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…Is any merry? let him sing psalms. — James 5:13Have you ever experienced something that thrilled you so deeply, you felt as if you’d explode if you couldn’t express your joy about it? If you were alone when this happened, did it sadden you that you had no one to rejoice with you? Did it throw cold water on what you were feeling? What should you do if you ever come to one of those moments when you’re all alone, but you feel so elated that you just need to shout, dance, or sing to express yourself? I encourage you to go ahead and do it! The Lord is right there with you, and He’ll be happy to share that moment of bliss with you. So don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself — just open your heart to the Lord and let out that shout! If you feel like screaming with joy, then scream! If you’re so excited that you can’t stand still, then throw off your shoes and start dancing! It’s right for you to rejoice when something wonderful has happened in your life. That is precisely what James means when he says, “…Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” The word “merry” in this verse is the Greek word euthumeo, which is a compound of the Greek words eu and thumos. The word eu describes a good feeling, and it is where we get the word euphoric. It pictures a person who is absolutely elated, thrilled, or ecstatic about something. The word thumos is the idea of swelling emotions or a strong and growing passion about something. When these two are joined together to form the word euthumeo, the new word expresses the idea of a person who is just about to explode with joy! This person is so excited and overjoyed that he can hardly contain himself. He is so tickled about something that he can no longer restrain the happiness he feels! James says that when you are filled with this kind of overflowing joy, you should express your exultation. Go ahead and let your heart sing! That is why he wrote, “…Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” The words “sing psalms” comes from the single Greek word psallo, which first meant to pluck, as to pluck the strings of a harp or bow. Then later it meant to play, as a musician would play a stringed instrument. But by the time of the New Testament, it pictured a person who sings a hymn or some other special heartfelt expression of music. It is as if the strings of a person’s heart are being plucked and played so he can fully express his heartfelt gratitude, praise, and worship to God.
In light of this, James 5:13 could be interpreted as follows:
“…Is there anyone among you who is so excited that he can hardly contain it and who feels as if he is about to burst with joy? If that person is so overjoyed and tickled that he can no longer restrain the happiness he feels, let him sing the song he feels in his heart.”Oh, how wonderful those moments are when your spirit is so filled with God’s Presence that you feel a song arising from your heart! Why restrict the flow of life that is trying to emerge and refresh you at that moment? Remember, God gave your emotions to you. So when you’re overflowing with joy because of something God has done for you or because of some wonderful event that has just transpired, don’t hold back. It’s healthy and good for you to let your joy out! Also, don’t let your rejoicing depend on whether or not people are present to do it with you. Have you forgotten that the Lord is always there with you? He will be happy to be a part of your celebration! In fact, it might even help you to express your joy if no one is there with you. If it’s just you and the Lord, there is nothing to stop you from laying aside all your inhibitions so you can really throw your entire being into rejoicing!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I needed this encouragement today, and I thank You for speaking to me through this Sparkling Gem. I do have something to shout about, so I make the decision today to go ahead and let out the joy that is in my heart! I thank You for being a part of my rejoicing and for the great and awesome things You are doing in my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I don’t need other people with me in order to truly rejoice in the Lord. When I feel the strings of my heart being plucked with joy, I am going to open my mouth and sing it out. When I feel so full of joy that I can’t sit still, I am going to throw off my shoes and start dancing before the Lord. When I think I’m going to explode if I can’t scream and yell with joy, I’m going to go somewhere where I can yell my head off without worrying about people who might be listening. God gave me emotions so I could rejoice — so I intend to rejoice with all my being whenever I am overflowing with the joy of the Lord!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of a time when you were so filled with joy that you started dancing and shouting? Did it feel like a volcano of joyous emotion was released from your spirit when you finally let your joy out? 2. How does it affect you when you see someone shouting and dancing for joy because of something good that has happened to him? Does it make you feel happy for that person, or does it make you want to tell him to be quiet? 3. If you find yourself getting upset when other people rejoice, what do you think lies at the root of this displeasure? Could it be that there is something inside you that the Spirit of God wants to remove so you can rejoice too?
