Friday, June 29, 2007

Day 25 - Seven Points Of Prayer

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luk 18:16) Jesus loved when children came to Him. Their faith and trust are so simple and innocent. Children do not need complicated explanations or dissertations about God. They just simply trust - no questions - just action. Is it any wonder that Christ wants us to come to Him like children? God desires to be a Father to us. He desires for us to come to Him like a child - with child-like faith, knowing that our Father loves us and will take care of us. Is this too much to expect from your own child? Of course not! Why, then, do Christians struggle in this area of prayer?

Christ wanted us to have an intimate relationship with God. Christ did not want to leave us without power or empty-handed. Christ is our Shepherd and wanted to lead us in the perfect direction so He taught us how to pray. He gave us the perfect prayer. Since perfection is symbolized in the number seven, why does it not surprise me that the Lord's Prayer would have seven points! The Lord teaches us that we have the most perfect and complete prayer as a pattern for our own prayer life. Some religions teach that you have to repeat this prayer over and over. However, if this were to be so, it would have appeared word-for-word in Luke (Luke 11:2-4) as well but it was worded differently. Christ used this as a pattern to teach us how to pray.

Our pattern has seven points:

(1) Who we are to pray to:

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Mat 6:9) Recognize who you are praying to. Notice that Christ, from the beginning, tells us that we are able to pray to our Father. My friend, because we are born again, we are now able to go to God like a child to his own earthly father! Does this not amaze you? Three times, the Word uses Abba, Father. The number three symbolizes the Godhead. How appropriate that "Abba, Father" appears three times. I simply stand amazed at the perfection of God's Word!

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mar 14:36)

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom 8:15)

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Gal 4:6)

This verse continues and teaches us to honor our Father in Heaven. This first verse beginning our prayer time with the Lord teaches us to start with Him; recognize Him for who He is, our Abba, Father; and recognize that He is holy. This sets the mood for our spirit to pray. The number one symbolizes "beginning, one" - how appropriate that this first verse of prayer symbolizes the beginning of perfect prayer to the only One we should pray to!

(2) Acknowledge His Kingdom:

Thy kingdom come. (Matt 6:10) As we are looking forward to His Kingdom and being/reigning with Him, we must also remember that we are to work diligently in building that Kingdom through winning souls. Our Shepherd guides us but it is the sheep who make other sheep, my friend. Isn't it interesting that the number two symbolizes witnessing and the second verse of our perfect prayer talks about the Kingdom? Whew! I stand amazed at the spiritual beauties and gold nuggets found in my King James Bible.

(3) Desire God's will:

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Mat 6:10) Why would anyone want anything but God's will for their lives? It is in His will that we can find perfect peace and rest. God's perfect will is found in His perfect Word. What do we know to be the will of God? We know that God's commandments reveal His will. God's will is taught in the Word through His precepts, statutes and His commandments. God did not leave us empty-handed - we can easily find His will - His perfect law - through His Word. He has given us the Word, in flesh, and left us His Spirit to teach us. What a perfect example of the Godhead - the triune God! Amazingly, the number three symbolizes the Godhead and this verse depicts the Godhead in the perfect will of God.

(4) Petition your Father for your needs:

Give us this day our daily bread. (Mat 6:11) I truly do not believe that Christ is teaching us to pray for our daily physical needs here - otherwise He would be contradicting Himself in the following verses: Mat 6:25-26, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (25) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (26) Instead, I believe that Christ is teaching us to ask the Father to feed us spiritually. Christ did not want us to worry about food, housing, clothing (earthly, physical needs). So much so, He stressed it again in Mat 6:31-32, Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (31) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (32) I believe the Lord was teaching us to seek after the things of God as He did. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? (Luk 2:49) The number four symbolizes "earth-creation-world" - how appropriate that the Lord would be teaching us not to be concerned about the things of the world but to be concerned about God - about His Kingdom - about His will - about His Word.

(5) Seek forgiveness and forgive:

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Mat 6:12) How appropriate that the One who gave His life so that we would be forgiven would teach us to seek forgiveness through Him and then forgive others for their transgression. The Provider of forgiveness faithfully goes to the Father seeking forgiveness on our behalf so why should we not follow His pattern? Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luk 23:34a) How can we expect to receive forgiveness and yet not forgive others who have sinned against us or offended us? It was by God's grace that we're sent a Saviour to die for our sin so we could receive His forgiveness. It is by God's grace that we are saved. Nothing we could possibly do would take us even one step closer to Heaven! How appropriate it is that this fifth point of prayer is about receiving God's grace and the number five symbolizes grace! Thank You, Lord!

(6) God's protection:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: (Mat 6:13) This is such a beautiful request depicting a child asking his Father to protect him from evil's way. This child is asking his Father to show him the path that he should take where he will not be tempted. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (Jam 1:14) But if he is tempted because of his own lusts, he can also ask his Father to deliver him and provide a way out of this temptation. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13) God is so good to us, my friend. Again, how appropriate that the sixth point of prayer deals with man's sinful nature and the number six symbolizes man!

(7) Praising God:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:13b) The seventh and final point of prayer teaches us to praise God and acknowledge who He is, that all power is His, and all glory is His, eternally! God's kingdom will be perfect because He is perfect. His power is complete because He is perfect. Our God deserves all the glory because He is the perfect and holy God. The one and the only God! Again, how appropriate that God's perfection is reflected in the seventh verse and the number seven symbolizes perfection!

Does it surprise you that the Lord would teach us this perfect pattern of prayer and have it outlined in such a way that it completely reflects the meanings of the numbers from His Word? It does not to me! I stand amazed each time that I dig my nose into His Word, I find something that brings these Bible numbers out! Thank You, Lord!

A Blessing in Prayer
Eliza E. Hewitt

There is rest, sweet rest, at the Master’s feet,
There is favor now at the mercy seat,
For atoning blood has been sprinkled there;
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.

There’s a blessing in prayer, in believing prayer,
When our Savior’s Name to the throne we bear;
Then a Father’s love will receive us there;
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.

There is grace to help in our time of need,
For our Friend above is a Friend, indeed;
We may cast on Him every grief and care;
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.


When our songs are glad with the joy of life,
When our hearts are sad with its ills and strife,
When the powers of sin would the soul ensnare,
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.


There is perfect peace tho’ the wild waves roll,
There are gifts of love for the seeking soul,
Till we praise the Lord in His home so fair,
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.


