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Epistle: 2 Timothy 1:1-14

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,   2To Timothy, my beloved child:   Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.   3I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.   8Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

Come Holy Spirit!

In baptism, God named and claimed you as His own. In that act, you received the riches of God – what Jesus gets, you get. It is a birth rite, if you will. That is the truth, the truth that will set you free! You can leave it here and try to earn your life in other ways. Or you can claim God’s riches as your own, and live life as if God matters. Live your life as you belong to God. Live defined by God.

American journalist Roxana Saberi is the former Miss North Dakota is a 1997 and a graduate of Concordia College, a Lutheran college in Moorhead, Minnesota. She was convicted of espionage and sentenced to eight years in prison by an Iranian court in April 2009 and was released a couple months after her conviction.

She was interviewed on National Public Radio after the ordeal. She is a journalist but was arrested for spying. She was scared for her life. She said:

…One of the ways that people get out of these kinds of situations is to make a confession, and even be videotaped making this confession, even if this confession is false. And so, under pressure, I did the same thing. After I realized that nobody knew where I was, I was very afraid, and my interrogators threatened me and said, "If you don't confess to being a U.S. spy, you could be here for many years — 10 years or 20 years, or you could even face execution."

And I thought, well, if something happens to me, my family doesn't know where I am, maybe they would never find out. And so I made a false confession and I said, "Yes, I'm a U.S. spy." But because my conscience got the better of me and the God that I believe in — the God that I thought had abandoned me when I was first in prison — I realized [he] was always with me. And I realized that he was not pleased with what I had done by making this false confession. I recanted my confession, knowing full well that I would jeopardize my freedom.

She went on to say, “I didn't want to set an example for people to come after me, that they have to give confessions in order to be free. Because even if you become free after telling lies, I felt, my conscience would always remain behind bars.”

Roxanna’s faith gave her the strength to do the right thing, not the easy thing.

From the great theologian, Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts School of Wizarding, “Soon we will have to decide between doing what is easy and what is right.”

If we truly believe God is in charge, and that God is with us, the right will become easy. For God has the final word!

Trust in the Lord.

Amen. Come Holy Spirit.

Let us pray: Almighty God, give us the courage and strength to do what is right. We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

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