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
Paul tried hard to be a good servant and witness, but it got him into an awful lot of trouble in a lot of places. Acts 21 records Paul’s return to Jerusalem after his third missionary journey. When Paul went to the temple, some Jews from Asia incited a riot (Acts 21:27-36). But Paul actually used the opportunity as a captive to speak to a captive audience. Paul refused to be intimidated by the terrible treatment he received. God gave him the power to avoid taking the easy way out.
We may not have had a dramatic conversion like Paul’s, but all believers have seen Jesus as their Savior with eyes of faith and have been appointed as servants and witnesses to that fact. We may never be hounded and persecuted as Paul was, but we may well be tempted to take the easy way out when the heat is on. The devil will try to discourage us when people laugh at our beliefs or tear our reputations apart, but we can overcome our fears by being obedient to the heavenly vision God has given us.
Are you being tempted to give up or give in? Let the risen Christ encourage you as he encouraged Paul: “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). We too must be obedient to our vision from heaven until all our work is done! We can be sure God will stand with us until the end.
For Further Study: Acts 23:1-11
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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