Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reflection - Paul's biblical accounts

Source (book): "Faithful to the end", Question 1, Page 61.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


Biblical accounts of Paul's calling
PHOTO: Biblical accounts of Paul's calling
Picture posted by Jesus lives in the house next door
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http://www.12apostoles.es/jesusviveenlacasadeallado/2014/01/page/2/



Study the various biblical accounts of Paul's calling mentioned in the chapter. What do they say about how Paul understood his ministry? What were his priorities? How would he had been encouraged to remain faithful to Christ, especially when circumstances were difficult? What lessons can you learn about your own calling to serve Christ?


What do they say about how Paul understood his ministry?
[1] Two implications follows from knowing the God of the gospel, in whom we believe, and valuing the heritage of faith. Firstly, we will be strongly motivated to serve the God of this gospel. The more we know God, His eternal plan of salvation and the wonder of the gospel, the more we would be willing to offer ourselves in the service of this gospel entrusted to us. There would be a deep sense of stewardship of what we have received. Secondly, we would be willing to suffer for the gospel. Our desire to serve God would result in opposition - demonic and human - and our commitment will be tested. But if we know God and His purpose well, we will be willing to pay any price to serve Him and to promote the gospel. This was Paul's perspective as he wrote to Timothy, and he explained to his protégé (a person who is guided and supported by an older and more experienced or influential person) what he meant. [1]


Paul's understanding of his ministry

PHOTO: Paul's understanding of his ministry
1. Be strongly motivated to serve the God of this gospel.
2. Be willing to suffer for the gospel.
Picture posted by Pastor Melodee Carstens
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http://abcparish.blogspot.sg/2012_12_09_archive.html


What were his (Paul) priorities?
Stewardship of the Gospel [1]
Paul took his calling seriously. When the Lord confronted him on the road to Damascus, He made it clear, in no uncertain terms, what He expected of Paul. The apostle's calling is detailed in three passages in the book of Acts - Luke's narrative of Paul's conversion and calling, and Paul's own testimony before the authorities.



Stewardship of the Gospel

PHOTO: Stewardship of the Gospel
When the Lord confronted Paul on the road to Damascus, He made it clear, in no uncertain terms, what He expected of Paul. The apostle's calling is detailed in three passages in the book of Acts - Luke's narrative of Paul's conversion and calling, and Paul's own testimony before the authorities.
Picture from mydrjavier's Bucket, The one and only great Jesus Christ Lion and Lamb Painting by Javier V Sanchez
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http://s1033.photobucket.com/user/mydrjavier/media/JCLLRP.gif.html
 
Carrying the Name of Jesus
Through Ananias, a devout Christian in Damascus, Paul discovered God's will concerning him: "This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their Kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name" (Acts 9:15-16). Paul was appointed to carry the name of Christ especially to the Gentiles.



Paul was appointed to carry the name of Christ especially to the Gentiles
PHOTO: Paul was appointed to carry the name of Christ especially to the Gentiles
"This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their Kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name" (Acts 9:15-16)
Posted by The Quick View Bible, A Difficult Life
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https://www.pinterest.com/auyeungs/disciples-saint-paul-the-apostle/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/20618110770620551/



The progressive pronoun "my" in the phrase "my chosen instrument" conferred, firstly, an authority on Paul and his ministry, in that he was sent by no less than the Lord himself. Secondly, it signalled an intimate association with Jesus. As the Lord's servant, Paul belonged to Jesus and would experienced a deepening relationship with the Lord; he had a strong sense of whom he belonged to. Thirdly, it also conveyed accountability. Paul was deeply aware that he was ultimately answerable to Jesus, and thus in the face of jealous criticism or temptation to self-congratulate, he reiterated: "It is the Lord who judges me" (1 Corinthians 4:4)


As the Lord's servant, Paul belonged to Jesus and would experienced a deepening relationship with the Lord; he had a strong sense of whom he belonged to.
PHOTO: As the Lord's servant, Paul belonged to Jesus and would experienced a deepening relationship with the Lord; he had a strong sense of whom he belonged to.
The progressive pronoun "my" in the phrase "my chosen instrument" conferred, firstly, an authority on Paul and his ministry, in that he was sent by no less than the Lord himself.
Posted by Mark S. Haynes, Las Vegas, NV
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http://www.mshaynes.me/home/archives/01-2014



Paul was entrusted with the name of Jesus - "the name that is above every name" and before which "every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:9-10). Like a flag-bearer in the battlefield, Paul bravely and faithfully carried the name of Jesus wherever he was sent by his Lord. He was wounded in battle but refused to abandon his station or drop the name.in all the persecutions that he faced, Paul would have remembered what the Lord said: "He must suffer for my Name". [1]


