Chick-fil-A is well known for being closed on Sundays to honor the Sabbath, and it turns out that even the prospect of huge Super Bowl Sunday profits won’t be enough for the fast food restaurant to make a change in that biblical policy. This year’s Super Bowl LIII matchup will take place Feb. 3 in […]
Paul is one of my favorite biblical people. In him, God creates an excellent example of what He can do to reach sinners, and how He can use a willing heart to further His kingdom.
When Paul was known as Saul, he persecuted Christians. He was so good at it, he was famous. He was admired by his superiors and was well-connected. There were few less likely to become a Christian. Therefore, he was uniquely right to be used to demonstrate the real power and truth of Christ.
In a later letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote, “For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” (Galatians 1: 13-14)
Someone as stubborn and dogmatic as Saul had to be broken in order to be reached. So that is just what happened. While he was on the road to Damascus, Jesus visited him in a flash of bright light.
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.
‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ …
Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” (Acts 9: 3-9)
Once broken, Saul finally opened his heart to the truth of Christ, and His gift of salvation. Saul accepted the truth, and became a Christian. In doing so, he gave up his status, his certain future, and life as he knew it. In return, he gained so much more, a place in Christ’s kingdom and eternal life. In this life, he became a whole new person… Paul.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5: 17)
God sent someone to heal Paul’s sight, and then Paul began his mission to preach Christ to the world, to be a leader to Christians new and old.
In submitting to God’s call, Paul becomes a further example to all of us who come after.
I am excited to share this link for last week’s sermon from the First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, SC. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I immediately felt the need to share it. I looked for it for a couple of days following the broadcast, but it hadn’t been made available yet. I am happy that God reminded me of it today. I hope everyone will watch and be moved.
It is both scary and exciting that Jesus knows us so well. I am sure that is exactly how the Samaritan woman felt, when Jesus found her at the well, because that is just how I felt when He found me.
First, Jesus was able to speak to her of things from her past, even though He had never met her before. Then, He was able to give her the assurance that, if she believed in Him as the Son of God and she turned from her life of sin, He would provide her with eternal life in which her soul would spend forever in Heaven. How encouraging!
“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give Him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4: 13-14
She was so excited, she ran into the city to tell all of the people about the Jesus she met at the well… about how He knew things that could not be explained… about the salvation He had offered. Of course, they went out to the well right away. Wouldn’t you?
We can learn a lot from the woman at the well. First, she discovered Jesus, and spent time with Him. That is something we should all do more of each day. Second, she ran to tell everyone that she had met Jesus. She testified. We should definitely be doing that! And third, because of her testimony, she convinced others to go to meet Jesus. What a wonderful thing, to be such a witness.
The apostle John tells us that, “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in [Jesus] because of the word of the woman who testified.” (John 4:39) She was their introduction to the wonder of the Messiah. Once she galvanized the people of the city, Jesus worked in their hearts. So, “Many more believed because of His* word, and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this one is indeed the Savior of the world.'” (John 4: 41-42)*
We only need to be willing to testify. Jesus can use our willingness to work in the hearts of the lost and unsaved.
*Underlining is my own emphasis, and not part of the scriptural text.
Recently, I have felt a great conviction about my choices of reading material and other media entertainment. I mean, if “you are what you eat,” then your heart and soul are a reflection of the things you put into them, right?
I have always enjoyed reading a lot of fiction, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, my love of reading a lot of fantasy has led to some topical matters that I am now finding problematic. I mean, a really good story makes me imagine myself within it, as it unfolds. Shouldn’t I be careful where my imagination might lead me? As a Christian, shouldn’t I try to avoid a minefield of things that the scriptures say to shun?
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul asserts, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, …
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, … that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5: 16-21)*
Anything that includes magic, mythological realms, demonic indwelling, angelic affairs, sexual situations, etc. should not be on the reading list of someone who is saved and called according to Christ’s purpose. Neither should I spend time watching tv shows or movies that I would be ashamed to watch in the presence of the Lord. Because, as a Christian, I know that He is with me always.
I am sure that some who read this will say that I am going a little overboard, that I am taking my belief too far. I wondered about that myself. I have really wrestled with this. Then I realized that the answer is available right in the Bible.
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” (Colossians 2:6)
“knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7)
And, of course, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
Not only are the scriptures clear, my soul feels much more at peace since I let go of my own selfish desires, and let God reveal His will.