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.… — James 5:13Did you ever notice that sometimes people really don’t want to change or listen to counsel? Often they’d rather keep repeating all their struggles and problems to whoever will listen to them. Have you ever known a believer like this? Although you deeply loved that person, did it bother you to watch him habitually go from person to person, telling each about all his personal problems? Did he seem to relish every new chance he found to load down someone else with his troubles? There is definitely a time when a person needs to have a friend in whom he can confide. Personally, I thank God for my friends who have allowed me to open my heart and talk to them about the various challenges this ministry has faced. But a spiritually mature person knows that in addition to pouring out all his aches and pains to a trusted friend, he must learn to stand up and take responsibility for himself in prayer. A person who loads all his troubles on others and then expects them to do all his praying for him is revealing his own spiritual immaturity. A time eventually comes when every believer must learn to go to God in prayer and win some of his own victories by himself in the Presence of God. Yes, it may seem so much easier to talk to people about your problems. However, if you talked only half as much to God as you do to others about those problems, He’d be able to give you the answers and solutions for every situation or dilemma that you’re facing. James addressed this truth in his famous New Testament epistle. It’s important to note that the book of James possesses a unique quality, for it contains pastoral counsel that isn’t included in other epistles. The reason for this is that James was a pastor, whereas the other New Testament writers were apostles. Therefore, James frequently addressed certain issues differently than the other writers, speaking from a pastor’s perspective and giving the kind of counsel that can only come from a man who knows the needs and behavior of people. It seems that some people to whom James was writing had discovered that their troubles could be used as a way to attract attention to themselves. So these people floated from person to person, repeating their story to anyone who would listen — probably in an attempt to fill an emotional deficit in their lives. People who fit this description are like bees that extract all the pollen they can from one flower before moving on to do the same with the next flower and the next, etc. These individuals stay with one person as long as he will listen; then when that person has been drained dry, they move on to drain the next person. However, all they want to do is talk. They don’t ever apply any wise counsel that good-hearted people try to give them. Although there is a time to talk, there is also a time when you need to stop talking and start praying! This is why James says, “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray…” (James 5:13). The word “afflicted” is from the Greek word kakopatheo, which is a compound of the words kakos and pathos. The first part of the word, kakos, describes something that is evil. In fact, it is so evil that it produces terribly negative effects in a person’s life. It is often translated as the words bad, evil, wicked, or vile, and it frequently denotes something that is hurtful or damaging, such as the personal devastation that results from one’s physical illness. In Mark 1:32,34 and in Mark 2:17, the word kakos is actually translated as “disease” and “sick” to convey the idea of people who were not only sick but whose lives had been devastated as a result of their poor health. The people in these cited verses were bearing terribly negative consequences in numerous areas of their lives due to their continual ill health. But in James 5:13, the word kakos doesn’t necessarily refer to sickness (although it could also include sickness). Instead, it refers to a person who is harassed by some problem that is weighing him down and producing devastating results in his life. The second part of the word kakopatheo is the Greek word pathos. The King James Version generally translates this word as suffering. But although it can be used to picture a physical suffering, this word primarily conveys the idea of a suffering that occurs in the mind. It portrays a person who is affected by something that has happened and, as a result, suffers mentally or emotionally. Even if these troubles are tangible, material, concrete problems, the level of anguish produced in the mind and emotions as a result is a far greater strain than the actual problem itself. When the words kakos and pathos are compounded to form the word kakopatheo that is used in James 5:13, it gives the idea of a person who is intensely suffering — perhaps physically but definitely mentally — due to the evil events that have occurred in his or her life. There is no doubt, then, that James is speaking to people who have been through a bad experience or a series of bad