Paul was entrusted with the name of Jesus - 'the name that is above every name' and before which 'every knee should bow' (Philippians 2:9-10). Like a flag-bearer in the battlefield, Paul bravely and faithfully carried the name of Jesus wherever he was sent by his Lord.
PHOTO: Paul was entrusted with the name of Jesus - "the name that is above every name" and before which "every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:9-10). Like a flag-bearer in the battlefield, Paul bravely and faithfully carried the name of Jesus wherever he was sent by his Lord.
Posted by Fr. Peter G. Martinez, © 2013-2015 St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church
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http://www.stpaultheapostlecc.com/



How would he had been encouraged to remain faithful to Christ, especially when circumstances were difficult?
Chosen to be a witness [1]
When Paul visited Jerusalem for the last time, he had to face an unruly crowd that reacted violently against the gospel he preached. He addressed the crowd calmly, giving testimony of how he was called to serve Jesus.Through Ananias he had heard the calling, "The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard" (Acts 22:14-15). There were four things Paul was called to do.



Through Ananias he had heard the calling

PHOTO: Through Ananias he had heard the calling, "The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to 'see the Righteous One' and to 'hear words from his mouth'. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard" (Acts 22:14-15)
Posted  by blcfchurch on Monday, 19 January 2015 at 03:09:09 pm - Hearing HIS Voice; Heeding the Call
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https://bloorlansdownechristianfellowship.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/god_chosen_instrument.jpg
http://blcfchurch.blog.ca/2015/01/19/hearing-his-voice-heeding-the-call-19991089/



Firstly, he was to "see the Righteous One" - a phrase that points to the wonderful experience of recognising the glory and majesty of Jesus, the natural result of which would be to fall down in worship, the way Thomas did when he met the Risen Christ and exclaimed "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).

Secondly, Paul was to "hear words from his mouth". Here the emphasis is on the word. Paul was called to have a growing relationship with Jesus so that he would come to recognise the Lord's voice. The Lord would speak through His Word, and this intimate knowledge of God's Word would be the basis of Paul's gospel ministry.



Paul was to 'hear words from his mouth'

PHOTO: Paul was to "hear words from his mouth". The Lord would speak through His Word, and this intimate knowledge of God's Word would be the basis of Paul's gospel ministry.
Posted by Christ Church on 24 January 2014
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http://www.christchurchstellenbosch.co.za/encountering-god-at-university/



Thirdly, Paul was called to "know His will". Worship and Word make it possible for Paul to discern (recognize or find out) the Lord's will. Discerning His will would be necessary to remain faithful to Him and to complete the tasks He assigns. It will determine whether one co-operates with the Lord or not.



Paul was called to 'know His will'

PHOTO: Paul was called to "know His will". Worship and Word make it possible for Paul to discern (recognize or find out) the Lord's will.
Picture posted by gracegreaterthanoursin.wordpress.com
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Fourthly, the Lord called Paul to "be his witness to all men". Paul become a Spirit-filled witness greatly used by the Lord for His glory. He brought the gospel far and wide, and in depth across generations through his epistles.



The Lord called Paul to 'be his witness to all men'.

PHOTO: The Lord called Paul to "be his witness to all men". Paul become a Spirit-filled witness greatly used by the Lord for His glory. He brought the gospel far and wide, and in depth across generations through his epistles.
Picture posted by Catholic Online, St. Paul Fun Facts
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http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=91



Paul's stewardship of the gospel involved worship, Word, God's will, and the ministry as a witness for Jesus. Serving the Lord is not a mechanical job but is built on the sure foundation of who God is and how we respond to Him in worship and diligent attention to His Word and will. Stewardship and service must be built on a vital relationship with the Lord; otherwise they amount to nothing. Paul understood his calling and what it entailed, and took it seriously.

Appointed as Servant and Witness
There is another place in Acts where Paul gave testimony concerning his calling. After his arrest in Jerusalem and imprisonment in Caesarea, he stood before King Agrippa II and told the story of his conversion. This time he described his calling as a direct conversation with Jesus, and not just a conveyed summons through Ananias as is the case in the other two passages.



Paul gave testimony concerning his calling.

PHOTO: Paul gave testimony concerning his calling. After his arrest in Jerusalem and imprisonment in Caesarea, he stood before King Agrippa II and told the story of his conversion.
Posted by Na początku on 06 April 2015
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The Lord had told Paul, "I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness . . . I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan   to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me" (Acts 26:16-18).



