2 Timothy chapter 4 is one of the most poignant chapters in the “pastoral letters”, perhaps in the entire New Testament. If space and time permitted, I would insert the received text / King James translation of the chapter here because all other versions will mislead you with incorrect renderings of it. You could use another version in some other places and perhaps be ok, but not in this chapter. In verse 6 we’ll find the correct reading “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand”. Many ‘versions’ mistranslate this as ‘being offered’ or then even more ridiculous, ‘being poured out’. But the actual reading is much deeper as Paul tells us he is soon to be executed. The time of which is “at hand”. How strong he puts it when he says, “I am ready to be offered”! Ready to be presented to the Lord! Ready to be presented to our Father! Oh how strengthening and encouraging this is! He did not say it as “I am ready to die” (though physically you could add that in your mind so long as you don’t replace what he said). You see, Paul knows he isn’t going to die – his body will, but he himself certainly won’t be dying, no, no – he will be and is ready to be “offered”! Offered for acceptance! Offered as a testimony! Offered as a witness! Offered as a praise to the glorious God Almighty! The guards will behead Paul. It won’t be long, hours or days perhaps. Then Paul will be released from ‘this life’, released from ‘that weak beggarly body’ to be set before the Lamb of the Living God. Almost daily we hear or read about someone, many perhaps, who faced the ‘time of their departure’. Their executioner was leukemia, cancer, heart attack, accident, a fall, a wreck, an aneurism. Their hooded executioner came for them just as they came for Paul. It is heart-wrenching when we learn of it. I don’t want to face my executioner any more than you do but, since “there is no discharge in that war” [Eccl 8:8], I do not pray for deliverance from it. Instead, I pray that I should follow Paul’s lead and be “ready to be offered”. Death is a terror, but to be offered, now that is a comfort and a sweet consolation! So, the great question becomes “Pastor, if I am to be offered as Paul was, how can I be ready? What must I do that when I am offered, God will accept me”? If such thoughts run through your mind and fall upon your heart you should kneel this moment and thank God that you have been given a heart and mind that can comprehend the question, because many cannot. For many their conscience is seared, and their heart is defiled beyond the capacity to consider such soul-searching questions. The answers to these ultimate questions are within the book God gave us. Here at Calvary we focus our efforts on telling people who are not ready how they can be. We focus on showing people the answers God gave on the pages of that incredible amazing Book of the Lord [Isaiah 34:16] Are you ready to be offered? Do you sense you are not? Would you like to be? I invite you to bring your family and let’s all get ready for that “time of our departure”. You’ll feel at home at Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop! 903-729-5924.