Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 23: The Activities of the Holy Spirit

Paul certainly is in a pickle. Acts chapter 23 continues the account of Paul’s arrest and representation before the Sanhedrin—the Jewish ruling court—as to his guilt or innocence. What I find amazing, however, is how the Holy Spirit was still functioning as a Counselor to Paul even when painful, horrific, and ungodly things were happening to him.

Verse 11 says: “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.’”

Paul is counseled by the Holy Spirit as he learned supernaturally that his prison ordeal was going to be moved to Rome. I realize that most often we Christians think that the role of the Holy Spirit is simply to get us out of difficulties and trials. But, we seldom recall that a principal function of the Holy Spirit is to comfort and counsel us while we’re steeped in a crisis. When the Lord said to Paul, “Take Courage”, His words were like a booster shot of strength into Paul’s soul.

I wonder what role faith played in Paul’s imprisonment. What I mean to say is: Do we see more of the counseling ministry of the Holy Spirit released in our lives when we expect it? Or, do we not experience much of the activities of the Spirit when our faith is passive? What do you think?

In your post please address the previous question or one of the following ones.

What role does comfort play in our trials?

What does the phrase “take courage” really mean?

Your answer should prove to be accurate when help against the litmus test of Paul’s experience in Acts 23.


  1. Hello Everyone,

    I like the idea of Paul being in a pickle – he sure can be naughty at times, eh! - again, another true statement by Dr. Ireland today “I realize that most often we Christians think that the role of the Holy Spirit is simply to get us out of difficulties and trials.” I’ll use myself to attest to that truth because when doing things on behalf of Jesus, my thought is that he’s got my back, oh my goodness, it is so untrue, there are times I feel as if I’m left to be devoured by wolves :-). I remember not too long ago, I’ve had to do something and after everything is done and I find myself cornered and in my downtime, I sensed Him telling me “He’s gonna get me out of it” – I felt so hot within and I said to God, “Are you out of it? – didn’t you know this was gonna take place, and you didn’t prevent it and now he’s telling me he’s gonna get me out of it.” I didn’t talk to God for days until of course I caved in and you guessed it - apologized again. It’s a growing process to remain gentle in the midst of the storm. In response to the original question, I see the Holy Spirit telling Paul “you are gonna get more whooping, so stay tight.” To me, “take courage” means to not lose hope, even if we were never to be delivered, the seed is already planted and there’s always harvest to be reaped. My expectation of remaining in fiery trial is bravery and there’s no fear of anything regardless of its size.


  2. Sorry I forgot,.....

    Everyone have a wonderful day, be blessed :-)


  3. It seems clear to me that Paul is resting in the Holy Spirit - by that I mean that he has completely turned his whole life over to his faith.

    He is constantly in his place of rest and peace in the Holy Spirit. It gives him the confidence and courage to speak truth to the Sanhedrin and to be confident that God's plan for him will be carried out. He never says or implies that things will be easy, just that he will get through whatever comes his way. This is the value to me of this chapter - finding rest in the Holy Spirit.

    God Bless you all

  4. I was really happy to Dr. Ireland's questions to think about. I still don't have definitive answers. When I first read Acts 23, the long version of what I read the Lord as saying was "Take courage. You know the things I've been having you do in Jerusalem that have gotten you into a pickle? Well now I'm going to have you do the same thing. But this time in Rome." My heart probably would have risen at the "Take courage" part and then sunk after hearing the rest of what the Lord had to say. I think it's interesting that the Lord never said that Paul would be okay in the end. So to me, Paul's faith must have been that he would have the strength to do God's will, whatever the outcome to his physical self. That requires a lot of courage.


  5. I find the whole idea of "comfort" to be that no matter what we go through the God who spoke the universe into existence is WITH US. That is a great comfort to know that no matter what happens God is in it with us and we can trust him. I feel that "taking courage is the same thing". We can take courage because if God be for us who can be against us.

    My husband and I had been chosen to adopt a baby girl several years ago and I attended the actual birth. When the doctor delivered her it was uncovered that she had a cleft lip and a cleft palate. She was going to needs a lot of surgery and rehab to correct this problem. My husband and I at first were overwhelmed but we were able to find comfort when we said "OK Lord if you are in this we can do this!" The birthmother wound up changing her mind and parenting. But this is just an example to me of "finding comfort and taking courage solely in God being in it"

  6. God's comfort is overwhelmingly the best feeling ever. I sometimes am in awe when I feel his comfort in every situation. Just think how much comfort Paul had when sharing the word and people were yelling and screaming not wanting to hear, but he continued.

    I so enjoyed how much favor he continually gained in every situation when speaking to the people in their own language or mentioning his citizenship and having the commandors step back and think twice about their choices. Now that's courage!!

  7. Hi all,

    The comfort that the Holy Spirit provides is extremely important, because it strengthens us and builds our faith. The counsel that He provides can also infuse us with wisdom, next steps, or strategy etc. Most importantly I believe that the comfort of the Holy Spirit in a trial demonstrates that God is with us ....... then we can persevere with boldness!


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