Devotional by Kate Plourde

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day 24 - Is Your Name Written Down?

Have you ever read a biography of someone that made an impact on their generation? I’m sure it was neat to see their name written down for all to see, neat to learn about the differences they made. It is especially edifying to read about Christians who made a difference in the lives of those around them because they did something for the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom - they touched lives for the Saviour's sake.

In Matthew 26:6-13, we have the story of a woman who, grateful for forgiveness and the gift of salvation, sacrificed what could very well have been her most valued possession to honour her Saviour.

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as He sat at meat. But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Jesus honoured that woman for her faith. And His statement is very true - every time you read the Gospels, you read the account of her sacrifice. I believe John 12:1-8 is an account of the same event. Both of these accounts mention this event that occurred in Bethany just before Jesus’ final Passover. The book of John gives us this woman’s name: Mary of Bethany (Lazarus’ and Martha’s sister). John 11:2 It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Mary’s name was written down in the eternal Word of God; her name is preserved forever as a memorial to her and an encouragement for others.

In Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18, we have the mention of a book called the book of Jasher, which means upright. Some historians wrote down the names and accounts of some of Israel’s leaders. These books were not inspired of God, and therefore the record of them has been lost over time, but it was important to honour these leaders in future generations, and to remind others of what these godly men did. The names of Joshua, Saul, Jonathan, and others, were written down for all at that time to read or learn about. Later, we have record of the names of David’s mighty and valiant men. (See 1 Chronicles 11-12) Their names are written down for the service they have done for their king. Are our names written down for the service we do for our King?

In the books of Kings and Chronicles, we have mention of several books that recorded the acts, faith, and wisdom of other godly kings, and we have accounts of some less than godly kings! (I wouldn’t want to be remembered for the evil I do!) 1 Kings 11:41 says, And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? This phrase is one we see over and over in these books: And the rest of the acts of …, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

I love the passage in Malachi 3:16-17 that says Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. When true Christians gather together and fellowship with one another about their Lord and Saviour, He remembers and writes their names down in a special book of remembrance, as those that have honoured Him. Jesus Christ places great value on our sweet meditations of Him. May all our meditations be pleasing to the Lord! Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

In the book of Hebrews (chapter 11), we have the names of many Old Testament saints who honoured the Lord through their acts of faith. We are able to see how these believers lived by faith, and how some even died in faith. Their names were written down in the inspired Word of God, to honour them and exhort others to be likewise faithful. The Lord remembers those who are His!

I believe that the canon of Scripture was closed at the end of the first century, when the Apostle John penned the last line of the book of Revelation. For the sake of this illustration, if the Lord was still writing Scripture, would your name be written down? Hebrews 10:38 says Now the just shall live by faith… Are you living by faith? Are you serving by faith? Are you seeking Him (in prayer) by faith? Would the Lord have something good to say about the way you lived your life in His name? Or would He be sadly disappointed with you as He will be with many at His return? Luke 18:8 …Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?

But more important than having your name written down in a book of remembrance: Is your name written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life? This book is the record of all the names of those that have placed personal faith in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross for their sins. Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

There are seven references to Lamb’s Book of Life in the book of Revelation (3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19).

Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. This is a promise to believers in the Church Age, that if they overcome through personal faith in Jesus Christ, their names will be written forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (See 1 John 5:4-5) This verse teaches eternal security for believers when we consider that it is not a threat, but a promise to keep their names in this book. In the dark ages, the Catholic Church excommunicated true Bible believers and threatened them with removing their names from their church rolls. Because they taught that salvation was found only through “The Church” (meaning the Catholic Church), when someone left the Catholic church (voluntarily or involuntarily), they were threatened with the proclaimed loss of their salvation. But we see here that whether or not someone’s name is written on a church roll, whether their name is written down in Heaven is what is most important! Luke 10:20 …Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Even if the whole world rejects us as believers, we just need to believe 2 Timothy 2:19: Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. Our Heavenly Father will never forget who His children are!

In Revelation 17:8, the Bible teaches that true believers’ names were written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world! Jesus Christ knew before He ever created the world who would respond to His precious gift of eternal salvation.

Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

At the end of the Millenium, when all the unsaved are judged at the Great White Throne Judgement, the basis of judgement will be whether someone’s name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or not. As it turns out, no unsaved person’s name will be written down there. There might be a blank space where their name could have been. Then they will be judged for all the evil acts, words, and thoughts that they have ever committed. All these evil works will be written down in God’s books.

But we need not face this judgement! The Bible teaches that when we turn in repentance and faith toward the Saviour, believing in His death for our sins, in His burial, and His literal physical resurrection, then He wipes out the record of all our sins! They will no longer be written down, but our names will already have been written down in His book of the saved.

Has there ever been a time and place in your life when you realized that you were a sinner before Almighty God? The Bible teaches that All have sinned. (Romans 3:23) Have you ever repented of your sins (which means acknowledge to God that you have sinned against Him, and turned from your sins), and turned toward the only Saviour who paid the complete penalty for your sins? Acts 20:21 says Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not enough to simply turn from your sins, you need to receive the Saviour and be born again through faith in Him. (See John 1:11-13 and 3:3, 7) The Bible teaches that we cannot earn our way to Heaven through our good works, but we must receive salvation as the free gift of God. It is something that we could never earn. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (See also Titus 3:5) Our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight. (Isaiah 64:6) We need the perfect righteousness of the sinless Son of God, who shed His blood to pay for our sins. (See 1 Peter 1:18-19) When we realize that we cannot earn salvation, but we accept His gift, we are made children of God that very moment. All those that have ever trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation (or those who will ever trust Him), have had their names written down for eternity in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Revelation 21:25-27 And the gates of it (the New Jerusalem) shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Is your name written down?

I sure hope so. I’d love to see you in Heaven someday!

June 22th/02
By Jerry Bouey

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day 23 - The Seven Comforters

It is not a coincidence that the Holy Spirit of God would be depicted as a dove. It's a wonderful picture - gentle in descent - cooing. God's Spirit gently comes on us - He is not forceful, but "lights" on us. His "cooing" is not a blaring noise or a scream - but a gentle coo - a still small voice, which works in our hearts to woo us to Christ. Thoughts like these bring great comfort to me. They still my troubled spirit and create in me a calmness. We can be in the midst of the most tumultuous storm in our lives but the Spirit brings us comfort, reminding us that God is in control of even the worst of storms. God is not the author of confusion - He does not have to resort to such measures to get our attention. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor 14:33) Instead, He has left us with the Holy Spirit to draw us to Him. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (Jam 4:8a)

The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. Oh joy! God's Word doesn't coincidentally portray Him as such. God meant to show us that although He is a Judge, He is also our Saviour and our Comforter! As I searched for the word comforter, I discovered that it was conveniently used seven times in the King James Bible! The joys that come from God's Word when we but only search through it. How blessed we are!

