Do Everything in Love

Last year our church had a sermon series entitled Last Man Standing that was one of my favorites of the year and really impacted my life in 2016. My favorite in the series is the one entitled Men or Boys . I had written a post Act Like Men about this back then that is worth the few minutes to read and will give plenty of context into this post.

One of the verses I highlighted in that post was 1 Corinthians 16:13-14;

Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, be strong. Do everything in love.

The final part of that, “Do everything in love,” provides context for all that we are implored with doing in the first part of the verse. You could change the wording slightly and this verse becomes;

Be on your guard, in love.
Stand firm in the faith, in love.
Be men of courage, in love.
Be strong, in love.

A sidebar on word etymology.
I love learning more about the origins of the words we use as they are often far different from how we use them today. And when ancient texts, like the Bible are translated into our modern language often words are used that have the proper meaning, but our modern interpretation of those words could be different. So I enjoy looking at where the words come from and even learning the Greek or Hebrew that the Bible was originally written in so as to better understand the original meaning.

God’s Word doesn’t change and is true to what God is wanting us to hear, however our imperfect language that we use today can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations if you are not careful. While God will let His truth come through regardless of what language you read His Word in, it does help to understand what the writers were originally trying to convey.

The sentences sound a bit strange in our modern vernacular, but when you look at the original language the word for love used in the 14th verse is, agape. Of all the different words for love used throughout the Bible, agape is used to indicate the highest form of love. Often used to indicate the love God has for us or we have for God. It is a universal, unconditional love that is there regardless of circumstances.

In the King James version, this is translated as ‘charity’ which while we use that word typically as “benevolence for the poor”, it’s older usages from which it originated was defined more like “Christian love of one’s fellows.”

So what is being said here in this verse? What Paul was trying to tell his readers, is everything should be done in love to God. By doing these in love, we should be like Christ. Being like Christ should be the foundation for every decision we make and every action we take.

Be on Guard

As Christians we have a powerful enemy. One that tempts and attacks continuously, trying to thwart our work for God. So in that we should;

Watch against Evil: We need to watch for the evil in this world, but do so in the context of love. When we have the love of God in us and that love comes out from us, evil becomes easier to spot. With that context, we can judge our actions and the actions of others in that light. Does that activity we are about to take glorify God and show the love of Christ to those that might witness our actions? If not, be on guard. Do the words we speak to our spouse share the same love that God shares to us? If not, be on guard against those words.

That meaning of being on guard has us looking for negatives. But we should also be looking for the positives, for example, we should be on guard looking for opportunities to do good. James 2:14-26 tells us that faith without action is dead;

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. -James 2:17

We should be on guard to see those opportunities that God puts in front of us every day to do good. It could be something big and in the open like being on mission over seas. It could be as small as a smile to a stranger. In fact, I believe those little things can have a big impact for God’s kingdom and they are simple easy things to do. But we need to be on guard to seize the opportunities we are given.

Stand Firm in the Faith

We need to stand firm in the faith that was given to us by the Word of God.

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

We need to persevere in the faith, for if we don’t than this is an evidence that we never had the saving faith in the first place. Judas Iscariot, for example, eventually showed that he was not a true believer.

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. -Hebrews 3:14

A hallmark of a Christian saving faith, is continuing till the end. Many will hate Christians, they will criticize you, they will mock you, they may even try to harm or kill you…but the perseverance in persecution will be a sure sign of salvation.

Remembering the promises of God’s love will help us keep on. God’s love will never fail us and when we remember that, keeping our faith becomes so much easier. And when we stand firm in faith, showing the love of God to others, even those that oppose us, becomes natural.

Be men of courage

Men our judged by many things these days. Physical strength, money and possessions, their successes and status. But John MacArthur says it well in his sermon, How to Be a Man of Courage;

There is a trait that I think distinguishes a man most distinctively, the solitary foundation of manhood. And I want to sum it up in one word, it’s the word fortitude….Now I know that’s not an often used word today and that’s why I picked it. It’s not one that has a lot of baggage. It’s one that may come to you sort of from out of left field and you’re wondering what it means. Let me tell you what it means. Webster’s dictionary says, “Fortitude is that strength or firmness of mind, courage of soul which enables a person to encounter danger with coolness, to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression or despondency.” And then we could sum that up by saying, “Fortitude is courage built on strength of soul.” Fortitude is a good word because it combines courage with strength but it also has a third component and that is conviction. Fortitude is the combination of those three things: conviction, courage and strength.

