“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.” 2 Timothy 4:16-18
Well, standing on this side of the last three days I can honestly say I was delivered from the lion’s mouth! In 1 Peter 5:8 it tells us to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” And that is precisely the lion I have been delivered from. The roaring lion of lies and deception, the accuser. And boy was he accusing me! My ears from morning till night were filled with accusing thoughts that my spirit knew weren’t true but my flesh was being tempted to entertain them! He accused me of all kinds of things: “You’re a horrible mother.” “You don’t spend enough time on your kids or your house.” “You’re not spending God’s money according to His will.” “You know you’re crazy right? You should give up this ‘God-thing’, it’s not doing you any good.” “Your ministry’s not going anywhere, what’s the point in going on?” “No one reads your posts anyway, this is just a huge waste of your time.” The battlefield of my mind was a buzz of swords flashing and shields sparking as my armor started growing heavier and heavier, and I started to almost believe some of those statements enough to even say a few of them out loud!
Now, I’ve been praying the prayer of Jabez off and on for the last 11 years (“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:10), and every time my territory is enlarged I am stepping across the enemy lines and have to attack the current resident of that territory in order to claim that land as my own. Now, just like Joshua’s battles, the battle IS mine when the LORD is with me. But that doesn’t mean that the current resident is going to flee in his shaking boots the moment I set my foot across the border! No, the Enemy’s going to fight for what is currently his. Be it a person, a generational curse, or especially a ministry field. Like the internet and posting the Word of God daily!
In Acts 5 we find the story of the apostles performing miraculous signs and wonders, believers meeting together and many new believers being added to their numbers. The apostles were making GREAT strides across the Enemy’s battle lines, ones that had been drawn for centuries. Can you guess what happened next? Yup! You guessed it! ATTACK!!!!! The roaring lion and all his beasts of the field came charging at the apostles in the form of the high priest and all his associates (Acts 5:17), ready to go in for the kill all because the apostles were doing all this in the Name of Jesus.
In John 15:18-21 Jesus has just finished teaching the disciples about the principles of the Vine and the branches and then shares with them “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. This is why the world hates you. Remember these words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of My Name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” You see, there is power in a name, any name, but the Name of Jesus, well, that name breaks chains! In the next section of Acts 5 we find the apostles arrested and placed in the public jail. An angel of the LORD breaks them out of jail, and the next morning they are preaching in the temple courts again. But then they are of course, surprise-surprise, arrested again and brought before the Sanhedrin for questioning. After much deliberation the verdict is cast down and the apostles are flogged and ordered not to speak in the Name of Jesus again. But did the apostles leave battered, bruised with their heads hanging low and depressed? Nope! “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41) Well, OK, but they obeyed the ruling authorities who had punished them and commanded them to stop preaching the name of Jesus though right? Nope! “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 5:42) We can’t stop, we can’t give up, we can’t falter or lose faith in preaching the good news of the deliverance of Jesus Christ! The suffering for His Name is a reward! It’s not a fun reward, but it Is a reward none-the-less, and it is worth every tear, every scar, every hurt. Because God NEVER wastes a hurt, He uses every one of them down to the very last drop! And what does God do when He delivers us from the roaring lion’s mouth? He places us ever-so-gently into the loving and tender mouth of the Lion of Judah, where He carries us back to His den like His precious little lion cub.
“I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand – I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’” (Isaiah 51:16)
If God has used this post to touch your life, please prayerfully consider giving a gift of love, and/or sign up to be a prayer partner by emailing Prayer@TamarMinistries.net.