(1) So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. (Ecc 4:1) Solomon, the wisest except for Christ, said that he observed all those who were oppressed and they had no comforter. We are no longer over powered by the devil and sin. We are no longer over burdened with the load of sin. We have freedom through Christ Jesus! We have the Comforter, given to us at the time of salvation and we are, therefore, sealed unto the day of redemption! And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30) The first mention of the word comforter is applied to mankind being separated from God. There is no comfort outside of God, my friend. Only He can provide a comfort which is lasting - nothing else can bring this kind of comfort to the soul. The Hebrew word for comforter here is:

A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself): - comfort (self), ease [one’s self], repent (-er, -ing, self).

It is not a coincidence that these definitions describe the Holy Spirit's ministry. I also thought of the verse where Christ breathed upon His disciples so they could receive the Holy Spirit. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: (Joh 20:22) Jesus said and did this right after He told them "Peace be unto you" in the previous verse. The Holy Spirit definitely brings peace to the believer - what a Comforter He is!

(2) Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself. (Lam 1:9) The unsaved do not have this wonderful Comforter as we do. The enemy reigns in their lives and sin rules their bodies. Jeremiah weeped because Zion had defiled the things of God. They did not have the Comforter convicting them of sin as we have Him today.

This is the second appearance of the word comforter. The number two, symbolizing "witness or separation," is evidenced in why the Comforter was not with Zion. They had defiled the things of God - they were no longer separated and a peculiar people unto God! The heathen could not see anything different about God's people.

(3) For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed. (Lam 1:16) Our Blessed Comforter relieves our soul from eternal damnation - from an eternity of burning in hell's fire - from eternal separation from the Saviour! Praise the Lord for the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit who woos us to Christ and brings us to the saving power of the Cross! There is salvation only through God. The number three symbolizes the Godhead. How appropriate that we find this beautiful Triune God in (1 Jo 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. The Holy Spirit testifies of Christ, draws us to Him and brings to memory what His Word teaches (John 15:26).

(4) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (Joh 14:16) I lost my father in 1993 and I grieved so deeply for him. How I missed his presence and his teasing! When my mother passed away, I felt like an orphan, even though I was almost 50 years old at the time. It is not so with our Heavenly Father! He has left us His Spirit, our Comforter, who promises to abide with us forever! Jesus Himself promised us this! What a glorious promise it is indeed! I am not an orphan at all! I was born into God's family on April 1st, 1980, and His Comforter was given to me to be with me forever! Oh Glory!! This is the I fourth mention of the Comforter. The number four symbolizes "earth, creation, and world." Despite the fact that earth shall pass away, our Comforter is with us forever. He will never leave us (Heb. 13:5b) ... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

(5) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26) This same Comforter is not only with us forever, but He also is our Teacher! He wrote the Word of God. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Pe 1:21) Who better to interpret the Word to us than the One Who wrote it? We don't need someone to interpret God's Word for us. If we are diligently seeking the Lord's will in our lives through His Word, He will show us what He desires for us. I did not go to church for three months after I was first saved. During those three months, I was very studious and read my Bible at least three hours a day and soaked it in like a sponge. When I heard my first message preached three months later, everything that the preacher said had been taught to me by the Comforter Himself! I definitely was comforted and elated at that very moment. I knew that God had taught me during my readings and He was the one that had taken care of me spiritually so I would not be drawn to false doctrine! What a blessing this was to me! This was my first experience knowing that I was His child and He would care for me!

This fifth (five symbolizing grace, cross, atonement, life) appearance of the Comforter shows us that the Holy Spirit will bring to mind and teach us from His Word all that we need to know regarding Christ and how to live the Christian life. Coincidence? I doubt it! Can this beautiful pattern of God's numbering be duplicated in any other version than the King James? Nope! Just for the fun of it, I looked up the word in a few other versions and some had more and some had less. God means for us to be blessed by His Words. He means for us to find golden nuggets within the pages of our Kings James Bible, my friend. All we need to do is search them out. Bless His Holy Name!

(6) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (Joh 15:26) Our Comforter is also the One who will reveal Christ to us. He woos us to Christ, He pricks our heart and convicts us of our sin so we see the need of Christ, then He molds us to be like Christ. As He teaches us the truths from the Word, He testifies of Christ and glorifies Him through our yielded lives. What a beautiful portrait! This is the sixth appearance of the word Comforter - six symbolizes man. Man cannot gain entrance to Heaven without Christ. Man is lost and on his way to hell without Christ. How wonderful that God would place the sixth appearance of the Comforter in this light - showing man his need of salvation through the work of the Comforter!

(7) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (Joh 16:7) Our Saviour did not leave us empty handed upon His departure. He left us in good hands. He left us His Spirit to dwell within us. This Comforter was sent to us by the Good Shepherd who knew exactly what we needed to complete our mission here on earth! Bless God! Glory to the Highest! Our comfort is complete because of the work of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter! God's perfect love for us is shown by leaving His Spirit with us! Perfection, again, in the Trinity is shown here by the seventh use of this blessed word comforter!

Brother Jerry Bouey added these insights - what a blessing!

"First of all, we have the promise of the Comforter. The word 'Comforter' is interesting. It is used to translate a Greek word, Parakletos, which is a compound word meaning, one who comes to the side of another, that is a helper in time of need. In the First Epistle of John (chap. 2:1) we have 'Advocate,' which is exactly the same word in the original.

