Take courage…the battle is the Lord’s

Acts 23:2-11

 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”

 And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”

 Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ ”

But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”

And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”

Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.

 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

 Take courage!  It looked bad.  Violence can cause fear to arise but we serve a God greater than any opposition.  Take courage!  The voice of God alone brings comfort.  The battle is His.  Let us not fight against God…wise advice.  There are times we disagree with one in a position of power or authority.  It is good to remember that God is in control and placed individuals where they are for his purpose.  It is our responsibility to look to ourselves, and as Daniel did in Babylon, refuse to participate in that which is contrary to God’s will.  We have the opportunity to voice our concerns with silent ballot whether it be politics or religion.  We do not have to participate in the violent language of the society in which we live.  We have weapons that are not of this world.  There is the power of prayer, strong united fellowship and a deep relationship with the God of the universe.  Paul was faithful to voice the message of Christ.  For that he found himself the target of violence.  In that he was comforted with the words; Take Courage!  straight from the mouth of God.  We can find comfort in the voice of God.  We can stand firm in our convictions with the spirit of  calm.  Jesus said be wise as serpents, harmless as doves.  He said we were going into face opposition and violence.  He also said, frequently, Fear not.  Our world may be rapidly changing and not in the direction we would wish.  Lets put our energy into gaining strength from the Word of God, unity with fellow believers and teaching the young by word and by action to stand firm in the truth we find in the Word of God.  Take courage!   The battle is the Lord’s.

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