by Ruth Greene
When the apostle Paul wrote to his fellow worker Timothy, he was a prisoner in Rome. He wanted other disciples to have a pure heart, an understanding born of truth and personal conviction, a kindred Spirit of Joy in common with him. He remembered their sincere conviction regarding Elohim and Messiah, which encouraged him greatly. He reminded them to stir up, to kindle the fire of YHWH, laying hands on one another as needed. This is not the norm in most of professed Christianity today. Along with the presence of the Holy Spirit, first century disciples loved one another and this is what sustained Paul while he was waiting for judgment in Rome. In life today, disciples often find themselves a momentary prisoner in some way to the world around them, whether in society or through family. (2 Timothy 1:3-18; Acts 16:1) Genuine disciples seek out and encourage their brothers and sisters in the body or gathering of the Messiah. (“What Is Washing By The Word?“; “Where Do You Place Your Trust?“)
Timothy, like most disciples of his time, had received special gifts of the Spirit that enabled them to serve the purpose of Messiah. (Matthew 18:18-20; 1 Timothy 4:14) Paul said to stir up the fire, to continue to be a daily worker for Yahshua [Jesus] Messiah, working with the leading of the Set-Apart Holy Spirit. YHWH has not given anyone a spirit of fear or bondage, but power. This is the power to work miracles, to confound enemies, to support you in trial and challenges, as well as enabling you do what is right in the sight of Elohim. A sound mind means clear understanding of the rightly divided Word, a balanced heart and mind as a new man in Messiah and shalom, the peace of the Holy Spirit. Timothy needed the courage and the discipline to hang on to his convictions and what he had received. (2 Timothy 1:13-14; “Going through the Valleys of Difficulty“; “Facing Adversity in Faith“; “Overcoming Fear during Tough Times“)
Early in my ministry “a million years ago,” I had a ministry partner, my friend and fellow worker, Sandra. We traveled together to many places, served Elohim [YHWH] together, encouraged one another, praying for one another as well as for others as part of our ministry. We served others that were also fellow workers. When a season of time passed and we parted ways, we still had the foundation of the sisterly (brotherly) relationship that we had. I know that I always wanted the best for her, just as we did for those that we served with the purpose of our Yahshua [Jesus] in mind. When you give your life to the Master, your life is no longer yours. How sweet it is to be encouraged! How joyous it is to be faithful to Elohim without reserve. When you have good communication with your brothers and sisters in Messiah, your mutual trust in YHWH builds up, with honesty and humility in your fellowship. Be madly in love with the purpose of the Master in service to Him, what you are to say and do. Don’t be discouraged about making this a reality in your life when you have the opportunity. Don’t hide your light. (Matthew 5:15; Luke 8:16-18, 21; Mark 4:22; John 14:6; “Live as Children of Light“; “The Plight of the Strong Man“) Let your friends and family see it, even if they don’t like it.
Many people, even pastors, hide the light of YHWH’s Word under a bushel. This was the problem that I had for so many years when I was a ‘baby Christian.’ To make matters worse, the churches that I attended while I was traveling in the military didn’t teach about the Holy Spirit, so I was entirely ignorant for a long time. (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3:16; “Which Shepherd Do You Believe?“; “A Hidden Lifestyle Message from Messiah“)
Many churches don’t teach about the Holy Spirit. Perhaps they simply don’t know what to do with Him or how to relate to Him. Because of this, they leave out the Teacher of every disciple of Messiah, usually relegating His power to the pastor. What I experienced in the early years as a ‘baby Christian’ is that so many pastors don’t often relate the Word of Elohim, but another word. The Holy Spirit is at the deepest Source of your soul. The Bible’s greatest witness is in the details, through seeking accurate understanding of the original text and taking it in context. He leads you to accurate knowledge, to life healing, to sensitivity toward wisdom, discernment and sensitivity for the needs of others. He is your personal vital catalyst in personal spiritual growth relating to YHWH’s Word. (“Messiah Teaches about Fruit in the Lives of People“)
The Holy Spirit seeks to work through every aspect of your life. In my ministry, I witnessed and experienced the healing of many because they dared to believe or didn’t know otherwise, like the healing of a little blind girl. This kind of thing is always beautiful, amazing and spontaneous. In ministry, I didn’t often know anything about the people present. I was able to reach a lot of people otherwise forgotten in nursing homes. In my ministry of song, when I didn’t know what to say, I would sing and wait for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It was always interesting and fresh. Once a lady burst into the room from down the hall shouting ‘I can hear you, I can hear you!’ as she danced about the audience. She dedicated her life to the Master that day after her hearing was restored. I’ve had children rush to me simultaneously from the audience. I’ve seen comatose people rise to sing along with me and the wheelchair-bound rise and dance. Once I was rushed by a wheelchair-bound blind and deaf women who ran up to the middle of the room and grabbed me in an embrace. The nurses would often bring sick people in that I knew nothing about. I didn’t ask for it or design it. The Holy Spirit made it possible. In these cases, I was as much of audience as the audience was. I was humbled by the experience. (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:16; “Are You Rejecting YHWH’s Holy Spirit?“; “Seeking a New Spirit“; “Abiding in Trust“)