There is a sweetness and preciousness about that word 'Comforter' that appeals to the heart. After all, we cannot use any other word in our language that would so adequately represent the Greek word, for the Paraklete is in very truth the Comforter. Our English word 'Comforter' is also a compound. 'Comforter' comes from two Latin words - con, and fortis, the one meaning 'to be in company with,' and the other 'to strengthen,' so that actually the Comforter is one who strengthens by companionship. That is one of the great ministries of the Holy Spirit. The Paraclete is one who comes to your side to help, to give aid, and so the word is properly used. An attorney-at-law, or an advocate, is one who comes to help you in your legal difficulties, and the Holy Spirit is all this. He has come from heaven, as promised by our blessed Lord, to assist us in every crisis, in every time of difficulty that may arise in our Christian lives - He strengthens by His companionship." (Quoted from Addresses On The Gospel Of John by H.A. Ironside, pages 622-623)

Jerry's added comment:

A trace of the root words behind Parakletos gives us this definition: "One who is called alongside." With these two definitions (ie. Ironside's and Strong's) taken together, we arrive at the conclusion that the Comforter is "one who comes alongside to strengthen" - in this case, strengthening from the inside. That is a wonderful picture. A believer can come alongside and strengthen someone else with their words of comfort, but the Holy Spirit does His special work of comfort from the inside, using the Word of God as His means of comforting.

This series has truly proven to be quite a blessing! Never did I imagine that we could glean so many "groupings and numbers" in God's Word! The joy that I have received is more than I can contain!

The Comforter

I remember that day like it was yesterday.
I realized I was doomed, pretty hopeless I'll say.
But the Comforter entered and brought me such peace.
I knew I was different, that burden released.

Those tears just kept coming, His Love could it be?
How precious and sacred that time was to me!
He washed me and saved me from sin and despair.
I was heading for hell, it seemed no one cared.

But my Heavenly Father loved a wretch such as me.
That He sent His Dear Son to shed blood on a tree.
He took upon Him all my sin and my shame.
That some day with Him I would be able to reign.

Praise my Wonderful Lord from Whom all Blessings Flow.
How wonderful these words, how they bless my soul.
How wondrous for me is this Act of Great Love.
Provided by my Father from Heaven Above!

Thank you Lord for saving my soul!

Devotional and poem by Kate Plourde

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 22 - I Am Thine

While I am certain there are other passages that could be found on this theme, here are ten passages I was able to find a few days ago (the last three are closely related).

1) Psalms 119:94 I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.

I have been studying out Psalm 119 last week, and one morning before work the first three words of verse 94 leaped out at me:

I am Thine...

How many times over the years have I read that Psalm and never focussed on those specific words? But reading that verse recently caused that phrase to hit my heart with tremendous force. Often we think of the Lord being ours, of our finding Him when we turn to Him for salvation - but here the emphasis is on us being the Lord's. Those three words made an impact on me that, Lord willing, I will never forget.

I am Thine... What comfort and assurance!

2) Acts 27:22-25 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

The Apostle Paul faced shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea, but the Lord sent an angel to give him courage in the midst of the danger that confronted him. He made a statement of simple fact, simple faith: God, whose I am, and whom I serve... The God whom I serve is able to protect me, and deliver me. The God whose I am loves me enough to look out for me in the midst of any trials or afflictions I may face.

The encouragement here to us is that, if you are a born again child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the statement Paul made is also true of you. Just put yourself in his place, and apply these words to yourself: the God, whose I am. You are His!

3) John 10:14-15 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Jesus' sheep are those He laid His life down for on Calvary, and who have trusted Him alone for salvation. They are His! He knows each one of them personally!

We love to quote Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd. But how much do we meditate on the fact that we are His sheep?

4) 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

The Lord knows all about us - everything about us - and still calls us His! That is one of the best exhortation we could find to live right. We are children of the King of Kings, so let's live like it. We are Christians, so let's live like ambassadors/representatives of Christ. The world cannot "see" our Lord (ie. physically), but it can see us - let's live in such a manner that they can see our Saviour through us!

1 John 4:10-12 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

It is interesting how verse 12 above starts with the same phrase as John 1:18:

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

No man hath seen God at any time... Just as no one can see what the Father is like until they see Him manifested through Jesus Christ; even so, no one can see what our Heavenly Father is like until they see Him reflected through us, until they see Christ living in us (see Galatians 2:20).

5) Isaiah 43:1-2 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Thou art Mine...

God has called you by your name, and you are His! He will never leave you, nor forsake you - regardless of what trials may await you in the future. He is always there for you, looking out for His own. As Sis Kate has stated recently, we are His peculiar people - a people for His own possession. We are His!

Whenever I read the passage above and think about its promise for the future (ie. when thou passest through the waters... when thou walkest through the fire), I am always reminded of this verse from the Psalms that give us the same promise from a past perspective:

Psalms 66:12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

God was faithful and kept His promises! He was always with His people through the trials - He stood by His own!

6) Deuteronomy 32:9 For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

The word portion indicates "an allotment, an inheritance." We are what the Lord has set apart for Himself, for His enjoyment, for His inheritance. We are what He looks forward to and takes enjoyment in!

Psalms 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

7) Malachi 3:16-17 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

This is an amazing promise - the Lord will remember and reward true believers when they fellowship together and meditate on Him! He will write it down for a memorial when we fear (ie. reverence) Him and speak to one another about Him, about His name, and what He has done in our lives. Then He states, they shall be Mine! He claims those who claim Him as their Lord and Saviour, and considers them as valuable jewels worth keeping and sparing from harm. Our Lord will delight in and rejoice over us, because we are His!

Isaiah 62:3-5 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

8) Song of Solomon 2:16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

This is the first of three similar references in the Song of Solomon. Like most new believers, the Shulamite (picturing believers and their walk with the Lord) rejoices in the fact that she has found the Lord (though, of course, it was the Lord looking for us first), and that Jesus is hers. My Beloved is mine - I have a firm grasp on Him... And I am His too - almost as an afterthought.

9) Song of Solomon 6:3 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.

Now she is maturing more, having walked with her Saviour a little longer, and she realizes that she is His first and foremost. She is still boasting about her hold upon Him, but that is nowhere near as important as His hold upon her.

10) Song of Solomon 7:10 I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.

Now see the difference in focus: she is no longer boasting about her claim on her Saviour, but rather in His claim on her! If she is anything like me (and she certainly pictures me in all other areas), she understands that she has failed and faltered so many times, and that her hold on the Lord is weak and fragile at times. But His hold on her never falters, never loosens, is never in danger of letting go! The fact that we are our Beloved's is the primary focus - it doesn't matter how weak and frail we may become at times, nothing can separate us from His love (see Romans 8:35, 37-39), nothing can pluck us out of His hand (see John 10:27-29), nothing can prevent our Saviour from keeping us by His power (see 1 Peter 1:5).

