Lucia's Blog: 2022-06-26
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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

BE STRONG IN THE GRACE OF GOD

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  
2 Timothy 2:1


I have been enjoying my quiet time studying the Scriptures and making home improvements around my house.  Although I am supposed to take a break, especially from social media, the Lord is still using me to His glory.  One door closes, but another one opens.  I have been teaching a group of Spanish sisters from El Salvador for over a month.  They asked me to teach them some fundamental truths about the home, the family, and the role of women.  I love their receptive and humble hearts!  I am teaching in Spanish and translating my studies.  And though Spanish is my native language, it is still challenging since I’ve been writing and speaking English more than Spanish.  However, I am thrilled that the Lord is using me to spread the Gospel among my people.  

I have been reading and studying 2nd Timothy.  It is such an encouraging message.  I would like to write down my thoughts and consider them a personal letter.  Paul begins this letter by reminding Timothy to reflect on his sincere faith taught by his mother Eunice, and his grandmother Lois, from a very young age. Timothy’s genuine faith is evident to Paul.  Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy to encourage him to be strong in the Grace of God and to continue steadfastly amid apostasy and godlessness. He urges Timothy to continue to hold on to ‘the faith’ and to be bold and prepared to teach the Word of God in all circumstances. 

In my previous study, “Run With Endurance,” I covered the 1st chapter of 2 Timothy  (2 Timothy 1:8-18).  In this  1st chapter,  Paul speaks about our faith in difficult times. Paul instructs Timothy to have stronger faith and endure as a servant of God. He urges Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel during fearful and challenging times.  He reminds Timothy of the Grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:2). He compels him to be strong in that same Grace found in Christ when we obey the Gospel and are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts  2:38; Romans:3-6)God’s Grace motivates us to do what He wants us to do (1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 4:15). The more we understand God’s Grace, the more we will be grateful to Him for His Grace (2 Corinthians 4:15). The more we will commit to God’s Grace, and become stronger and mature as Christians (1 Peter 3:18).

This study will consider chapter two, verses 1-13.  Paul and Timothy were facing difficult timesHe appealed to Timothy to be strengthened by God’s Grace and to pass to others what he had heard and was taught from Paul so that they might teach others also.  The good news of the Gospel must never stop, for we must continue teaching it to others.  God’s Grace gives us the strength to continue and be steadfast.


I.   APPEAL FOR LOYALTY TO PAUL AND THE GOSPEL:

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.  8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”  (2 Timothy 2:1-13)


Jesus commissioned Paul to preach the Gospel (Galatians 1:11-12).  Now, Paul is urging Timothy to teach faithful men the pattern of sound doctrine he had learned from him so that they could stand firm and hold on to them by word (1 Cor. 11:2; 1 Tim. 3:2-7; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:15).  They were supposed to teach others that same sound doctrine (Matthew 28:20; 1 Timothy 1:7; 2 Timothy 2:15).  

  • Be Strong in the Grace of God Found In Jesus:

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  ( 2 Timothy 2:1-2)


In the first two verses of chapter 2, Paul encourages Timothy to be strengthened by the Grace that is in Christ Jesus. God’s Grace will give Timothy what he needs to hear to be strong. To be strong in the Grace of God means to hold on to and pass it on to others who will also teach others.  The Gospel, the Grace of God, must never end with ourselves, for we must share it with others who, in return, must teach others.  However, to be strong in the Grace of God, we must be good soldiers, athletes and farmers.    

    • A Good Soldier:

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4


Paul wants us to consider the good qualities of a good soldier.   Paul asks Timothy to join him in his suffering.  He likewise reminds Timothy that Christ’s good soldiers should expect suffering (Acts 14:22; 1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 11:23-29; 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 2:9;  2 Timothy 2:11; 2 Timothy 3:8-13; 1 Peter 1:6-7).  Paul wants Christians to share in suffering as good soldiers of Christ.  

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him.”


All Christians are involved in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-20).  The devil will definitely attack anyone who wants to preach or teach the Gospel of Christ.  Paul wants to make Timothy aware that no one serving as a good soldier gets entangled in life’s affairs.  Good soldiers never lose their focus:  

  1. Their primary focus is to be faithful teachers of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). 
  2. Be pleasing to their commanding officer in all things (Romans 12:1-2).

