Verse: Acts 23:11
11 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.”
"Take courage." This echoes the often repeated phrase from the Old Testament: "do not be afraid." This phrase is repeated well over 100 times. Just a basic reading of the Bible might therefore suggest we need courage to follow God. It's not easy. But God doesn't ask us to do it alone.
But what I want to focus on this morning is the fact that "the Lord stood near to Paul" and said "take courage." How amazing is that? We see so much of God's heart here. I love that he comes near to Paul and speaks encouragement to him in a time when Paul is literally being hunted by his own people.
And it makes me wonder a few things: First, in what areas of our lives would God want to stand near us? You see, he is not a God who stands far off when we are struggling. No, he stands near us in our times of need. So in what area of your life right now would God want to stand near you? Where do you need him to be close to you? Where do you need his courage?
Second, I wonder if we are creating space in our lives for him to stand near us? I wonder if there are times when he wants to stand near us and speak encouragement to us, but we are too busy to hear him, or too distracted to notice him standing there? I think this happens too often in my life for sure. How about you? I wonder how often I need to hear his voice and feel his touch, but I don't pause long enough for him to encourage me?
As you read this, become aware of where you need him, and ask him to come and stand near you and speak encouragement to your heart.
I need you to be close to me in this area of my life:_____________________. Please stand near me Lord and speak encouragement to me!