Again, like in 1 Timothy, there are so many awesome things in this book I won't be able to hit all of them. I'll write out some verses and then have a brief thought next to each one.
1:5-7--- "I am reminded of your sincere faith...For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." I want to be remembered as one with sincere faith!
1:12--- "Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day." If God brought Paul through his imprisonments and shipwrecked times, he will bring us through ours!
2:7--- "Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this." If there's something we don't understand in scripture, keep seeking! He promises that we will find what we are seeking and that He'll give us insight!
3:12-15--- "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it..."
In college I was volunteering at a youth group and as clear as anything, God asked me to pray for persecution for the students! What?!?! I did not know if that was even "allowed" so I got scared and didn't obey. It wasn't until years later that I saw the error of my ways. God brings such incredible fruit during persecution and I could have been an instrument to help our students grow but instead I was fearful because I didn't "get it." Fruit comes in times of persecution because persecution either confirms the things that you are convinced of (Jesus) and you keep walking in it, or you poop out and live however you want. Paul writes "continue in what you have learned and become convinced of". It did not benefit the youth group and now years later I'm sad to say that many are no longer serving the Lord. I thought I was "protecting" them instead of praying the hard things I knew God asked me to pray.
Have courage if you are being persecuted because God doesn't just promise it will happen, He promises to bring you through it and make your faith stronger if you continue in what you have learned and become convinced of! I can attest to this because when I was 12, I lost my best friend because of my faith. That year was a HUGE defining point in my life because that was when I decided and knew what I was convinced of! I've never turned back. As the old hymn sings, "You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus." I grieve knowing that I played a part in preventing my students from experiencing something that could have changed their lives. Yes, I know God can still move regardless of our disobedience because of His grace, but I also know that sometimes if we don't obey, He chooses not to move.
3:16-17--- "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Whatever God has called you to do, He will affirm and encourage you through the Scripture!
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