Today’s acronym to live by (ATLB) is easy to remember as it revolves around one letter:  the letter “P”…

As Paul wrote the final chapter of his life in 2 Timothy 4, he reminded his young son in the faith of what was really important in life.  Imagine Paul, pen in hand, looking back and also gazing into the future to urge and encourage not only Timothy, but believers both then and now.  What would he say?  What could be so pressing to be on his mind during his final days on this earth?  From all his ministry and mission experiences, his pains, persecutions, struggles, highs and lows, what would be his written legacy.  Let’s find out…

Preach the Word – What could be more important that sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ?  Scripture tells us that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).  Never forget the soothing, comforting, often  admonishing and convicting impact of God’s Word to the saved as well as to the lost.  As Paul reminds us in Romans 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Prepare – In season and out of season.  Be ready at all times to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord “because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).  Don’t be caught off guard by either not knowing the Scriptures, or by failing to share the message of salvation.

Patience – Correct, rebuke and encourage.  Look around.  There is always someone who needs careful instruction.  But be sensitive too.  We have all gone astray at some point and we all need accountability.  Yet we must remember and apply Paul’s commentary on love from 1 Corinthians 13…”Love is patient.” (v.4). Get it?  Don’t be too hasty in meting out criticism.  Be patient with others as God is patient with you!  “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15)

People – Scripture is about people.  Not programs or politics, but people.  It records the good, the bad and the ugly side of mankind whose names and lives we’ve gotten to know through the inspired Word of God.  And through it all, we get a glimpse into our Savior’s heart, whose greatest longing is that no one would perish but that everyone would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  Paul’s heart clearly beats in tandem with his Lords, for people remained his chief concern.  “Forget my chains.  Dismiss my discomfort.  Let me tell you about Demas, Crescens, Titus, Luke, Mark, Tychicus, Carpus, Alexander, Priscilla and Aquila, Onesiphorus, Erastus, Trophimus, Eubulus, Pudens, Linus and Claudia.”  Perhaps he ran out of ink or more likely, he just ran out of time.  For surely there were others on his mind he would like to talk about.  But his race had been run and he’d run it well.  With all confidence, Paul could say, “I have fought the good fight,  I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Today, let’s remember the important things in life: Preaching – Preparing – Patience – People.  Don’t allow Paul’s final words to fall on deaf ears.  It’s EASY – P – EEZY to do unless we remember P4 as our (ATLB) Acronym To Live By!

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