Showing items filed under “Marc Stern”


2 Timothy 2:3-7 New International Version (NIV)

3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

This text is the essence of parenting.  It’s taking a child and modeling the path that they should take, through actions and words.  Paul encourages his son in the Gospel to, “join with me in suffering.”  Follow my example.  Do as I do!

He then goes on to paint a picture of what suffering looks like. Suffer like the soldier who doesn’t get the luxury of pursuing the affairs of this life.  Suffer like the athlete who has boundaries and rules constraining him that others don’t have, and what about the farmer who must work hard to partake of his harvest.  Paul goes from the example of war…to leisure…to normal everyday life.  It’s as if he wants to describe the wide variety of suffering that Timothy will have to endure as a minister of the Gospel.  Suffering is a necessary and normal part of doing the will of God.  Most will avoid it and pray against it, but Paul wants Timothy to embrace it!

Paul is persuading his son to join him in suffering, because that suffering, to the faithful, leads to so much more.  For the soldier, it’s pleasing his commanding officer.  For the athlete, it’s receiving the crown, and for the hardworking farmer, it’s being the first to enjoy the harvest.  No one enjoys suffering, but we all love reward. The secret is, the two are partners. So, when you take your fair share of suffering, you are grasping the beginning stages of so much more! 



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Isaiah 45:13 NLT

I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people--without seeking a reward! I, the LORD of Heaven's Armies, have spoken!"

How do we know that “I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken?”…It will be evident in the fulfillment of this prophecy.  The magnitude of what God is saying He is going to do will demonstrate this clearly.  Although we don’t see God with our natural eyes, He does want to be seen, and the only way to truly see God is for Him to reveal Himself to us. He has to make us aware of His presence, which is always there.  He distinguishes Himself by doing something that only He can do, which is what He is doing in this prophecy.

Here lies a problem!  God is proclaiming that He is going to do the impossible. He is going to use a pagan king, Cyrus, who is not in power and has not even been born yet, to set His people free.  This king will do this without price or reward and ultimately with God’s leading, which is fine when God is sovereignly doing most if not all the work Himself.  BUT, what about when He wants to do the impossible and He wants us to BELIEVE and ACT on what He says?  What about when His sovereignty requires more from us?  God wants to be recognized as the only true God who is to be compared to no other, but many times He does this by asking us to trust in Him in some of the most impossible situations.  Because sometimes, it is in those situations that He is seen the clearest.

So, let’s just start believing for the impossible!!  Well, God also uses the practical and that which is humanly possible to reveal Himself.  So what do we do?  We acknowledge Him in ALL that we do and LISTEN for His guidance, and it is when we do this that we will see Him in the possible and the impossible!


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