Last night while at church the book of Acts chapter 9 was being discussed. It spoke to the fact that in many cases we try to go against what God really wants in our lives. It spoke to the fact that in many cases we work against our true calling and purpose. It spoke to the fact that what God says about us may not be what we think, but that if we will grab onto it the potential that will be realized will be amazing. Have you connected with God? Have you started to build up a relationship with Him? If not, what is it going to take for Him to get your attention? Would it need to be as severe or drastic as what happens to Saul?
3As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, suddenly a light from the sky flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” 5“Who are you, Lord?” he asked. “I am Jesus, whom you persecute,” the voice said. 6“But get up and go into the city, where you will be told what you must do.” 7The men who were traveling with Saul had stopped, not saying a word; they heard the voice but could not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but could not see a thing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. 9For three days he was not able to see, and during that time he did not eat or drink anything. –from Acts 9
How receptive are you to hearing and receiving and responding to God’s Word? God has amazing plans for you and your life. God’s plans for you are good! The devil wants to rob and steal everything. God wants you to have life—life in all its fullness. God has a plan and wants to get your attention so that you can start and build up a relationship with Him. What would it take to get your attention? If we continue in Acts we read…
10There was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. He had a vision, in which the Lord said to him, “Ananias!”“Here I am, Lord,” he answered. 11The Lord said to him, “Get ready and go to Straight Street, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying, 12and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he might see again.” 13Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and about all the terrible things he has done to your people in Jerusalem. 14And he has come to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who worship you.” 15The Lord said to him, “Go, because I have chosen him to serve me, to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. 16And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake.” 17So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him. “Brother Saul,” he said, “the Lord has sent me—Jesus himself, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 At once something like fish scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he was able to see again. He stood up and was baptized; 19and after he had eaten, his strength came back. –from Acts 9
We see the impact God provided through His grace and mercy and how through the forgiveness of sin by the sacrifice of Jesus, our lives can be transformed forever. There may be things in our hearts or lives that we figured would take forever to get it taken care of, but it takes but just a moment with God to be transformed forever. And if we will allow Jesus to get our attention and we start to follow His plans for our lives, we will never be the same. For some they will realize there is a spiritual battle taking place that they were never aware of because they had never been a threat to the devil’s plans. For others that reality will be clearer because of the their previous trials but will now find the strength and the courage to take it on with Jesus by their side. We see in Acts 9 the transformation that takes place in Saul after his encounter with Ananias…
Saul Preaches in Damascus
Saul stayed for a few days with the believers in Damascus. 20He went straight to the synagogues and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God. 21All who heard him were amazed and asked, “Isn’t he the one who in Jerusalem was killing those who worship that man Jesus? And didn’t he come here for the very purpose of arresting those people and taking them back to the chief priests?” 22But Saul’s preaching became even more powerful, and his proofs that Jesus was the Messiah were so convincing that the Jews who lived in Damascus could not answer him. 23 After many days had gone by, the Jews met together and made plans to kill Saul, 24but he was told of their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates in order to kill him. 25But one night Saul’s followers took him and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. –from Acts 9
What will it take or did it take for God to get your attention?
This morning’s reading is my catching up from the old testament readings for the week from the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 6: God calls Isaiah to be a prophet (let’s see how God gets his attention…)
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on his throne, high and exalted, and his robe filled the whole Temple. 2Around him flaming creatures were standing, each of which had six wings. Each creature covered its face with two wings, and its body with two, and used the other two for flying. 3 They were calling out to each other: “Holy, holy, holy! The Lord Almighty is holy! His glory fills the world.” 4The sound of their voices made the foundation of the Temple shake, and the Temple itself became filled with smoke. 5I said, “There is no hope for me! I am doomed because every word that passes my lips is sinful, and I live among a people whose every word is sinful. And yet, with my own eyes I have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” 6Then one of the creatures flew down to me, carrying a burning coal that he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7He touched my lips with the burning coal and said, “This has touched your lips, and now your guilt is gone, and your sins are forgiven.” 8Then I heard the Lord say, “Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?”I answered, “I will go! Send me!” 9So he told me to go and give the people this message: “No matter how much you listen, you will not understand. No matter how much you look, you will not know what is happening.” 10Then he said to me, “Make the minds of these people dull, their ears deaf, and their eyes blind, so that they cannot see or hear or understand. If they did, they might turn to me and be healed.” 11I asked, “How long will it be like this, Lord?”He answered, “Until the cities are ruined and empty—until the houses are uninhabited—until the land itself is a desolate wasteland. 12I will send the people far away and make the whole land desolate. 13Even if one person out of ten remains in the land, he too will be destroyed; he will be like the stump of an oak tree that has been cut down.”(The stump represents a new beginning for God’s people.) –from Isaiah 6
Isaiah 7: He is God’s hand and mouth extended to speak to others as the prophet God has called him to be
- The first message is to have faith and don’t lose hope (v1-9)
- The second message was a sign from God speaking of the coming of Jesus and God’s promise of what is to come (v10-25)
Isaiah 8: God is good to His word! His word never returns void!
- Isaiah’s Son as a Sign to the People (v1-4)
- Because people don’t pay attention to the warnings, The Emperor of Assyria Is Coming (v5-10)
- God will direct the path of the righteous and so, The Lord Warns the Prophet (v11-15)
- Put your hope and trust in God alone. Don’t be like others who Consult the Dead (v16-20)
- Put your hope and trust in God. Don’t curse Him or those He has put in authority over you. (v21-22)
Isaiah 9: Speaks of the return of Jesus as the King
- 6A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.” 7His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace. He will rule as King David’s successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time. The Lord Almighty is determined to do all this.
- Disobedience to God opens the door to trials, troubles, pain.
Isaiah 10: God can use everyone for His purpose. What would it take to get your attention? Who would need to step into your life? Would it need to be someone in high authority?
- Would it take: The Emperor of Assyria as the Instrument of God
- Where will you put your trust? In whom will you put your hope and trust?
- God’s got it all under control