was there to meet His needs? A woman.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was His first teacher and also later His first disciple. No other human knew Jesus as intimately as Mary did.

Ponder for a moment the scene at Calvary. While most of Jesus’ frightened disciples hid at a distance, Mary and a group of faithful women gathered at the foot of the cross. Despite the pain and suffering Jesus endured, His last earthly concern was for a woman—His mother.

He could not forget that she had taken care of Him when His earthly life began. And now, as His life was about to end, Jesus lovingly turned her over to the care of His beloved disciple (see John 19:26-27).

Women’s Hall of Fame
Throughout the Bible are inspiring testimonies of other brave and brilliant women who were not mere privates in God’s army but key players who were given pivotal assignments at strategic points and in crucial times.

Moses’ mother challenged the pharaoh’s genocidal decree when she preserved the life of the one who would eventually lead millions of Hebrews to freedom (see Ex. 2).

Rahab held the keys to the taking of Jericho. By turning them in the right direction she assured the fall of the fortress city (see Josh. 2).

Hannah cried out to God for Samuel to be born, and he went on to become the greatest prophet and judge Israel ever knew (see 1 Sam. 1).

Deborah was an illustrious judge and a proven prophetess who delivered Israel from the mighty chariots of Jabin, the oppressing king of Canaan. Another woman, Jael, helped to bring total destruction to Jabin and his leading general, Sisera (see Judges 4-5).

Esther courageously risked her life to save her nation, God’s people, when they were in danger of being exterminated.

Sarah was called “mother of nations” by God Himself (see Gen. 17:16) and is listed among the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11.

Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, instructed and guided Apollos, who had been preaching less-than-perfect theology (see Acts 18: 24-26). The fact that in most tranlations, Priscilla is listed first in this passage signifies the prominence of her role.

On the shoulders of these women—and countless more down through the ages—rested the fate of cities, tribes and nations.

Pillars of the Early Church
One of the main reasons Christianity spread so rapidly in the early years is because its message restored honor and self-worth to half the world’s population: women. Romans had such a low view of women that some men engaged in sex with other men. Jewish rabbis completely silenced women inside the synagogue, and pagans used them as temple prostitutes.

However, early church leaders dignified women by teaching that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” and we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, NKJV). Women were also given positions of honor and leadership.

Priscilla, for instance, was part of the team that founded the church in Ephesus—site of the greatest power encounter recorded in the book of Acts. She was there, inside the crux of God’s power, when God dethroned Artemis and brought down the demonic socioeconomic structure that had controlled Ephesus.

Throughout the epistles women are unapologetically exalted as pillars of the faith. Paul identified two women as the headwaters of Timothy’s faith: his mother and his grandmother (see 2 Tim. 1:5). In Romans, a letter intended for wide circulation and public reading, Paul praised several women as people of faith and proven ministry (see Rom. 16:1-15).

The first European convert was a woman, Lydia, and hers was the first household to be baptized (see Acts 16:14-15). She was very assertive in her interaction with the apostles: “She begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us” (v. 15).

Three centuries later, the driving force behind Constantine’s conversion and the subsequent Christianization of the Roman Empire was another woman, Helena, the emperor’s mother.

Extraordinary Sensitivity
Women have an extraordinary sensitivity to spiritual things. I am not saying that they are more godly than men, but I believe they are definitely more spiritual. This is why Jesus was able to reveal two of the most powerful truths in the gospels to women.

He told Martha that He is the resurrection and the life (see John 11:25-27). To the Samaritan woman Jesus explained that He is the living water (see John 4:7-15). These women were in a state of confusion when Jesus found them, but both were able to hear, understand and believe these profound truths.

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{ Day 362 }.


But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Self-control. We encourage people to “dial down,” both emotionally and physically, as they go to pray for others. If you are being outwardly and manifestly influenced at the moment and involved in an uncontrollable experience with the Spirit, then seek to stay in a receiving mode and wait until you can calm down to get into a giving mode. We must recognize that the danger exists of unwittingly manipulating others by putting a wrong pressure on them to respond to us if we violate this principle. There are exceptions to this general rule. One is if a person specifically asks you to pray for them while you are in such a state. Another could be if the other person is a friend and you know that they would welcome such an experience. And there may be others.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, in my intercession for others, help me to “dial down” as I enter Your presence and to have a calm, receiving spirit that allows Your Spirit to direct my prayers for others.

We encourage people to “dial down,” both emotionally
and physically, as they go to pray for others.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Visions of Christmas: Seeing White.


Visions of Christmas: Seeing White

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.
Acts 2:46

Recommended Reading
1 Corinthians 14:33 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%201%20Corinthians%2014:33&version=NKJV)

Our modern Christian activities are much more elaborate and complicated than those of the early church. That’s not to say their lives weren’t complicated. In any age, the duties of life seem to expand to fill the time and resources available. Yet Luke, the author of Acts, noted something about the early Christians. He didn’t say their life was simple, but he did say they lived their lives with “simplicity of heart” (Acts 2:46). Is it possible to live with simplicity of heart in a busy season like Christmas? It must be. If the early Christians did it from week to week, we can surely do it at Christmas.

