Thursday, October 18, 2012
Welcome to Day 291 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
The first two chapters of Job, that we read yesterday, provide the framework for the entire book. How God wanted to prove the character of believers to Satan himself. (Funny, every time I type “Satan” I recall a time that I typed “Stan” and I chuckle to myself.)
Job 3:25, “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. 26 I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
Job 4:7, [Eliphaz] “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed?”
Acts 8:1, “And Saul was there, giving approval to his [Stephen’s] death.
3 “But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.”
The story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch gets an honorable mention here… Love that the eunuch was reading a scroll of Isaiah and needed help understanding it, and Philip just “showed up” to explain it to him, then he was baptized. Great story!
Acts 9:1, “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples…”
17 “Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—
has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized…”
Never underestimate the power of God to transform a life!
Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is classic!
He does a complete 180, going from persecuting the new church to championing its cause as, God’s chosen instrument “to carry my name [Jesus] before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.”
Just like God to take someone who is passionately against something and use them to champion that same cause.
Imagine being Ananias… and Jesus appears to you and tells you to go pray for Saul… Ananias was not excited.
“‘Lord,’ Ananias answered, ‘I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.'”
Then, when Barnabas vouches for Saul, the disciples were not quite ready to just (no pun intended) blindly accept him into their group. It took some time.
(Acts 13 is where it is first mentioned that Saul was also called Paul.)
In my life, it took some time for those around me to accept the change that had taken place in my life. Some said, “You’ll be back.” Others I think just waited to see if the change “stuck.”
I had given my life to Christ as a 12 year old. But the change took place at age 22 when I prayed a simple prayer on an airplane, “God, I don’t know you the way my friend Tom does… but I want to.”
I stepped off the plane a different person.
Not unlike when Ananias prayed for Saul and he regained his sight and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
I don’t think one has to have a radical experience to do great things for God. I certainly didn’t change my name… But if you are open to what God wants to do in your life… (In Paul’s case it was to “to carry my name [Jesus] before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.”)
In my life it was to begin leading worship and teaching the Bible. In a small group.
Then to help start a church…
I always say that God’s will is more easily seen in the rear-view mirror…
I find myself saying, “Oooohhhh… THAT’S what you were doing!! I get it now!”
One of my favorite “What is God’s will?” verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Just like Job, eh?
His wife said, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2
How encouraging! And what great advice… NOT!
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Lord, help me to always be thankful, in the good times and bad, to always trust you.
P.S. If you are changing… and you have a past… your past gets farther and farther behind you with each passing day. Don’t let those around you remind you of your past. Remember God has a hope and a future for you!