Always I appreciate your comments and notes of encouragement. Thank you Hard Amber for checking in and you kind words. It is a comfort to see your name pop up and that you are still visiting these parts:) Also, JC . . . thank you . . . and PP great to hear from you as well. . . .
Your note (PP) referring to what is appearing on the horizon, so-to-speak . . . the trials and persecution obviously brewing . . . and what else you wrote--these things I was loosely considering and happened to open the Word which opened upon II Timothy 2:15:
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a
workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word
of truth. "
As I read on it struck me again how much this portion of scripture seems so directly suited to reveal and direct . . . concerning this specific time in which we live.
"Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands,
having this seal, 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Everyone who
names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.'" --2 Tim. 2:19
We are surrounded by active, purposeful wickedness and rebellion against God. You can't turn to the left or the right . . . without encountering lies, deception, perversity, lawlessness, disobedience. . . .
We who name the name of the Lord are likewise to be purposeful--not remaining passive or wandering--to reject and avoid wickedness. God's grace is not cheap. He is not the God of "anything goes" . . . "all is well" . . . "do what thou will". . . . Besides His grace and interceding (which was bought with the greatest of sacrifices) . . . and His real, personal love and mercy . . . He is also a God of absolute, perfect wrath, justice, holiness.
And we are expected to show ourselves "approved unto God"--to resist, fight, war against His enemies. It is because we DO love our enemies . . . that we contend with them and the forces of darkness.
"You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." --2 Tim. 2:1
How is one to "be strong in grace"? One major help is to never forget it--the profundity of it. By grace--GRACE--we were saved. . . . Saved from eternal damnation! This is what He tells us. Purely by His beneficent, loving, good grace did He choose us from certain destruction . . . plucking us right from the already burning fires--taking us off the flaming, descending path we were lost upon and treading. Utterly undeserving, were we, unable and having done nothing to warrant His merciful rescue! Recall that astounding fact deeply and often, reveling in His kindness to one's who were naturally His haters and enemies.
"Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. " --2 Tim. 2:3-4
What a watchword for the times and events we are in the midst of and about to get much hotter! Going into what's coming . . . we must remember who is our "commanding officer". Is it one from civilian affairs? Yes, we will render unto Caesar what is his to command, but those matters pertaining to the directives of OUR Commander we must not compromise on. Who do we ultimately serve and Who will be giving us our medals and freedom . . . or detention . . . in the end?
"Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead . . . [for Whom] I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned." --2 Tim. 2:8-9
Should we be imprisoned . . . as many already are, and more will be . . . who "name the name of the Lord" . . . we can know through all . . . that "the word of God is not imprisoned"! Which Word ought (and will be) living in our hearts, bringing "life-saving perfume to them that are being saved" or "the aroma of the death to the perishing." --see 2 Cor. 2:14-16
"For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen. . . . If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us. . . ." --2 Tim. 2: 10,12
Here, through all the words . . . we are seeing the mindset and heart condition that we should have as we go into God's surrounding judgment and days of trial and persecution. . . .
"Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels." --2 Tim. 2:22-23
"The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil's trap, having been captured by him to do his will. " --2 Tim. 2:24-26
It is so helpful to remember . . . when striving to win souls . . . that it is GOD Who grants repentance and leads to the knowledge of truth. Repentance is not taken or effected by a person, by the creature through, ie., study, will, learning, aptitude. . . . For if it were, then we would all have cause to boast who are saved, who HAVE the spirit of repentance. But we see here clearly, as in other verses, that repentance is a gift of God, by His grace ALONE--something He grants . . . which, once granted then, and ONLY then . . . leads to the knowledge of truth. Which truth "sets free" . . . even though one should be imprisoned by the "civilians".
We are not civilians in this world. We are foreigners, soldiers behind enemy lines, bond-servants to another Master and Commander. . . . Recalling this is crucial to maintain the proper, Godly discernment we will need to navigate the difficult and treacherous days upon us and ahead. . . .
"But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!
"For among them are those who worm their way into
households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a
variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth." --2 Tim. 3: 1-7
And, my friends, does this not describe the situation to a "t"?
"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted". . . . "WILL BE" persecuted! We know what to expect. We see so many of our brothers and sisters already suffering persecution. Those who would be friends with the world, seeking and getting its favor . . . are bound to be enemies of God. We should wonder . . . with some alarm . . . if we are loved by the world and never or rarely receive its revelers' hate and calumnies. . . .
" . . . while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived."
"Imposters" . . . heh . . . how apt is THAT depiction!
" . . . the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." --2 Tim. 3: 15-17
Which is why the devil--especially where he has entered many of the churches and purported leaders and teachers--is constantly twisting, corrupting, minimizing, undermining, subverting certain portions of The Word. "ALL SCRIPTURE is inspired by God!" He, the deceiver, would have us neglect "the whole purpose/counsel of God" and only pick through and choose out acontextual parsings which support our particular fallen biases, lusts and blind spots.
We are blessed to live in a time where His counsel is so starkly portrayed, helpful and useful against the backdrop of such a dark, malignant, wicked and adulterous generation!