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Calling All Sinners!

By John Burns
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scripture Verses
Acts 9: 19-31

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem
    Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" 22Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.[a]

 23After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

 26When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

 31Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

Do you remember that moment in your life when you accepted Jesus in your heart?  I remember it like it was yesterday.  What a refreshing feeling!!  It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.  I wanted to tell the whole world what had happened, and boy did I have a lot of work to do.  It didn’t matter what had happened in the past. I was starting a new life. 

Paul was traveling to Damascus to arrest disciples for persecution when his moment occurred.  What happened after that is nothing short of amazing.  He began preaching the good news that Jesus is the Son of God, and he soon became the target of persecution from others. God protected him from death, but he suffered greatly and was imprisoned.  Yet still for many years he traveled and preached throughout the region, wrote 14 books of the New Testament, and is considered to be the father of Christianity.  Not bad for a man who once was filled with hatred and whose mission was to capture and have disciples killed.

God accomplished so much through Paul.  Just think what God can accomplish through each of us if we would just let him!!  It’s never too late.  Have you had that moment in your life?  How did you respond, or how are you responding today?  God is waiting for each of us to make that commitment and to have a relationship with Him.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your example of Paul.  May those who do not know you be filled with the Holy Spirit, accept you into their hearts, love, serve others and spread the good news.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.