Turn back to the pages of Acts and let's look at the story of Paul. I am captivated by this man's journey, my friends. As I read the words he shares with King Agrippa about his Damascus Road encounter, it was as if I were right there sitting in the courtroom. Read Paul's story. Imagine yourself sitting in the audience with great anticipation, listening to every heart-pounding word. Imagine the intensity of Saul, a Pharisee who approved Stephen's stoning and held the coats of the men who killed him. Saul, so sure in his belief that Jesus was an imposter, he chased the believers of the Way to imprison them, to stop them. Listen with your spirit and lean in with your heart.
“I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene. Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
“One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’
“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’
“And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven." — Acts 26:9-19
As Paul speaks I imagine the silence in the room to be complete and heavy with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Not a word or a whisper could stop this moment of truth. Every word and every detail has been planned and purposed for the glory and revelation of Jesus.
My friends, as I shared earlier, I felt like I was present in that audience, witnessing this account. The intensity had me sitting at the edge of my own seat, leaning over my Bible. The heart of the message for this moment in time came clearly in a knowing in my heart and spirit. A message for us, SUMites.
This is what I felt the Holy Spirit wants us to understand. The man Saul vehemently opposed Jesus with a fierce and violent passion, yet in a moment of Jesus' choosing, He revealed His presence to Saul. And this man became transformed to one of the loudest voices, Paul, promoting and sharing Jesus with untold numbers and writing the majority of the New Testament. If Jesus' presence could turn such a staunch opposer's heart to Him, then no one is beyond His reach. He didn't manipulate, coerce, or condemn Saul to believe. He simply revealed Who He is. And if He can do this for such a man as Saul, He can do the same with our spouses, my friends.
SUM family, pray with me: Lord Jesus, thank You that Your presence alone is so great and all consuming that we are transformed in Your presence. Reveal Your grace and salvation to our spouses as You have said You would. We believe, Lord. We believe! Let it be as You have said it would be. In the saving name of Jesus, amen!
Many of you have asked me to give you updates on my daughter, Leslie. I will include these at the bottom of my posts when there’s something new. Please keep Leslie in your prayers today. She will undergo more tests Wednesday. MRI’s to look at muscles on her left side. We are fighting the insurance company to approve a CT scan to see if there are tumors in her chest cavity. Could be that this is being blocked by God because she doesn’t need it. He’s done this before to protect her. Stand with me in believing God's promise to me in Isaiah 58:11, that she will be as a well watered garden. Thank you, my SUM family. I love you!
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