Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Remember my chains


The past few days I have been reading through the book of Colossians for my devotions. There are books in the Bible you read again and again and each time something different jumps out and you say to yourself, "now why didn't I notice that before?"

I say for two reasons - first the fresh revelation the Holy Spirit gives you as you read it. The Word of God is living and active - not like any other book. Second, my circumstances when I read it cause me to read passages in a new light.

Today was one such time - I read Colossians 4 today and I got to the end at verse 18 which simply said, " I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains." Immediately three words stood out: remember my chains.

I so relate. But more on that in a minute.

Before I get into my issues, think about what Pauls' reason was to say that. We can find the answer in II Thessalonians as to why he reiterates to them that he is indeed writing the letter himself. There he says in II Thessalonians 3:17, “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write”.

So apparently he was the victim of identity theft. People were trying to forge letters in Paul's name and claim to be him. He also talked about this in II Thessalonians 2:1-3 "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way..."

Paul was passionate about guarding the integrity of his ministry and made sure nobody was trying to pass off some lie for something he said. He absolutely hated anything that would possibly lead the sheep astray. Every pastor including myself can relate to that. We have a holy passion to set right anything that would cause our people to be deceived. This is the heart of a true pastor.

So on to the chains. What's up with that? Is he asking for them to feel sorry for him? No. Paul wasn't a cry baby or going "emo" on them as my son would say. He wasn't looking for a pity party or for them to take their eyes off of Jesus. But what he was doing was simply saying, "hey guys I'm still going through some stuff here, so don't slack off on the prayer!'

I do realize Paul's chains were real. In fact it probably made his hands bruised, uncomfortable, maybe even bloody as he wrote the letter.

Although I always have nicely manicured hands, usually with pink nail polish and little whispy white flowers on them, never the less sometimes I am in chains.

Chains of ministry stresses...

Chains of relational stresses...

Chains of financial stresses...

all kinds of stuff.

I'm sure you relate.

There are times I email or call a friend and basically say, "hey, remember my chains..."

It's also really nice when people remember your chains and you don't even have to remind them. That happens to me quite a bit because I have good friends. I am so thankful!

Speaking of remembering friends, would you please join me in praying for a friend of mine who is experiencing the chains of grief and disappointment in a profound way? A dear friend, Ronnelle, who is a pastor's wife and also a minister in her own right, has just experienced a significant loss. We have been friends for many years through the Pastoring Partners Network. Most of us on the boards know her as "Flow" and she never ceases to amaze all of us with her wisdom and way with words. Anyway, our dear friend is almost 40 and has wanted to have a baby for all the years she and her husband have been married. Finally a few months ago she became pregnant with what she and her husband thought was finally their miracle child. The ironic thing was, she became pregnant before the doctor started her on treatments they were planning on doing! They were so incredibly excited. She made it to the four month mark, but this past weekend lost the baby. The baby was a girl, and they have named her Faith Legacy, because in Ronnelle's words: "We have appropriately named her Faith because she has given us a reason to believe and and appreciate the Lord all the more and Legacy because she has given us a strong foundation to look back upon and to build our future."

Many of you, like Ronelle and myself included, have lost a child to miscarriage and know and understand the pain. Please if you would, join me today in breathing a word of prayer for my friend who is in the chains of grief and longs for God to fill her empty arms.

1 comment:

A Hoosier Family said...

I will be praying for Ronelle, and her husband.