Lastly, notice how she focusses on His desire toward her. The word desire here means "in the original sense of stretching out after; a longing." It also comes from a root word meaning "to run after." As a young believer, she rejoiced in her desire towards her, now she just takes comfort and assurance in the knowledge that Jesus is the one delighting in her, that He is the one running after her for fellowship.

Song of Solomon 2:14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Psalms 27:8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

I am my Beloved's...

I am His...

I am Thine...

I Am Thine, O Lord
(Words: by Fanny Crosby; Music: W. Howard Doane)

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!

There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Preached on June 22nd/07
Written June 26th/07
Jerry Bouey

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

Monday, June 25, 2007

Day 21 - Five Peculiar People

Noah Webster defines the word "peculiar" as:

Exclusive property; that which belongs to a person in exclusion of others.

Five times the word "peculiar" is found in the Word of God. God's grace is shown to those who desire to be part of His peculiar people. I wondered just what peculiar meant. It amazes me how definitions in English language has changed over the years. I've always known this word to mean:

1 : characteristic of only one person, group, or thing
2 : different from the usual or normal

This is Merriam Webster's definition. Notice how it lacks in the emphasis which the Word is portraying? Yes, the believer is "characteristic of only one person, group, or thing." However, when you put it in light of Noah's definition, our place in the Body of Christ becomes more meaningful, don't you think? We are the exclusive property of Jesus Christ. He has bought and paid for us with His own blood. " feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Act 20:28b)

Let's look at these five wonderful verses. God's intent for the Jews was to be a peculiar people and it continues to be His intent for the born-again believer. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow - He never changes.

(1) Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: (Exo 19:5) The born-again believer hears the voice of the Shepherd and is a part of His fold. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (Joh 10:27) Notice that this verse says that He knows them! This peculiar people are considered a treasure to God! We are His treasure, my friend! Does that not excite you? Christ paid dearly for our salvation!

(2) For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. (Deu 14:2) We are so blessed. We do not have to look for a high priest to offer sacrifices for us. We no longer need a priest because we have direct contact with the Lord, Himself. Our High Priest is Christ Himself. He sits at the right hand of the Father and His sacrifice is all that is needed. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; (Heb 8:1) His blood on the altar of sacrifice is all we need to cover our sins. We are a peculiar people which God has chosen for Himself! What a find in God's Word! The Creator of all the universe has chosen us for Himself! These are shoutin' words! We cannot be holy on our own. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6) The Father demands punishment for sin because He is holy. But His grace is great and He provided a way for us because He pitied us. There is no way we could get to heaven on our own merits. But praise God that His Son took our sins upon Himself so that the Father sees His Son's righteousness. We would be doomed to eternity burning in hell otherwise. Thank You, Lord!!

(3) And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; (Deu 26:18) Noah Webster defines "avouched" as:

1. To affirm; to declare or assert with positiveness.

I don't know about you, my friend, but the very words of our King James Bible come to life like no other. God says that He has declared or asserted with positiveness that we are His people! Can anyone claim the name of Jesus and live like the devil? Many do but they are not truly saved. One cannot be saved and continue to live in known and unconfessed sin. A peculiar person strives to live a separated life because of what has been done for him. This peculiar people obeys God's Word. They may sin, but they do not desire to continue in sin. There's a difference there - that's the key. Those who claim to be saved but yet live a life that has no change, desire to continue in sin. The true born-again believer does sin, but they do not desire to continue in sin. They are remorseful and seek God's forgiveness. They continually strive toward not sinning but know that when they do, they are forgiven and they work daily at becoming more like Him. True remorse and repentance are the fruit of the born-again believer.

(4) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Tit 2:14) This peculiar people have been redeemed from ALL iniquity. This includes those sins of the future. Notice that He purifies us unto Himself - He cleans us and purges us from sin as we yield to the Holy Spirit. A yielded Christian becomes zealous of good works. I've never met a Christian who was walking close to the Lord and was lazy. Yes, I've met people who claimed to walk close to the Lord who were very active but they were using their works to justify their continuing in sin. How many Christians do you know who faithfully serve in their church but do not live a separated life? However, the Christian who is faithful in his walk with the Lord Jesus will be zealous of good works. Walking with the Lord produces a desire to do more for Him.

(5) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Pe 2:9) A peculiar people praises their God and shows the world what He has done for them. They are a changed people who have gone from living a life of sin to a people who are walking in the light - testimonies to the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Are you living as though you are part of this peculiar generation, friend? We are a chosen generation and a treasure to God. How can one not be excited over being a peculiar Christian? I sure am!

What Raised the Wonderous Thought
George V. Wigram

What raised the wondrous thought,
Or who did it suggest,
That blood-bought saints to glory brought
Should with the Son be blest?

Father, the thought was Thine,
And only Thine could be—
Fruit of the wisdom, love divine,
Peculiar unto Thee.

For, sure, no other mind,
For thoughts so bold, so free,
Greatness or strength, could ever find;
Thine only it could be.

The motives, too, Thine own,
The plan, the counsel, Thine!
Made for Thy Son, bone of His bone,
In glory bright to shine.

O God, with great delight
Thy wondrous thought we see,
Upon His throne, in glory bright
The bride of Christ shall be.

Sealed with the Holy Ghost,
We triumph in that love,
Thy wondrous thought has made our boast
“Glory with Christ above.”

Devotional by Kate Plourde

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day 20 - Eight Reasons David Loved The Lord

Psalm 18 was a Psalm that David very likely wrote before he became king. This is the introduction to the Psalm:

Psalms 18:1 (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,) I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

This Psalm was written to proclaim the deliverances the Lord had given to him through the years. Because of all these deliverances and the Lord's care of him through every trial and distress, David loved the Lord his God. It is interesting that verse two gives us David's eightfold reason for loving the Lord.

Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

1) The Lord is my Rock.

Jesus is the Rock. A life built upon faith in Him is a life built upon the Rock (rather than sand. He is the sure and stable foundation that will last through all the storms of life, regardless of how fierce and strong they may blow.

One nugget I gleaned this morning was looking up the Hebrew word behind the word rock. It is "cela or sela." This word is the same as the name of an ancient city in the Bible: Sela, the rock-city of Idumaea, now called Petra. If you have ever seen pictures of this interesting city carved out of the rock walls and cliffs, you would be amazed at its wonder. Taking a look at this ancient city in Edom gives a possible inkling of what David had in mind when using this word in reference to the refuge and safety found in the Lord.

