October 19, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4.17-18)
And can there be any greater encouragement which Paul could give to Timothy, and that we can give to one another, than “and He [the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ] stood by my side and gave me strength”? We have to, yes I said “we have to,” lay claim to the deep and abiding truth of that statement if we are to serve fully and powerfully in this world. It is of valued import that the mighty ones of God, believers in Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, God’s only begotten Son who is our Lord, Savior and friend, know and say that it is not just Jesus who stands beside us, with us and for us but it is the RESURRECTED Lord Jesus Christ. It is this evidence by faith and the profession of faith which gives us our most powerful strength to put on the full armor of God and step into the world. When we do this, and this we must do especially in the culture and climate of this day and time, we are proclaiming a communion with God as no other religion, faith system, ideology, philosophy or “great lie” can manifest for the welfare of humanity and the glory of Yahweh Elohim, God of all gods.
You see, Jesus without the cross, the grave, the resurrection and the ascension was just a good man from Nazareth who loved God and wanted the best for the people he communed with in life by the Word of God. And all of that would be impossible if not for the very Spirit of God which was upon Him and working through Him. Without the Spirit of God blessing His life upon His claim to the righteousness of God at baptism, then He would have not been able to claim the right to be anything more than ordinary and common. His days would have been numbered no greater than 120 years. His work would have been of His hands drawing from the ground the sustenance for His life as a carpenter and stonemason as was His earthly father, Joseph. He probably would have never travelled further than Nazareth except for an occasional pilgrimage to Jerusalem on some holy day celebration bound by the Law and the Prophets or to Capernaum where his father had established a business to serve the fishermen there. In fact, he would have never been born Son of God but only as a son of God like all men before Him and women, too. And if that was the truth, then we would still be looking forward to the coming of the Messiah who would save us from our sins. Except, we wouldn’t be looking for Him at all if we were not Jewish by blood or by conversion. There would be no such person as “one in Christ.” So, when we read “But the Lord stood at my side,” we have to read in our spiritual mind “resurrected Lord” to grasp the determination and boldness of Paul in his admonition of Timothy to hold fast to his faith.
And we must not only “read” it in our spiritual mind as an affirmation of our own faith and faithfulness, we must “apply” it to our words, thoughts, works and purposes as spiritual expressions of our faith and faithfulness to God in the name of Jesus Christ because:
- As mighty ones of God, the cross must be our own and empty of the power of death which loomed over us because we were identified by our sin and sinfulness instead of the righteousness of God in Christ who saves us from death;
- As mighty ones of God, the tomb must be our own and empty of the evidences of a sinful life bound by the trappings of grave clothes which we put on daily to identify us by our past and not His who set aside the worldly trappings and put on the righteousness of God; and,
- As mighty ones of God, the Upper Room must be our own and empty of all grief and sorrow which would bind us there if not for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us promised by Jesus who claimed resurrection as a thing to be grasped far greater than the seeking of equality with God so that we may go out into the world and boldly proclaim the acceptable day of the Lord.
As we wake each morning, regardless of our state of mind and body (and I know it is difficult many days to wake up and get up), we must do so knowing that “this is the day which the Lord has made for us.” He saw us being His people in a day such as this. It is a day where resurrection power can and should be exhibited for the benefit of others to know that God loves them, has loved them and will continue to love them for the sole purpose of reviving their “soul” purpose in which He first created them. Yes, He first created us all when He determined as the Trinity to complete the work of creation with the making of His people in their image. God did not make just any people. God made His people and gave them freewill to chose to be His people abiding in faith, hope and love. His love, out of which He created them and us, was a determined and determining love. It was a love of passion, justice, peace and joy. His love becomes as it always was “the final word.” It may say “bless you and welcome home” or it may say “how I have wanted to complete my blessing by welcoming you home, but you have never welcomed me into the home of your heart, mind, body and soul- therefore depart from Me as if I never knew you.” It will break His heart to do so but in love and truth, He will have to say it or cease to be God. Oh, mighty ones of God, the abandonment of God’s love which happens when we forsake the gift of His presence by our side with our very last breath. Why would anyone desire to choose a life other than to have God by their side? It is our task to live in such a way to proclaim the “great truth” to show that the “great lie” is indeed a lie. God saves us by the resurrected Jesus Christ. In Him shall we have life and have it abundantly. This is a power which Satan cannot overcome. He may well kick against the goads and boast of such power which is his only on this side of Heaven. But, he cannot win and his power is limited by the amount of faith he has in declaring God as His God and Jesus as His Lord and Savior. He has no faith in such and therefore his power is limited to the confines of torment and lies where once blessing and truth existed in the worship of the One True God, Yahweh Elohim.
Know this, mighty ones of God, this is our day to stand for truth and justice which is aligned with the Word of God as recorded in scripture and revealed in Jesus the Christ. There is no other option that will prevail apart from this. Paul knew it as truth for Timothy. Paul needed Timothy to know it for himself so that others would come to know it for themselves, too. The past is behind us and the future is ahead. The choice is ours as to which one we shall pursue.
Father God, in Jesus’ name we come before You as He declared we may and we do. We come to acknowledge the truth and the lie. Pour out Your Spirit again today on all who will believe so that the light of truth will set the lie apart and show it for what it is. We will be bold today and walk by faith so that others will see that there is only this faith that truly benefits all of life. This we declare as truth for us. AMEN.