I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the
faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Charles Swindoll writes in Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit:
"Nero's nervous gavel came down hard and Paul was free."
(Free? Wait a minute. I thought it was the end of Paul's live here on earth.
Didn't you? Read on dear one.)
"Though we know nothing from the Biblical record of the details of his
defense before the Emperor, Paul once again knew freedom's ring and
immediately resumed his commitment to preaching. Some believe it was
during this period that he made his much dreamed-of trip to Spain. Maybe so,
but no one knows for sure.
He met certainly met up with Titus in Crete, Philemon and Onesimus;
Timothy at Ephesus, pouring out wisdom to a learning soul.
His freedom lasted but a few years. Sooner than most might have expected,
Paul was arrested at Troas and dragged back to Rome in chains, landing
again on the cold floor of a Roman dungeon."
LET IT GLOW
When my husband and I decide to travel to a new place unvisited by us, we
do our research. We look up information about the place, check out what's
to do and see there, if it has any historical spots, any attractions, and of
course, how to get there. He plans the road trip while I plan my wardrobe.
Usually we don't pick up travel brochures until actually entering the place.
The internet and encyclopedia are our resources, along with friends'
suggestions. One site in Rome to visit, which would not appear on any travel
brochures, would be Paul's dungeon. However, it would be an important sight
for Christians to see where the pillar of our faith spent his last days. Probably
it would not be "the one" cell where Paul was kept, but it would give us an
idea of his suffering.
Hans Finzel describes it in his book Empowered Leaders:On an obsure side street a few kilometers from the Vatican, there is a small
building thought to house the prison cell where Paul spent his final days.
Whether it is actually his prison cell or not is of course debatable. We climed
down into this cramped hole beneath the ground and spent about a half-hour
in the dark cell. It was cold, damp, and musty. A small gate in the ceiling
allowed a little daylight to shine through. Historians agree that Paul probably
lost his life around A.D. 67 when Nero ruled.
You may ask,"What's encouraging about this?" Paul kept the faith, as he told
Timothy in his second letter. He endured criticism, beatings, stonings,
shipwrecks, harsh treatment by his fellow Jews, etc. yet he kept the faith. He
is our example. I sure haven't endured all of that in order to teach or tell about
Jesus. Paul may be gone, but he definitely is not forgotten. Daily the Lord
uses his words, which were inspired by God, throughout the world and time.
LET IT GROW
Paul encourages Timothy, a preacher of the gospel, (and Christians) to:
1. live courageously (2Tim.1:7)
2. be a faithful servant, strong in grace and the truth; be a brave soldier;
disciplined as an athlete; hard-working as a farmer; diligent as a workman;
gentle as a servant.
3. beware of difficult times
4. proclaim the Word.
Time for his departure was at hand. Paul wanted to see Tim one more time.
For Paul to live was Christ, but to die was his gain. Am I ready to go? Am I
making preparations? Do I encourage my family, friends, and others to
remain faithful to Christ?
I found a list of when and where Paul wrote the 13 Epistle letters. Thought
you might be interested.
Galatians: 48-49 A.D.--* while at Antioch
1 & 2 Thessalonians: 51-52 A.D.*while at Corinth
Romans: 57 A.D. *while at Corinth
1 Corinthians: 57 A.D. *while at Ephesus
2 Corinthians: 58 A.D. *while at Macedonia
Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, Philippians: 62-63 A.D. *while at Rome
1 Timothy, Titus: 64-65 A.D. *unknown
2 Timothy: 67 A.D. *while at Rome.
Here is the list of encouraging and challenging Scriptures that I said I would
give you. They are kept on index cards in a small spiral notebook. There's no
particular order. The list could go on. If you want to, print for reading later.
Ps. 37; 16:8-11; 25:4-5; 62:5-68; 1:10; 119:18; 138:8; 139:23-24
Isaiah 26:3-7; 30:15,18; 41:10-17; 54:17; 64:4-5; 66:1,
Jeremiah 15:19; 31:9; 21
Luke 1:37,45; 12:15; 18:27
Philippians 1:27; 4:8-13
Hebrews 10:38; 11:1, 6; 13:8-9
LET IT GO
Fight the good fight (against evil and self).
Finish my course which God has planned for my life.
Keep the faith, trusting in Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
Pray daily for others doing the same thing.
Glorify God and my Lord Jesus.