The Lord was sending Paul as a servant and a witness to the Gentiles

PHOTO: The Lord was sending Paul as a servant and a witness to the Gentiles
"I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness . . . I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan   to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me" (Acts 26:16-18).
Picture posted by Sue in NC on 19 November 2014
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https://lambsservant.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/do-believers-really-go-to-heaven/


The Lord was sending Paul as a servant and a witness to the Gentiles with four goals:

1. Forgiveness. He was to proclaim the truth of the gospel so that they could receive God's forgiveness of their sins through Christ.

2. Faith. Paul's preaching of the gospel would "open their eyes" so that they would come to know the truth of the gospel of Jesus and place their trust in Him. faith in Christ would bring them out from the darkness of ignorance and sin into the light of God's truth.

3. Freedom. Paul was to declare the gospel truth that brings true freedom so that the Gentiles would come out from the enslaving power of Satan and enter into the freedom that is found in God's kingdom.

4. Fellowship. The Gentiles, as they responded in faith to the gospel, would have a place among those who believed in Jesus and were being sanctified in Him.



Paul appointed by the Lord as a servant and a witness to the Gentiles with four goals

PHOTO: Paul appointed by the Lord as a servant and a witness to the Gentiles with four goals
1. Forgiveness
2. Faith
3. Freedom
4. Fellowship
Picture posted by Marichu Fajota Jose on 26 October 2014

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A Faithful and Zealous Steward
Paul not only received the gospel but also became its servant (Ephesians 3:7). In his final epistle, he reiterated his calling and revealed his undiminished understanding of what his Lord expected of him. "And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher" (2 Timothy 1:11). The three words - herald, apostle, and teacher - point to different aspect of Paul's gospel ministry.



A Faithful and Zealous Steward

PHOTO: A Faithful and Zealous Steward
Paul not only received the gospel but also became its servant (Ephesians 3:7). "And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher" (2 Timothy 1:11).
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http://1689commentary.org/2012/08/21/chapter-15-of-repentance-unto-life-and-salvation/



The word apostle (apostolos) simply means "one who is sent". The apostle is sent by Jesus as His emissary or ambassador, and he speaks not for himself but for his King. He carries the authority of the King as the "sent one".

The word herald (kērux) points to the ministry of proclamation. Scottish minister William Barclay explains how the word is connected with three possible meanings [2]. It can refer to a king's herald who brings an announcement from the king to his people;  the emissary sent by a king to the battlefield to convey terms of settlement; or a representative of a merchant or auctioneer who brings the attention of people to the goods being sold or auctioned. Barclay applies these various meanings in what is expected of the Christian: "So the Christian is to be the man who brings the message to his fellow-men; the man who brings men into peace with God; the man who calls on his fellow-men to accept the rich offer which God is making to them."

The word teacher (didaskalos) is Paul's favourite word in his Pastoral Epistles. It is used in direct contrast with the false teachers who were causing so much trouble in the churches. It refers to the teaching ministry. While the herald (or preacher) proclaims the essential message of the gospel - that salvation comes to us through Christ - the teacher explains it further by teaching doctrines and nourishing faith. Paul was a teacher too; for example, he spent two years in Ephesus teaching in the lecture hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9-10) everyday.



Paul took his ministry seriously - there was passion, vigour, and zeal in it.

PHOTO: Paul took his ministry seriously - there was passion, vigour, and zeal in it. With relentless passion, he exclaimed: "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16).
Picture posted by Luis Casalanguida on Monday, 23 September 2013
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Paul took his ministry seriously - there was passion, vigour, and zeal in it. Like the faithful servants who made use of the talents their master had given (Matthew 25:14-30), Paul felt a responsibility and an energy to act as a faithful steward of the gospel. He laboured in bringing the gospel to many people throughout the ancient Mediterranean world and teaching them. He testified concerning the motivation and compulsion in his gospel ministry: "For Christ's love compels us" (2 Corinthians 5:14). With relentless passion, he exclaimed: "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16).

Such zeal and energy come from knowing God through the gospel and from remembering those who have gone before us - how they believed and served (cf. 2 Timothy 1:3). If one lacks zeal and energy with regard to the gospel of Jesus, it may be due to an insufficient or deficient knowledge of God and saints from the past. Paul urge Timothy to have the same kind of zeal that he had found. He reminded Timothy "to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you" (2 Timothy 1:6). This gift may have been given to Timothy when he was ordained through the laying of hands. It may refer to some specific ability in the exercise of his ministry, or it could simply refer to the office to which he was being ordained.