experiences that have produced real trouble in their lives. Although they may need to initially share their pain with someone else, James says, “…Let him [the person with troubles] pray….” The strong Greek tense used in this verse means James isn’t suggesting that people take this action; he is commanding them to do it. The word “pray” is the Greek word proseuche — a compound of the words pros and euche. The word pros means toward and gives the idea of closeness. Nearly everywhere it is used in the New Testament, the word pros carries the meaning of close, up-front, intimate contact with someone else. The second part of the word proseuche is taken from the word euche. The word euche is an old Greek word that describes a wish, desire, prayer, or vow. It was originally used to depict a person who made some kind of vow to God because of a certain need or desire in his or her life. This individual would vow to give something of great value to God in exchange for a favorable answer to prayer. In Greek culture, before people verbalized their prayer or offered a sacrifice to a “god,” a commemorative altar was set up and thanksgiving was offered on that altar. Such offerings of praise and thanksgiving were called votive offerings (from the word “vow”). These votive offerings were similar to a pledge. The person would promise that once his prayer had been answered, he would be back to give thanks once more to God. These votive offerings of praise and worship were elaborate and well-planned. Giving thanks to a deity was a significant event, so it was done in a serious and grandiose manner to outwardly demonstrate a thankful heart. All of this is included in the background of the word proseuche, the word used more than any other for “prayer” in the New Testament. Keep in mind, the majority of New Testament readers were Greek in origin and knew the cultural background of this word; hence, they understood its full ramifications. The word proseuche tells us that prayer should bring us face to face and into close contact with God. Prayer is more than a mechanical act or a formula to follow; it is a vehicle to bring us to a place whereby we may enjoy a close, intimate relationship with God. This is an especially meaningful message for those who are prone to talk incessantly to people but who fail to speak to God about their troubles. For such a person, there comes a time when he must stop looking for people to talk to and begin to draw as close as possible to God in order to find a permanent solution to his dilemmas. But the idea of sacrifice is also associated with this word for “prayer.” In this sense, it portrayed an individual who so desperately desired to see his prayer answered that he was willing to surrender everything he owned in exchange for an answer to his petition. Clearly, this describes an altar of sacrifice and an act of consecration in prayer whereby a believer’s life is yielded entirely to God. Thus, this particular word for prayer tells us of a place of decision and consecration, an altar where we freely vow to give our lives to God in exchange for His life. Because the word proseuche carries this meaning of surrender and sacrifice, we can know that God obviously desires to do more than merely bless us — He wants to change us! He wants us to come to a place of consecration where we meet with Him face to face and surrender every area of our lives to Him; in exchange, He touches and transforms us by His power and Presence. The tone used in James 5:13 reflects the idea of urgency, letting us know that James didn’t want us to take a long time to get into God’s Presence and allow Him to change us; rather, we are to get into this place of prayer as quickly as possible. You see, all the answers you and I need are found in the Presence of God. That is why it is so imperative that we come as close to His Presence as possible. And while we are in His Presence, He wants us to open our hearts to Him, tell Him what we feel, and be willing to surrender ourselves to Him completely. As we do this, God will give us the answers and the peace we need to victoriously face and conquer our various ordeals.
An interpretive translation of this portion of James 5:13 could read:
“Is anyone among you going through an extremely difficult time in life that is causing him a lot of grief? I urge that person to draw near to God, to pour his heart out to Him, and to be willing to give up anything and to do anything God requires in order for his situation to be changed.…”As I noted earlier, there is definitely a time when you will need to confide in others about your problems. Thank God for real friends in whom we can confide! But there also comes a time when you must go to God for your solution and stop relying on your friends and associates to give you relief. Is God’s Spirit speaking to you today? Have you been going to people for your solutions instead of going first to God? Why don’t you take a little time today to quiet your heart and talk to the Lord about the things that are troubling you?
