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2 Peter salvation

A Daring Escape

Neal Pollard

Before Arthur Turner “Bud” Morris died at home on December 15, 2012, following service to our country in the army in World War II and a 35-year career as a truck driver for Carolina Freight (see more here), he granted an interview for Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, WXIA, in which he not only claimed to be the cousin of famous Alcatraz escapee Frank Morris but more boldly that he helped him escape. In the interview (WXIA), he tells the reporter about giving multiple payoffs to prison guards presumably to get them to look the other way.  Frank Morris, said to have had an IQ of 133, and brothers John and Clarence Anglin of Lee County, Georgia, disappeared and were thought drowned in the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay.  However, anecdotal evidence and alleged sightings are offered to suggest these men actually did escape from the infamous Alcatraz Prison.

Whether or not they escaped from a place formerly thought impregnable and impossible, you and I have the opportunity to escape something far more imposing.  Peter writes the scattered saints in his second epistle, reminding them of those exceeding great and precious promises that they came to possess “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (1:4).  The way to complete that escape is listed out, starting in verse five: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.  I have lived long enough to see those young, middle-aged, and old, caught in the trap of the world.  They started or became faithless, without virtue, spiritually ignorant, undisciplined, without endurance, ungodly, unkind, and unloving.  They didn’t just slip up and find themselves guilty of these things from time to time. They allowed themselves to be imprisoned to such things because of their “lust,” their desire for the world.  Their view of past and future were distorted, and it hurt them in their present, day to day lives (cf. 1:9).

For Morris and the Anglins, the promise was freedom from a dank prison and the hopelessness of their sentence there.  For you and me, it is the exceeding great and precious promises that should cause us to sharpen our view of the past we’ve escaped and the future we trust in.  Don’t give up!  Continue your daring escape!

Categories
character study Christian living Paul persecution perseverance

Even When You’re Alone, You’re Not

Neal Pollard

If I have a favorite chapter of the Bible, it would have to be 2 Timothy 4.  Yes, I love the first eight verses, but that alone is not what cinches this chapter as dearest to me.  It’s Paul’s personal remarks starting in verse nine.  There’s his longing to see his spiritual son, Timothy.  Twice he implores Timothy to come see him (9, 21).  He’s in prison, persecuted for preaching the Prince of Peace. He longs for Christian companionship.  Then, he shares his dejection over the abandonment of certain fellow-workers (10). He wants to see cohorts with whom he has done spiritual battle (11). He has personal needs and wants (13). He warns Timothy of a spiritual troublemaker (14-15).  Then, he shares personal feelings of isolation and loneliness, a time when he needed a Christian brother by his side but had none (16).  Bold, risk-taking Paul, who would stand up to any opposition, the epitome of true manliness, was now in undoubtedly dire, dank conditions, the smell of squalor in the air.  Whatever he saw, heard, and felt as he wrote, Paul scratched out these words: “At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.  But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (16-18).  These words aren’t the end of the letter, but they are the end of the matter!

This faithful Christian was deserted by men, but he felt God’s presence and power:

  • The Lord stood with him.
  • The Lord strengthened him.
  • The Lord spoke through him.
  • The Lord saved him.
  • The Lord was steering him.

You and I cannot fathom the price Paul paid for proclaiming Jesus. But even if we were ever to face privation, punishment and pain for our faith, what was true for this apostle will be true of us.  He promised to be with us always (Mat. 28:20) and never forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Even if you ever feel physically alone, you will have the spiritual assistance Paul speaks of in 2 Timothy 4.  Through it all, you can say with Paul, “To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen!”