The Way

I missed posting last Saturday. I was feeling icky and took advantage of the weekend for much needed rest. So, I am combining my Spirit-filled Saturday and my Musical Monday since there is a song that fits perfectly to the devotion I was supposed to share last Saturday. Acts 7-9 is the passage. The chapters are pretty amazing. Chapter  7 and 8 talked about the stoning of Stephen which was given approval by Saul, the fear that was brought upon the Christians because of his death, and the fierce desire of Saul to persecute the Christians. However, in Chapter 9, it talked about the conversion of Saul. One of the verses that really struck me is this:

Chapter 9
15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

As some of us may know, Saul became Paul and his ministry was the reason why we, Gentiles, understood our need for Jesus. What amazed with the passage is Paul's journey. He started as one of the persecutors of Christians. He decidedly and purposely persecuted Christians because, being a High Priest, his conviction tells him he's right to do so. So, the encounter with Jesus must have been so tremendously overwhelming with all the emotions he could possibly feel, that the end result of that is an 180 degree turn from who he was. I was thinking, it must've taken him a great while, investing time, energy, resources, etc. to be in his position of leadership in the church. But he gave it all up, must've been a lot of pride to swallow, all for the sake of knowing and serving Jesus. I know that chapter 9 explained a bit what he had to undergo when he shunned his belief system and believed the very God he intently disproves of (twice, he was plotted to be murdered), but I bet that it took a lot more sacrifice of his part. Can you imagine the humiliation he must've gone through? Especially being a man, who keeps his integrity sacred... That must've been a heck of a journey. But see, what's even more amazing is how Jesus can change lives. How the fear of the Lord can pretty much make you be fearless with everything else. I mean, if everyone just gives Jesus a chance to encounter them, can you imagine how amazing it could be? 

Being a Christian, I haven't always lived up to the title. I actually was a Christian by default (because my parents were). But I vividly remember the day, January 18, 1995, when I decided to give Jesus a chance, my life has truly never been the same. There are still tough times, temptations to be fought, struggles to be won. But it seems like even if I feel fear as I face those situations, I am more courageous as well. In fact, it hasn't even occurred to be to run away from every "learning" circumstance in my life. Never once! But that's the beauty of our Savior. The faith He gives us doesn't mean we're not going to be afraid, but the assurance that we are not alone. Just that fact the I am not alone in a world that will make you feel that way most of the times, I am eternally grateful. Jesus, you are the BEST!

Okay, and since it's musical Monday, here's the song that I feel so aptly describes the way Jesus wants us to encounter Him... Just as we are.

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