We are to have courage in our faith, we are to be strong in our faith and we are to be sure of our faith. But remember this is all to be done in love. The love is a critical part. There are many strong and courageous people that believe strongly in something, but without the love, they can just become tyrants. We as Christan’s are called to have fortitude, but to be loving as well.

John again sums this is up very well;

They know that they must have the truth, they must have unwavering conviction about the truth, they must have the courage to stand for those convictions and the strength to withstand the assault. That’s what defines a man. A man is known by his character, by his fortitude.


Be Strong

With all these others, we are to be strong. We should put all our energy which God has provided in maintaining the truth. When we exercise this faith, we become spiritually stronger. When I physically exercise, I become physically stronger. It is no different when exercise our faith. When we do so, our faith become stronger and we are able to resist the enemy even more effectively.

The word used for be strong here krataióō is which is translated to be strengthened in a passive voice. The other actions talks about previously in the verse are things we need to do, things we can take action on. This call to be strong is a willingness to all God to strengthen us. Something God does to us and for us, not something we can do for ourselves. The thing we must do is submit ourselves to Him so He can make us strong in the faith. The more we submit, the stronger God can make us. When we become strong in the faith, we are able to do the others much more effectively.

In Love

So all these things Paul is admonishing us to do and we do them in love like Christ loved, they will draw us closer to Christ giving us the strength and courage to endure to the end and resist the enemy and allows us to be strong in the faith so that others can see the love of Christ in us.

The love is the key part to all of these. Christ loved us even though we are sinners and gave us a pathway to God that we could never follow on our own. Through Christ we can be made strong and fearless. Through Christ we can be sure we can persevere until the end. Though Christ we can be on guard against the enemy and be watchful of those opportunities that God gives us to serve. And through Christ we can share the love that he has shared with us.


Because He Truly Cares – 1 Peter 5:7

As often happens while sitting in church a scripture is given or something is said that may only be tangentially related to the sermon topic itself but it triggers in me that I realize that it is not only the meaning that God wanted me to get from the service, but it also triggers as a seed for blog post. This post is one such post. Warning, this may be a bit of a dry post as I’m going to be looking at word origins and such, so be aware if that holds no interest to you.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:7

This is how it reads in the NIV translation. The translation given at church was from the NLT and reads;

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

What struck me was the use of the word cares in two different contexts, one as a noun and one as a verb. Granted the pastor did go into a similar explanation of what I’m about to talk about and the entire sermon leads up to this verse, I’ll post a link to the sermon once the church puts one up.

Anyway, when I want to look at the meaning of words and how and why they were translated into English as they are, I like to look back at the original text in the original languages.

So the first instance of cares, is the word ‘merimnan’ which we also see translated into anxiety (which is a more descriptive translation to us modern English speakers) is described as meaning:

A part, separated from the whole, worry, anxiety. Dividing and fracturing a person’s being into parts.

So literally he is talking about those things that we stress over that divides our attention and distracts us. When we become Christians, we want to focus on the works of God, what He is doing in the world around us and how we can be a part of that. This worry and anxiety, literally takes our focus off of that and puts it back onto us and our situation.

The second instance of the cares, the verb is the word ‘melei’ which is described as:

To be of interest to, to take care, to be concerned about. To take interest in.

This tells us that God truly takes an interest in us. He cares about us and our situation, whether it’s a financial issue, a health issue, a relationship issue or a spiritual issue. God is truly interested in the details of our lives.

The takeaway from all this, is that God truly cares about our lives, but as long as we are distracted by our worries and anxieties, we can not see how much he cares and we struggle to give our full attention to Him and his works. I take this verse as a clear instruction to us. Cast our worries and anxieties on him, and God who truly cares for us and loves us will use us in mighty ways.

Why are you staring?

man-staring-sky-320x443Reading through the first chapter of Acts I came across an interesting passage.   Jesus was asked right before he ascended to heaven on when he would free Israel.  Jesus replied that the Father sets those dates and they were not for us to know and then talks about the power of the Holy Spirit which was about to be given to us.

It was not long after he said this that he was taken up into the sky while they were watching, and he disappeared into a cloud.  As they were straining their eyes to see him, two white-robed men suddenly stood there among them.  They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there staring at the sky?  Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven.  And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!” – Acts 1:9-11

What struck me about this is that question of “Why are you staring?”  To me it seems those two men were telling the disciples, “He’s coming back this same way someday.  You don’t need to worry about when that happens or sit here waiting.  Get off your butt, get out there and tell people about Jesus before so they are ready for his return, whenever that may be.”

Complete conjecture on my part, however there are sometimes I feel like I’m just staring at the sky.  Staring and waiting.  Meanwhile, God has meaningful work he wants me to do or is putting opportunities in front of me that I’m missing, because I’m staring at the sky.

