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4th Sunday of Lent

Paul and Silas went first to Derbe and the on to Lystra where they met Timothy, a believer whose mother was a Christian Jewess but his father a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul asked him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he circumcised Timothy before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek [and hadn't permitted this before]. Then they went from city to city, making known the decision concerning the Gentiles, as decided by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So the Church grew daily in faith and numbers. Acts 16:1-5 (TLB)

Oh, Timothy, my son, be strong with the strength Christ Jesus gives you. 2 Timothy 2:1 (TLB)

The life of the apostle Paul was a remarkable one - his dramatic conversion from a Pharisee who persecuted Christians to a leader of the early church: his many letters; his courage in the face of opposition; and most of all, his incredible faith in Jesus Christ. As he wrote in Philippians, "To live is Christ, to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21).

John D. Brown, from Minnesota, was part of a recent Bible study on Paul's letters to Timothy that revealed another attribute of his amazing life. From their discussion John gained a new appreciation for how Paul mentored his young companion. We can imagine all that Paul taught Timothy as they traveled together on several missionary trips. Then as Paul approached the end of his life, he put aside his own needs and took time to write letters of encouragement to Timothy, urging him to remain true to the gospel message that Paul lived to the fullest.

The story of Paul and Timothy is a good lesson for all of us. We all know younger people whom we can reach out to and mentor in the walk of faith. Paul's life is a great reminder to be more intentional about this opportunity, doing our part to encourage and equip others as they follow Christ.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. Help us to share this gift with others and to encourage them on their faith journey, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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