Psalms 18:31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?

Psalms 18:46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

2) The LORD is my fortress.

A stronghold, a place of strength, a place where the enemy cannot enter. Like the previous term, this word also holds some wonder. This Hebrew word for fortress or stronghold is where we get the name Masada from. This was a city built on top of a mountain, that was inaccessible to the enemy. As far as the history of this particular city goes, it is quite sad - however, the picture presented to us in Scripture is a blessing to consider.

Psalms 91:1-2 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

1 Samuel 23:25-29 Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth. And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.

3) The LORD is my deliverer.

The one who rescues from all distress, from all enemies, the one who pulls me out of the muck and the mire that I've fallen into.

Psalms 18:3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Psalms 18:48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

Psalms 18:19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

The Lord delivers us because He delights in us! That statement brings tremendous comfort and assurance to the soul!

4) The LORD is my God.

When pondering on this verse a while ago, I was thinking that David was here just naming his Deliverer, ie. He is God, then giving seven specifics about how personal God was to him. But upon further reflection, I think David was stating that God was his God. God was the one with David's life in His hands, with David's welfare on His mind, and with David's care on His heart.

The Lord's relationship to David (and to us) was an eightfold one, as expressed in this verse. Eight is the number of new beginnings - and if you are saved, all of these eight things are true of you as well - you had a new beginning with the Lord Jesus Christ the moment He became your God, the moment He became your Saviour. With the Lord as your God, with your Heavenly Father in control of all that goes on in your life, there is no need for fear. The word for God here means "the Strong One, the Almighty."

5) The LORD is my strength, in whom I will trust.

The word for strength here is "properly, a cliff (or sharp rock, as compressed); generally, a rock or boulder; figuratively, a refuge," from a root meaning "to cramp, i.e. confine." Seeing both this term and rock used in the same verse presents some contrasts:

Rock (sela) means "to be lofty; a craggy rock, literally or figuratively (a fortress)"; and speaks of the inaccessability of those hidden in it. Whereas this term strength also refers to a rock, but focusses more on the strength of the rock - ie. consider the strength of a mountain. Your enemies cannot move it! If your strength comes from the Lord, and His strength is as the mountains, nothing will move you (or Him); you are secure in Him. The wind and the waves may come - but the Rock holds firm!

Psalms 18:32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Psalms 18:39 For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.

David said it was in the Lord he would trust. Knowing that the Lord is watching out for David and working in his life, protecting him, sheltering him, delivering him, David placed his confidence and reliance on the Lord. We can learn from this great lesson and continue to place our day-to-day affairs into His capable hands. We can trust fully in the Lord!

6) The LORD is my buckler.

The Lord is our shield - He is the one that will protect us spiritually and physically in this life. Too many people try to make their own shields - whether a cushion of wealth or being surrounded by bodyguards or an army - but David said the Lord was to be our shield, our Protector. As long as He is watching out for His children, if we are walking closely to Him and striving to do His will, then we don't have to fear men or anything else that comes our way.

Psalms 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Psalms 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Like verse 19, this verse is excellent! Truly, it is God's gentleness in reaching down to us that lifts us up and makes us great. His kindness and tenderness reaches out to His children and exalts them in His sight.

Psalms 18:16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

7) The LORD is the horn of my salvation.

Horns in the Bible represent power. Think of an animal fighting with another animal - the horn is what gives one an advantage and helps it to win. It can be used to defeat the enemy and protect itself. Well, it is God's power that defeats our enemies and protects us, that keeps us safe until we are home in Heaven with Him.

1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Psalms 18:17-18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

8) The LORD is my high tower.

Here is another place of refuge and safety. The benefit of a high tower is that you are placed above the battle and can see the enemy coming before they can get to you. But you are also protected and sheltered within it. David knew the Lord was his high tower, his refuge and safety.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

Psalms 61:3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

Psalms 144:1-2 (A Psalm of David.) Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

The Lord wasn't just a fortress, wasn't just any high tower or deliverer. He was David's fortress, David's high tower, David's shield and deliverer. Is He yours?

Preached June 21st/07
Written June 22nd/07
Jerry Bouey

(Note: linking to these websites on Petra and Masada does not indicate an endorsement of them. They are provided merely to show pictures and give general information about these two ancient cities. Please use your own discernment as to their content.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day 19 - I Am The Lord That...

I have truly been enjoying this series of the numbers from the Bible. Everything I read now, I am looking for something to glean in this area! I was in Genesis 15 the other day and read "I am the LORD that..." When I did a search for that phrase in my electronic Bible, I discovered seven beautiful verses! I just stand amazed how these blessings have been hidden from me all these years and are coming out through this series! Let's review the seven things the Lord does.

(1) The Lord that brings us out. (Gen 15:7) And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. The Lord God brings us from of a life without Christ to an eternal inheritance in Heaven. He is the One who brings us out of the world to salvation.

(2) The Lord that heals us. (Exo 15:26) And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. The Lord heals us, not only physically but spiritually. (Isa 53:5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Without Christ's death on the cross, we would not have salvation.

(3) The Lord that sanctifies us. (Exo 31:13) Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. The Lord sanctifies us. (Heb 10:10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. God sets us apart from the world. He wants us to be a peculiar people. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Pe 2:9) Noah Webster defines peculiar as:

Exclusive property; that which belongs to a person in exclusion of others.

We are the Lord's exclusive property. He has purchased us with His own blood. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:14)

(4) The Lord that brings us out of the world. (Lev 11:45) For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. We cannot change ourselves. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (Joh 15:19) It is the Holy Spirit of God that convicts us and molds us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. God does not leave us helpless once we are saved. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1 Jo 2:27)

(5) The Lord that knows us. (Isa 44:24) Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; The Creator of all things formed us and knows us intimately. (Col 1:16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: God outlines His qualifications in Is. 44:24. Who better than the Creator of all to take care of us? Is any detail too intricate for Him? Just meditating on the human body and all of its intricacies should answer this. Look at the inner ear! The smallest bone in the human body abides there! The God who created a planet created this tiny bone!

(6) The Lord that chastens. (Eze 7:9) And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth. Noah Webster defines smiteth as:

4. To afflict; to chasten; to punish. Let us not mistake God's goodness, nor imagine, because he smites us, that we are forsaken by him.