Watch This Week’s TV Broadcast ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/television.aspx?tid=email_watchedevo )

We don’t know exactly what Luke meant by his words, but it must have something to do with staying focused on the basics which he mentioned in verse 42: teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. What are the basics of Christmas? Love, generosity, worship, service, giving, contemplation, gratitude, and others.

Like a pure white garment (Revelation 19:8), keep this Christmas clutter free by living with simplicity of heart.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
1 Timothy 12 Timothy 4

By David Jeremiah.

{ Day 344 }.


Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2

The New Testament epistles were not written like lessons for a Sunday school curriculum. They were written as letters to people like us who were at times going through very difficult situations. When we as a church hear about the conflicts that caused the writing of 2 Corinthians or discover the drama that is the background of the letter to the Hebrews, we begin to identify with the people of the New Testament, not just with the exhortations to them. Not only does this make the New Testament come alive, but it also gives the church a sense of connection with those who began the race. The church as a prophetic community must realize that we are a continuation of what they began. We must feel that connection. The torch has been passed so many times that it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are running the same race they started. Their leg of the race has been completed, and they have now gathered at the finish line to cheer us on. The church is the living testimony of the prophetic purpose of God in history.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Holy Spirit, help me to understand the heart and emotions of those early Christians who became Your servants. Let me feel connected to them, and give me a heart that desires to separate myself to You just as they did.

The church is a prophetic community
that is to preserve and proclaim
accurately the Word of God.

By David Jeremiah.

One-Upping the Digital Age.


But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:26

Recommended Reading
Joshua 1:8 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%201:8&version=NKJV )

Today there are numerous ways to have ready access to the Bible. Most people have multiple printed Bibles, and more versions are available on the Internet. We can also access the Bible from our smartphones, digital music players, pads or tablets, and computers (not to mention CDs and DVDs). While the digital revolution has helped multiply copies of God’s Word, there has been an unintended negative impact on an important spiritual discipline related to the Bible: Scripture memorization. Why memorize something that you can call up anytime, anywhere on a digital device?

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

It was different in the biblical era. Copies of Scripture were extremely rare, especially in the Old Testament. For that reason, it was necessary to memorize the text mostly through listening. And when we hide God’s Word in our mind and heart (Psalm 119:11), we have one-upped the digital age. Whatever you have memorized is available for the Holy Spirit to use at a moment’s notice as a doctrine, a reproof, a correction, teaching, or comfort (2 Timothy 3:16).

Yes, the digital age has many benefits. But it is still up to us to put God’s Word in the one place where it is always available: in our mind.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Ephesians 4-6

By David Jeremiah.

God’s Everyone Seminary.


All Scripture is given by inspiration of God … that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

Recommended Reading
2 Timothy 3:13-17 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Timothy%203:13-17&version=NKJV )

A “seminary” is a school specializing in theological training especially for those entering vocational ministry. The word seminary, akin to the term for “seed,” comes from the Latin term seminarium, or “plant nursery.” Since the 1580s, this word has described schools that train Christians for ministry. Good seminaries enrich the Church with scholarship and instruction, and they’re important to the advancement of our Christian work.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

Though not everyone can attend seminary, every Christian has a seminary between two covers — the Holy Bible. God’s Word is a school that trains us for the work He has planned for us on earth. According to 2 Timothy 3:17, as we invest ourselves in God’s Word, we’re “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We’re not just equipped for good work; we’re equipped for every good work, and we are thoroughly equipped for every good work. We become spiritually productive through the Word of God.

The Bible is God’s Everyone Seminary. Make sure you’re enrolled today by having a personal plan for reading, studying, memorizing, pondering, obeying, and sharing the Bible.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
2 Corinthians 5-9

By David Jeremiah.

If No One Else Will Stand by You.



The Lord Will Come to Your Assistance

At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
– 2 Timothy 4:16

It is a heart-rending experience when friends let you down or when someone you thought to be faithful disappoints you. If this has ever happened to you, you know how upsetting this kind of situation can be. Yet this is precisely what happened to Timothy when he was serving as the senior pastor of the church in Ephesus. Leaders he thought would be faithful to the end had apparently walked out and left him in a moment of trouble. The hurt and pain Timothy felt from being abandoned by those he had trusted was so intense that he had written to Paul about it.

If you have ever felt betrayed by someone you loved, you should relate very well to the words the apostle Paul wrote in Second Timothy 4:16. Paul is referring to the time he stood before the Roman imperial court to be tried for the first time. In that moment when he needed friends to tes­tify in his defense, Paul turned to see who would testify on his behalf – only to discover that every one of his friends had walked out and abandoned him.

Now as Paul writes to Timothy to encourage him to stand strong in his own ordeal, he recalls that extremely difficult time when those close to him chose to walk away. Paul says, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”

The word “answer” is the Greek word apologia, which is a compound of the words apo and logos. In this case, the word apo means back, and the word logos is the Greek word for a word. When compounded, it means to answer back and depicts a reply, a response, or an answer. It was the old word used to describe a court trial where the accused was given an opportunity to respond to the charges brought against him.

