Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book of 2nd Timothy

The Life Project: 2nd Timothy Candice Roberts Paul writes the second letter to Timothy while he is sitting in a Roman prison awaiting execution. He would never leave that prison; never again see his beloved son in the faith. It is from this vantage point that Paul writes. His aim is to communicate some final words of encouragement that might sustain Timothy through the difficult times after his death. We have in 2nd Timothy a beautiful letter of inspiration, wisdom and friendship that has been cherished throughout the years. A letter like this, certainly leaves me wondering what I will spend my final days on earth doing. I wonder who I will be investing in. I wonder what words of wisdom, or folly, I might be imparting to those I love. If I could plan it out, I would be sure to visit each of my children and grandchildren, if I have them by then. I would tell them of the immense love that I have for them and the immeasurable love that their Father in Heaven has for them. I would admonish them to not be afraid to ask questions, but to not let questions get in the way of faith. I would remind them that because they have been shown such great Love and Mercy, that they have a responsibility to show others love and mercy and to help those less fortunate then themselves. If I had it to plan out, I would also encourage my husband and tell him that the joy of my life had been to walk alongside him. I would encourage him to not grow weary in doing good because there are rewards waiting for him in heaven. I would urge him to take an occasional break because it is necessary and will help rejuvenate his spirit. I would remind him that the only opinion that matters is our Lord’s and so he shouldn’t worry too much when people get mad at him. I would certainly remind him that if you wash the dishes right away, food doesn’t get caked on them and they are much easier to clean. To the precious people God has put in my path, I would exhort them to keep pursuing God and His Holiness. I would counsel them that the Kingdom of Heaven is now, and they can live in the freedom Christ purchased for them now. I would plead with them to not get bogged down in the cares of this world, but to keep their eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. If I had it to plan out, this is how I would spend my last days. But life does not work that way. I am not promised tomorrow. In fact today may be my last day. It could in a year. It could be 10 years, 20 years, 50 years from now. But more than likely, I will not have the luxury of knowing when my last day will be. This is a sobering fact. Because if I died today, that would make my last day yesterday and it fell so far short of my plan. Instead of encouraging my children, I got onto them for keeping a messy room. Instead of spending time with my boys, I watched a TV show. Instead of encouraging my husband, I just sat beside him in our house and didn’t pay much attention to him at all. I didn’t reach out to friends. I didn’t serve the less fortunate. I just went through the motions at work, not stopping to thank God for the people He had put in my path. The fact is my life was kind of pointless yesterday. So here is my November 5th resolution. I am going to, in the words of the great Tim McGraw, live like I was dying. I am going to cut down on the wasted moments. I am going to turn off the mindless chatter and become more intentional with my words. I am going to serve more, forgive more, love more. I am going to take a deep breath, and pray to our Father before I step foot out of bed each morning. I am going to do this not because the morning is more holy than other parts of the day, but because as soon as I get up I could be screaming at my kids that they are making me late, rushing past my husband in the hallway and ignoring phone calls from a friend in need. I need a “first thing” reminder to focus on the things of God, the important, lasting things and to just let the trivial stuff go. One of my favorite poems is called The Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I have included it here. Not as perfect as God’s Word, but still a beautiful reminder to seize the day. Tell me not, in mournful numbers, "Life is but an empty dream!" For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; "Dust thou art, to dust returnest," Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Finds us farther than to-day. Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,--act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again. Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing Learn to labor and to wait.

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