Paul wanted Timothy to be a zealous minister of the gospel and a faithful steward of what had been entrusted to him.

PHOTO: Paul wanted Timothy to be a zealous minister of the gospel and a faithful steward of what had been entrusted to him. He reminded Timothy "to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you" (2 Timothy 1:6).
Posted by by Michael Yarrito, Your "Next Worth" on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 7:46 PM
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http://www.yournextworth.com/2014/07/urgent-matters-june-16-2014.html



In whichever case, the message is: "Use it or lose it!" The "gift from God" would atrophy (deteriorate) if it is not used adequately or well, and this may be the result of diminished passion for the gospel. As the Church Father John Chrysostom wrote in the 4th century, "For by sloth and carelessness it is quenched, and by watchfulness and diligence it is kept alive." [3] The "gift of God" may also refer to the Holy Spirit himself, through whom all spiritual gifts are received. [4] This would explain Paul's reference to "the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us" (2 Timothy 1:14).



Through prayer Paul had been encouraged to remain faithful to Christ, especially when circumstances were difficult.

PHOTO: Through prayer Paul had been encouraged to remain faithful to Christ, especially when circumstances were difficult. It is to pray for one another - that we would not lose our passion for the gospel and be found unfaithful to the Lord who calls us. Hence we need to pray for one another and to watch over one another in love.
Picture posted by admin, Bible Study Outline, on 15 August 2012
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http://biblestudyoutlines.org/category/bible-study-lessons/page/39/



Paul wanted Timothy to be a zealous minister of the gospel and a faithful steward of what had been entrusted to him. It is for this reason that Paul prayed for the younger man "night and day" (2 Timothy 1:3). How important it is to pray for one another in his matter - that we would not lose our passion for the gospel and be found unfaithful to the Lord who calls us. In reality, every Christian is called to be a witness and servant of the gospel. Hence we need to pray for one another and to watch over one another in love. There must also be prayer especially for those who regularly preach the gospel and teach the Word. For how easily zeal can be lost! [1]

 

What lessons can you learn about your own calling to serve Christ?
5 Life Lessons I Learned From Serving Christ [5]
Posted by Amae Guerrero on 14 April 2015



I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

PHOTO:I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
Posted by Amae Guerrero on 14 April 2015

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http://theprayingwoman.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/looking-to-god.jpg
http://theprayingwoman.com/2015/04/14/5-life-lessons-i-learned-from-serving-christ/



Within my journey of serving Christ, here are 5 things I’ve learned that I hope will help you on your journey as well:

1. You are no longer living for yourself.
You may have tried some things you are not so proud of.  You have the choice to do anything you want. However, as you are reminded of God’s calling on your life, your conscience and the Holy Spirit will stir you up not to engage in such things especially now that you are now the ambassador of Christ to people around you. You are the representative of Christ and you can’t afford to misrepresent Him.

The bible reminds us, Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple  must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me," (Luke 9:23).



You are no longer living for yourself

PHOTO: You are no longer living for yourself
The bible reminds us, Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple  must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me," (Luke 9:23 NIV).
Picture posted by Road to Emmaus
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http://roadtoemmauspbc.blogspot.sg/2014/06/luke-1025-37_11.html


Everyday you have to deny yourselves – your own feelings, wants, and needs to follow Christ. It might be difficult at the start but you have to remember that you are no longer living for yourself. You are the extension of God’s love to other people. So how can you waste your life if your role is to rescue the people who are longing for God’s love? You have to deny yourself because your mission is to serve and help other people.

2. Serving Him is my happy hour
Who says that serving Him is boring and a waste of time? Nothing beats doing what you love! Seeing people coming to know Christ is one of the greatest and priceless moments that I could ever have in my life as God used me as an instrument to reach out these people. It increases your compassion as you hear their life story and struggle in life. You became more selfless and more eager to live your calling.



Serving Him is my happy hour

PHOTO: Serving Him is my happy hour
Seeing people coming to know Christ is one of the greatest and priceless moments that I could ever have in my life as God used me as an instrument to reach out these people.
Picture posted by Simon Dewey, Let Your Light so Shine
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http://ldsbookstore.com/simon-dewey-let-your-light-so-shine-print



3. You are a world changer
You have to see yourself as God’s chosen people (1 Peter 2:9) not just an ordinary person but an extraordinary one who will accomplish a great assignment: to transform this nation by making Christ known to every person. There’s no small and big task in the eyes of God. Your service to God no matter how small or big can lead to the transformation of the world. As long as you give it your heart, your labour will never be in vain.



