Evil is called good.
Good is being called evil.
Truth is whatever you want it to be.
Love is being currently defined as acceptance, instead of following God's basic definition in John 3:16... Love....gives....sacrificially for the good of someone else.
Hate is hate when out of love you wish to speak truth (but, never mind you have someone else's good at heart, because well good is bad, and my truth isn't necessarily yours)... So, we’re only allowed to say that which is tolerant, kind, and agreeable; or we're labeled "haters."
The largest gap I've ever witnessed splits our nation in division over preferred parties and candidates.
It's affecting EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE!
Disagreement finds no common thread to bind anyone together anymore.
I see this question asked on a regular basis:
"Could these be the last days?"
Well, we are closer than ever, but according to Jesus, "No man can know the hour."
We have possible big picture ideas.
But....Honestly, "I dunno." 🤷♀️
And, that isn't what matters.
What matters is how I am to live my life, and the what, or rather, who, I am to fix my hope on, as I journey through whatever season this is that we are all facing together.
If you are a Jesus-follower, those are the questions we should ask ourselves, and hold up to the one plumb line I believe we have in this world: GOD-BREATHED SCRIPTURE.
With those questions in a bubble hovering above my head, I, recently, turned to dig into Paul's second letter to Timothy, his "beloved son in the faith." It's a book of "last days," and how we are to live....
I've never blogged through a book of the Bible before.
I've led plenty of Bible Studies, but I'm not even sure what this genre of a blog should look like.
Yet, that's where I feel led to direct my attention.
What can I learn from a man (the Apostle Paul) who is definitely facing his last days on earth?
What might he teach me about how to live in the midst of hard times?
What take aways can I ponder, and put feet to, as I walk out my last days, no matter how long they might be?
And, more importantly, how can I be a Jesus-follower navigating tumultuous waters of this season of life, loving biblically, speaking truthfully, bridging the "great divides" (if possible), and showing others what it looks like to live victoriously in Jesus?
This is an introduction to where I'm heading over, well, who knows how long...
And, as I begin, the first question I'm asking is this:
With whom do I identify most in 2 Timothy?
Not really either one; though, sometimes I operate as a Paul in a mentoring capacity, and, sometimes, I'm still a Timothy, needing to learn from a skilled master teacher.
But, I know who I want to be.
I want to be Onesiphorous (I'll call him "O" - sounds kind of Mission Impossible, right?
Paul brags on this servant to Timothy in chapter 1 (16-18).
What Paul says about "O" is, actually, quite tender. Here are the words in just three verses:
May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.
Here's what I know about "O" that is worth emulating.
1) While others deserted Paul when he was thrown into the Mamertine Prison, "O" stuck it out, persevering, RIGHT BESIDE him, know matter what others thought...
2) In fact, "O" had to search, and search, until he finally found Paul, in the worst of conditions. "O" was a man of purpose and nothing deterred him from what he had come to do...He was diligent and determined.
Side note: No one made it out of Mamertine alive. You were either torched, sent to the games, beheaded, or died of starvation. It wasn't a prison as we know prison with cells. The prisoners were lowered down into this "cistern" by ropes, and pulled out the same way, unless you died first, and then you were sent out the only door in the place, that opened into the sewers. The sewer waters sent the dead on out to sea via the Tibre River.
(Mamertine Prison, Rome, Italy)
4) While "O's" name may be a bit difficult to pronounce, he was named appropriately. His name means, "one whose pleasure and joy it is to be useful." "O" lived and loved to serve others.
Isn't that what is needed in these troubled times? We need Jesus-followers who are determined to serve others; who see a need and fulfill it with pleasure; who encourage with words and tangible, practical help (after all, those who serve the "least of these" serve Jesus). May we each find our purpose and live out our WHY to the very best of our ability....even at the risk of being shamed and mocked. May we each be found to be "O"-kind-of-loyal.
Yep, I want to be Onesiphorous.
And, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to be one, too.
This blog will not self-destruct.