1: "From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. God sent me to tell about the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus." - Paul, very clear about God's plan with his life and under the specter of a Roman death sentence, writes this last letter with the understanding he will never see his young protégé again.
3: "I thank God as I always mention you in my prayers, day and night. I serve Him, doing what I know is right as my ancestors did." - Even in prison, Paul seeks ways to serve God.
4: "Remembering that you cried for me, I want very much to see you so I can be filled with joy." - Timothy's last moments with Paul before leaving for Ephesus were filled with pain.
5: "I remember your true faith. That faith first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I know you now have that same faith." - Paul, the faithful servant, rejoices in the faith of others.
6-7: "This is why I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire. 7God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control." - Paul encourages Timothy to keep his faith alive by using the spiritual gifts that God has provided.
8: "So do not be ashamed to tell people about our Lord Jesus, and do not be ashamed of me, in prison for the Lord. But suffer with me for the Good News." - Paul reminds us that the only thing that truly matters in our lives as disciples is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world.
13-14: "Follow the pattern of true teachings that you heard from me in faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus. 14Protect the truth that you were given; protect it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us." - As keepers of the flame, Paul reminds us that we are not alone.
Points to Contemplate:
What is God sending you to do?
Have you developed clarity of purpose as clear and concise as Paul's? In the midst of your life, filled with busyness, turmoil, strife, and uncertainty, are you able to see God's guiding hand and feel His loving Spirit? Paul had things to worry about. His life would soon end. He was imprisoned in a cold, hard cell. He probably was in severe pain. He would never see his loved ones again. And yet, he kept his focus on what God had called him to do. Can you reach beyond the circumstances of life and keep your focus on God? Are you able to see and feel God's love for you no matter what has transpired in your day? Can you set aside all your pain, discomfort, worry, and doubt to faithfully rely on God's promises for your life?
Do you remember your faith? When you face times of doubt, does it help to go back and remember your faith journey? Paul reminded Timothy of his faith heritage, people who were inherently responsible for his growth and development. Who are the people in your life whose faithfulness helped spawn your own belief? In what ways do their lives inspire your own? What can you do to live up to their examples? Will you accept the responsibility of keeping the examples of their faith alive through you? Who is now turning to you and seeing God alive in your life? To whom will you sow the seeds of faithfulness that will inspire the generations to come?
Are you using the Spiritual Gifts that God has provided? Have you identified these gifts and use them in God's behalf? Have you worked at developing God's blessings, taking the small flame, and allowing God to grow it into the fire He imagines? Can you set aside your fears and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with His "power, love, and self-control?"
Are you ashamed? Do you think that no one really wants to hear your story? Do you think that faith is personal issue to be kept locked away and not shared with others? Are you not inspired by the testimony of others? Do you not feel the joy of God when you hear stories of the Good News working in the lives of His people? What makes you think your story is not just as inspiring? Can you respond to Paul's call and "follow the pattern of true teachings that you heard from (him) in faith and love?" Promises of the Gospel:
In this letter to Timothy, Paul calls us all to remember three important aspects in our faith journey. First, never forget that Christ died for our sins and through His victory over death, has provided us a pathway to glory. He then tells us to remember our faith journey and the people along the way who have helped, through the examples of their lives, to plant seeds of faith in our hearts. And finally, he teaches us to remember the spiritual gifts that God has given each of us through the Holy Spirit. As we remember these things, we can then step forward in faith and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet; unashamed and filled with the knowledge that we are becoming the disciples that God has intended us to be.
Gary, another one well done. If you can edit it, in the second sentence of the first point to contemplate, I believe the word should be "your". Also, re spiritual gifts, I believe you omitted the word "them". I only mention this because it is so well thought-out that it deserved to have no typos. Hope I haven't offended you. bobbi