Be Strong in Grace

By Jim Weikal

The apostle Paul suffers in a Roman prison due to the persecution set in motion by the infamous emperor Nero. He knows his death is imminent. So what does a dying man say to a “child in the faith” such as Timothy?

Paul points Timothy to the source where he will find the strength to face the challenges of ministry and Roman persecution: “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). This verse is a straightforward charge to “be strong.” It is a command and not a suggestion. To “be strong” is a continuous action not a one time reaction.

Likewise, the Christian today who faces difficulties, challenges, persecutions, oppressions and the like, Paul’s command resonates with us centuries later – “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Remember our Master’s words, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Jim Weikal is a Biblical instructor at Bill Rudge Ministries.

Working Together

By Karen Rudge

It is called the great migration of wildebeests and zebras and it happens every year (between January and March). This migration flows between Tanzania and Kenya, the herds looking for good grazing, a safe place to mate and to give birth. It is said that the wildebeests have poor eyesight but a good sense of smell, whereas the Zebra has good eyesight but the sense of smell is poor. As they make the crossing together they compensate for each other and are less vulnerable to attack.

In the church body, we are like these herds: we all have our strong points and our weak points. As a body of believers we are stronger as we assemble and worship together.

Romans 12:4-6 states:

Just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.

God designed us all differently so we can work together as one body for His Kingdom. We are connected through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Saviour – we are family. We are bought by the blood of Christ. Let us not show partiality, jealousy or anger toward each other. The world is looking at the Church and will know that we are Christians by our love for each other (John 13:35).

Today, more than ever, let’s focus on our likeness of Jesus and not our differences. If we look to Him as our example we will become more alike and can say like Paul: Follow me as I follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Stepping Out in Faith

By BJ Rudge, Ph. D.

The greatest battles we often face will occur the moment we step out in faith. Consider Nehemiah who stepped out in faith when he asked the Persian King for permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. While being commissioned by the king to complete this task, we find that Nehemiah’s act of faith and trust in God came with its challenges. For example, opposition quickly arose to discourage and prevent him from doing what God had called him to do:

But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” (Nehemiah 2:19; see chapters 4-6 for further examples of challenges and opposition that Nehemiah had to endure).

In the case of Nehemiah, God moved forward through the challenges he faced and brought a great victory. Not only was the wall built, but also those Jewish exiles who returned to their land made an agreement to obey the commands of God as they once again occupied His holy city Jerusalem.

We can have the same confidence Nehemiah had that when we place our faith and trust in God, He will fulfill His plans through our lives. Just like Nehemiah, if we remain faithful to what God has called us to do we will see a great victory in the end.

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God (Nehemiah 6:15, 16).