But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me. 2 Timothy 4:17
A few years before he died, the Free Will Baptist evangelist John Colby was feeling the effects of poor health. He didn’t want to end his ministry, but he was sometimes too tired to continue. On Thursday, February 25, 1813, he wrote in his journal: “I preached at Esquire Green’s. The house was much crowded, and I was under the necessity of speaking louder than usual, in order that the people might hear in the different apartments. The Lord strengthened me far beyond my expectations, and as a dying man, I spake to dying creatures. Many of the dear youth wept and mourned, and I humbly trust, that day will not be soon forgotten. When I closed the meeting, I felt as though I had come about to the close of life. I retired to my chamber, and lay down where I continued till the next day.”
The next day, he got up and kept going.
We often become tired in the service of the Lord, but not of the service of the Lord. The apostle Paul, also near death, spoke of how the Lord stood with him and strengthened him. Our Lord will do the same with us. Let’s get up and keep going—in His strength!
God’s strength can only work in weakness. Andrew Murray
The Lord Stood With Me, 2 Timothy 4:16-17 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study
God himself will be with them and be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 21:3–4
When my brother David suddenly died of cardiac failure, my perspectives on life changed dramatically. Dave was the fourth of seven children, but he was the first of us to pass—and the unexpected nature of that passing gave me much to ponder. It became apparent that as age began to catch up with us, our family’s future was going to be marked more by loss than by gain. It was going to be characterized as much by goodbyes as hellos.
None of this was a surprise intellectually—that is just how life works. But this realization was an emotional lightning bolt to the brain. It gave a fresh, new significance to every moment life gives us and every opportunity time allows. And it placed a huge new value on the reality of a future reunion, where no goodbyes will ever be needed.
This ultimate reality is at the heart of what we find in Revelation 21:3–4: “God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Though today we may find ourselves experiencing seasons of long goodbyes, our trust in Christ’s death and resurrection promises an eternity of hellos.
Reflect & Pray
How do you cope with grief and the loss of loved ones? What comfort does it bring to know that you will one day see them again?
Father, I thank You that You’re the living God who gives everlasting life. I pray that You would use our eternal hope to comfort us in our seasons of loss and grief.
Believe it or not, many people who attend church choose to ignore God’s truth because they don’t like hearing sermons that convict or demand a change. But we tend to be guilty of doing the same thing when we pick and choose what to read in the Bible.
When you open God’s Word, do you read only verses that encourage, comfort, or promise blessings? Are you reluctant to tackle the more difficult passages, which prick your conscience and call for obedience? Do you avoid sections that make you feel guilty about the way you are living?
If you find yourself reacting strongly to a passage of Scripture or a sermon, then you ought to take an honest look at yourself. God’s Word is meant to cut into the deepest recesses of our soul and spirit. But the hope is that we then run to Jesus, our High Priest, in confession and repentance in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing.
Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses and invites us to draw near to God to receive grace and help. The convicting passage of Scripture may cause momentary discomfort, but those who listen and take their burden to Jesus find sweet relief.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
The beautiful old hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” was written by the great hymn writer Charles Wesley. Let us use its five verses to focus our thoughts these next five days.
Arise, my soul, arise; Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.
At first reading, the theme of the song seems unclear, until we recognize that the sinner is being enjoined to come to salvation and by the power of the sacrificial blood shed on his behalf receive forgiveness and eternal life.
Because “Christ…hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2), “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access” (Romans 5:1-2) to the Father, who alone has the power to forgive our sins. We have no need to fear rejection, for “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
We can arise and “come boldly unto the throne of grace,” where God the Father reigns. We have assurance of access because our “surety of a better testament” (Hebrews 7:22) is “a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God” (Hebrews 4:14), and “who is [seated] on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1). Here He requests the Father’s “mercy, and…grace” on our behalf, for He knows us by our names, which are already “written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27) “from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 17:8). JDM