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Daily Reading: (2 Timothy 4:18):
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly Kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
To get some context of what Paul is going through when he writes to his young protégé Timothy, we just need to back up a couple of verses to verse 16 where he writes about being on trial because of his faith.
“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth” (2 Timothy 4:16-17).
During the formation of the early church, there were times where thousands were added to their numbers daily. Miracles happened and the Word of God spread in places like the valley of Sharon where for thirty miles everyone believed.  “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and put away your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up, and all who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord” (Acts 9:34-35).
So, when we read 2 Timothy 4 and Paul writes, “no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me”, of all the believers who came to believe from Paul, Peter, and others sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, not a single person came to support Paul. Not one! Paul is not exaggerated here. This is great news because it leads to the conclusion that Paul wasn’t rescued or delivered or enabled to complete the task because people came, he can confidently declare “it was the Lord who rescued me, it was the Lord who strengthened me.” There will be times in your life, when no one can help you, but that is alright, the only one who could ever rescue you to begin with is the Lord, and His protection is over you all the time and He will give you the strength you need for whatever it is that you face.

Jesus was also forsaken in His trials; (Matthew 26:56). In this moment of weakness, for Paul to respond with this kind of grace, where does it come from? It comes from Jesus. May it not be held against them, this is the very example of Christ in Paul. As Jesus would ask for forgiveness for the very ones fighting over his clothes at the crucifixion (Luke 23:34).

No one came, “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.” Life is a journey where some things you will face, you will feel all alone in it, know that the Lord stands at your side and He will give you His strength. That’s all you need. The Lord has promised that He will never leave you, He will give sufficient grace for the trials you go through. In the trials is where the testimony becomes, God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.”

“But (here is the turning point) the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.” Our strength is found the Lord who is always at my side (2 Timothy 4:17). The presence of Jesus is of far more worth than the presence of all our friends put together.
The trials you will go through have a purpose. Paul identifies the purpose of the trial, “through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.”  The next thing Paul writes is that he
“was delivered from the lion’s mouth”. Scholars have debated whether Paul was referencing real lions in the amphitheater (1 Corinthians 15:32) or if he was talking about Nero here? Nero throughout history was compared to a lion on many occasions. Maybe it was both. The point is Paul was rescued so that I might have this very opportunity before me with a captive audience of people from all around the world to preach the Gospel.

 “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). This doesn’t mean that Christians on this planet would not be killed by evil attacks. That is obviously not the case. Did you know that Paul will be killed shortly after writing this? What Paul is saying here is found in tandem with the and portion of the statement.
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly Kingdom.
By the time this letter hits Timothy’s hands Paul might already have died because we know that Paul will die in the persecution of Nero, but Paul already knows this too. 2 Timothy 4:6: “For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come.” Whether I live or I die, God is faithful and He is at my side through it all.  Some could quickly jump to the conclusion that God abandoned Paul. You are preaching the Gospel, look at where it got you, you are in prison about to die.  But Paul is setting the record straight that in my most intense moments when no person supported me, I can tell you God is with me. He is at my side and He gives me great strength to face whatever may come.

Whatever may come, my salvation is secure in Jesus (2 Timothy 4:18). You and I will be kept safe in order that we might fulfill all the plans God has for us, and in the end, we will be brought safely into His heavenly Kingdom.
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Only You and God

#Only You and God Devotional

Daily Reading: (2 Timothy 4:16-18):

“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

During the formation of the early church, there were times where thousands were added to their numbers daily. Miracles happened and the Word of God spread in places like the valley of Sharon where for thirty miles everyone believed. Paul at a very trying time writes that he found himself at a place where no one came to support him, everyone deserted him.

Now, when we read this, we might be tempted to think that Paul is exaggerating. When Paul says no one came he is right that no one put their neck on the line and no one use the opportunity of his trial to testify of the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. Anyone who spoke on behalf of Paul would be imprisoned if they were not Roman citizens and possibly be killed for their faith as well. Many people loved Paul, but the fear of losing their lives was too strong, and their belief that supporting Paul would make no difference in an unjust justice system meant no one showed up. He is all alone making a defense for the very cause he used to persecute.

“May it not be held against them.” In this moment of weakness, to respond with this kind of grace, where does it come from? It comes from Jesus. May it not be held against them, this is the very example of Christ in Paul. As Jesus would ask for forgiveness for the very ones fighting over his clothes at the crucifixion (Luke 23:34).

The Lord is with you and His promise is that He will never leave you, He will never forsake you and He will give sufficient grace for the trials you go through. In the trials is where the testimony becomes God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.

“And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.”

This may either mean that he was delivered from Nero, compared with a lion, or literally that he was saved from being thrown to lions in the amphitheater, as was common in Rome; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:32. Maybe it was both that he was saved from Nero who in turn would have thrown him to the lions.

So, verse 18 has been misunderstood by many perhaps because it is pulled out of context in isolation of what is written around it. This doesn’t mean that Christians on this planet would not be killed by evil attacks. In Paul’s life this wasn’t the case either- he was later killed for his faith. What Paul is saying here is found in tandem with the and portion of the statement. “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. None of the evil designs formed against me to make me unfaithful or unsteady, to cause me to save my life at the expense of faith shall succeed; my life may go, but he will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom.

The Greek word for rescue here is the same Greek word used when Jesus prayed “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

So, we can see rescued from the evil one- avoiding the temptation to save my own neck while on trial.

So, we need to read this verse as this: Whatever may come- my salvation is secure in Jesus (2 Timothy 4:18). Believers will be kept safe in order that we might fulfill all the plans God has for us and in the end we will be brought safely into His heavenly Kingdom.