Good soldiers of Christ grow and strengthen their faith and will not allow it, under any circumstances, to grow weak or waver (Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Thess. 1:3).  They are well aware that they must take on every virtue and grace to reflect God and Christ's character (Gal. 5:22; 2 Pet. 1:5-7).  God's armor provides truth, righteousness, readiness, etc. (Eph. 6:14-17).  The Word of God, vigilant prayer, study, and application in our lives fortifies our souls and will prepare us to fight against Satan and his attacks (1 Tim. 4:16; Matt. 26:41).  When we heed God's words, we will overcome Satan and be victorious in Christ (Eph. 6:13).  

Any good soldier on the battlefield cannot afford to be distracted or lose his focus.  
  1. A soldier never entangles himself with other things, for he must be focused on doing exactly what his commanding officer says to do.  
  2. He knows that distraction will keep him from pleasing the one who enlisted him.  
  3. He is single-minded, for he must be focused. 
  4. He refuses to be distracted by the affairs of everyday life.  
  5. Do you get distracted by the affairs of everyday life? 
  6. Do you let social media distract you? 
  7. Do you let current events distract you?  
  8. Do you let politics distract you? 
  9. Do you let cultural problems distract you? 
  10. Do you let your job distract you? 
  11. Do you let your hobbies distract you? 
  12. Do you let technology distract you? 
  13. What distracts you from focusing on what God is calling you to do?  

We cannot please the Lord when we are distracted or lacking focus!

  • A Good Athlete: 

“An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5).


After giving us a metaphor about the soldier, Paul now gives the metaphor of an athlete (1 Corinthians 9:24).  Athletes must compete by the rules to win.  They cannot change the rules (Matthew 7:21-23; Mark 7:1-9).  To receive our victor’s crown, Christians must play by the rules God has set out  (2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27).

So, what are the rules that Paul is talking about?  Paul stresses the need to join in the suffering (2 Timothy 1:8, 2:3).  The rule for an athlete in this race is to take up his cross and follow Jesus not avoid difficulties.  The rule to follow Jesus is to suffer with Him (Matthew 16:24). The rule of our race is to die to ourselves instead of saving our lives.  

  • The Hardworking Farmer:

“It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”  (2 Timothy 2:6-7)


Our third metaphor is the hard-working farmer. 
  1. The farmer must work hard (1 Corinthians 9:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:8).  
  2. The farmer is expected to eat from the food he’s worked so hard to produce (1 Corinthians 9:12-18).
  3. There is no reward without hard work. 
  4. There is no harvest if the farmer fails to work hard.  
  5. The hardworking farmer gets his reward.  
  6. He enjoys the reward of his hard work. 

In verse 7, Paul wants Timothy and us to consider these examples, which are metaphors that give us insight and understanding. He wants us to apply them in our lives (Acts 17:11; 1 Timothy 4:15; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:5).

  • Remember Jesus’ Death, Burial, and Resurrection:

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. “  (2 Timothy 2:8-10)


The central and most important theme of the doctrine of Christ, the Gospel,  is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:3-4).  Paul urged Timothy to remember this important truthHe wanted him to remember this fundamental truth so that he might have the heart to face any suffering that came his way  (Revelation 2:10).

We are strengthened from a spiritual perspective.  Look at verses 8-9.

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” 

Paul begins verse 8 with “Remember Jesus Christ” to remind Timothy of the most important thing he must preach.  Indeed, this phrase contains great and fundamental truths. First, Jesus was raised from the dead.  This is the central point of the Gospel – the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If Christ has not been raised from the dead, our faith is in vain.  In Paul’s days, many were attacking the truth about the resurrection of Christ.   To say that Jesus rose from the dead meant that He died.  And we know that He died as a ransom for all.  
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”  (1 John 2:2)


Notice that Paul says the gospel is “my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8)  He personally shared the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus with Timothy.  

  1. The Gospel became a part of Paul’s life (Romans 2:16; Romans 16:25;  Galatians 1:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:14).  
  2. And though Paul suffered for preaching the Gospel, ending up in chains, he was aware that the Word of God could not be chained or bound (Acts 4:19-20, 9:16, 26:29, 28:31; Ephesians 3:1, 6:20; Colossians 4:3; 2 Timothy 1:8, 2 Timothy 4:17;  Philemon 1:13-14). 


