Be of Good Cheer
I am so inspired today by the life of Paul. If you've been a believer long I know you've probably heard the scriptures I'm about to share so much that you'll be tempted to brush it off thinking, yea yea I already know this. I'm praying you will get a new and fresh revelation as I did this morning, especially in this time of chaos, fear, and panic in our world.
There is so much I want to go into with Pauls testimony but for times sake I'm going to go into what I personally got a fresh revelation on this morning. So lets start in Acts 27. So at this time Paul had already spent a significant time in prison and was on his way via ship to Rome to appear before Caesar. I encourage you to read the full story for yourself to get all the details I'm not going to share here only for times sake. Acts 27: 20-26, 'When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was upon us, all hope that we should be saved was lost. After they had long abstained from food, Paul stood in their midst and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete, incurring this injury and loss. But now I advise you to take courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. And, look! God has given you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore, men, take courage, for I believe God that it will be exactly as it was told to me. Nevertheless, we must be shipwrecked on a certain island.”' So the KJV says in vs 22, "And now I exhort you to be of good cheer..." I love it. So basically they've been at sea in the midst of a hard, constant storm for 3 days and nights. They have not seen the sun by day nor the stars by night for 3 days and 3 nights. Just constant beating and tossing by the waves and Paul, the prisoner, the non ship sailing expert, says, well you should have listened to me but regardless be of good cheer, take courage, you're not going to die, just the ship will be destroyed. HAHAHA These were not fellow believers. They did not know or have faith or trust in Pauls God. I think if Paul would have said I told you so and any other message he would have been pounced on and tossed overboard. But instead he told them something that made no sense in the natural, "be of good cheer". Scripture doesn't specifically say this but I believe his actions were of good cheer and courage and because of that his words brought encouragement to the rest of the men on that ship. Think about it, if Paul would have panicked, ran around yelling, I told you so, I told you but no you didn't listen it would have fed everyone else's fears and frustration.
Take a look at verse 23, "For there stood by me this night the angel of God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul." John 15:19 tells us that we are not of this world, we've been chosen out of it. You now belong to God and are under new leadership. So just like Paul in this storm this means that when storms or trials come you don't react the way the world does. It makes sense in the middle of a storm to panic IF you are under the leadership of the kingdom of darkness, if your nature is of sin. On the contrary walking in the Spirit, in the righteousness of Christ, under the leadership of the Spirit you are naturally at peace in the midst of the storm. Living in the Spirit often makes no sense in the natural. Understanding (not just knowing) that you belong to God causes supernatural peace while the world is in complete fear. In John 14:27 Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Not as the world gives, according to circumstances but as Christ gives, regardless of circumstances. You literally become the light of Jesus in the midst of darkness. Do not take this as a work of the flesh that you somehow need to muster up courage and peace in trying circumstances because that is not it at all! This peace is natural when you know and understand who you are in Christ, when your eyes are fixed on Jesus and His word is planted in your heart. You cannot reap a harvest of the promises of the Word if you do not plant it in your heart first. This is so important, you have to read and meditate on the word!
Ok lets move on to the next part. Acts 27: 31-38 "' Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, “Unless these sailors remain in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the rowboat and let her fall off. As day was about to dawn, Paul asked them all to eat, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have waited and continued without food, having eaten nothing. So I urge you to eat. This is for your preservation, for not a hair shall fall from your head.” When he had said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all. And when he had broken it he began to eat. Then they were all encouraged, and they also ate food themselves. In all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship. When they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw the wheat into the sea.'" Again his actions and his words in unity with one another caused all 276 people on that ship to be encouraged and to do as Paul did. He didn't ask them to be of good cheer then secretly under the guise of quarantine panic and beg God to save them. He rested in the truth of who he is, he nourished his flesh and gave thanks in the presence of all to God. One man, woman or child filled with the Holy Spirit can move mountains and the hearts of all those around them!
Ok I'm excited about this one. Go to Acts 28:3-10, "'The natives showed extraordinary kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because of the rain and the cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper driven out by the heat fastened on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “Surely this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, justice does not allow him to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They expected him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But while they waited and saw no harm befall him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. In that area was an estate of the chief man of the island, named Publius, who had welcomed us and courteously housed us for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, placing his hands on him, prayed and healed him. When this happened, the rest on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. They honored us in many ways. And when we sailed, they provided us with necessary supplies.'" This goes back to Paul's admission in chapter 27:23 "of God to whom I belong". In John 16:33 Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Mark 16: 17 & 18 says, "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” This is not to say that you should go messing around with snakes or poison but that it doesn't matter what the trial is that tries to come against you, you are no longer of this world and under its authority, you do not have to suffer the harm from the attack. Jesus has overcome the trial coming at you. Shake it off, back into the fire which it came out of. Your life is a testament to the God you serve. This Christian walk is not about avoiding trials or hardships but about the shaking of them and victory you've already been given over them through Christ. Healings and testimonies of victory lead people to Christ. They are proof of the power of the gospel. That is how Jesus ministered and that is how the disciples and apostles ministered. It is how Jesus commissioned all of His followers to do ministry.
As a quick side note to chapters 27 and 28. Notice how many times Paul (a prisoner) received favor. His circumstances didn't change, he wasn't rescued out of the situation but he was given favor in the midst of the situation. You too can walk in supernatural favor right in the midst of dire and chaotic situations! Seek the heart of the Father, because it is good and His goodness is toward you. Seek Him in His word and let those seeds be planted in you. His word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11) but with a harvest of effortless change IN and THROUGH you! Friends, I exhort you today to be of good cheer and fear not. Nourish your flesh, give thanks to God and rest in who you are in Him (the God to whom you belong and the finished works of Jesus)!
I pray that you will have eyes to see and ears to hear. That His word will come alive to you and through you. I pray that you will set aside the news, chatter, lies, and diagnosis of this world and fix your eyes and ears and heart on Jesus and His word. And that you like Paul will be able to shake off the attack and poison of sickness, disease, pain, grief, depression, negativity, hurt, anger, unforgiveness, poverty and lack and walk in supernatural favor that draws everyone around you to your God! That you will experience and know the peace of God! You are blessed! You are set free and whom the Son sets free, IS (right now, present-tense, not will be but right now) free indeed!! Beloved, I wish that above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2). In Jesus Name Amen!!