My Prayer for TodayLord, today I am asking You to forgive me for the times I’ve talked to people about my problems more than I’ve talked to You. I confess that I have leaned on people more heavily than I have leaned on You when facing difficult situations that required solutions. Now that I realize what I have done, I am making the decision to change the way I respond to challenges. I thank You, Lord, for the friends You have given me whom I can trust and confide in, but I know I will only find my real help and most permanent solutions as a result of being in Your Presence. Therefore, today I purpose to run to You first whenever the problems of life try to assault me. Only after I have received comfort and direction from You, my primary Source of help, will I consider turning to others whom You have given me for support.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I run to the Lord whenever problems try to overwhelm me. He is my High Tower, my Strength, my Hiding Place, and the One in whom I trust. He has never failed me or forsaken me, and I know I can trust in Him. I thank God for the friends He has given me, but they can never take the place that only He has in my life. From this moment forward, I make the decision that before I pour out my heart to people, I will first pour out my heart to Him. I am willing to do whatever He asks and to give up anything He requires so that I may obtain the victory I need in my life.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of a person who habitually runs from person to person with his troubles but who never follows any suggestions that someone might give him to do? Does it seem that he just wants to spew his problems on everyone as a means of getting attention? 2. Have you ever been guilty of doing this same thing at some point in your past? 3. Are you presently spending time in the Presence of God on a daily basis? If not, is there a reason you have been avoiding the Presence of the Lord?
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. — Ephesians 6:16Many people wrongly assume that the shield of faith is the most important part of their spiritual weaponry because Paul said, “Above all, taking the shield of faith…” (Ephesians 6:16). But if you think about it for a moment, you see that the shield of faith can’t be more important than the “loinbelt of truth” — the Word of God — because faith comes from God’s Word (Romans 10:17). So just what did Paul mean when he said, “Above all….”? The phrase “above all” is taken from the Greek phrase epi pasin. The word epi means over. The word pasin means all or everything. So rather than stating that the shield of faith is more important than the other pieces of armor, the phrase epi pasin describes the position faith should have over the other pieces of armor. It could be better translated, “Out in front of all….” or “Covering all….” Therefore, the phrase “above all” emphatically tells you that your “shield of faith” is never meant to be held next to your side or timidly held behind your back. Faith is supposed to be out front where it can completely cover you and protect you from harm — especially when you are marching forward to take new ground for the Kingdom of God! Just as Roman soldiers kept their shields out in front of them to defend them from deadly attacks and blows from their enemies, God wants you to tightly grip your shield of faith while keeping it out in front where it can protect and defend you. When your shield of faith is kept in this out-front and covering position, it can do what God intended for it to do! This is why Paul continues to say, “…wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (See September 6 to refresh your memory regarding what the Bible says about the fiery darts of the wicked.) But it is also very important for you to notice that Paul says, “…Taking the shield of faith….” The word “taking” is from the word analambano, which is a compound of the Greek words ana and lambano. The word ana means up, back, or again; the word lambano means to take up or to take in hand. When compounded together, it means to take something up in hand or to pick something back up again. This plainly means your shield of faith can be either picked up or laid down. It places the responsibility on you as to whether you will use your shield of faith or allow yourself to go through life unprotected. If you want to employ the use of your faith, you must make the choice to take it in hand and to place it in front of you. It will not assume its defensive position over your life by accident. Your faith will only operate in your life the way it was meant to do when you choose to pick it up and put it where it belongs — out in front. If you ever go into battle without your shield of faith, you are making a mistake you will seriously regret. Keeping your shield of faith in position is not an option if you intend to overcome the enemy and win the battles that are before you. Therefore, I urge you not to go into battle without this all-important piece of your spiritual armor. If you fail to keep that protective shield in front of you, you leave yourself exposed to the deadly strikes of your adversary, the devil. On the other hand, as you choose to daily take up your shield of faith, holding it out in front of you so that it completely covers every part of your life, you put yourself in position to thwart every single attack that the enemy throws your way!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I thank You for giving me a shield of faith that completely covers me from head to toe. I don’t have to constantly succumb to the devil’s attacks. By holding my shield of faith above all and out in front so that it covers me completely as You intended it to do, I can be protected from the attacks that the enemy would like to wage against me. Forgive me for the times I’ve let my shield lay at my side while I stayed busy complaining about the devil giving me fits. I realize now that it’s up to me to pick up my shield of faith and put it where it belongs. So with Your help, Lord, I am reaching out right now to pick it up, to hold it out front, and to do my part to make sure the enemy has no access to me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that God has given me a shield of faith that protects me against the works of the enemy. If I will hold my faith out front — and today I commit myself to doing just that — God’s Word guarantees that this mighty shield will thwart the fiery darts that the enemy wants so desperately to throw at me. My shield will cause those darts to bounce off, thereby protecting me from being struck. I will walk with my shield of faith out in front so that it covers me as God intended for it to do. As long as I do that, I can be confident that I will move forward in life without the enemy winning any full-scale attack against me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you say that your faith is alive and active and out in front of you as God intended for it to be, or have you allowed your faith to become inactive so that it lags behind? 2. Please answer these questions honestly, for a truthful answer may prevent future disaster in your life: Did you once walk in faith more consistently than you do today? Have you allowed your shield of faith to drop to your side instead of maintaining it in the forward position that allows it to defend you from the enemy’s attacks? 3. What steps are you going to take to reignite your faith and return it to its position as the mighty shield of protection that God intended for it to be? What kind of plan are you going to follow to see your faith recharged, reenergized, and repositioned out in front of your life?
