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Strong Grace

In the last days before his execution, the Apostle Paul used his remaining days and hours to write a letter of encouragement to his spiritual son in the faith, Timothy. It is a letter of passion and instruction to stand strong in the face of difficult times and people. Paul doesn't call Timothy to be strong in his own power, but, "in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 2:1). The source of Timothy's strength was not in his own ability to withstand external pressure but in the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace He provides. God's grace enables us to handle the difficulties of life. If God has called us and gifted us to be His representatives, and He has, then He has promised to supply the necessary strength. Nothing would come Timothy’s way that he would not have the strength to handle – no person, no pain, no tragedy, no problem, and that’s true for you too. If He calls you to be a Father or Mother, He will give you the strength to fulfill that role. If He calls you to step up, He will give you what you need. If He calls you to endure hardship, He will provide the necessary strength as you cooperate with Him – so don’t give up or give in. In fact, Paul then writes: "Suffer hardship with me. Here's the mindset that I want you to have, I want you to expect hardship so that you're not surprised by it when it comes along." The Bible is clear that the Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground. Sadly, many Christians put just about everything in life above their relationship with Christ. Remember that God has not saved us so that we can just kick back and live comfortable, happy, self-centered lives. He has conscript-ed us into His army. We have a mission given to us by our Commander-in-Chief, to take the gospel message into enemy territory in order to win captives from the forces of darkness. The world in which Timothy and Paul ministered is much like ours today - it's no place for spiritual wimps. It requires God-given fortitude, determination, and active dependence on God as the source of our strength. How are you doing these days? Are you in the trenches or on the sidelines? Our families and communities need a strong gospel witness to combat the godless agenda of the enemy. Will you stand in the gap and be His ambassador for such a time as this? Press on! Pastor Brian Richard

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