Paul was willing to endure hardship for the elect's sake, that is, the church (2 Corinthians 1:6;  Ephesians 3:13;  1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 3:10;  2 Timothy 4:5;  1 Peter 1:2). He was willing to endure to save others.   Salvation is only in Christ (Acts 4:12; Romans 6:3-6).  Those baptized into Christ have entered into a relationship with the Father and the Son.  A relationship that will have eternal consequences.

Jesus is the ultimate example of hardship and suffering. 

  1. Our Lord and Savior was willing to suffer shame, pain, rejection, and death. 
  2. However, He received the reward of His work and suffering.  
  3. He was raised from the dead and exalted to God’s right hand.  
  4. Paul followed the same path.  
  5. He suffered, for he was bound in chains like a criminal. 
  6. He competed and ran by the rules. 
  7. However, he had a single focus. 
  8. He endured everything for the good of those who are the elect. 
  9. He sacrificed himself and suffered so that others might also obtain the salvation that is in Jesus with eternal glory. 

Paul wants Timothy to remember Jesus’ sacrifice and example and how He suffered so that others might obtain salvation and eternal glory.  A good soldier follows Jesus and Paul’s example of hardship and suffering.  

So Paul declares in verse 10

“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”  


We can see Paul’s heart here.  He was more concerned about others than himself.  This is another reason we need to be strong.  We must endure so that others may hear the Gospel and be saved.  Salvation is the outcome of the Gospel.  God wants to send the Gospel out to all the world so that people will hear it and be saved.  Notice that there is more than just salvation – there is eternal glory.  We receive eternal glory on top of our salvation.  So not only will we be raised from the dead, but we will be given an indescribable glory.  This is truly the Grace of God!

  • Some Fundamental Truths:

Christians have four fundamental truths for the hope we have for our salvation.

“The saying is trustworthy, for:  If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”  (2 Timothy 2:11-13)


In 2 Timothy 2:11-13, Paul encourages Timothy to endure hardship by reminding him of his hope for salvation. This hope is a “trustworthy saying” that is worthy of his full attention (1 Timothy 1:15).  
  1. Christians have died with Christ by crucifying themselves with Christ (Romans 6:6; Romans 6:8; Philippians 3:10). 
  2. They have died and have been buried with  Christ in the waters of baptism (Romans 6:4-5).  
  3. Their old self was crucified with Him so that they would no longer be enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6).
  4. They now live with Christ and reign with Him as Christ rose from the grave (John 11:25; Romans 5:17; Romans 6:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; 1 John 5:11).
  5. If we endure as Christians and suffer as Christ did (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 4:13), we will also reign with Him. 
  6. If we lose our life, we will reign with Him.  
  7. However, if we aren’t willing to confess Christ through obedient living, He will deny us (Matthew 10:32-33; Luke 12:9; 1 Timothy 5:8;  2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4).  
  8. If we disown Jesus, He will disown us.  
  9. If we don’t stand up for Him, He will not stand up for us. 
  10. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for he cannot deny Himself. God remains faithful. 
  11. Sadly many Christians fall away and choose not to follow Jesus anymore. However, Jesus will remain faithfully committed to His church (Acts 20:28).

These must have been encouraging words to Timothy!   God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity.  So we must not be ashamed but rather get up and get back in there. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  Let the Grace of God strengthen us in Christ Jesus. God cannot deny Himself, for He is a merciful, compassionate, loving, and forgiving God. God wants Christians to endure as good soldiers for Christ to receive their great reward.  


CONCLUSION:

How many of us consider ourselves strong people, in general?  What does it mean to be strong?  Someone strong is someone who can overcome adversity, challenges, and hardship.  Someone strong does not avoid difficulty but goes through it to the end.  How many of us want to be stronger?  This is exactly what Paul calls on Timothy to become in 2 Timothy chapter 2.  In my previous study, at the end of chapter 1, Paul expressed how everyone in the province of Asia deserted him, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.  He then commended Onesiphorus, who searched hard to find Paul in Rome.  Remember that Paul was locked up in prison during a time of intense persecution of Christians. Yet, Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul’s chains and often refreshed him.

