2 Timothy 1:1-14
Troubles within can take many forms such as: having troubles within ourselves because we are worried about something in our own lives, or perhaps it is about something in someone elseís life who is close to us, or perhaps it is something greater like the ungodly things going on in the world, or perhaps it could be that we know that we are not living as we know the Lord desires us to live.
There can also be troubles within a company, such as with problems between employees and the company over a whole variety of issues, or maybe there are personality clashes.
There can be troubles within a country because of the way the country is being governed or not governed, and the fact that it is nearly impossible to satisfy everyone.
Jeremiah, who was called the weeping prophet, wrote Lamentations 1:1-6, and in these introductory verses we can come to understand the troubles within the city of Jerusalem because the people didnít follow the heavenly will of God.
1. How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.
The problems within Jerusalem had become the problems within Jeremiah because he loved God and did what He wanted, but for whatever reasons, the vast majority of the people had refused to do so, and this troubled Jeremiah for he had great empathy, and it caused him to suffer because of them.
This is the way we feel about the billions of animals who are suffering all over the world, as well as the other forms of warring madness and violence that are plaguing this world and its environment.
2. Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies.
These troubles came upon Jerusalem in Jeremiahís day, but we see similar problems coming upon this earth more and more every day because of human hardness of heart that seems to allow and even promote the violence and warring madness that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year, and at the same time people are further polluting our environment, which is now rebelling against us.
And even though many people deny this fact, it is still a reality, and God has given us dominion over the earth to protect it and free it from its present corruption, which includes ending the violence that is causing most of these problems.
3. After affliction and harsh labor,
Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations;
she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.
Jeremiah even had troubles within himself because of the other people who had already been taken into captivity because they refused to follow the heavenly will of God, and we need to have these same kinds of feelings about the ungodly things that are happening in the world around us today so that we will do everything possible to end them.
We also need to set the example of Godís heavenly will here on earth as it is in heaven.
4. The roads to Zion mourn,
for no one comes to her appointed feasts.
All her gateways are desolate,
her priests groan,
her maidens grieve,
and she is in bitter anguish.
When we fail to live by Godís standards, it can affect the whole world.
5. Her foes have become her masters;
her enemies are at ease.
The LORD has brought her grief
because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,
captive before the foe.
Jeremiah is referring to the enemies that war against them, but we can also have troubles within that are caused by other people such as the horrible and ungodly ways that animals are being treated, and because of the indifference of most people to the suffering of animals; they just go on eating and wearing them as if they had no more feelings than rocks.
And look at all the violence and warring madness that is going on in the world, because of our collective hardness of heart; and we need to do everything we can to stop it.
6. All the splendor has departed
from the Daughter of Zion.
Her princes are like deer
that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled
before the pursuer.
There always seems to be some place in the world where these kinds of warring madness are taking place, and they wonít end by countering it with more violence and bloodshed; it will only end with changed hearts and souls that seek to live in the heavenly will of God.
In Luke 17:5-10, Jesus tells us ways that will end these troubles within and the violence in the world by having the faith to trust in the Lord our God and in His heavenly will.
5. And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
We donít believe that the Lord will increase our faith, because he has given us a free will, and we must choose to seek God and trust in Him instead of the ways of this world.
On the other hand, God has continually shown us the ways He wants us to live, and we, as a society, need to really listen and learn to turn away from the ungodly ways of this world and seek the heavenly will of God, and when we do and see the results, we will also find that our faith has increased.
6. And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.
I donít have this kind of faith either, but I keep trying to have it, because I believe that it could improve our ministry and more dramatically show the world around us the ways that God wants us to live.
7. "But which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'?
Thankfully we donít have slaves today, but many people treat their servants and employees like their slaves, and we need to learn to treat them like we want to be treated by others; yes, this is the Golden Rule.
8. "But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink'?
9. "He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?
This is the way the world thinks and acts, but it is still wrong, and we need to do everything we can to change these ways of thinking and acting; we need to be like Jesus.
10. "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say,
'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have
This can also apply to the way some people try to live in the heavenly will of God, and think that is all they have to do, but living like that does very little to change the world around us; we need to use the ways of God and apply them to every situation we encounter in the world until we have true peace on earth.
Then we will begin to end the troubles within and violence without that is plaguing the earth around us.
Letís finish our discussion by looking at 2 Timothy 1:1-14, and see how Paul addresses ďtroubles withinĒ with TimothyÖ
1. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
2. to Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,
4. longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.
Paul is speaking about his own troubles within because he has not seen Timothy in person for some time, but at the same time he is thankful that Timothy is serving the Lord.
Most people have similar feelings when their children leave home, and we need to have the same feelings about the plight of the animals, and the victims of violence and warring madness; we need to help bring Godís peace to earth as it is in heaven.
5. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
6. And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
Most people seem to be timid about speaking out about the problems in the world in ways that will help correct the problems; mostly they just complain or contribute to the problems.
8. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,
We need to speak out not only about the saving powers of Jesus Christ, but also about His teachings that will help free creation from its present corruption.
9. who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
We strongly believe that this holy calling is to peacefully fight against the corruption in the world and help free it into the glory of God from which it was made.
10. but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
The Lord had appeared before Paul had written this letter, but the message is still the same, and today we need to let the world see Christ within us to such an extent that they will hear Jesusí calling through us and follow it, for we are appointed to this task just as Paul wrote next.
11. for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.
12. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
We all need to have this kind of faith within us.
13. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
Yes, we all need to do this, but not just those words that tickle our ears, but those harder words that call us to work hard in helping to free creation from its present corruption.
14. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which
has been entrusted to you.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is a precious one that should never be squandered but cherished to empower us to do greater works for the glory of God.
A lot of time people who have troubles within themselves only feel sorry for themselves, and most of the time it is because they have failed to try to make this world a better place.
We can free creation from its present corruption.
We have seen small changes continually happening over the years and we are moving closer and closer to the tipping point when the world becomes vegan.
Donít give up.
Keep following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
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