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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11: Acts 9

Here is what God is saying to me through this chapter: The Christians were justifiably cautious of this Paul who was once Saul, the persecutor of Christians. They were “afraid of him, not believing he was a disciple” (v. 26). It is impossible to really love and include people if we are afraid of them, which is why John writes “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John). There was, however, one Christ follower who went out of his way to reach out to Paul and embrace him. “Barnabas took hold of [Paul]” (v. 27) when no one else would. I wonder where Paul would be without a brother like Barnabas who would not follow the majority in rejecting Paul. Barnabas wasn’t driven by fear of what Paul might do to him if his conversion to Christ was fake. He wasn’t fearful of what people might think of him if he reached out to Paul. His love for God and his loving grace toward Paul took him beyond his fears.

Here is what I will do today because of what God is saying to me: Today I will look for opportunities to embrace people who may need encouragement, people whom I may fear or may not fully “get.” I want the Spirit of God to lead me, like he did Phillip in the last chapter, to people who need an encouraging friend in Christ to “take hold of them” in friendship like Barnabas did for Paul.


Anonymous said...

I especially like verse 31 in this chapter when it says the churches had peace and were edified. Even though they walked in fear of the Lord they had the comfort of the Holy Spirit and than they were multiplied. Its not about how big a church gets its what the church believes The Love of God, the boldness of proclaiming Jesus As Lord. Wow!! I don't ever want to forget that its all about Jesus and I want to be able to have opportunities to tell other people about how great Jesus is and what a difference he can make in their lives. I want to be ready everyday to give and answer for the reason of hope that is in me as in 1Peter3:15.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, Jesus did not have to literally blind me, in order for me to develop a personal relationship with Him! I was figuratively blind, but now I see! It is frightening to love and embrace our enemies, and trust that God may have converted them. But, who are we to question the power of God to change lives?! Like so many at SWC have recently shared, I too have been radically changed by God!

After Christ literally blinded him, in verse 11, Saul is praying. If we are seeking to change, we cannot change ourselves. We need to pray to God to be transformed! I will continue to pray for God to heal my brokenness. Also, I will pray to be like Barnabas, and will reach out to the lost and those who need encouragement!

Anonymous said...

I agree Maria. When encouraged by the Holy Spirit, growth of the church is unstoppable. This growth occured after a period of peace and unity following Paul's conversion. Everyting was in place to take the gospel to the Gentiles, and to the ends of the earth.

I pray that our spiritual growth and witnessing will take us to places we never imagined at SWC! A church fillied with the Holy Spirit in complete peace and unity with Jesus! A church going to the ends of the earth!

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of this passage is when the Lord told Ananias to go to Saul and lay hands on him (Verse 11) And Ananias responds (verse 13) with "Lord I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem". This reminds me of how many times I respond to the Lord with an attitude of "But Lord, don't you know...?" He knows! In verse 15 the Lord is gracious enough to fill Ananais in on what's going on. I am challenged by this passage to stop responding with "But Lord, don't you know...?" And instead obey with no questions asked.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Thanks for the insights and challenges gang. Keep them coming!