The disciples were told not too long before this;

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this:  I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

See the beauty of it is, we don’t have to sit and stare at the sky wondering when Jesus will return.  He is with us always and everywhere.  We need to get out there, help those in need, lovingly tell people about Jesus and prepare for his return in that way.


A Trip Through Proverbs – #6 – In God We Trust

In_God_We_TrustIf you’re here in the US, pull out your wallet or open up your change purse and take a look at any money you may have in there. On there will be the words “In God We Trust.” It means many things here in the US. But let’s look at what we find in Proverbs 3, our next stop in our Trip Through Proverbs.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. – Proverbs 3:5,6

Every day, we are faced with decisions to make as we move through life. Some are simple (what should we have for dinner?), others can be life changing (Should I take that new job? Should we buy that house?) Usually as Christians we make the effort to find God’s will about those big life changing decisions we face. I say usually, because often we may make an effort to pray, but it seems more out of duty and not of a sincere need to find the path that God wants us to travel. We can go through the motions of asking what God wants us to do, but I’m not sure we always want to hear the answer, because we’re fearful it will disagree what we want the answer to be.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

Trusting in God in all things is an easy thing to say we do, but in reality it’s much more difficult to actually do. We may not like the answer that God gives us. He may tell us to stay in a job we dislike, because He still has some work for us to do there. Or he may tell us to go on mission, usually taking us out of our comfort zone into places we would least expect or like to go. But we are to trust that he knows best, has a better plan than we could ever come up with, one that we couldn’t even fathom how it reaches beyond what we know. Our job is simply to trust.

Do not depend on your own understanding

We aren’t to try to figure out why God wants us to do what he has asked. We will never completely understand, we will not comprehend the big picture. God sees for all eternity and how each of our actions plays out. We see only in the here and now. What we feel may be the correct course of action, may be the complete opposite of what God wants. And while we are in no danger of spoiling God’s grand plan, we have the potential of missing out on God’s blessing if we try to go our own way.

Seek his will in all you do

So we are trusting in God completely. Not trying to reason out the best course of action for ourselves. So what do we do. Well we seek his will. Not just in the big things, but in all things. Don’t just come to God when we have a major life changing decision, but ask him what we should have for dinner. He does care. Plus because we don’t see the big picture like God does, perhaps our choice of dinner will put is in a place where we are meant to be.

And he will direct our paths

Just yesterday, my wife says somewhat out of the blue, “Let’s go see if we can find any garage sales.” So off we go, into the 90 degree heat and see what we can find. The direction we went, was probably a poor choice for selections of garage sales, but finally we came across a sign that lead us into a dead-end street that curved up and around into wooded areas. We travel for awhile, wondering if we would ever find the location and just as we were about to turn around thinking someone had just left an old sign at the end of the road, we see a small sign at the end of a driveway. We stop, look towards the garage and still wonder if this is the right place as it seems empty. We get out of the car and walk up and sure enough, there is a couple tables setup in the garage, filled with a few trinkets. A man in his 60s sits in the back of the garage working on a crossword puzzle, seemingly disinterested in us. We browse the tables and actually find a few things that we want to purchase. Taking our selections up, we pay the man and begin to walk away.

As we left the garage, I see the man rise and walk our way as he begins to make small talk with us. My wife and I got the sense that he was just a lonely man that needed someone to talk with so we stopped and chatted for a bit. We come to find out that he had recently lost his job and was currently having financial issues which if not corrected soon, he would lose his home. As we talked, it turns out that I may actually be able to help him find a job and hopefully get him and his family back on their feet financially. As we were leaving, he walked us out to our car and said that his church had been praying for him for six months and he felt I was an answer to their prayers for him.

Well that’s yet to be seen if I can really help him or not. Each day though, I wake up and try to fix in my mind that I want to follow God’s promptings for the day. I want to see where the opportunities may be that he is putting in front of us. There were a lot of steps and decisions that had to be made at just the right time for me to walk in that man’s garage that morning. But by seeking his will and trusting that he has complete understanding so I don’t have to, he guided me to exactly where I needed to be for myself, my wife and this man we met.

I’m a firm believer that God has a purpose for each of our steps, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Each of those seemingly small decisions and steps can have far-reaching impacts that may take years to come to light. If we fully trust God and not our own understanding and truly seek out his will in even the small things, he will guide our path. That sounds pretty amazing if you ask me.