When Jesus then lift up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. — John 6:5,6When Jesus lifted up His eyes and saw the vast crowd coming toward Him on the mountainside, He turned to Philip and asked him a question that Philip may have perceived to be preposterous. Jesus asked him, “…Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Let’s talk about why this question could have seemed preposterous to Philip and to the rest of the disciples. In John 6:10, we find that there were five thousand men in the crowd that day. This word “men” is not a nonspecific term that includes men, women, and children; rather, it is the Greek word andres, which categorically means male individuals. Matthew 14:21 confirms that there were “…about five thousand men, beside women and children.” Jewish tradition would have forbidden the women and children to sit down to eat with the men; thus, we can know that the women and children were seated separately from the men on the mountainside and were not included in the figure of five thousand. If we add to that number of five thousand men all the women and children who accompanied them, we find that this easily could have been a crowd of thirty thousand or more. Just add five thousand husbands, five thousand wives, and approximately five children for each family, and you’ll reach a sum of thirty thousand people. Remember, the people of Israel believed that children were a blessing from the Lord and tried to have as many children as possible. Therefore, it is very likely that the number of children present in that crowd may have been even higher than this estimate of five per family. This makes the figure of thirty thousand people a very reasonable estimate. In fact, it is most likely an underestimation! The point, however, is this: This was not just a large crowd; a very large multitude of people had walked up that mountainside to see Jesus. Now do you see why Jesus’ question must have seemed so preposterous to Philip and the other disciples? Not one of them was prepared to throw a banquet for so many thousands of people. To make matters worse, they were out in the wilderness on top of a mountain, far from stores where massive amounts of food could be purchased. In fact, Matthew 14:15,16 tells us the disciples were so concerned about feeding the multitude that they told Jesus, “…This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.” Jesus put the challenge to His disciples to quickly find food to feed this massive multitude. John 6:6 tells us that Jesus did this for the explicit purpose to “prove” them. The word “prove” is the Greek word peiradzo, a Greek word that was usually used to denote a test to reveal the quality of a material substance. For instance, the word peiradzo was used to depict the process of testing metal to discover whether its quality was superb or inferior. As the metal was put through multiple degrees of intense fires, the fire caused the impurities in the metal that were hidden to the natural eye to rise to the surface. If no impurities surfaced, the metal was free of defects. But if impurities rose to the surface, the metal still needed future fires to make it pure and strong. Therefore, this testing by fire was a calculated, premeditated investigation, deliberately designed to expose any deficiency in the metal that would later cause it to fracture or fail. This positively means that Jesus was deliberately testing the disciples, putting this challenge before them to expose the true level and quality of their faith. As a result, the disciples would discover whether or not they still had room for improvement in the faith realm. As Jesus looked out at the crowd, John 6:6 tells us that He already knew exactly what He was going to do. He really didn’t need His disciples’ help; He just wanted them to recognize the true level of their own faith. Thus, Jesus asked them this question in order to “prove” them. He knew that there is just something about a new problem that exposes any deficiency in a person’s faith and accentuates any weak area that remains in his life. In verses 7 through 9, Andrew and Philip began to frantically search high and low through the crowd, rummaging around for whatever food they could find. In other words, they were seeking to solve this problem through natural means rather than to say, “Jesus, I know You can do all things. Speak the word, and this multitude will be fed.” Finally, Andrew found five loaves of bread and two fish — a tiny portion of food that was certainly not sufficient to feed a crowd of thirty thousand or more! But in this moment, Jesus revealed Himself as the Lord of Multiplication. Taking those five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus showed His disciples that He was Lord even over impossible situations like this one. Don’t make the same mistake