Paul says, “At my first answer no man stood with me.…” The word “stood” comes from the Greek word paraginomai. It is a technical term used to describe a witness who stands forward in a court of law to support a prisoner. By selecting this word, Paul makes his point clear: When he desperately needed the support of fellow believers, not one single friend stood forward to testify in his defense. When he turned and looked to see who would be his witness, all his friends were gone!

In fact, Paul goes on to say, “…But all men forsook me….” The word “forsook” in Greek is from the word egkataleipo, which is a compound of the words ek, kata, and leipo. The word ek means out; the word kata means down; and the word leipo means to leave or to forsake. But when all three of these words are joined to form a triple-compound word, the new word carries the idea of walking out on someone; leaving someone in a terrible condition; abandoning a person at the worst possible moment; and deserting a person in the most terrible way. In other words, it conveys the idea ofaban­donment. By using this wretched word, Paul is saying, “Not only did they not come forward to support me and stand with me – they walked out on me and abandoned me at the worst possible moment!”

You’d think these horror stories would have made Paul bitter; however, there isn’t a trace of bit­terness in the apostle. He has learned a marvelous secret: When no one else will stand with you, the Lord will always come forward to stand alongside you, support you, and help you.

Continuing in verse 17, Paul says, “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strength­ened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”

First, Paul says, “…The Lord stood with me….” This word “stood” is the Greek word paristemi, which means to stand by one’s side. By using this word, Paul tells you that Jesus Christ is not ashamed of any faithful soldier. When no one else will come to your aid, Jesus Christ is always there to rescue you. Jesus will step forward to assist you and defend you when your friends and family have all bailed out!

Second, Paul says the Lord “strengthened” him. The word “strengthened” in the Greek isendunamoo, which always refers to an empowerment or an inner strengthening. It is a compound of the words en and dunamis. The word en means in. The word dunamis means explosive strength, abil­ity, and power. It’s where we get the word dynamite.

Thus, this word endunamoo presents the picture of an explosive power that is being deposited into some type of container, vessel, or other form of receptacle. The very nature of this wordendunamoo means that there necessarily must be some type of receiver into which this power can be deposited.

What does this tell us? In that moment when Paul felt so abandoned, he received a supernatural infilling of divine power that literally super-charged him to bravely and victoriously face one of the most difficult times in his life. The moment Paul discovered he had no friends to lean on was the exact moment that the power of God filled him anew and made him supernaturally strong for the ordeal he was facing.

This was good news for Timothy – and for every other believer who ever feels abandoned and let down by friends. If anyone needed to be reminded that the Lord would stand by him and strengthen him in the midst of every crisis, it was Timothy. The young minister desperately needed a fresh infilling of God’s power so he could victoriously walk through the ordeal that lay before him.

Just as God supernaturally strengthened Paul at a time when the apostle felt hurt and betrayed, God promised to do the same for Timothy in his hour of need. And God hasn’t changed; He is still not a respecter of persons. If He did it for Paul and Timothy, He will do the same for you today!

Are you facing a disturbing situation today? Has something happened to make you feel lonely and abandoned by those you thought would be faithful to stand by your side? If this is the case, it’s time for you to ask Jesus to stand by your side. If you will ask Him for help, He will step forward to assist you, befriend you, and fill you with the power you need to victoriously conquer this difficult time in your life. So why don’t you go ahead and ask the Lord to help you today?

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I admit that I’ve been feeling pretty lonely in the situation I am facing right now. Even though my friends try to understand, they simply can’t comprehend the emotional ordeal I am going through. But I know that You understand everything, Lord, so today I am asking You to step forward and assist me in my hour of need. Please stand at my side to help me, support me, and fill me with a fresh dose of the Holy Spirit‘s mighty power so I can victori­ously overcome in the midst of this challenging trial. I know that with Your Presence and power at my side, I will win this fight of faith that I’m engaged in right now.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that Jesus loves me and understands me. Even though friends may desert me or fail to understand the dilemma I am facing in my life, Jesus completely comprehends the entire situa­tion. Not only does He understand, but He is also my biggest Helper in my time of need. When I cry out to Jesus in faith, He responds by manifesting His strong Presence at my side. His Presence is with me to assist me, support me, and give me the strength I need to conquer all the attacks that come against my life. With Jesus, I can and will endure everything I face in life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER 

  1. Can you think of several instances in your life when you felt extremely weak, but then Jesus Christ came alongside you and filled you with all the strength you needed to victoriously make it through the predicament you were facing?
  2. Do you know a friend who is struggling right now and feeling very abandoned? If so, why don’t you demonstrate your love to that friend today by taking the time to share how Jesus strengthened you in your past times of crisis? Your tes­timony may be the very thing that encourages your friend to let the Lord step forward as his Helper in his time of need.
  3. When you were facing those hard times and the Spirit of God filled you with His power, how did you know that He had touched you? What was the imme­diate change you felt that let you know God had just given you a new infilling of His Spirit?

You can find more from Rick Renner on LightSource.com, including broadcasts of
Good News with Rick Renner” and “Refuel with Rick“!

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