Increase, Don’t Decrease

…Increase in number there; do not decrease. – Jeremiah 29:6

jeremiahThis section of the 6th verse of chapter 29 of the book of Jeremiah, jumped out at me at our church service this weekend. It was part of a larger portion of Jeremiah that we were looking at this week. In fact, the sermon was a great service itself which spoke to me deeply in so many ways. Something I’m putting together for a later post. But this section jumped out at me as it seemed like almost on offhand comment in the section of scripture and could easily be overlooked.

For context, this is part of a letter that Jeremiah sent to the Jews exiled in Babylon. He talks about settling down and basically making the most of their current situation. Not to dream of the “good old days”, but to live in the reality of your day and make the most of what God has given you. The section ends concludes (or at least the section we covered) with probably one of the more famous verses in the bible. Jeremiah 29:11;

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A great promise to hold onto when you are going through your darkest moments, but this is not the topic for today. Today I want to think about verse 6, “…Increase in number there; do not decrease.”

Jeremiah up to this point was telling the exiled people, don’t be discouraged. Build houses and settle down, plant gardens, get married and have children. Enter into the local economy and contribute. Make an investment of yourself and your family in Babylon. Then the verse we are focused on, “…Increase in number there; do not decrease.”

I wasn’t sure what to think of that when I first heard it, but after thinking upon it (and looking some things up as well), I’m convinced that God is telling them, increase in number and be God’s presence in the city which they had been exiled to and the city will be blessed because of their presence.

If we jump back to chapter 5 of Jeremiah, we see God saying,

“Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the Lord. “Look high and low; search throughout the city! If you can find even one person who is just and honest, I will not destroy the city.” -Jeremiah 5:1

God says, that the presence of even one godly person in the city will save it. As long as there are godly people in a city, it will never be captured by Satan. Although the presence of evil and the unjust can seem overwhelming, the presence of God’s people will keep the city from falling to evil.

You’ll notice that Jeremiah never says, “Go out and preach God’s word. Knock on your neighbors doors and tell them they are condemned without Christ”…no he says,

Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. -Jeremiah 29:5-6

Just go out and live consistent, quiet, committed faith driven lives. This provides an example of God’s fruits as well as a moderating presence. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for evangelism or a more proactive approach, but as I stated in my post back in July entitled, Citizens of Heaven,

The only Bible that the unsaved are bothering to read, is the bible that is characterized by our lives. If our unsaved friends and neighbors do not see Jesus Christ in us, they may never see Him at all.

Most people know I’m a Christian, I’m not ashamed or afraid to tell anyone. Those I’ve never had that conversation with, see my posts here reposted on Facebook and Twitter, so they know where I’m coming from. If they read my words, but do not see them reflected in my life, then I’m not being a good representative of Christ. I’m not perfect, we never will reach the full glory of God, but our hope is that through our lives, despite our shortcomings and failings, through our presence and our works in our local community, we can make it a better place. And we do these things not make ourselves look better, but to share God through our lives.

Here are some hard words from the books of James:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:22-27

By the way a Christian lives, he testifies for or against Christ. If Christians are living out the Christian life before the world, they become a transforming presence. Their lives become a reminder to the quality of life that can be lived if one chooses to live in communion with God.

I’m honestly not quite sure how to end this post, as I could go on and on about this, but let’s suffice it to say, that simple statement, “Increase, don’t decrease” led me down a path of learning that I’d not anticipated and has got me reflecting on life and how I live it in my community in ways that I was not expecting.  I can truly be a positive impact, just by living my life according to how Christ wants me to.

Attitude of Mercy or Judgement? A brief study of Jonah

I’ve always loved the story of Jonah.  From a young age, it was one of the first stories of the Bible that I remember as a young child.  It’s easy to remember the story and teach it to young children.  Here is my remembrance as a child.  God asks Jonah to do something, but he didn’t want to.  God get’s mad and sends a whale to swallow Jonah.  Jonah spends time in the belly of the whale and says he’s sorry.  God hears his prayers and the whale spits him out….The End.

But there is so much more to the story than that and it wasn’t until a few years ago when I used Jonah as the subject of a talk about the men of the Bible for a small study group I was in at the time, that I realized the wealth of wisdom that comes from that book.  I happened to be flipping through the Bible this morning and stumbled upon the very end of the book of Jonah and realized that I didn’t remember how the book ended.  So I read through Chapter 4.

Quick recap

God had asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and deliver a message of judgement on them.  After the whole large fish incident, Jonah eventually makes it to Nineveh and delivers God’s message that the city will be destroyed in 40 days.  But amazingly the people of Nineveh, even too the king, repented.  God saw this and had mercy on them and did not carry out his judgement.  This is where I picked up the story.

