A'nesis Retreats and Counseling Sabbaticals

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


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“The Lord Stood and Said…”

How many times in our lives have we longed for the big billboard in the sky? There are seasons of darkness when we really need some sort of “sign.” Most of us really would prefer an actual physical sign…neon, regular billboard or perhaps even a small poster would do.

How fortunate for Paul that he actually experienced the Lord standing by him; not only this,he must have clearly heard Jesus speaking to him in an audible voice. Wow! Let’s examine a little closer before we get pea green with envy. If God speaks to us we may not want to be obedient to the message. The delivery could be a fabulous and wonderful and amazing sense of the His beautiful presence. However, the content of the message could be pretty frightening! “You say what?” “You want me to do what?”

Examining Paul’s moment of knowing the Lord was standing and speaking to Him gives us a clue to how we know if it is actually God’s voice or something we are only imagining. Here are some ways we can tell “is it God, the devil or me?”

1. He usually gives us a tough assignment that requires complete dependence on Him, not ourselves. Let’s face it…would self tell self to do something hard? No self would suggest a nice easy task!

2. The word from Him can often require a lot of “movement,” like travel or going to a new place that is totally out of our comfort zone. This could be as simple as talking to someone we would not normally talk to.

3. His message might require several steps to accomplish and also require patience.

4. It will not necessarily sound like common sense. We think God would only give us a clear,simple, and normal message. Quite the contrary. The Lord stood (by Paul) and told him very clearly to go do the same thing he just did (and almost got killed for) in yet another country (required extensive harsh travel). This time he would receive more brutal treatment, even imprisonment.

Acts 23 gives us this beautiful example of Jesus standing and talking to us in the flesh. The important thing is, if you experience His presence in the delivery of the message, you can rest assured about the content. Don’t question. Trust and obey. He will take care of the rest. You will grow and learn to depend on him more. You can’t put a price tag on an experience like that!

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.”