The leadership of the church often sees the free operation of spiritual gifts as a danger that undermines their authority even though the Bible clearly says that Yahshua [Jesus] is the ‘High Priest’ of every man. (Hebrews 5:1-10; Psalm 2:7, 110:4) Right now, all authority rests with Yahshua [Jesus], not through the power of man through any organized body of ‘religion.’ (John 13:3; Ephesians 4:5; Ezekiel 34) The role of pastor is a perversion of trust through a perversion of Christianity by Constantine in the 3rd century. The current hierarchy of man is a distortion of the arrangement in the time of Yahshua [Jesus]. (James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 11:30, 14:23, 15:22, 16:4, 20:17, 28, 21:18; 1 Timothy 3:2, 8-13, 5:1, 17; “YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“; “Do You Live a Lifestyle of Greed?“)
When you aren’t willing to humble yourself, or do wrong to your brothers in Messiah in the interest of the world, you are in danger. Unhappily, this happens all the time. Religion is a common denominator of this. So is business. Back when I left Abilene, I sold my house to a ‘Christian businessman.’ My house was in need of substantial foundation repairs. I was promised the “equity” that I had in my home, but I heard nothing for years. Later, at a Christian meeting in Dallas, his family and I crossed paths. I had come to know his wife and children quite well years ago. They were delighted to see me, but not the man that misappropriated what I owned. He was dressed shabbily and looked depressed. He avoided me. His family explained that he had taken the money that was due to me and invested it in his next house. He lost that house, his business and his health. His family was reduced to a penniless state and his wife was forced to go to work. I prayed with them and explained that YHWH had blessed me despite the wrong that was done. I wasn’t bitter. Just remember to be extra cautious in business dealings because YHWH’s ways are not the ways of man. (“Financial Usury & Bible Truth: Lending, Giving & Borrowing“)
Disciples must not be ashamed, (2 Timothy 1:8) but persevere through challenges. At the heart of false teaching is an incorrect view of the Messiah. In Timothy’s day, many asserted that the Messiah was divine, but not human. Today, you often hear that Yahshua [Jesus] was human, but not divine. When Christians have these views, these ideas destroy the good news that Yahshua [Jesus] had taken sin upon Himself and reconciled disciples to YHWH. Paul firmly states that Yahshua [Jesus] is man descended from David and Elohim raised from the dead. (Philippians 2:5-7; “Christianity: Who Is Right?“)
The leadership of Jews were angry about the divine position of Yahshua [Jesus], who they had condemned. Even Jews became disciples of Messiah because they had receptive hearts. (1 Corinthians 1:24) Paul angered the Romans who worshiped the emperor as god. Even some of Caesar’s household turned to Yahshua [Jesus]. (Philippians 4:22) When Paul said Yahshua [Jesus] was human, he angered the Greeks, who thought divinity was ruined by the Master, soiling their concept of it. Nevertheless, some Greeks accepted Yahshua [Jesus] as Messiah. (Acts 11:20-21) The fact that Yahshua [Jesus] is a person with more than One Divine Nature is hard for some to grasp. With the Holy Spirit, this is not a difficult matter, believed by many every day. Disciples must encourage others to seek truth in the Bible despite any opposition or ignorance. Some will listen and believe. Even in prison, Paul preached the message of good news. The truth about Yahshua [Jesus] is no more popular today than it was then. This news still reaches receptive hearts. Where does your heart stand? Have you given your life to Messiah? Do you accept the grace that He has provided? (“A Matter of Grace“; “Cultivating YHWH’s Grace as You Seek Truth“)
While Paul was in prison, his personal ministry continued through others like Timothy. Paul had lost all his material possessions, but he would not lose his trust in YHWH. He believed that Elohim would work through him in all his circumstances. If your situation looks bleak, give your concerns to your Heavenly Father in prayer. He will guard your faith and what you have entrusted to Him until that the day of His return. (Romans 8:38-39; 1 Timothy 1:12) Paul entrusted what YHWH gave him in ministry and that Elohim would protect that and enlarge it. Paul trusted YHWH to guard his own soul until the Second Coming of Messiah. He was confident that while facing death, YHWH would still carry out his ministry through others. That is the expectation that all sanctified disciples can have today through Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah! Regardless of circumstance, you can trust in the Most High!