was TRANSFORMED on the road to Damascus. His mode of operation
completely changed after that experience! As a matter of fact, he
went from being empty (full of religion and empty of truth), to FULL
(empty of self and filled with the Holy Spirit). After Ananias laid
hands on Paul; and after spending a little time with the disciples,
he "immediately preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He
is the Son of God". He no longer was an anemic religious
fanatic spouting laws, and rhetoric. He was indeed, a powerful
messenger of the Lord, speaking the gospel in love! One thing I can
appreciate about Paul was his audacity. Being truly transformed, he
began preaching in the synagogue! He wasn't afraid. He wasn't
worried about how people perceived him. Instead, he was BOLD! He was
straight forward. He wasn't about to pull any punches. He went
directly into the "ring" with the most dangerous men on
the planet! He went head to head with the religiously educated men.
Those men who had a "form of godliness, but denied the power
thereof". What's more is, he amazed them, and confounded
them, by proving that Jesus IS the Christ, or Messiah! As the days
passed, the Jews came up with a plan to kill him! They didn't
want their religious boat rocked. They were comfortable with their
legalistic existence, so they sought to eliminate the problem.
However, Paul, being covered by the hand of God, learned of their
plans and remained safe for the moment! None the less, the Jews kept
a close watch over the gates in order to murder him as he left the
city. Funny, how the world always wants to silence the truth! If
you've ever tried to speak the truth in the company of the deceived,
you were probably quickly rebuffed or attacked...get ready...more is
in store for those who unashamedly proclaim the truth of God's Word!
Back to the story...Up to this point, we sense Paul is on this
dangerous mission alone, with only the Holy Spirit to rely
upon...but that's simply not true. Remember the disciples he spent
time with BEFORE immediately preaching? "They took him by night
and let him down through the wall in a large basket". He was
safe! He made it out of there!
When I was a little boy, I used to enjoy watching the Lone Ranger!
He was such a hero! Why it seemed there was no task too big for him!
Yet, even the Lone Ranger, wasn't completely alone. He had
Tonto covering his back! I remember liking Tonto a lot...almost as
much as the Lone Ranger! Because he was so faithful...so reliable.
How about us today? Are we faithful to one another? Are we reliable?
Can you depend on fellow Christ followers to summarily "lower
you through the wall in a basket"? At night? Are you willing to
risk your self, to help a brother or sister? We should be
able to depend on one another like that. It should be the
norm. It should be part of our worship. Today, I want you to be
challenged in your faith, to be more accessible to the Body of
Christ. Be challenged to LOOK for opportunities to love others as
you love yourself. Just because there was a "tough crowd"
to contend with, didn't cause Paul or the disciples to be paralyzed
with fear. They didn't shrink back. They actually came up with a
plan themselves! A plan to help the Gospel of Jesus Christ go
forward. And because they sought the Lord first...their plan
succeeded! I am truly challenged by this story of Paul! I want to be
part of the ones who help others in need. I want to make a plan
which will actually be of benefit to others in the family of God!
May we as the body of Christ realize our roles. May we view each day
as a mission. A mission of love and selflessness. A mission that
literally is about life and death! It's easy to proclaim Jesus to
other Christ followers, but it's quite different proclaiming Him to
those who oppose His truth! Like Paul, I pray we WILL proclaim His
truth...no matter what. I pray we will not be afraid. No matter the
place...may God give His grace. Until next time...may you be BLESSED
with HIS BEST!
Partner in Ministry,
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