Philip did when a new problem or challenge arises in your life. Instead of fretting and failing to believe, stop to remember all the supernatural things you’ve already seen Jesus do in your life. Could the solution to this new dilemma possibly be any more difficult than any of the miracles you’ve already seen Him perform on your behalf? And if the situation you’re facing has exposed the fact that your faith level isn’t what it should be, aren’t you thankful this happened so you could see the true condition of your faith walk? Now you know that your faith still has room for improvement. It is a demonstration of God’s mercy that He lets you find this out now rather than later in a critical moment when your faith might fracture or fail in a moment of great need. Is it possible that God is trying to help by showing you that your faith life still has room for improvement?
My Prayer for TodayLord, I thank You for loving me so much that You help me discover the genuine level of my faith before I get into a situation where I seriously need it. To realize my need for improvement now is so much better than to find out when a difficult situation arises that my faith isn’t sufficient for the challenge. So I thank You for the tender, loving care You have shown me by placing me in this challenging situation that reveals the true level of my faith. Help me to press forward and to grow in this area of my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that my faith is growing and getting stronger every day. I am thankful for the situations that have exposed my true faith level, for now I can work on improving the capacity of my faith. I know that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, so I purpose to baptize my spirit and soul in the truth of God’s Word until my faith grows to a higher level than I’ve ever attained before! I want to possess mountain-moving faith, so I determine to press forward with my whole heart and soul toward the goal of increasing the capacity of my faith!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. What past challenge comes to mind that exposed the true level of your faith and revealed that your faith still had room for improvement? 2. Are you facing a situation right now in your life, ministry, or business that is demanding more of your faith than you’ve ever experienced before? 3. What steps can you take to develop a daily plan to increase the capacity and strength of your faith?
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. — 2 Timothy 4:16It is a heart-rending experience when friends let you down or when someone you thought to be faithful disappoints you. If this has ever happened to you, you know how upsetting this kind of situation can be. Yet this is precisely what happened to Timothy when he was serving as the senior pastor of the church in Ephesus. Leaders he thought would be faithful to the end had apparently walked out and left him in a moment of trouble. The hurt and pain Timothy felt from being abandoned by those he had trusted was so intense that he had written to Paul about it. If you have ever felt betrayed by someone you loved, you should relate very well to the words the apostle Paul wrote in Second Timothy 4:16. Paul is referring to the time he stood before the Roman imperial court to be tried for the first time. In that moment when he needed friends to testify in his defense, Paul turned to see who would testify on his behalf — only to discover that every one of his friends had walked out and abandoned him. Now as Paul writes to Timothy to encourage him to stand strong in his own ordeal, he recalls that extremely difficult time when those close to him chose to walk away. Paul says, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” The word “answer” is the Greek word apologia, which is a compound of the words apo and logos. In this case, the word apo means back, and the word logos is the Greek word for a word. When compounded, it means to answer back and depicts a reply, a response, or an answer. It was the old word used to describe a court trial where the accused was given an opportunity to respond to the charges brought against him. Paul says, “At my first answer no man stood with me.