Matters of Faith: In Remembrance

When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:5-7 ‭NKJV

In Paul’s letters to his protégé, a young man by the name of Timothy, he created a guide for new ministers that has been used throughout the ages. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy which has become a guide for new and seasoned pastors to build strong and healthy congregations. In his first letter, Paul tells Timothy how to handle false teachers, conduct worship services, choose leaders for the church, and how to deal with a socially diverse congregation. Paul anticipates the pressure might be getting, or very well has already become exceedingly difficult for Timothy to bear. His first letter is really a letter of encouragement and instruction.

Paul’s second letter speaks from the heart. He provides instructions for perfecting the church and pleads with Timothy to continue preaching and teaching the gospel no matter what hardships he might face. Paul personified the wholehearted devotion to the gospel he tells Timothy to have, as he himself was facing a certain death. Paul could not avoid his fate, and he tells Timothy that he won’t be able to avoid his. The challenges Paul says Timothy will experience does not mean defeat. Remaining steadfast and determined while combating false doctrine, developing faithful leaders, and dealing with social diversity in the church will bring him to his breakthrough!

It was Paul’s remembrance of the unwavering faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother that assured him that Timothy has that same faith. Paul was sure that Timothy had what was needed to build a strong and healthy congregation. Do you remember whose faith encouraged you to go a little farther every time you wanted to stop?

As I was preparing to write the article for this week’s column, I was reminded that today (1/17) is the day that my mother transitioned from life to eternity. I thought about the genuine faith she had which was translated to her four children and all of those who were blessed to have known her. I thought about her hospitable nature and all the friends and family who came to our home where they were fed and given soda that we made ourselves. Yes, we had seltzer water and flavored syrup delivered to our house. I remember how graciously she shared with anyone who entered our doors. No one was a visitor; everybody was a guest. Every time I think back to those days, it brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart. The tragedy of a life lost far too soon, but memories and a legacy that lasts forever. When I think of my Mother, the gift that the Lord gave to me through her is stirred up. Sometimes we just have to remember.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell, associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (626-226-1448), author of Matters of Faith: The Book.

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