(Heb 12:6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Praise God that we are His child! He will not allow us to continue in sin, my friend. He will chasten us to mold us and form us into His image. If we ignore His chastening and cause harm to His ministry, He will take us home. Ananias and Sapphira are good examples of this.

(7) The Lord that judges. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. (Eze 20:12-13) We should not take lightly what the Lord commands us to do as a nation and as a church. He has not only set us apart and sanctified us but He expects us to follow and obey His Word. Many believers today do not view the God of Heaven as a God of fury and judgment. This side of God is taken lightly. But we cannot forget the history found in the Word. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our country is reaping what it has sown through the years of continuing down the path away from God. God has begun His judgment on our nation. It is evident in the news daily. He is also judging the church. I have often wondered how Christ's words in Luke 18:8 could come to past. I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luk 18:8) But I can clearly see it happening today. Soul winning has changed dramatically since I was first saved 27 years ago. There are more and more people who have not even heard of Jesus Christ. I never thought I would ever see this for myself.

Perfection provides us with all that we need. God tells us that He is the Lord that:

1. Gives us eternal life
2. Heals us spiritually
3. Sanctifies us
4. Brings us out of the world
5. Made all things so He knows us intimately
6. Chastises
7. Judges our country and the church

God is complete - His provisions are complete - His Word is complete - His judgment is complete.

Ar­thur C. Ain­ger, 1894.

God is working His purpose out
As year succeeds to year;
God is working His purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
Where’er man’s foot hath trod,
By the mouth of many messengers
Goes forth the voice of God:
“Give ear to Me, ye continents,
Ye isles, give ear to Me,”
That the earth may be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

What can we do to work God’s work,
To prosper and increase
The brotherhood of all mankind,
The reign of the Prince of Peace?
What can we do to hasten the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

March we forth in the strength of God,
With the banner of Christ unfurled,
That the light of the glorious Gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world;
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
To set their captives free,
That the earth may be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

All we can do is nothing worth
Unless God blesses the deed;
Vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
Till God gives life to the seed;
Yet near and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

Devotional by Kate Plourde

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 18 - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part 4

The Preacher And His Victory

2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

His Fight

The following is quoted from Pilgrim's Progress, an allegory written by John Bunyan. At this point in the story, Christian had just gotten saved and was now in the House of the Interpreter (who represented the Holy Spirit), having various things explained to him. This was the first thing he was shown:

"Then said Interpreter, Come in; I will show thee that which will be profitable to thee. So he commanded his man to light the candle, and bid Christian follow him; so he had him into a private room, and bid his man open a door; the which when he had done, Christian saw the picture a very grave person hang up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it: It had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, the law of truth was written upon its lips, the world was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown of gold did hang over its head.

Then said Christian, What means this?

The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand: he can beget children, 1 Cor. 4:15, travail in birth with children, Gal. 4:19, and nurse them himself when they are born. And whereas thou seest him with his eyes lift up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, and the law of truth writ on his lips: it is to show thee, that his work is to know, and unfold dark things to sinners; even as also thou seest him stand as if he pleaded with men. And whereas thou seest the world as cast behind him, and that a crown hangs over his head; that is to show thee, that slighting and despising the things that are present, for the love that he hath to his Master’s service, he is sure in the world that comes next, to have glory for his reward. Now, said the Interpreter, I have showed thee this picture first, because the man whose picture this is, is the only man whom the Lord of the place whither thou art going hath authorized to be thy guide in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in the way: wherefore take good heed to what I have showed thee, and bear well in thy mind what thou hast seen, lest in thy journey thou meet with some that pretend to lead thee right, but their way goes down to death."

Being a preacher or a pastor after God's own heart takes some effort. Being faithful to the Lord means that the believer cannot take the easy road. We cannot swim downstream with the world and then expect to be blessed and rewarded. I love this passage of Scripture because it shows us both the confident expectation that the faithful believer has, and also reveals the battle that is waged in our spiritual lives.

The good news is that we are more than conquerors through the Lord Jesus Christ - He gives us His victory, and it is up to us to claim those promises and walk accordingly. This is just as much true for the preacher or pastor, as well as for any believer, regardless of age or background. Our victory is in the Saviour, and we receive that victory through faith (ie. trust) and obedience to His Word.

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Psalms 18:32-35 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Our victory is in Jesus.

I have fought a good fight...

Paul fought a good fight - in fact, he fought the best fight, the only worthwhile fight in light of eternity: the fight of faith. He earnestly contended for the faith. He preached it, and he lived it! He exhorted Timothy to follow his own example:

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

And now he states that he did exactly what he set out to do. "Timothy, remember when I encouraged you to fight the good fight of faith? That's what I did. Like a boxer or a wrestler, I fought, and I won the battle - with sin and compromise, with spiritual forces of wickedness, with myself. Oh Timothy, follow my example!"

His Course

I have finished my course...

On his first missionary journey, the Apostle Paul made this comment about John the Baptist:

Acts 13:25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.

John Gill makes these comments in his Exposition Of The Entire Bible:

"The life of every Christian is a race, and especially of a minister of the Gospel, and which requires strength, courage, agility, patience, and perseverance; this world is the place in which they run; and this is only the running time; in heaven they will sit down on the throne with Christ; the way in which they run, is the way of their duty, the way of God's commandments; the mark they have in view, which they keep their eye on, and to which they direct their course, is Christ; and glory is the incorruptible crown they run for, and which, when they have finished their course, will be given them by the chief shepherd and righteous judge."

Adam Clarke adds this:

"As John fulfilled his course... It signifies properly his ministry, or life. A man's work, employment, function, etc., is his race, course, or way of life. John had a ministry from God; and he discharged the duties of it with zeal and diligence; bore the fatigues of it with patience and resignation; and was gloriously successful in it, because the hand of the Lord was with him."

Years later, Paul made this statement about himself:

Acts 20:22-25 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

Paul knew that if he persisted in going to Jerusalem, that journey would involve greater hardship and imprisonment, permanent separation from some of his fellow labourers in ministry. At this point in time, I do not think that Paul yet knew that this trip would result in his being taken captive to Rome in chains, brought before Nero, the Roman Emperor, and then just a few more years after that ending in his death. Perhaps he had some fears, perhaps some temptations to take an easier route - but the Apostle was headstrong and determined, and would not be moved from his set plans. Whether he faced life or death, whatever the future held for him, he was determined to finish the race the Lord had laid out for him and to be faithful in the ministry he had been given.