…” The word “stood” comes from the Greek word paraginomai. It is a technical term used to describe a witness who stands forward in a court of law to support a prisoner. By selecting this word, Paul makes his point clear: When he desperately needed the support of fellow believers, not one single friend stood forward to testify in his defense. When he turned and looked to see who would be his witness, all his friends were gone! In fact, Paul goes on to say, “…But all men forsook me….” The word “forsook” in Greek is from the word egkataleipo, which is a compound of the words ek, kata, and leipo. The word ek means out; the word kata means down; and the word leipo means to leave or to forsake. But when all three of these words are joined to form a triple-compound word, the new word carries the idea of walking out on someone; leaving someone in a terrible condition; abandoning a person at the worst possible moment; and deserting a person in the most terrible way. In other words, it conveys the idea of abandonment. By using this wretched word, Paul is saying, “Not only did they not come forward to support me and stand with me — they walked out on me and abandoned me at the worst possible moment!” You’d think these horror stories would have made Paul bitter; however, there isn’t a trace of bitterness in the apostle. He has learned a marvelous secret: When no one else will stand with you, the Lord will always come forward to stand alongside you, support you, and help you. Continuing in verse 17, Paul says, “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” First, Paul says, “…The Lord stood with me….” This word “stood” is the Greek word paristemi, which means to stand by one’s side. By using this word, Paul tells you that Jesus Christ is not ashamed of any faithful soldier. When no one else will come to your aid, Jesus Christ is always there to rescue you. Jesus will step forward to assist you and defend you when your friends and family have all bailed out! Second, Paul says the Lord “strengthened” him. The word “strengthened” in the Greek is endunamoo, which always refers to an empowerment or an inner strengthening. It is a compound of the words en and dunamis. The word en means in. The word dunamis means explosive strength, ability, and power. It’s where we get the word dynamite. Thus, this word endunamoo presents the picture of an explosive power that is being deposited into some type of container, vessel, or other form of receptacle. The very nature of this word endunamoo means that there necessarily must be some type of receiver into which this power can be deposited. What does this tell us? In that moment when Paul felt so abandoned, he received a supernatural infilling of divine power that literally super-charged him to bravely and victoriously face one of the most difficult times in his life. The moment Paul discovered he had no friends to lean on was the exact moment that the power of God filled him anew and made him supernaturally strong for the ordeal he was facing. This was good news for Timothy — and for every other believer who ever feels abandoned and let down by friends. If anyone needed to be reminded that the Lord would stand by him and strengthen him in the midst of every crisis, it was Timothy. The young minister desperately needed a fresh infilling of God’s power so he could victoriously walk through the ordeal that lay before him. Just as God supernaturally strengthened Paul at a time when the apostle felt hurt and betrayed, God promised to do the same for Timothy in his hour of need. And God hasn’t changed; He is still not a respecter of persons. If He did it for Paul and Timothy, He will do the same for you today! Are you facing a disturbing situation today? Has something happened to make you feel lonely and abandoned by those you thought would be faithful to stand by your side? If this is the case, it’s time for you to ask Jesus to stand by your side. If you will ask Him for help, He will step forward to assist you, befriend you, and fill you with the power you need to victoriously conquer this difficult time in your life. So why don’t you go ahead and ask the Lord to help you today?
My Prayer for TodayLord, I admit that I’ve been feeling pretty lonely in the situation I am facing right now. Even though my friends try to understand, they simply can’t comprehend the emotional ordeal I am going through. But I know that You understand everything, Lord, so today I am asking You to step forward and assist me in my hour of need. Please stand at my side to help me, support me, and fill me with a fresh dose of the Holy Spirit’s mighty power so I can victoriously overcome in the midst of this challenging trial. I know that with Your Presence and power at my side, I will win this fight of faith that I’m engaged in right now.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that Jesus loves me and understands me. Even though friends may desert me or fail to understand the dilemma I am facing in my life, Jesus completely comprehends the entire situation. Not only does He understand, but He is also my biggest Helper in my time of need. When I cry out to Jesus in faith, He responds by manifesting His strong Presence at my side. His Presence is with me to assist me, support me, and give me the strength I need to conquer all the attacks that come against my life. With Jesus, I can and will endure everything I face in life!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!