March Newsletter (2)


From Annelle:    

Can you believe it is March already?  Time marches on, doesn’t it? (Sorry for the pun.  I could not resist).   I suppose I am thinking of how quickly time goes by because this is a significant year for me. I will be 65 in April!  I’ve been doing some looking back and wondering, not just where the years went, but if I have done what I should have done with them.  Have I set a good example for my children and grandchildren? What about all of you who I have served these past nine years?  In both cases, I question if there is anything about my life that would cause those who have been a part of my life to want to have a close personal relationship with our Lord?   These are “milestone” questions, I know.  Maybe we are never really satisfied with what we have done. But I know I wish I had done more/done better/done more significant things with my 65 years. 

 

But here I am with my “right now.”  What is done is history.   I am not excusing myself for a lack of resolve in those times I did not do my best.  I am saying - I can’t go back!  I also can’t stay where I am.   I move forward – we all do – and what I do (and what we all do) with that movement forward is the difference between looking back with satisfaction or looking back with regret.  

 

May we desire to end with the confidence of the Apostle Paul, who from his prison cell in Rome wrote to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  (2 Timothy 4:7-8)   Can I say that?  What about you?


Paul knew the end of his life was near.  He said the time for his departure had come.   And with that realization, Paul gives Timothy his best advice for faithfully following.  These letters (First and Second Timothy) are so personal.   One can feel the urgency in Paul’s writing.   It is the urgency to say what will be meaningful to Timothy and guide Timothy when Paul is no longer living.  


Paul tells Timothy, You must understand this: in the last days distressing times will come.  For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power.  Avoid them!”  

  

If you knew you were at the end, to whom would you write your letter, and what would you write after the words: “You must understand this …..”?  Would you be as honest as Paul?


To Timothy Paul says, “Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, and my suffering the things that happened to me .…..”  Paul said, “continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”  Could you use your life as an example of faithful living?


Paul tells him,  “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.   In the presence of God and of Christ    Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you:  proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.  For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.”   

 

Paul prepares Timothy for the difficulties he will likely face in witnessing for Jesus Christ and speaking the truth.  But he urges Timothy to witness and speak the truth anyway – whether his words are appreciated or rejected.   He told Timothy to do his work and carry out his ministry even if it caused him to suffer for it.   Would you be as honest with that person you chose to write?    What would you write to them after the words:  “I solemnly urge you ….”


I am not just asking you those questions, but I am asking them of myself as well.  For sure, time marches on no matter what age we happen to be.  Certainly there are many who witness our lives - our priorities, values and where we place our commitments.  May those we encounter be able to see in each of us love for and faithfulness to Jesus Christ.  

 

 

 

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