In 2 Timothy 2:1, Paul turned his attention back to Timothy.  Notice what Paul told him.   

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  


Notice how Paul starts this chapter.  “You then.”  Paul is calling Timothy to pay careful attention.  Paul was always concerned about the church's future and Timothy's well-being.  He called him “my son,” showing his deep affection for Timothy, his beloved disciple.  He urged Timothy to be strong in the Grace of God.  He wanted Timothy to be strengthened.  The source of that strength was not in Timothy.  Why?  Because Paul did not ask Timothy, “be strong by believing in yourself.”  He did not say, “be strong for me, son.”  He said, “be strong in the grace.”  The source of our strength is in God’s Grace.  The source of that Grace is in Christ Jesus.  So, why does Timothy need to be strong?  How can he be strong?  Paul answered these two questions in verses 2-7 of our context.  He used earthly and spiritual examples in verses 8-13 of 2 Timothy 2.

In verse 2, Paul stated, 

“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also”  


This is one of the reasons why Timothy had to be strong.  He had to carry on God’s Message, the Gospel, and was commanded to lead the church in the presence of many witnesses.  Paul charged  Timothy with the task of passing on the teachings of the Gospel to faithful men who were qualified to teach.  I am sure it was hard to find faithful men to teach since, apparently, many had deserted Paul.  These faithful men had to be blameless, without reproach, men who were not living in sin but striving to lead holy lives. 

It takes a lot of strength to disciple people.  It takes strength to carry on the Gospel Message.  Timothy had to study to show himself as one approved, even when it seemed that those he was teaching weren’t getting it.  Perhaps sometimes, only 3 people would show upMany get discouraged when nobody shows up for a Bible class.  But thank God for their faithfulness.  Thank God for those preachers and teachers who are always faithful to preparing and leading a Bible study.  In doing this, they are passing on the Gospel Message to others.  And though the work is not easy, they can draw strength from the Grace of God that is in Christ Jesus!

Another reason Timothy needed to be strong is found in verse 3 of 2 Timothy 2.  

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”  


One thing I know for sure is that there will be suffering along the way.  Paul used the metaphor of a good soldier of Christ to indicate that we are in a war.  Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12).  Satan is real. Evil is real!  These are the forces behind this world’s suffering.  However, our Lord Jesus is fighting against it all, not with worldly weapons, but with His Word, His Gospel Message.  

Jesus calls us to be His soldiers.  Not just ordinary soldiers, but good soldiers.  Good soldiers who patiently endure.  Jesus, our Lord, has given us words of encouragement – that we suffer together for the cause of Christ.  When we suffer for Christ, we are all sharing in the same suffering.  Even Christ Himself suffered.  There will always be suffering until Jesus comes again, so even if we escape with Christ, we will still not escape from suffering.  Only Christ can give us strength and hope through all of our sufferings.  Suffering for His cause is a different kind of suffering from the world.  Let us join with Christ in suffering for His cause.  Let us join with Paul and Timothy in suffering and join with all of our brothers and sisters in suffering as good soldiers of Christ Jesus.

In 2 Timothy 2:4-6, Paul uses 3 metaphors:  the good soldier, the athlete, and the hardworking farmer, to teach Timothy and us about perseverance and how to be strengthened by the Grace of God. The metaphor is intended to help us not allow anything to hinder our faith and service to God.  Sin, greed, and unbelief can cause us to fall away. Notice verse 4

“No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” 


Paul may have been chained to a Roman soldier while in prison and would have noticed his discipline and obedience to commands.  You see, a Roman soldier was not allowed to get involved in running a business or a farm during his active service.  Why?  Because getting involved would affect his ability to be a good soldier and carry out his commands.   Instead, a good soldier knows that his main objective is to please his commanding officer.  To Timothy, that meant he must give his whole time and effort to leading the church and not forsake his duty with other distractions that would take his focus off his primary goal. The good soldier makes every effort to please his commanding officer, and our Commanding Officer is Christ himself.

