August 21, 2020
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.
New International Version (NIV)
You have heard of famous last words.  Flanked by his friend Joseph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr. prophetically  anticipated his assassination the next day when he preached, “Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you.”

What will we say in the last days of our lives?   Paul wrote in this last letter, “I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith.”  As he asked Timothy to come to him, Paul felt like he was almost alone.  So he wrote, “No one came to my support” and  “Demas having loved the world has forsaken me.”  At least his physician was there, “Only Luke is with me.” 

To this day, one of our greatest human fears is dying alone.  Early in the Coronavirus pandemic we learned about people who were dying without their families near them.  Physicians and nurses told us that the patients weren’t actually alone.  To be clear:  we want to be with the people who love us and whom we love when we die.  I have stood with our families on such occasions and prayed through tears.

Who was with Paul when he was martyred for his faith?  Surely there was an executioner there.  Paul anticipates the moment when he says, “The Lord stood at my side.”  Then he expresses his faith:  “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and bring me safely to his kingdom.” 

I remember when my mom went to be with the Lord that we bought a single burial plot in the cemetery.  Honestly, it bothered me that she was buried alone with no family near.  I knew she was not there.  Still it bothered me.  My voice broke as I told a friend, “She lived so many years alone.  I didn’t want her to be buried by herself.”  My friend heard my concern and said, “Now she will never be alone again.”  I was glad he said that.  

Pray with me:         
Father, we thank you for the song which reminds us, “Never once have we ever walked alone.  Never once did you leave us on our own.  You are faithful.”  Thank you for making your home in us until we go to the home you are making for us.  Let us practice your presence today, we pray.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:25-26
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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