Acts, #51. Acts 14.21-28
No reserves. No retreat. No regrets. Six powerful words penned in the back of William Borden’s Bible from last Morning Briefing. I bet the apostle Paul and William have some great conversations in Heaven! Wow, can you only imagine the conversations we will have in Heaven one day?
In Acts 14 verses 21 to 28, we see something incredible https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+14.21-28&version=NLT: Paul and Barnabas are retracing the steps on their first journey, though it makes no earthly sense to do so. ’Going back to Lystra where Paul was savagely wounded? ’Back to Iconium where there had been a plot to stone them both? ’Back to Pisidian Antioch where Jews and Gentiles both had thrown them out? What were they thinking? They were on a mission to encourage the new believers in Jesus Christ, to strengthen their faith, to help them see that trials are part and parcel of being a follower of Christ.
Though their mission was noble and right, it took incredible courage. Today, we link encouragement with courage, friends. So highly did Paul value encouragement/the building up of the new believers in these towns, that he risked his life to go back and come alongside them. Selfless courage.
>Staying true to our convictions demands our courage.
This isn't the only time we see the two values of courage and encouragement linked. . . look back with me at Deuteronomy 31.6 Moses is talking to the peoplekinda' giving his retirement speech, as he passes the leadership baton to Joshua. The people are worried about crossing over into Canaan, and he says, Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, [the people of the land to which they were going] for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Moses encourages the people by exhorting them to be courageous. . . but here is the thing, he didn't tell them to be courageous 'just because.'
>Segue ~ when I was a child and voiced that I was scared to play the piano in front of a large group of people or nervous about something else, my dad would say, 'Come on, get 'hold of yourself; you're a "Todd" (my maiden name) for ___sake!' I was told I should be courageous because I was a 'Todd'. Oh brother.
Moses told the Israelites to be courageous...why? Because the Lord your God goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. This is really important for you to get--because like Joshua, we can and should be courageous because the Lord is with us and will not leave us. We can and should be courageous in life, not out of a false sense of courage, but one that comes from knowing that God is our Commander, and as such, we can let Him lead the charge. If we are under attack, He will take the fiery darts of the evil one, and it will be as though they are sparklers 'beenking' off God's bronze armor and fizzling to the ground.
Yes, it took courage for Paul and Barnabas to go back and do what they did in these towns teaching and discipling the Christians, helping them establish leadership in their churches. And then when they got back to Antioch (of Syria), they reported what God had done through them on their mission trip to these other towns. They gave an 'accounting' to the church who had sent them out.
You know, telling others what God has done in our lives, what he is doing in our lives is one of the purest forms of encouragement--it allows others to see what is possible, makes em want what we got. Just think how encouraged the Antioch folk were as they heard Paul and Barnabas' testimony
Let me passionately and emphatically urge you to be a person of courage especially when it comes to your convictions about God and the truths in His Word; it will definitely encourage others as you remain steadfast. Then they too can stand!
A great song - Take Courage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJoABwNMzvM
Christine . . . Be courageous!