A'nesis Retreats and Counseling Sabbaticals

Come Away to a Quiet Place and Rest Awhile ~ Christian Retreats with Intensive Counseling

A'nesis Retreats and Counseling Sabbaticals

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Take Courage…So You Must…

“But on the night immediately following, The Lord stood at his side and said, ‘Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My Cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness to Rome also.” Acts 23:11

I am trying to picture Paul receiving this direct order from His Lord. He had just had the day from – you know where- much like my day yesterday. There are some days that the enemy just seems to bear down and not let up…from the beginning to the end he relentlessly attacks. I don’t know why, but when that happens on a MONDAY it even seems that much worse. Maybe that is just my quirky pet peeve…enemy chooses a Monday for the day to hit me hard.

So imagine Paul. He had just spent the entire day being attacked by the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the Jewish court. The day began with him being “struck in the mouth.” Seems things went downhill from there, ending with him being taken away to the “barracks,” aka prison.

He settles into his new digs…probably a cold and dirty cell and there appears The Lord with the simple orders of his next mission. “Take courage…so you must…” Must what? Go on to another city and experience something ten times worse than what he’d just been through? “Lord, please tell me you are kidding,” must have been going through Paul’s mind.

Paul obeyed. Not knowing the details of how things would play out.

Drilling down we see how the Lord worked behind the scenes for him. Paul obeyed. He took courage and he went. What did the Lord do?

He used random people behind the scenes to help Paul with his next “impossible assignment.”

-Paul’s nephew “overheard” a plot to kill Paul
-The nephew went to a Roman centurion.
-The Roman centurion went to his Roman commander to ask for help for Paul.
-The Roman commander did the following:
He enlisted 2 centurions, 200 soldiers (at 3:00am by the way), 70 horsemen, 200 spearmen, mounts to put Paul on, wrote a personal letter to Felix on Paul’s behalf. After doing all this he then whispers to the nephew (just a young boy) and trusts him to keep the secret of Paul’s escape.

We’ve heard so many times before…”He won’t ask us to do something and leave us unequipped for the task.”

When The Lord asks us to do something we must always “take courage.” That first step on our part seems to be the catalyst for Him working behind the scenes to take care of the details.

Is the Lord asking you to “take courage” this week? If so, “so you must.” Believe on Him for the details. He is “before all things that touch you.”

Sanctuary near Buena Vista, Colorado

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“God is Before All Things That Touch Me…”

The most powerful Truth I encountered in 2014 was the concept of “God is before all things that touch me” taken from the verse in Colossians 1:17 that says, “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (NIV).”

Reflecting on all the “Life-stories” I’ve heard this year it is hard to imagine that God could actually be “in those things and even ahead of those things” that touched my clients. Deaths of babies, deaths of children, cruel and unusual suicides, horrible abuses by fathers and mothers to their own children and horrible transgressions and betrayals by husbands and wives to each other.

If one is not careful to stay close to and in constant touch with the Truth, a helper in my field of counseling could easily lose their way. All I can do is hold on to the attributes and character of God. It is necessary for me everyday to keep on reminding myself of God’s goodness, of His plans, His purposes and His ways.

I reflect back on the year and hang tight. The God of the Universe makes no mistakes. He has ultimate plans and purposes that are beyond our wildest ability to imagine. Even in the nitty gritty ugliness of the ways of the world and what it deals humanity, God is sovereign and He is able.

I rest in the assurance that no matter what touches me, it is no surprise to Him. He’s already walked ahead of me and removed absolutely anything that would have the ability to destroy me. In His love He leaves the rest of the obstacles. The ones that will make my trust level stronger, the ones that will draw me closer to Him.

There is solace in knowing He’s cleared the way for the most terrible of things. All others He knows about and He brings me comfort in the midst of the trial. I carry this hope for those who are hurting over what last year has dealt them. I hope that they can receive comfort in This Truth. God allows in His wisdom what by His power He could prevent. Yes we are a few hours into this new year, and already He has gone before us.