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Letters to Leaders

Instant

Read This Week: 2 Timothy 4

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. – 2 Timothy 4:2

Instant. We are obsessed with this idea in our society. Everything has to come right now. We want instant food service, instant text responses, instant delivery, and instant money. We like instant cameras, instant coffee, and instant results. We’re all about immediate gratification in our lives.

However, there are a few things that we don’t seem to desire in an instant. When it comes to truth, correction or accountability, we like for that to be a slow burn. It’s our nature; we embrace things that we want right away but often the things that we really need can wait. They aren’t received in the moment.

Paul understood this about us and told his apprentice, Timothy, to always be ready and willing to share God’s word. He knew the value and importance of God’s spoken words to help, correct, encourage, and reflect the truth even when we don’t want it.

In fact, it is for that reason that we should always have a sense of urgency to speak the truth in love and compassionately correct while being open to receiv the same. We are talking about the most important things – life, death and eternity. God’s word is powerful to change our hearts and the hearts of others in all places at all times. We have to be ready in an instant.

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Breathe

Read This Week: 2 Timothy 3

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

A human being can breathe in two different ways – voluntarily and involuntarily. Involuntary is when we’re going through a day and breathing without thinking about it or making an effort. Our brain and respiratory system are working together to help our lungs process air in and out. Voluntary breathing happens when we intentionally do something with our breath like talk, blow out a candle or sing off key in the shower.

2 Timothy 3:16 says that God voluntarily breathed out the Scriptures meaning he purposely spoke his divine and eternal words to us. Just like he spoke the universe into existence in Genesis 1, God gave us the incredible gift of the Bible that shows us the way to redemption and helps us in every area of our lives without exception.

When something is spoken by God that means it’s perfect, and therefore it is always relevant and beneficial for anything we encounter in this life. No scenario, situation, challenge, decision, or life issue exists that the Bible cannot provide an answer for. It is to our advantage and key to our success to read the Scriptures; to know them and breathe them in like oxygen that provides the power and energy we need.

God’s word meets our deepest needs and changes us from the inside out. It is better than Google. It is better than Siri and it’s better than the guru on the other side of the podcast. It is better than other people’s observations and the practical advice we may pick up at the water cooler. All those things can be good, but all those things can’t equip us for every good work like the Bible can. So breathe it in and live.

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Run to Win

Read This Week: 2 Timothy 2

Anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. – 2 Timothy 2

The 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea was the first time I realized being a great athlete didn’t make you a great person. Up until that point, like any kid that loves sports, I thought to be a star athlete meant you had to be a star individual.

That all changed after I found out that Ben Johnson, the fastest man on the planet who just broke the world record in the 100 meters in one of the most spectacular moments in Olympic history, was, in fact, a cheater. Someone who had been taking steroids and breaking the rules of the sport to gain an advantage and win. He was stripped of his title days later and suffered humiliation and a greater loss than any victory he experienced on the track.

An athlete who breaks the rules of competition doesn’t win. Even if he or she is the best and devotes years to training. If they don’t follow the guidelines of the game, they lose. The same is true for us in society. We have guidelines, principles, and laws to keep us safe, vital and functioning in a healthy way. If the last couple of years have taught us anything its that it doesn’t matter how rich or talented or powerful you are if you don’t follow the rules, you lose big time.

God gave us his truth and guidelines so we can be successful and ultimately leave a legacy of winning. His rules are not there to kill our fun, hinder our enjoyment or make us miserable. They are for our ultimate good and teach us how to be moral, love, serve, seek justice, apply mercy and thrive in every area.

If we follow God’s rules of competition, we will make better decisions, resist the temptation that can derail our whole world, work with truer diligence, treat our partner with deeper love and lead with greater integrity. God’s truth can even change our outlook and attitude from one of negativity and despair to hopeful joy.

May we go with God, the creator of the universe who always knows what’s best and has laid out perfect guidelines for us to win at life.

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Flashpoint

Read This Week: 2 Timothy 1

For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:6

When firefighters enter a burning building, they know there is only a short amount of time before they encounter a flashpoint, or an explosion of fire that happens when the right temperature in the air and the flame meet. When the flashpoint occurs, it instantly consumes and changes everything around it.

Applying this to our lives, the Bible encourages us to have our own flashpoints, moments where we come together with the Holy Spirit’s power and explode into action that can change things. Every aspect of our life can be places where we fan into flame God’s will and desire for the world and even build on the good that others have done before us.

Imagine a community, relationship or workplace that is consumed by the love, kindness, justice and integrity of God expressed through our lives? If we can capture the power of these flashpoints, nothing can stop us from being a positive force for good every day. We might even have opportunities to make a difference in ways we never dreamed possible.

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