The Following is a special, powerful guest blog from my parents, Cliff and Jacqueline Bursch. If you need courage to endure, then please read and enjoy this worthy word. They write a powerful blog devotional at (http://breakfastwithdad.blogspot.com/). You should subscribe to their blog if you want to hear powerful weekly encouragement from God’s word.
Under the Authority of the Supreme Commander
by Cliff and Jacqueline Bursch
Colossians 4:15-18 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea. Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.” I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Paul a servant and soldier of the Lord signs off his letter to the Colossians by asking them to tell Archippus to complete the work the Lord has given to him. Paul knew what he was asking Archippus because he, too, was under the authority of the Supreme Commander of the army of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He was in the uniform of the Lamb of God, under orders to carry the message of grace and mercy to whosoever would receive the message, repent of their sins, and follow Christ.
His orders were cut to carry out some of the most dangerous and difficult assignments ever given to a human being. And now I am going to Jerusalem, drawn there irresistibly by the Holy Spirit, not knowing what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit has told me in city after city that jail and SUFFERING LIE AHEAD. But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love. (Acts 20:22-24) He told his followers who did not want him to carry on with his mission to be quiet and not to deter him from his purpose on earth. “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! For I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The will of the Lord be done.” (Acts 21:13-14) Would we as Christian Americans willingly accept the same assignment as those early Christians? Paul encouraged Archippus to finish the course, to fulfill the mission assigned to him.
I am sure most of us who spend our evenings sitting in comfortable recliner chairs and lounging on soft sofas, watching television till late at night in the safety of our homes would have a rough time accepting such orders FROM THE ONE WE CALL LORD. Sometimes, the smallest amount of pain or embarrassment serves to discourage us from carrying out any assignment that tests our perseverance.
Paul and his co-workers fasted and prayed for long periods of time to face and to endure the ordeals the world presented them. Many times their missions for the Lord involved persecution, danger, and death. After Paul heard his friends say, “The will of the Lord be done,” we see him struggling to stay alive as the Jews in Jerusalem attempted to kill him by viciously beating him. Paul was dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul. The commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. (Acts 21:30-33)
Can you imagine what that scene must have been like for Paul as he faced a murderous crowd and then is bound and led away by Roman soldiers? How must it feel to be at the mercy of a mob trying their best to kill you; then your rescuers take you away to prison? How much blood must have flowed from Paul’s body? How many times did he fall down from the blows that came against him from all directions? What thoughts passed through his mind as he was chained by the guards? Some of us have fears. Perhaps a fear of attack or of a burglary or of being shot by a gun, but few of us have ever faced the possibility of death by an angry mob. Yet, the Holy Spirit drew Paul to this very place and then to prison where he stood at the door and attempted to preach to the same people who wanted him dead until they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” (Acts 22:22) He was there because he was a soldier of the cross, a soldier under orders who loved not his own life but gave his all to the Lord of All.
Although Archippus is mentioned only two times in the Bible, church records make mention of him as one of the 70 that Christ sent out. He is also said to have been martyred for his faith. We know for certain when Paul wrote to his friend Philemon, he began by saying, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home. (Philemon 1-2) This soldier, Archippus, finished the course. He followed his orders. He gave everything for the cause of Christ. He did not write any letters that lasted through time for the benefit of the church, but God gave him a work to do so important that his fellow servant, Paul, reminded the brethren to encourage Archippus, to gather round him, to make sure he finished the race.
Dear breakfast companions, complete the course now set before you. God has given you clear directions, a purpose, you belong to him. You call Jesus Lord: He calls you Son, Daughter. You must follow his direction, not yours. Most of us do not want to go to Jerusalem, do not want to complete the course or do what God wants us to do when the situation becomes difficult, when we face pain and sorrow, torment and persecution. Do not let foolish pride or difficult situations get in your way. Ask forgiveness, alter your course a bit, seek help, start over with renewed zeal. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide. We have only one life to live. As Papa tells the grandchildren: Live life, don’t watch it! You will never regret living a worthwhile life, but you will regret sitting on the couch and watching life go by. God has marching orders for each of us. Peter wrote, we endure hardships and trials, but we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. (1Peter 1:8) May this joy overflow from your innermost being as you live your life for God’s glory with great anticipation. Every day is a new day to walk in the light of God’s love full of the Holy Spirit. Paul and Archippus lived each day IN THE SPIRIT, doing the work assigned to them by the Lord. 2,000 years later, we still know their names. Love, Dad and Mom
My God, the hope
In the room,
All else fails.
My Savior, sets
My spirit free.
When my soul
Cries out in pain,
In violent storms,
When I fall
Lifts me up
To Heaven’s realm.
My Lord, Redeemer,
King of Kings,
Calls me his
I say boldly,
Jacqueline M. Bursch