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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oregon shoreline (photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt)
Oregon shoreline
Photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt (used by permission)

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"I Am Persuaded!"

"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

Paul before AgrippaAnyone who has sought to witness for Christ, whether one on one, or in a group setting has dealt with rejection or a lack of receptiveness to their message and appeal to renounce sin and follow Christ. Paul experienced this as well. In one notable Biblically recorded witness he was testifying before King Agrippa when the Spirit led him to pour his heart out and challenge Agrippa to become a Christian. Agrippa responded, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian" (Acts 26:28).* This is how the scene ends and we are left to wonder if Agrippa ever chose the way of Christ.

PP BlissSome 1900 years later songwriter Philip P. Bliss was assisting a preacher named Rev. Brundage. During the sermon, the evangelist quoted Acts 26:28 and declared: “He who is almost persuaded is almost saved, and to be almost saved is to be entirely lost.” This prompted P.P. Bliss to write a hymn titled "Almost Persuaded."

Today we pray that each of our readers will confidently declare, "I am persuaded" regarding the foundational truth of the Gospel, as expressed in verses like John 3:16.

"I am persuaded" is one of the great exclamations of faith in the Scriptures. We see it expressed here in our text from 2 Timothy 1:12. Some versions use the word “convinced”. The Greek word means literally to persuade or induce by words to believe and conveys the sense of confidence, reliance, and hope. It is in the perfect tense indicating that Paul became convinced when he was saved by Christ and he remained convinced of His saving and keeping power. Paul had a settled, fixed assurance in Christ whom he had believed.

Paul trusted his absolute security to God. He had been through years of relentless temptations, trials and testing, opportunities and hardships. He had seen the power of God at work again and again, both in him and through him and around him.

As he nears the end of his life he is experiencing the wonderful confidence in God's keeping power. I believe Paul’s assessment mirrors the experiences of believers who go through the testings common to most and seeks to find answers to the many questions over one’s lifetime. As believers remain firm in their faith their confidence grows and the certainty of a future eternal home in heaven becomes far more endearing than the desire to linger here on earth.

In the song "Whom Have I But You" written by David Ruis he states,

Though questions asked, may never be resolved
Whom have I but You,
Whom have I but You

Bible translator Kenneth Wuest writes, "Paul had come to a settled persuasion regarding the matter and was fixed in an immovable position. You could not budge him." How about you, dear reader? Do you vacillate in your thoughts regarding God’s keeping power in your life?

Let us conclude with the charge Paul gave the Corinthians believers on more than one occasion, “Stand firm in the faith.” There will always be teachings, insinuations, and seducers of false doctrine that seek to chip away at that which the Bible has clearly persuaded us of, which is all the more reason we must stand firm and guard that which is entrusted to us.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, on many occasions Paul was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ as he shared boldly the gospel message with townspeople, individuals, churches, prison guards, prisoners, kings and all to whom he had opportunity. It was his many trials and hardships that strengthened his faith and made the gospel more certain to his heart. May we likewise come to recognize that You sovereignly work in our hardships and disappointments of life to teach us more about Yourself. Help us to learn these powerful life lessons so that we are fully persuaded that You will keep that which we commit to You until we enter our eternal resting place. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

* Some translations word Agrippa's response to Paul as a question: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.

"Almost Persuaded"  Video  Josh Turner  Instrumental audio and lyrics

"I Know Whom I Have Believed"
 Video  This is set to a newer tune but maintains the same wonderful words.  It is beautifully sung by a worship team in a local church.

Here's a beautiful piano version of the same song using the tune we are familiar with. Audio
 All through our series of messages on 2 Timothy 1:12 we will be using this song as a background to our daily podcast.

"Made Me Glad"
 Video  Hillsong

"Whom Have I But You?"
Video  Singer not identified

"Who Shall Separate Us From The Love Of Christ"  Video  Wayne Tate.

"I Am Resolved"  Video  Ernest Stoneman  Illustrating the varied musical tastes I have this song has a great message and brings back to memory a service I had while in college at a mountain church in northwest Arkansas and earnest folks singing of their faith.

I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.

I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.

I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.

I am resolved to enter the kingdom
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.

I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.

If God Is Good . . . Faith in the Midst of Suffering and EvilIf God Is Good . . . Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil
By Randy Alcorn / Random House, Inc
Difficult times beg questions about God's goodness and power. Offering compelling true stories, fresh answers, and biblical insights, Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief and reveals the big picture of who God is and what he's doing in the world---equipping you to share your faith clearly with those experiencing pain and fear. 432 pages, hardcover from Multnomah.

Today's photo of the Oregon coast was taken by our friend Howard J. Blichfeldt. His website is here.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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