Devotional 12th September 2019
One night the Lord spoke. . .
‘One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision. Do not be afraid. Keep on speaking; do not be silent. For I am with you and no one is going to attack you’ Acts 18:9 – 10
Following our last devotional entitled ‘Hear the Word of the Lord’ I was struck by this little phrase in Acts today: ‘One night the Lord spoke. ’It seemed almost incidental but that doesn’t mean it was insignificant.God wanted to encourage Paul in his purpose of being God’s ambassador. The enemy wanted Paul to be too afraid to continue speaking out in the way he had been doing. But bold witnessing was what God had called him to do. The dangers around him were very real but God’s presence with him was even more real. God wanted to encourage him to have new faith and trust, so He came to Paul one night. It was not on a particular occasion or when Paul was in a revival meeting, it was just one night. This fact really brought home to me that God is truly with us all the time as our friend and our counsellor. How aware are we of His loving presence with us? He wanted to build Paul up and strengthen him to overcome his natural fear and he loves to encourage us in the same way for we too have been chosen to be His friends. I remember how recently I felt bad about myself because once again I’d yielded to a weak area in my life and my bad choices had badly affected others as well as me. I prayed saying ‘Lord please forgive me, I am such a failure in this area. ’The thought came back, ‘Yes, Child you have failed, but you are not a failure, you are my precious daughter with some areas of weakness that you need to work on with me. ’I was shocked as it was a real paradigm shift to think of myself in that way. It had seemed almost spiritual to be beating myself up as a failure, but of course that attitude completely undermines the power of what Jesus did for us on the cross. God was speaking to me as a friend and as my Father, wanting me to know the truth, that while I may fail I am not ‘a failure’ but His beloved child.
On that occasion His thoughts came to me like ideas dropping simply into my mind as I prayed. In Paul’s case God spoke through a vision. God used different messages and different styles of delivery but the end result for both Paul and I was encouragement. God loves to speak to encourage us and knows how to get through to us.
Reflect: Did you hear His word of encouragement yesterday? Are you expecting Him to speak to you today? Be encouraged, you are His precious child and as He said to Paul, He is with you always. Any moment night or day might be that moment He chooses to speak to you, to give you a vision, to draw your attention to a Bible verse, to give you an impression or use something natural as a channel for His voice. Be encouraged in His love and care and listen for Him today.