It's good to be back after a long week of vacation. We took the kids to Branson for the week and had a wonderful time. Experienced God's beauty 174 feet below the ground in an amazing cave. Marveled at the beauty of his mountains and lakes as we drove and traveled by boat. And we were moved at His love for each one of us as we enjoyed the Sight and Sound Theater's performance of Jonah. Incredible. The early mornings on the screened-in porch where I sipped coffee and spent time in the Word breathed fresh life back into me. It was a vacation full of precious memories.
This morning during my study, I happened to glance down at two passages and they spoke volumes to me.
Paul is speaking in a letter to his young protégé Timothy. He says in 2 Timothy 4:17-18, "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 the His heavenly kingdom…"
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.
If you know me well, you know that a simple phrase or word will strike up a song inside me. A good friend calls me walking iTunes. It's the running joke. So naturally, I started humming, Stand by Me by Ben E. King.
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
Then it hit me, the scripture didn't say that Jesus stood by Paul. It said, with.
The phrase, "with me" in the Greek is moi. It's a possessive pronoun of mine in the first person. It states that which I have; what I possess
By isn't so bad. In Acts 23:11 Paul says, "…the Lord stood by me and said, 'Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.'" The Greek word for "by" is ephistemi and it means to be present, to be at hand. Jesus was there to encourage Paul when he needed it.
With me says, "Because I am with you, all that I possess. All that I have is yours." That includes His strength.
"But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…" Because what is His, is yours when He is with you.
Look at the verses above in 2 Timothy. Paul says in verses 9-15 that several left him including Demas, Crescens, Titus. Only Luke was left. Alexander the coppersmith did him much harm.
"At my first defense, no one stood with me, but all forsook me." (v. 16)
But the Lord…!!!!
Whatever you may be going through. No matter how abandoned you may feel. The Lord is not only by you to encourage you, He is with you. All that belongs to Him is yours. Including His strength.
Friends, there is comfort in that!
"To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!" (v.18)
Knowing that all Jesus has is yours, how will that change what you do today or how you think?
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