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In Acts 21, Paul knew difficulties, arrest and persecution were in his future. Sometimes we know something unsettling, like a big move or surgery, is coming. What can we learn from Paul in this situation? Paul advanced step by step. With arrest looming, he still focused on the present, doing the work of teaching and mentoring. Paul trusted God. His disciples begged him not to go to Jerusalem; Paul urged them to accept God’s will as he had. Paul praised God. Facing upcoming hardship, Paul was full of praise for all God had done. He listened to the advice of Godly friends. False reports had been circulating amongst the new believers about who Paul was and his teachings. Paul’s friends urged him to attend the temple ceremonies in solidarity with the believers there. Paul followed this advice and calmed the heated feelings. Paul honored his commitments and followed Christ’s example in handling persecution. The authorities falsely accused Paul of bringing gentiles into the temple, people got riled up, dragged him out and beat him. Roman soldiers intervened and were shocked to find out Paul was a Roman citizen as he tried to clear up the misconceptions. Still today, there are false ideas about Jesus’ identity and teaching. We can help clear up these misconceptions by trusting God, presenting truth and living a life of service with love.

— Marian Guihan

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