Through the example of the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer, we can see how we may be strengthened in the Grace that is in Jesus Christ.  Notice that all of these activities require effort or endeavorStrength does not come passively but comes to us as we faithfully serve the Lord.  We become stronger by the Grace of God as we invest time and work. Jesus gives us strength to make the effort.  Remember that Jesus is the source of our strength.  So, what is the Grace of God in each of our three examples (the soldier, the athlete, and the hardworking farmer)?  

  1. For the soldier, it is the pleasure of pleasing his commanding officer.  
  2. For the athlete, it is the victor’s crown.  
  3. For the farmer, it is the crops.  

These are the reasons they each persevere through their trials because their goal or main focus is to obtain the reward from the Lord.  They are strengthened because they know that their efforts are not in vain.  We will be strengthened through serving and trusting in Jesus Christ because of His grace.  

The Grace of God opens the eyes of our minds to God’s glorious Truth so that we might be continually strengthened by the increase in knowledge and understanding of His words.  Thus, we must often reflect on the Word of God and study the Bible to receive strength and insight. 

Without the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins. No resurrection means that sin won over Christ and continues to win over all. If Jesus was not raised but remained dead, then we remain dead. So, the power of sin remains. The power of sin is death (1 Corinthians 15:56). If Jesus was not raised, then His death accomplished nothing! Jesus' resurrection validated His death's work in forgiving our sins.  Notice Paul’s words to the Romans.  

“That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’ 23 But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:24–25).  


Jesus was raised for our justification! If Jesus rose, then the power of death is broken, and final victory is assured.

Jesus is King, the heir of King David’s throne.  Because of His resurrection, He has ascended and become our Eternal King.  The Gospel is the resurrection, the Messiah, which means good news.  This is the Gospel given to Paul to preach, then delivered to Timothy to pass on, and given to us to continue to pass on.  This is the reason Timothy needed strength: because of the Gospel Message.  We need strength because of the Gospel Message.  Why?  Because it is the Gospel that caused Paul to be put into prison.  Sadly today, many hate the Gospel.  In some countries, many are thrown in jail for sharing the Gospel Message.

Though Paul was chained, the Gospel Message was not chained.  The Gospel cannot be stopped, for it must go out to reach the darkest corners of this earth.  That is why we need to be strong.  God sends us to dark places to bring the light of the Gospel to othersIt is amazing that though Paul was in chains in prison, his guards became his captive audience! These guards were chained to Paul through the Gospel.  The Gospel was spread in prison because of Paul’s persecution.  Those even up in Caesar’s palace heard the Gospel.  God can cause persecution to spread the Gospel!  

From a spiritual perspective, we also see how we are strengthened. Paul quotes a poem in verses 11-13 of 2 Timothy.

“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” 


Paul commends these verses or poem as trustworthy saying.  We must rely on these words and believe in them.  We can be strengthened: by dying, repenting daily of our sins, enduring sufferings, and remaining faithful to Him.  And once again, we are strengthened by the Grace that is in Christ Jesus.  What is His Grace to us?  It is life, glory, and His faithfulness.  In God, we can trust.  Since God is faithful and does not change, we can trust His great and glorious promises.  God’s Grace is the firm foundation, the unbreakable bedrock of our strength.  

Thus, we must carry out His commands to please our Commanding Officer as good soldiers.  Let us forget what is behind: our sins and accomplishments and keep pressing on like good athletes who run with endurance to the goal line to win the prize for which our God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Let us do the humble work of a farmer, sowing seed, watering the plants, preparing Bible studies, sharing the good news of the Gospel, and praying for everyone so that God will grant us an abundant harvest.  Let us join with Paul and Timothy in suffering for the sake of the church and the Gospel so that all who come to believe may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

May we be strengthened by the Grace of God to make every effort to persevere in all of life’s difficulties and trials and persevere in every good work. May we be strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus. May we never be discouraged when life does not go our way.  May we allow God’s Grace to test us and grow our faith.  May we bring God’s Grace to others to be saved.  May we persevere to the end to receive the crown of life that is awaiting us  (James 1:12).  May we do the humble work of a farmer, sowing seed, watering the plants, preparing Bible studies, sharing the good news of the Gospel, praying for everyone, so that God will grant us an abundant harvest.  And finally, may we join with Paul and Timothy in suffering for the sake of the church and the Gospel so that all who come to believe may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.


Luci