You are a world changer

PHOTO: You are a world changer
See yourself as God’s chosen people (1 Peter 2:9), an extraordinary one who will accomplish a great assignment: to transform this nation by making Christ known to every person.
Picture from Public Clipart Collection #66
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http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart3/stjohnsvisionofthenewjerusalemrevelation21-9-23.jpg
http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart66.htm


4. Have a purpose bigger than yourself.
Sometimes due to activities that we are accomplishing in all areas of our lives – be it in school, family, career, dreams, and ministry – there are times that we experience physical exhaustion. That’s why it is important to know your purpose in life. What’s your purpose? Why are you helping other people and serving Jesus? You have to know the answer to these questions so that when trials and hardships come you’ll be reminded why you are pushing forward: your purpose. We love God and other people (Matthew 22:37-39) that’s why we will keep on serving Him and reaching out to other people.



Have a purpose bigger than yourself

PHOTO: Have a purpose bigger than yourself
When trials and hardships come you’ll be reminded why you are pushing forward: your purpose. We love God and other people (Matthew 22:37-39) that’s why we will keep on serving Him and reaching out to other people.
Picture posted by HYPATIE on 26 February 2011 at 08:23AM, HELLO LADY CALIMERO
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http://www.atoute.org/n/forum/showthread.php?t=130751&page=12



5. Be a finisher
Be not only a starter, but also a finisher. Finish what you have started. God is never blind to what you are doing. He knows you and even the desires of your heart. So even when the challenges come, just continue running the race because you have an amazing and great God who will never leave you nor forsake you. Declare that you are a finisher and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. [5]



Be a finisher

PHOTO: Be a finisher
So even when  the challenges come, just continue running the race because you have an amazing and great God who will never leave you nor forsake you.
Picture posted by jmanjackal.net on Christmas 2010
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ndLNAybyoLE/VXgAbKpPVJI/AAAAAAAAgSE/J6F2jLG6XFc/s1600/boat1.jpg
http://jmanjackal.net/photos/2009/boat1.jpg
http://jmanjackal.net/por/pormess09.htm


Reflection - Paul's biblical accounts, by Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


Jesus Grabbing your hand

PHOTO: Jesus Grabbing your hand
Hey Soul Beautiful You? Can I grab your hand tonight and pray with you for all the hard people in our lives?

"Bless our enemies, O Lord. We bless them and do not curse them. Enemies have driven us into your embrace more than friends have.Enemies have loosed us from earth more than friends have…Enemies have made us a hunted animal, finding safer shelter than an unhunted animal does.

We found safest sanctuary in You…may too our enemies-made-grace.
We found greatest grace in You… may our enemies-made-grace find Your generous grace alive and radical in us.
We found fullest forgiveness in You… may our enemies-made-grace find faith and freedom in You and Your forgiveness working surprising ways in us.

The longer we walk with you, Lord, we find we have no enemies: only Your gift of chisels etching us deep.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. We bless them and do not curse them.
In the name of Jesus who loved His enemies to death...
Amen.
"
Text posted by Ann Voskamp on January 30, 2014 ·
Picture posted by Fotolog, Inc. on 07 January 2008

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-teMcLp9H1EQ/VXgAXtTVu-I/AAAAAAAAgQ0/X0rH_CRYl90/s1600/1199734232_f.jpg
http://spf.fotolog.com/photo/47/56/117/pedro_pico/1199734232_f.jpg
http://www.fotolog.com/pedro_pico/35592867/




Reference

[1] From "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright © 2014 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-241-0, PART ONE: UNITED WITH CHRIST, Chapter 4 "United with Christ in Service and Suffering" (2 Timothy 1:8-18), Page 42 - 47.

[2] William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, The Daily Study Bible, rev. ed. (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 1975), 148.

[3] John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on 2 Timothy, 1:6, trans. Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Father, ed. Philip Schaff, first series, vol. 13 (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing, 1889). Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/230701.htm.

[4] Philip H. Towner, 1-2 Timothy and Titus, The IVP New Testament Commentary (Downers Grove, Leicester: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 160. See also Hughes and Chappell, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 174.

[5] 5 Life Lessons I Learned From Serving Christ, http://theprayingwoman.com/2015/04/14/5-life-lessons-i-learned-from-serving-christ/, By Amae Guerrero on 14 April 2015. Amae Guerrero is a blogger and journalism student. Writing is not only her passion, it is her instrument to reach out to other people and share the good news and her love for God.


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