Now at the end of his earthly life, he could victoriously proclaim that he had finished his course! He ran the race of faith, and won the race against himself:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

The following is from my study on the Patriarch Jacob, Wrestling Until The Day Break:

"Paul says the believer is to strive for the mastery and be temperate (self-controlled) in all things. The word for striveth is agonizomai (from which we get our word agonize) and means 'to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or genitive case (to endeavor to accomplish something).'

The word strive is also used in the following verse:

2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

Here the word used is athleo (where we get athlete from), and means '(a contest in the public lists); to contend in the competitive games.' To wrestle against the devil, to wrestle with God, and to wrestle against ourselves will involve some effort. It will cost us something - there is no such thing as instant spirituality."

From the devotional, Running The Race Of The Christian Life:

"As we can see, winning the race will involve some discipline (temperance) on our part, it will involve agony, it will involve us striving against ourselves and our sinful natures, if we hope to win the prize. We are not competing for a corruptible crown of laurel leaves, but for the victor's crown, one that is eternal and incorruptible. There is a definite aim and discipline involved if we hope to attain the prize...

We cannot win the victor's crown, unless we are striving according to the rules - and the rules for the Christian life are found in the Word of God. If we hope to be rewarded for our service to the Lord, we need to run according to the plan He has for our lives, according to His will as revealed in His Word."

So run, that ye may obtain. The word for obtain means "to take eagerly, i.e. seize, possess, etc. (literally or figuratively)." We are to give it our all, strive according to the rules God has laid down, and reach eagerly for the prize that awaits the faithful runner:

Philippians 3:12-14 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

The word apprehended in this passage is the same word in Greek as obtain in 1 Corinthians 9:24. Reaching forth means to "to stretch (oneself) forward upon." Stretching oneself - that takes some effort! Press toward, pursuing, striving after. Just as no Olympic runner can win the prize unless he is striving towards it, unless he gives it his all; we can't win the prize before us unless we set our sights upon it and eagerly pursue after it.

Paul knew the mark, the goal, he was reaching for! He was striving to fulfill the will of God for his life, to be a faithful steward of all that had been entrusted to him, and looking forward to his Master's return and hearing his commendation:

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

I don't know about you, but being able to enter into the joy of my Lord looks promising to me! It certainly beats looking back over our lives and regretting that we didn't live for our Saviour, that we didn't give Him our all!

...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before...

Praise the Lord for His mercy and grace - mercy that wipes out our sins, and grace that gives us a new start when we put our eyes firmly back on our Saviour and repent of our waywardness and lukewarmness.

His Faith

I have kept the faith...

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines the term the faith as "The object of belief; a doctrine or system of doctrines believed; a system of revealed truths received by christians." There are various places in the New Testament where this term is used as a reference to the body of truth that the true Bible-believing Christian clings to and holds dear. Paul says he kept the faith. In an age when so many are departing from the faith, Paul's example stands out so clearly!

The word for kept here (and keep in 1 Timothy 6:14) means "to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon)." Paul exhorted the young preacher, Timothy, and all who would later read these letters, to keep the faith, keep God's Word, keep the commandments He has given to us!

1 Timothy 6:13-16 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:20-21 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

2 Timothy 1:13-14 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

The word for keep in the last two passages means "to watch, i.e. be on guard (literally of figuratively); by implication, to preserve, obey, avoid." Like Timothy, we are to keep the trust the Lord has given to us, we are to hold fast to His Word, we are to guard it in our hearts, we are to avoid anything that would hinder us from doing so - and we are to keep this trust by power of the indwelling Holy Spirit!

Consider these other New Testament references to the faith:

1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

1 Timothy 6:9-10 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts 16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Colossians 1:21-23 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Colossians 2:6-7 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Titus 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

His Reward

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Looking back over his life since he turned to the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, the Apostle Paul was satisfied that he had been faithful and that there was a crown of righteousness waiting for him as a reward for his faithful service to the Lord. These rewards weren't just for the Apostles or for pastors or preachers, but are available for all the children of God, for all that are faithful in their service to the Lord.

The following is adapted from: Smyrna: The Persecuted (Suffering) Church.

"There are five crowns altogether that are given as rewards to the faithful Christian - five being the number for God's grace. The word for crown in all of the following passages is stephanos, which is the victor's crown.

1. The Incorruptible Crown - 1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. This crown is promised to those Christians who keep themselves in subjection and are temperate (self-controlled), and do not let the flesh dominate in their spiritual walk.

2. The Crown Of Rejoicing - 1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? This crown will actually be those believers we have had a part in leading to the Lord and will one day spend eternity with in Heaven.

Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

No wonder it is called a crown of rejoicing!

3. The Crown Of Righteousness - 2 Timothy 4:8 (quoted above). This crown is the reward for those who faithfully yearn and look for the Lord's appearing.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

4. The Crown Of Life - James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. This crown is promised to those who endure temptation or are faithful unto death. The word for life in this passage and Revelation 2:10 means 'spiritual life.'

Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

5. The Crown Of Glory - 1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. This crown is the one that is promised to faithful Pastors (elders)."

When I was preaching last week on this passage of 2 Timothy, I realized something: These five crowns picture the grace the Lord gives to us. Not only is salvation all by grace - Jesus Christ paid the complete penalty our sins deserve, and there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, only trust in the Saviour to save us - but these rewards are too. By that I mean, He saves us, He equips us to serve Him, and then He rewards us for doing so! Oh the boundless love of God!

One final point that might be a blessing to you: 1 and 2 Timothy contain so many exhortations to the young preacher, Timothy, to stand strong and be faithful, to follow Paul's example, to cling to and uphold God's Word in his ministry - and when we go to this passage at the end of the book of Hebrews, we find he did just that!

Hebrews 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

It's possible that Hebrews was written after 2 Timothy, and if so, it is interesting to see that Timothy also endured imprisonment, and was faithful to the Lord as well.

If Paul and Timothy can serve the Lord faithfully, so can we! We have the same indwelling Holy Spirit to empower us, the same Word of God to preach and change lives, the same promises to claim, and the same Saviour to look forward to seeing face to face one day.

Paul fought the good fight, he finished his course, and he kept the faith. Will that be said about you, or I?