Note 5 – part 2 (continued from same day) (pt 1 here; Navigation forward and backward at bottom of screen)
Paul tells us more about “his determined attitude to finish God’s call, regardless of what he has to do to finish it and the challenges he has to face on his way to victory.“
Beatings Didn’t Stop Him
In addition to Paul’s hard work for the Kingdom, he also endured severe physical beatings as he pursued the fulfillment of his assignment. Rick talks about how the Greek word used to describe the “stripes” Paul received is the same word used to describe the mortal wounds received by the man in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30). Paul said he received these kinds of wounds “above measure.” This is translated from a Greek word which Rick described as something “way beyond the range of anything considered normal.” He said:
“Paul’s use of this word tells us that he was beaten way beyond the range of what we could even begin to imagine. This (Greek) word describes both the frequency and the intensity of his beatings. … They were cruel, severe, merciless acts of brutality. What his enemies did to his body was way over the top! But Paul never allowed even these acts of physical brutality to affect his COMMITMENT to the task God had given him. You must be more determined than the forces that will try to come against you. Otherwise, it won’t take much pressure to make you say, ‘This is too hard’ or ‘I didn’t understand how difficult this was going to be.’ You’ll mentally start packing your bags so you can transfer back to more COMFORTABLE territory where less is expected of you.
By no means am I wishing hardships or even hard times on you. But I do pray that you make up your mind to be TOUGHER than anything the devil ever tries to throw in your direction. In your flesh alone, you are not strong enough to withstand the devil’s assaults. But with the power of the Holy Spirit, you can resist, stand against, and drive back everything the devil will attempt to do to you, to your family, to your business, or to your church or ministry. Isn’t it time for you to make up your mind to stick with God’s call on your life and press ahead in the power of the Holy Spirit?”
Prison Didn’t Stop Him
Rick then talks about Paul’s frequent experiences in prison. After describing the horrible conditions, he says:
“Paul was kept in this kind of extreme confinement many times during his ministry. … No one wants to go to jail! But if going to jail meant that Paul would accomplish his apostolic calling along the way, that was what he was willing to do. Paul was ready to undergo any inconvenience, pay any price, and go to all lengths to do what God had commissioned him to do. Even jail could not stop him.”
Death Didn’t Stop Him
He also talked about how often Paul faced death. In fact, he said, “…I die daily.” (I Corinthians 15:31). Though this certainly had spiritual significance and implications, he also literally faced death.
“Paul faced actual physical death on a regular basis. … He faced death so often that he learned how to face it bravely. In Romans 14:8, he wrote, ‘...whether we die, we die unto the Lord….’ In I Corinthians 15:55, we see that he learned to meditate on victory rather than on mortality and fatality: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ These…are the thoughts of a man who faced the prospect of death almost on a daily basis. Paul never sought to live under this constant threat of murder or execution. It was just a part of the journey to get where he needed to go. But rather than run and hide from imminent danger, he faced it bravely and kept moving forward to do what he was called to do. Had Paul been less COMMITTED, it would have taken only a few of these difficult experiences to knock him out of the race. But because he was totally focused on finishing the assignment Heaven had given him, he pushed beyond each of these attacks, and at the end of his life, he was able to say, ‘…I have finished my course…’ (II Timothy 4:7).”
“The Holy Spirit who empowered the apostle Paul to overcome each of these instances is the same Holy Spirit who is available to help you. You never have to be a defeated victim! If you choose to take advantage of the power that is available to you, the Spirit of God will energize and lift you to a place of victory over any obstacle the devil tries to throw in your way. Never forget that you have resurrection power residing inside you (Romans 8:11). If you’ll YIELD to that power, it will supernaturally quicken you to OVERCOME EVERY TIME! So throw open your arms of faith and embrace the Spirit’s power to overcome each attack the devil has tried to orchestrate against you. If you’ll embrace that power, it will begin to flood you with everything you need to survive and to gloriously succeed in your task!”
© Rick Renner – excerpts from Sparkling Gems
We were amazed to see the post from September concluded with this part of the passage I mentioned in Friday’s status that the Lord has recently given us a series of words from again!
Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay. But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him. But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul. Hebrews 10:35-39
After I wrote about the “elegy” in note 4 (parts 1 and 4), the Lord also brought to our remembrance “Sobering Song from the Savior” (2012), reminding us that the elegy was not the first time He’d given us such a sobering song. When I reread that note this week (Sobering Song…), I saw how perfectly it goes along with this message!
to be continued… (see part 3 here)
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