Tag: Take courage

Not afraid of ‘bad news’!

Scripture reading for June 5th:  Acts 23, Psalm 112, Proverbs 19

Key Scriptures:  Acts 23:9-11  “Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man.  What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?”  And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.  the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”” 

Religious folks are sometimes argumentative and violent.  Paul used the religious divide between rival factions in the Jewish ruling party to give opportunity to share the Gospel.  This also got him in prison on this occasion.  But Jesus stood by Paul and gave him a word of encouragement that helped Paul stand firm and walk through the trial.

Faith Confession:  Thank You Lord that You are always with me to guide me and encourage me in every trial and test.  You are always working out Your plans for Your glory and my good, encouraging me.

Psalm 112:6-7 “For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.  He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is fir, trusting in the Lord.”  

 

 

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God standing near us!

Scripture reading for June 6th:  Acts 23

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 23:9-11 “There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously.  “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said.  “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”  The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them.  He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.  The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!  As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome.”

Paul, the Apostle, found himself in the middle of a religious dispute that he had started by proclaiming that he was on trial because he believed in the resurrection from the dead.  This belief in the supernatural brought conflict between the Pharisees and Sadducees that became violent.  Troops had to rescue Paul and brought him to in their barracks.  The next night, the Lord Jesus stood near Paul and encouraged him with a word of knowledge about his mission and the need for courage!  God was in control and He would take Paul where He wanted the testimony of Jesus to be shared!

Observations for over-comers:  God is faithful to His word and the promise to never leave or forsake His people!  We can count on God standing by us, even if all others forsake us!  “For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.  They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell there forever.”  (Psalm 37:28-29)

 

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The Lord stood near Paul!

Scripture reading for June 5th:  Acts 23

After Paul let the commander know that he was also a Roman citizen, the commander sought to find out why the Jews were so angry with Paul.  He had the Jewish leadership convene the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of 70 elders.  Paul was brought before them.  “”Paul looked at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”  At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth.  Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!”” (Acts 23:1-3)

This group of men had already judged Paul, even before hearing him!  Paul chose words  similar to what Jesus used to speak to the leaders!  (Matthew 23:27-28)  Paul, however, apologized for his remark by citing another passage from the law, “Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.”  (Exodus 22:28)  Paul was confronting some of the same people that had Jesus crucified unjustly!

Paul then made a statement that set the Sanhedrin in conflict.  “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in te resurrection of the dead.”  (Acts 23:6)  A dispute broke out in the Sanhedrin between the Sadducees and the Pharisees over this theological issue.  The conflict became so violent, that the Roman commander had Paul taken from their meeting and kept in the barracks.

“The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!  As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”  (Acts 23:11)  Paul had another personal encounter with Jesus!  Jesus told him to have courage!  He would also testify in Rome as he was now having opportunity to share with those in Jerusalem!  Every opportunity is directed by our Lord and He stands with His own!

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Do everything in Love!

Scripture reading for August 25th: 1st Corinthians 16:1-24

Paul closed his letter to the Corinthians with and encouragement and warning.  He had dealt with many problems in this church and knew that there would be forces of opposition that they must watch out for.  Mature believers are aware of the bigger picture and try to help the younger believers to stand firm.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, be strong.  Do everything in love.” (1st Corinthians 16:13) Rolled up in this short word of encouragement was Paul’s heart of love for these brothers.  He had shared God’s word with them to build their faith.  Faith would guard them by the truth and enable them to stand against every attack of Satan and their flesh.  These men would need courage to live by faith.  In the culture of Corinth, many temptations abounded tempting them to live in their flesh and enjoy the world’s pleasures.

If we all do everything in love, there would be no need of laws!  Paul had taught them about how love was patient and kind.   Love wasn’t rude or boastful, but considered others and their needs.  (1st Corinthians 13:4-8) Love was what God was about and the love of God had been given us who believe by the Holy Spirit.  Love would protect them and guide them into the will of God.  Love would never fail to accomplish good!  Faith expresses itself through love to make us pleasing to each other and God.  (Galatians 5:6)

Paul encouraged these Corinthians to love in deed by preparing an offering.  He told them that Timothy might come to see them and that they should help him and encourage him as he worked in their midst.  He also told them that Apollos might come too.  Love would not divide around these teachers, but would bless them.

Love should be expressed among themselves as well!  “Greet one another with a holy kiss.  I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.  If anyone does not love the Lord–a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.  My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.” Paul personally closed this letter with encouragement and love!  All love came from a love of Jesus Christ, who was coming!  These are words we can use today!

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Supernaturally divided!

Scripture reading for July 4th: Acts 22:17-23:10

The next day, Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin.  Their attitudes had not been changed.  When Paul told them that he had fulfilled his duty to God with a good conscience, the High Priest order Paul struck in the mouth!  This body of elders were so prejudiced against Paul that they would not let him explain.  In their religious judgment, he was speaking blasphemy and deserved death!

“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.  I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.”  When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.”” (Acts 23:6-7)  Paul knew these rulers and how they thought.  He knew how to bring about a division over religious issues.  The Pharisees had a strong belief in the supernatural and resurrection and the Sadducees were skeptical about anything they could not understand, especially the resurrection.

The dispute and arguments between Pharisee and Sadducee became so violent that the commander was again afraid for Paul.  He ordered Paul taken back to the barracks. “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!  As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:11)  God again stood by His servant and strengthened him with a word of knowledge that would help Paul endure imprisonment and persecution.

The divide between those who believe in the supernatural and those who are skeptical is still in the church today!  Many who claim to believe in Jesus Christ and His resurrection argue vehemently that the miracles of Jesus ceased with the early church and apostles.  Those who do believe are looked on as crazy or fanatical.  Sometimes there is even heated arguments and division of entire churches!  But God is not shaken by this and doesn’t want His servants to lose their courage to declare truth and be used in the supernatural!  He comes supernaturally to strengthen and encourage!  Take time today and thank Him that He is the God of resurrection and miracles!  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

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