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The Fear of The Lord, part 1
Acts 9:1 “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord…”
If you were going to be mentioned in the Bible, how would you like to have those words spoken of you? “Saul, still breathing threats and murder…” However, when I think about my past life, my story would be similar in that it too would be filled with vile thoughts and actions. That is of course after age 4; up to age 4, I was a pretty good little boy, then, it all went downhill. Now here I am today: a sinner saved by grace, preaching the Gospel. I’m not much different than Paul, except for the fact that I don't have the surpassing great revelations he had, or the touch of God, or the favor of God, like he had. Now that I think of it, I’m not like Paul at all except that we were both sinners before we got saved.
After the opening verses of this chapter we see the conversion of Saul. His conversion is one of the most dramatic and detailed conversions in the Bible. For the most part the Bible simply makes reference to people believing and being baptized, but in Saul’s case, we are given far more detail about what happened to him than anyone else. That obviously sets him apart as a more than average guy.
As Saul encountered Jesus on that road to Damascus, God strikes him blind; however, just a few days after that, God sends Ananias to him to pray for him to receive his sight. Saul’s reputation was so bad among the Christians that Ananias initially did not want to go to him, but the Lord said to Ananias, "Behold he is praying."
In the past we have done a study was based on Acts 9:11 “… a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying.” That study dealt with what that prayer means to God. Regarding this verse, Samuel Chadwick said in his book, The Path of Prayer: “God speaks of prayer in terms of wonder: “Behold, he prays.” Prayer is the language of humanity, but it is the only speech man knows, and however inadequate it may be, it stands for a corresponding reality in God. Prayer expresses a belief in God. The word, “behold,” expresses wonder. Can God wonder? Can there be in Him elements of surprise and amazement? Can it be that there are things that are wonderful to God? Yet that is how God speaks about prayer in this account. It would seem as if the biggest thing in God’s universe is a man who prays. The only thing bigger would be the man who knows to pray and willfully chooses not to.
I believe the reason the Bible goes into such detail regarding Saul’s conversion is because the salvation experience is the final and complete expression of the Scriptures. This is what it’s all about friends. It’s about people getting saved and coming into an intimate relationship with Him. “Behold he prays,” is more than just an exclamation that someone is in prayer.
This is everything the Damascus road experience was meant to lead up to. When God speaks of Saul’s conversion He sums it all up in the words, “Behold, he is praying.” Prayer is the privilege of sons, and the test of son-ship. That is what it meant to God, and that is what it always means to Him. Prayer is the symbol and proof of Grace. All that happens in the converting work of grace, whereby we receive the adoption of sons, is that being sons and daughters of God, we pray.
Medication (because laughter is the best medicine) THE PRICE OF GAS IN FRANCE A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre. After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van. However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas. When asked how he could mastermind such a crime yet make such an obvious error, he replied, "Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings. I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh." See if you have deGaulle to forward this to someone else. I sent it to you because I figured I had nothing Toulouse. I hope this brought a chuckle. After all, 'tis the Cezanne to be jolly! God Bless,
Pastor Brad Verse of the week: 1 Corinthians 15:58 Today's Bible reading(s): Isaiah 54 - 58