Encouragement · faithfulness · friends · ministry

Stayers or Betrayers

It happens to everyone at least once in their lifetime – the betrayal of a dear friend. You thought they would stick with you through thick and thin, when the chips were down, or when you were the last person to be chosen when they were picking teams. When the betrayal comes, it’s a dagger in our heart and the loss is felt with a grief like death. I speak as one who knows…and you do, too. We read in II Timothy 1 that Paul did, too…

This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Phygellus and Hermogenes – let’s give them nicknames – Gellus (hmmm, was he jealous?) and Genie…two men named for being deserters of Paul. They turned against him and led a group of others to do the same. This is the only place their names are mentioned in the Bible. How sad that their names are recorded in God’s Word as an example of unfaithfulness! One commentator I read said, “These men couldn’t do anything about their ugly names, but they could’ve done something about their ugly character!” How true!

Why did they desert him? Speculation says they could’ve been afraid that they might also end up in a Roman prison if they were known to be associated with Paul.

I think of Paul, writing this letter from his prison cell, recounting the two men who turned on him. Had they at one time been there with Paul when he preached? When he did miraculous works? When the prison doors were opened? When he ministered the Word from his home? Perhaps. But at some time, they realized it would be better for their own sakes to disassociate with Paul, so they did, and they led a group to follow them.

Years ago when my husband was deserted by a dear friend, Dr. Bob Jones III called to say,

Dale, you’re in good company. Matthew 5:12 says, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Jesus is the Supreme example of being betrayed by friends. Of course Judas was the one who led the soldiers right to him, but Scripture reminds us that they all forsook him and fled. We probably would have, too, had we been there.

BUT then Paul goes on to say,

The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

Thank God for all the Onesiphorus’s!! Those are the dear ones who:

  • Stay near when the others slip away, quietly, one by one.
  • Stay near to meet a need that no one else even notices.
  • Stay near because they are not ashamed to be associated with you.
  • Stay near to remind you of God’s promises.
  • Stay near to remind you that you are not alone.
  • Stay near to comfort you.

May the Lord grant us memory loss of all the betrayers. Let’s just let it go. But may we praise God and also imitate the character of the stayer, Onesiphorus. The church needs more of them!

How might you come alongside someone who is ministering for the Lord to encourage and serve them this week? Here are some posts that might help you know how. How have others served you like Onesiphorus did Paul?

Refresh someone by being a stayer,

Biblical Womanhood · Christian growth · faithfulness

Would They Find You There?

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It was several years ago that we had a delightful surprise of old friends stopping in to see us! These dear folks – John and Becky, were saved under my husband’s ministry years ago in Indiana. People that trust the Lord during the time you’re at a church become so special; they are your spiritual children. It’s always refreshing to see them or hear from them and learn that they are still walking with the Lord and being faithful to Him.

After I walked in and found them sitting in our church, we had our squeals and hugs, of course, then the service started. As we sang and worshiped together I thought about how surprised they would have been if we hadn’t been at church! They just assumed that since it was Sunday night we would be at church! I’m glad they found us there. I’m glad we were doing what we were supposed to be doing!

Later as I considered that thought I wondered, “If someone came looking for me early in the morning would they automatically assume I’d be in my quiet place? Would they find me at the computer checking Facebook instead? Would I be at prayer meeting on Wednesday night or would I be home instead because I was tired from a busy day and this is the only night I have to rest?”

More importantly, would the Lord find me doing the things I ought to be doing? We don’t do the things I mentioned for men’s approval, but because we love our God.

Many “good” Christians attend church two out of every five Sundays.   Church is sort of optional and we’re missing the blessing of the church and it’s having a terrible effect upon our culture. The church was meant to be God’s place of encouragement for His people where you heard the Word of God and where you were strengthened  in the things of the Lord. ~ David Jeremiah

Where will you be found when someone comes looking for you? We all need rest, but there is always time to do the right thing. I’m certainly not always faithful, but my friends’ surprise visit was a good reminder that where we find ourselves is a good indication of our priorities. We are also preaching a message to those that are watching our lives – unsaved neighbors and our children. May others always find us faithfully living for our Savior!

Friends, may I just ask if you are faithful to your local church?  What is your priority?  Your family?  Why not bring them with you to church?  Show them your priority is God’s house.  Why not give them an appetite for preaching, teaching and the fellowship of God’s people?  Is your priority your leisure activities?  Remind yourself of the One that gave you that to enjoy!

Make the church an integral part of your life.

You need the church.

The church needs you!

Be found in your church this week!  Even tonight!

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