How do you greet people when you see them? Maybe it’s with a smile or handshake, perhaps with a timid or hearty hug. Do you also verbally express your delight in seeing them with, “It’s good to see you or you look great!”?
To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:2
Throughout Paul’s writings and teachings his salutation expressed how much he cared for and loved the recipients of his words even when he had to include some hard truths. That is the core of discipleship, guiding each other back to the truth of God’s word and allowing Holy Spirit to convict us toward Christlike living. Because he loved Jesus and others so deeply Paul stepped out in courage and boldness. He was more concerned for the spiritual health of others than what others thought of him. Talk about knowing one’s identity in Jesus!
Paul was a wonderful encourager which led me to think how I could encourage others outside my sphere of influence. Without hesitation Holy Spirit dropped a thought into my mind—to send out cards of encouragement to churches around the world.
And, the Encouragement Project was started. It’s quite simple. I ask Holy Spirit who He wants to encourage and He highlights an area. I look up the churches in that area and He highlights a specific church. I write a short note of encouragement and place that in the mail.
Imagine with me the smiles and goodwill feelings those who read these notes must feel. Knowing God hears and sees them! With that, I challenge and encourage you to become a part of the Encouragement Project. I also encourage you to share this post not because I want traffic to my site but because I would love for others to have the opportunity to join in encouraging others. Imagine with me again how this one small sacrifice of our time could change the space, community and world around us making our living areas just a little bit sweeter. And, I guarantee you will feel joy for having spread some joy.
The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum…
Even if it was only a pack of gum given to her ‘just because,’ our oldest daughter’s love language continues to be gifts. When she was younger it was challenging to fill her love language while raising a young family on one income. The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum will always remain imprinted on my mind. That is when I realized that gifts didn’t and don’t have to be the latest and greatest. For someone whose heart is filled to overflowing with a thoughtful gift, it really is the thought that counts.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.(NIV 1984).
2 Timothy 1:6-8
While gifts is not my love language I do love to give gifts and watch the surprise erupt into joy on the face of the person receiving my gift. God works through us to bless others and ultimately display His love for us with His knowledge that He knows exactly what we need. HOW gracious is He?!! Can I get an Amen?!
In today’s verse we find Paul encouraging Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God. Paul is suggesting Timothy take action. God has given the gift and now it is Timothy’s responsibility to learn to use this gift wisely for God’s glory and His kingdom and the saving of many lives. Because truly when we think about spiritual gifts, like gifts in the physical, they aren’t meant for us but for giving! For sharing Jesus with others by giving them hope that the sun really will come out again.
Laying on of hands can seem spooky, hocus pocus or downright uncomfortable to some. But it is Biblical. Perhaps we are not learning about this aspect of discipleship in our churches or through our own studying of God’s word and guidance from Holy Spirit or maybe it has been practiced out of context and abused and church leaders have put up their fingers in the sign of the cross attempting to ward off some sort of evil.
It is important to remember that the gift(s) is not given by the one who lays hands on the receiver the gift(s) it is given by God and God alone. To lay hands on another is God’s instrument of conveying His supernatural encouragement and revelation. When we pray for the one we are laying hands on we are seeking God’s guidance and confirmation of God’s will for that person. Some theologians believe it ought to be a regular practice in church for others to discover God’s will.
Do you ever wonder about the power you wield through your faith in Jesus by His Spirit. It may not be physical power and it certainly isn’t an abusive power. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and you, as a believer, have access to this 24/7/365. Doesn’t that leave you awestruck in wonder?! Power, love and self-discipline are all a part of your identity in Jesus. These identity characteristics, like gifts, are also meant to be used wisely.
And lest we think we can do anything in our own power, Paul reminds us that we cannot even suffer on our own. We need the power of God to push through and remain focused on Him.
I bless you with choosing to be a good gift giver through Jesus and the gifts He has given you and to be open to the gifts He has for you through the giving of others.
You’ve Got Purpose!
I wrote quickly and with purpose. In my 15 year old mind there was no way my Big B [my nickname for the youngest of my older brothers] wasn’t coming home for Christmas. He had never missed being home for Christmas. So, I sat down and wrote a very firm but gracious letter to his commanding officer aboard the U.S.S. Harry E. Yarnell.
But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.2 Timothy 1:8b-9a.
God had a purpose. He sent His only Son. Jesus had a purpose. He hung on a cross to forgive you and me of all our sin. Holy Spirit has a purpose. To take up residence in the heart of every person who proclaims Jesus as Lord and Savior and continually guide them toward Christ-like behavior.
You and I have a purpose. To live a holy life. This holy life we are called to live isn’t because of anything we have done by ourself. We live a holy life because of Jesus purpose and His grace. We live a holy life with the ever present help of Holy Spirit. We live a holy life by staying tethered to Jesus consistently. By reading and studying His word, through prayer and in praise and worship of Him.
Jesus gives our life purpose and in that purpose we find meaning for the direction of our life. Along with Christ’s purpose we have His grace, which was given to us before the beginning of time. How amazing is it that grace was ours before the beginning of time simply waiting for us to choose and accept?!
Jesus fulfilled His earthly purpose and destroyed death and brought life and immortality illuminated by the truth of the gospel. Because of this we can live here and now unafraid of death and know we will live an indestructible life of immortality with Him in eternity! Good News indeed.
I must have written an extremely persuasive letter or his commanding officer had a heart for a teen girl who desperately missed her brother. My brother was home for Christmas that year.