Acts 23: 11
“That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”” (NLT)
Extended reading: Acts 23
Have you heard the story about two patients in a hospital room, one of whom described the park he saw from his bedroom window in such vivid details that it gave so much hope to the man in the other bed, he was inspired to live through his time at the hospital? The story takes a twist when the man next to the window dies and the person in the other bed gets to go back with his family but just before he leaves, he checks out the window through which his friend saw the beautiful world outside. It did not make much sense to him when all he saw was a brick wall across the window. His friend had used his imagination to liven a boring hospital room. Words that gave him hope. Words that encouraged his friend to look forward to getting out of the hospital.
This world could use encouragement now, more than ever. The economic crisis, earthquakes, volcanoes, terrorist attacks, tsunamis, unemployment, increasing crime rates, foreclosures seem to be the current buzz words. “Be encouraged” is something we would love to hear. It feels good when someone tells us “It’s gonna be okay!”
Paul was not having a field day. He stands up for his faith and gets slapped on his face for it. “Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!” Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth.” (Acts 23:1, 2)
Next, he heard that there were people ready to assassinate him the very next day (vs. 12).
But God had plans for Paul. “Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.” If you noticed, when God makes the plans, he plans them well. Read verses 23-24 for the arrangements He got done for Paul – Then the commander called two of his officers and ordered, “Get 200 soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. Also take 200 spearmen and 70 mounted troops. 24 Provide horses for Paul to ride, and get him safely to Governor Felix.”
Paul had a complete motorcade to take him to Rome. He did not have to sneak out or make any plans of his own. Paul was treated as royalty.
What are you going through today? What are you expecting this week? God says, “Be encouraged”. He has plans for you. And He will make sure that you are taken care of well. Just stand for Him. Be His witness.
What do I pray?
Lord, thank You for Your provision. I understand that I don’t have to worry about what I am going through because You are in control. I trust in You. I will stand for You. Help me, Lord to make a difference for You. Help me not to be overwhelmed by my circumstances. But let my focus be always on You. In Jesus’ name..
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