November 9, 2017
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
Today's passage took place in Jerusalem, where Paul was arrested and put on trial. After he was given the opportunity to share Christ, those listening shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!" In other words, when Paul gave the invitation, no one came forward. Not quite the response he wanted.
When we share Christ, we will not always receive the response that we desire from friends and family. We probably won't hear, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!" but that may well be the impression that is left. Then again, we might get the tepid, dismissive answer of relativism, "Well, I'm glad that works for you, but it doesn't work for me."
But God's encouragement to Paul rings true for us too. His loud whisper fills our hearts, "Take courage! We are not finished. Just as you have shared here, I have many other places. Just as you told that person about Me, I have many other people who need to hear." At the end of the day the words, "Take courage!" from the heavenly Father is the only response we need.
Father, thank You for Your encouragement. Thank You for lifting me when I am low, for holding me when I am shaky, for steadying my trembling voice, and for speaking courage into my fearful heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.