A Gallant Goodbye

cropped-bible-medium.jpgNero, the fifth emperor of Rome, ruled the Roman Empire from A.D. 54-68. The year following Paul’s release from prison, probably A.D. 64, a great fire consumed more than half the city of Rome. The fire burned fiercely for six days, then slowly burned for three more days. Although it was never proven for certain, many people believe Nero started the fire, and then placed the blame on Christians. It was after this fire that Paul was imprisoned a second time. Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy while in prison, awaiting his death. Notice Paul’s words in II Timothy 4:6-8: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

What enabled Paul to face death with such confidence? First, Paul stated he had fought a good fight. The fact that Paul called the Christian life a fight indicates there is a conflict that is taking place. There is a conflict between right and wrong, good and evil. Also consider Ephesians 6:10-13 and I Peter 5:8.

The second reason Paul was able to face death with confidence was he had finished his course. Paul is drawing a parallel between the Christian life and an athletic event. Paul lived the Christian life with endurance, persevering to the end. Also notice I Corinthians 9:24-27 and Galatians 6:9.

The third reason Paul was able to face death with confidence was he had kept the faith. Paul is not referring to his personal faith, but rather the faith, the system of the gospel and all those teachings included therein. Other scriptures also refer to the gospel as the faith. Consider Acts 6:7 and Romans 1:5. After his conversion, Paul devoted his life to defending the gospel of Christ.

Rod Halliburton

 

God Will Leave the Light on For You

PorchLightMotel 6, a hotel franchise with over a thousand locations, may be best known for its series of commercials with National Public Radio personality Tom Bodett, who closed every ad with the line “We’ll Leave the Light On For You.”  The phrase simply means, “You are always welcome here.”

Can we also say that God will “leave the light on for us?”  As illustrated by the father in Luke 15:20, God is always ready to welcome back one who has gone astray but longs to return.  Someone might think, “Oh no!  God would never take me back after what I’ve done!”  Friends, I disagree with that sentiment just as strongly as I can!

When the prodigal returned, his father did not give him a stern rebuke.  He did not greet him with a good “tongue lashing.”  Not at all!  The father welcomed him back with open arms.  His attitude was “let us eat and be merry.”

And so it is with our heavenly Father.  He is always ready to welcome us back with open arms.  God will leave the light on for us!

Rod Halliburton