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Be Encouraged

Be Encouraged

16 February 2009

Scripture:

That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have told the people about me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome.” (Acts 23:11 NLT)

Observation and Application:

Paul had no control over his circumstances, his situation, or his future. He had traveled to Jerusalem to visit the church and had done his best to honor the Jewish customs. Still they rioted against him and here he was imprisoned in the fortress of Antonia. The Romans didn’t know what to do with him and the Jews wanted him dead.

In the night, Jesus appeared to Paul and encouraged him with the promise that he would preach the Good News in Rome. Paul had been wanting to go to Rome for years. Now he knew this desire was going to be fulfilled.

With encouragement like that, from the Lord himself, I would have been thinking, “Ok, now I have a word from the Lord. I’ll be out of here and on my way to Rome by morning! It’s going to be great! I’ll travel up to Antioch, the church will finance the trip, and I’ll sail into Rome in style.”

Instead, Paul left town under cover of darkness escorted by Roman soldiers, and spent the next two years in prison in Caesarea. Then after his appeal to Caesar, he traveled to Rome as a prisoner, survived a shipwreck, and spent his time in Rome under house arrest. It was more than two and a half years from promise to fulfillment.

From that night – the night Jesus told him he would preach the Good News in Rome – Paul knew his destination. He had no control over the journey, but he lived each out of control day with the confidence he would preach in Rome.

Prayer:

Father, you have given Jean and me some encouraging promises about the future. I believe you and I purpose to live each out of control day with the confidence that you will do exactly what you have promised. Amen. (I don’t suppose I could talk you into doing it the way I think best? I didn’t think so!) Amen.

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