Week 50 Sunday

Take Courage!

Today’s scripture selection: Acts 23-24

Key Verse: Acts 23:11

The turmoil was only intensifying.  Paul, the former Pharisee turned Christian evangelist, was stirring up trouble wherever he went.  Or, to put it more appropriately, the dark forces that would destroy the work God had begun, were stirring up trouble wherever he went.

Under confinement; hated by many; Paul no doubt needed a word of encouragement.  Who could blame him if he began to wonder if he had correctly understood his calling; if he was really on the right path?

That word of encouragement came from the Lord himself:

“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.’”

It was only one of many other occasions when Paul would receive divine affirmation that it was no accident that he was on his way to Rome.  It was by design.  God had great purposes in mind – all would unfold – just as it should.  And, ultimately, though it would cost Paul his earthly life – it would secure his place, not only in history, but heaven as well.

We are not on the same path as the apostle Paul.  But we are on a journey with which God is intimately acquainted and involved.  His plan for each of us somehow miraculously works with our own unique personalities and gifts; our needs and desires; our sense of vocation.  And we accomplish what God would have us to do.  Or at least, that is the potential for each of our lives, should we choose to be “followers of the Way.”

So take courage!  Stay the course.  You do not travel it alone.

Prayer: Lord, show me how best to accomplish the work you have given me to do.  Give me the strength and courage to carry on until it is completed.  AMEN.



By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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