As I mentioned in my last post, I've kind of been dealing with various things lately and a friend advised me to find a verse and recite it in my mind. To let it dwell in my heart. I stumbled upon 2 Timothy 4:5 the other day. I'm sure I have read it numerous times before but this time it jumped off the page at me.
2 Timothy 4:5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at bringing others to Christ. Complete the ministry God has given you.
Keep a clear mind in every situation. I need to keep all bitterness and jealousy and all other evil thoughts out so I can act and respond in a Christ-like manner. I need to focus on the blessings God has given me and the immeasurable love God has shown me and not on the ugly things of this world. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brother and sisters, let me say this one more thing before I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Phil 4:6-8)
Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. I am in no way suffering like the early Christians suffered but I do feel like doing what God has told us to do can cost us things. It can cost relationships, which it has to me before. It can cause loneliness. It can cause fatigue. It can cause hurt from others and rejection. It can cause a lot of things but reminding ourselves that this earth is not our home and that God is the friend to the friendless and that he gives strength when we can no longer do it ourselves gives us the ability to press on. "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we will get up again and keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." (2Corinthians 4:7-10;16-18)
Work at bringing others to Christ. This needs to be my focus. Building relationships with people. Opening my heart and home to share with people. Allowing God to use me even when it's uncomfortable. Being honest with people and letting them see that I am in no way perfect but I serve a God who loves me and them and who is perfect. And once I understand that my heart and mind need to be clear of the weaknesses and strongholds in my life, and once I understand that I will suffer, I will be in the right place to lead others to Christ. God will be able to use me and I will be free to see the opportunities he has set before me. "Whatever we do, it is because Christ's love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them." (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) "Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of ever opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone." (Colossians 4:5-6)
Complete the ministry God has given me. This is big for me. This requires focus. This requires commitment.This requires perseverance...none of which are my strong points. But, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) When my mind and heart are clear of the things of this world that bring me down, when I accept the fact that this world is not my home and that I will suffer but I have a Savior who suffered above anything I can imagine, and when my focus is leading people in a closer walk with God, then I am completing the ministry God has given me. "For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. Hold tightly to the word of life, so that when Christ returns, I will be proud that I did not lose the race and that my work was not useless." (Philippians 2:13-16)
This world has nothing to offer except a chance to see the love of God redeem it.
And here are some pics of my cutie-pies. I can't help myself =)
Seriously, do they come any more gorgeous than this?
If it looks like all he does is eat...well...it's true...