Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
I grew up playing sports all year long; soccer was in the fall, basketball was in the winter, softball was in the spring and then in the summer, though considered the “off-season”, was when all of the sports seemed to mesh together. You see, the summer wasn’t really soccer season, it wasn’t really basketball season and it wasn't really softball season. It wasn’t always convenient to go to practice or to drive to away games on a perfect summer day, but regardless of the inconvenience, I was prepared to play whatever sport that day brought. Why? Because I had been training for it and I had a desire to be in the game.
This idea of being prepared in all seasons is something that we see encouraged in 2 Timothy 4:2. Here, Paul urges Timothy to, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”
Much like studying a playbook to learn strategies before a big game, the Bible gives us clear instructions to get us ready to share Biblical truths with others. In the verse above, Paul is exhorting Timothy to continue to boldly preach the word. He then goes on to lay out some specific ways in which this is accomplished. As believers, there are a few things that we too can take away from this. We must be prepared to speak the truth at all times and in all circumstances. We must be ready to correct those who misunderstand God’s word, to rebuke those who deliberately misuse the gospel message and to encourage others by sharing the love of Jesus Christ with them. We are to do this with sincere patience and with careful instruction, so that through both our actions and our words, we are providing others with an accurate portrayal of the gospel.
In sports, there is this idea of keeping our eyes on the prize and it can be very beneficial when we are playing to win. For an athlete, the objective is always to win. For the Christian however, we must recognize that winning an unbeliever to Christ does not depend on us. We can wear the full armor of God as a uniform and have every Bible verse memorized, but if the Holy Spirit does not move in the heart of the listener, then there can be no victory. God does not need us in order to win, but still, He recruits us to be a part of His lineup, so it should be our objective to serve Him faithfully by sharing the truth when He puts us in the game.
When the Lord calls us into action, it isn’t always convenient. Like playing an away-game at a rival school in the middle of summer, it may mean having to leave our comfort zone to go to places that are unfamiliar and to be around people that we don’t really like that much. But, as believers we must always be prepared to play. Why? Because we are on God’s team and God’s team does not get an off-season.
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him.” Romans 15:13
My toddler son has such a happy disposition and finds joy in little things in life. One of my favorite things that he does is sprint wherever he goes, whether it’s going to the bathroom, going to get a snack, or going to find a toy. He’s almost always running as fast as he can to his destination, excited to get there. Most little children, generally speaking, tend to be happy, worry free, and can’t help but joyfully “run” through life. They are not bogged down with worry about what the future holds.
Sometimes, as an adult, I think about how nice it must be as a toddler to go through life without a care in the world and to simply rely on your parents to take care of everything for you. Then I stop and realize that a worry free life is what our Heavenly Father has called us to live. He wants us to rely on Him so much that we are not concerned or filled with worry over our circumstances, but instead, go happily through life being filled with joy and peace that comes from Him. We’re reminded of this in Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him.”
Many times throughout the Bible, we see Christ asking, “Why are you afraid?” or simply commanding us, “Do not be afraid.” One specific example in the Bible is found in Matthew 8:23-27. When Jesus and His disciples were getting tossed about in their boat in the middle of the sea, His disciples were terrified; all the while Jesus was sleeping. After they woke Him up, He asked His disciples a simple, yet loaded question, “’Why are you fearful, you of little faith?’” (vs. 26). I love that the verse tells us that He asks this question before He calmed the storm. By Jesus asking this question first, it shows us that He knew the disciples could have gone through this storm without being afraid, if their faith was truly in Him. Because they were so concerned with their circumstance, they were not trusting in Jesus. At the end of verse 26, Christ commanded the storm to stop and it did. Now, every time we find ourselves in a storm, it does not mean that God will calm it or make it go away like He did in this story. However, He is always trustworthy, and will give us the strength to go through the storm, if He chooses to allow the storm to remain. We need our faith to be so big and strong that our trust in Him takes our eyes off the storm and onto His presence and plan.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
Seventeen days ago, I began reading 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs. If my math is correct, I should be on day 17 in the devotional. However, that is not the case. I have been sitting on the devotional for day six for several days, and I just can’t seem to move on. Let me explain…
In the “Be Brave” section of day six’s reading, Annie encouraged us to read 1 Samuel 17. The epic battle between David and Goliath is one that I am quite familiar with as I am a big fan of David. This particular day, David went to check in on his brothers who were enlisted with the Israelite army. As David arrived, the two armies were lining up for battle, and like the many days before, the Philistine army sent forth their mightiest warrior, Goliath, who just happened to be a giant. Goliath’s size, along with his intimidating taunting, scared the grown men of the Israelite army. David on the other hand, not so much. He began asking who this Philistine man was who spoke against the Lord God Almighty. David was not having anyone blaspheme the Lord, so he took it upon himself to fight Goliath.
King Saul got wind of David’s plan and brought David into his tent. Merely looking at David’s physical stature, King Saul became concerned for David’s well-being. So, he offered David his personal battle armor to wear during his upcoming battle with Goliath. “David strapped his sword on over the military clothes and tried to walk, but he was not used to them. ‘I can’t walk in these,’ David said to Saul, ‘I’m not used to them.’ So David took them off. Instead, he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pouch, in his shepherd’s bag. Then with his sling in his hand, he approached the Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:39-40 HCSB).
When David put on Saul’s military clothes and armor, they did not fit. He was not able to move about freely. He was not able to accomplish what he had been called to do, defeat Goliath. Why? Because David was wearing clothes he was never intended to wear. These “clothes” weighed him down, hindered his ability to walk in the purpose designed for him. I am not much different than David at times. I find myself walking around in “clothes” that do not fit me. When I do that, I am not able to accomplish the purpose God has for me because I am trying to be someone else. God gently spoke to me through this passage, “Don’t look to be her. Do not try to wear her gifts and talents. They were not designed for you. I have a special set of gifts, talents, and abilities that I have given you. You are to wear these. To walk confidently in how I have chosen to dress you. When you do this, Sarah, you will fulfill the purpose I have planned for you. Trust me.”
I have spent the past 13 days meditating on these verses from 1 Samuel, allowing the truth of God’s word to wash over me, to speak truth to my heart about who I am and what my purpose is during this season of my life. Friends, it has been a beautiful journey. One I am not finished with, but one I am excited to continue. I want to honor God by walking in the “clothes” He has for me, so that like David, I can approach my purpose with confidence.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.