God's Grace

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"Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News." - 2 Timothy 1:3-10

2 Timothy 1:3-10 offers inspiring words of gratitude and encouragement to Timothy. Paul remembers Timothy's faith, which was nurtured by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Faith does not come to us in a vacuum. We grow in it. We are nurtured in it by those around us who teach us and reveal it to us with their lives. Paul moves from remembering to reminders. "Rekindle the gift of God that is within you," he writes (vs. 6). What is this gift? It is a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. He reminds Timothy to rely on God's power. God saves us and calls us to live in God's mercy and love. This salvation and calling is not our doing but comes through God's grace.

Then Paul writes what may be an excerpt from a hymn or a creed among early believers. "This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (vs. 9-10). What we discover when we find Bethlehem is a Savior who gives us life.

Who has nurtured your faith in the way Timothy's grandmother and mother nurtured his faith? In what ways?

How do you experience the gift of God's power, love and self-discipline in your life? In what ways do you think you can rekindle this gift within you?

Lord, help me to remember those who have molded and nurtured me. They have helped me to be the Christian that I am today. In them I have been blessed. Now help me to be that same blessing to others. Amen.
Sep 16 2017