“Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.”
II Timothy 4:9-16 NKJV
Standing for the Lord in these times can cause one to be abandoned, forsaken, for many have gone after their own flesh. The values of the world have crept in to the practice of the faith, and seemingly few desire to follow the dictates of the word of God as instructed by the Holy Spirit.
Those who insist on following the word, stand out in stark contrast to this world, and are easy targets. Because of this, many allies turn way, not wanting to be seen by the world as agreeing, and the subject to the same ridicule and attack.
Paul the apostles was nearing the end of his journey, and the wolves were pressing in. Many had fled, turning away, leaving him feeling forsaken. In the midst of his trial, he stood all but alone, with only Luke with him.
I feel a deep kinship with Paul, for as my own life has been relegated to that of a shut in, I often feel forsaken. I also feel forsaken for the Lord has moved on my heart to tell the truth about the status of the Christian faith in America. We like to believe that we in the US are fine, that we have a high standard for the faith, but we do not measure up.
My eyes were opened up when I visited Haiti and witnessed Christians who were in a pitched battle with Satan in every day life.
Though Paul was abandoned, he knew that the Lord had not abandoned him. He knew that the Lord was with him, and would deliver him through the totality of his ministry.
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”
II Timothy 4:17-18 NKJV
What we face as Christians right now is nothing compared to what is coming. We are at the edge of darkness, perceiving the fading light at dusk, but looking into a coming abyss. Many things are going to happen that will shake the faith of many of us, for we will see people that we have fellowshipped with and loved, turn away. We ourselves might be the ones to turn away, as our beliefs do not match up with those we used to call friends.
In these times, I have found peace in seeking after the Lord and being faithful to the ministry that the Lord has given me. I find security in the word of God, and my knowledge that it is unchanging. It is the only thing in this world filled with uncertainty, that appears as solid as a Rock.
In the face of all these things, it is easy to seek to walk away, to refrain from standing on the word of God. We cannot be silent, brothers and sisters, for the Lord Jesus Christ has given us a mission to go and tell the world of the great salvation found only in Jesus.
The work that we do is not for the here and now, but for the Kingdom to come, for the Lord is setting the stage for HIs return and the time when He will rule and reign. Therefore, let us respond eagerly to the admonition given by Paul to young Timothy:
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
II Timothy 4:1-5 NKJV
Fulfill our ministry.
I tell you the truth, I can’t wait for the day when this earthly tent, so battered and malformed, will give way to the immortal. I rejoice as Paul did at the daily support of the Lord, and I marvel at the little slivers of His glory, as He visits with me in the prayer chair. Some mornings are filled with an unspeakable, indescribable presence, that are merely a dark, vague foreshadowing of what is to come. In the light of Bis presence, I press on to fulfill my ministry.
Let us all be about fulfilling our ministry, pressing forward, even as we are forsaken, for we know that while those we love have turned way, the Lord will not. He will be with us daily, urging us on by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us boldly go before the throne of the Lord, crying out to Him, praying with utmost diligence for those who do not yet know Him.
Let us also seek out those that we may have had disagreements with in the past, for one that may have failed you previously, may yet be useful to the ministry. Paul in his final days sought out Mark to be sent, though in the past he had disputed over him with Barnabas.
“Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.”
Acts 15:36-40 NKJV
But now he needed him. I am sure the Lord had done great things in this man. Brothers and sisters, the Lord is doing work in all of us, and I tell you the truth, I am not the man I was many years ago.
Even in the darkest times, when we feel as if no one is there, the Lord will always provide those who can be a blessing. Let we ourselves be that blessing for others, that the ministry of the Gospel go unhindered, and no-one feel forsaken.
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