Jonah becomes angry with God

Jonah says to the Lord;

Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord?  That is why I ran away to Tarshish!  I knew that you were a gracious and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people.  -Jonah 4:2

The the Lord replies:

Is it right for you to be angry about this? -Jonah 4:4

I find that truly interesting.  Jonah knew that God was merciful and loved these people and would cancel the destruction of this city if only they would repent.  That made Jonah angry, because he saw the evil that these people were doing and he wanted judgement.

And perhaps even more importantly, Jonah had quickly forgotten God’s own mercy for him when he was inside the fish.

Another key point that we sometimes miss comes to us in Jonah 4:3

Just kill me now, Lord!  I’d rather be dead than alive because nothing I predicted is going to happen.  Jonah 4:3

Why does he say that?  Well remember Jonah was a prophet.  He just went into a large city and proclaimed that in 40 days the city would be destroyed.  What would happen to his reputation if that didn’t come true?  If God had mercy on Nineveh, that would make Jonah’s prophecies untrue.  Not something you want to have happen if you are a prophet…you usually want your prophecies to come true.

What does that tell us about Jonah (or about us)?  Jonah was putting his own glory ahead of Gods.  Having mercy on the people of Nineveh gave all the glory to God.  Jonah, I think was feeling he would be embarrassed and discredited by that and that was his primary concern.

When we see people doing evil, and we’ve seen a lot of it in our times, we are quick to ask for judgement on them.  And God will shower his judgement on people, just look at Sodom and Gomorrah.  But God is a loving, merciful God who wants to show his mercy.  Showing his mercy gives God greater glory than sending his judgement.  Yes the judgement shows his almighty power.  But showing his mercy and grace shows that he is a truly a just and loving God, one who can forgive us, even though we deserve every punishment sent our way.

My takeaway from this:  To thank God and remember that God desires that all come to him, trust in him and be saved.  God feels compassion for the sinners we want judged and he has a plan to bring them to himself.  We may be part of that plan, as was Jonah.  I’m going to try and become more open to God’s plan and less quick to cry for judgement.

Confessing in Christ

My wife and I sat down last night and watched the movie God’s Not Dead.  The theme of the movie really comes from the scripture in Matthew 10:32,33.  When that was revealed early in the movie, I couldn’t get it out of my head the rest of the evening.

If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven.  But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven.  -Matthew 10:32,33

I often feel that way as I’m writing my blog posts.  “This will be my confession to the world,” I think to myself.  But I’m doing it from a safe place.  Hidden behind a computer, essentially anonymously to the masses out there.  No-one really sees the person behind these words.  It’s easy for me to make these posts.  But do I have an answer ready if you would stop me on the street?  Can you even tell when you are with me in person that I’m a Christ follower?

I believe these posts have value, for myself and hopefully for others.  I will continue to write here as it’s a great way to focus my thoughts, guide my studies, and in face keep me motivated to dive deeper.   But I need to focus on my personal confession.  I need to let the world know, not digitally, but in person.  People I talk to everyday should know that I believe in Christ and trust in him for salvation.

It’s interesting to think how I may go about that.  I don’t think it’s shouting it from the rooftops, or handing out tracts or going door-to-door.  No I think I need to show my faith through love.  To truly confess Christ, I must have Christ truly abiding in me.  I can not communicate effectively, that which I’ve not received.  I could speak on Christian doctrine, repeat the words of the gospels and of Jesus himself, but unless I possess the Christlike meekness and love, then I’m not sure I’m truly confessing him.

How could I deny Christ?  Well of course, I can deny him through evil doing, by words that are untruthful and unkind.  I can deny him by the pursuit of sinful pleasures.  I could deny him by conforming to this world, by behavior that is less that courteous, by doubting, by living in fear, by living in darkness.  All these ways I could declare that Christ is not really in me.

Other References

Lots of verses throughout the Bible about confessing Christ.  I think if we read these and let them soak in, we can see the importance of confessing Christ, so I will leave you with these.  Live in Christ and confess Him and he will confess you before the Father.

For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.  -Romans 10:9,10

Fight the good fight for what we believe.  Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.  – 1 Timothy 6:12

So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.  And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for Christ.  With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the proclamation of the Good News.  – 2 Timothy 1:8

All who proclaim that Jesus is the Son of  God have God living in them, and they live in God.  – 1 John 4:15

All who are victorious will be clothed in white.  I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine. – Revelations 3:5

Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father either.  But anyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. -1 John 2:23

If we endure hardship, we will reign in him.  If we deny him, he will deny us.  -2 Timothy 2:12