I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.
That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith - and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you!
And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed - keep that ablaze!
God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God,
who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it.
But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
This is the Message I've been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher.
It's also the cause of all this trouble I'm in. But I have no regrets. I couldn't be more sure of my ground - the One I've trusted in can take care of what he's trusted me to do right to the end.
So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It's as sound as the day you first heard it from me.
Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.