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Devotionals

Saul to Paul (Part 3)

I feel at times that I am the most spoilt child of God you can find! Have you perhaps felt like that? I hope you have. God has looked after Jenny and myself over many years, not only providing for needs but also giving us many things we felt we did not deserve. Some two months back our children in Naperville Chicago gave me such a huge gift, an iPhone 12 for making my sermon recordings easier. Attached to this gift was a wallet that carries 3 cards. I use it for a Cheque Card and my Driver’s License. This wallet sticks to the phone by way of magnets. We needed to use the iPhone with Google Maps to get to a certain venue in Blouberg today. I had a lunch meeting with a colleague who is the principal of GWC. I agreed to pay for the lunch and could not find this magnetic wallet. Fortunately I had my general wallet with me and could use my Credit Card. I was concerned about the magnetic wallet because of the Cheque Card that can be used to tap and the license as I need to share the driving. I went to the bank and waited more than one hour before I was attended too and cancelled the Cheque Card. In my mind I lost the magnetic wallet somewhere. We returned to where we are staying and searched for the wallet thinking it might have come loose when the phone fell of the bedside table this morning when I put off the alarm. Yes … the lost wallet was found under the bed! Praise the Lord. I own the wallet and the cards and they were lost. Then I found them and I rejoiced! Remember the Parable of the Lost Son? The father said of his lost son

Lk 15:24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

So they began to celebrate. There are other parables about lost sheep and a lost coin in the same chapter … but the lost soul and the found soul is of importance as we consider lost Saul the Pharisee and found Paul the apostle!

1) Saul’s journey to find Christians. We have noted he was bent on destroying the Christian Church. His journey of destruction started in Jerusalem heading towards Damascus. This trip would have taken about a week as it was around 240 kilometers. It was noon (see chapters 22:6 and 9v:1-2)

Ac 9:3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

His journey is almost complete when he experiences something phenomenal! Luke tells us of a light from heaven flashing around Saul … something like the flashing headlights of an ambulance … but far brighter … it was brighter than the sun (see chapter 26:13). It was a dramatic experience

Av 9:8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. He was thrown to the ground and rendered blind

and there was no warning. It was sudden. Then, as he falls to the ground he hears a voice

Ac 9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Surely this was far worse than a slave falling prostrate before the master! He is addressed personally … Saul, Saul with a puzzling yet understandable question … “why do you persecute me?” Something snapped in Saul’s mind. This was no ordinary voice or flashing light. Surely this brilliance comes from a source that is not human but supernatural because he asks

Ac 9:5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

See the name Saul uses? This is God’s name (Yahweh – Jehovah – Lord) … yet he asks who this Lord is. Maybe it was fear or panic. Maybe he knew immediately what he had been doing to the Christian Church was wrong and immediately understood what was happening to him … a supernatural encounter! See the reply

Ac 9:5 … “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.

He did not need any explanation who this Jesus was … he knew! No further questions asked! The flashing Lights were the Lights of Glory radiating the Majesty of the Risen Jesus … who is Lord, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit … one God, one Lord, one Saviour, one King! Those flashes of Glory that blinded him told him whom he was dealing with as he lay prostrate before the Lord. He was journeying to find Christians and Jesus finds him. He was lost like my wallet and Jesus found him as I found the wallet! Like the prodigal son, this is a real lost and found story … a true one.

2) Saul was given instructions by the Lord without him asking questions.

Ac 9:6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Did you notice his total and utter obedience? The Lord had plans for Saul … dramatic, life changing plans. We will get to this tomorrow, but for today …

(1) Do you know who this Jesus is? Many think Jesus is just the Savior used by God at Calvary. Others think He is a lesser God than the Father. Yet the Christian Bible clearly teachers “Three Persons as one God.” Remember God came to earth as God incarnate. He took on flesh and although limited Himself whilst in the flesh never stopped being God because He came as the Son. Jesus is truly God, Saviour, Lord and King. Do you understand that and do you believe it?

(2) Have you been persecuting Jesus either in word of deed? Some do so without realizing it. Dissuading others not to be intentionally Christian is persecuting Jesus. Coercing Christians to relax their morals and ethics is persecuting Jesus. Telling a spouse, child or parent not to be “fanatical” as they would call it and ease off with Church involvement is persecuting Jesus. Encouraging someone not to tithe or not to tithe properly is persecuting Jesus. Have you been doing this? Do you need to stop it?

(3) Are you lost and need to be found? I was extremely worried about the possible loss of my magnetic wallet. All the possibilities flashed through my mind continually … What about God when He sees a soul who is lost? Death, whilst being lost like that and dying in that condition spells out eternal hell and damnation. Yet … after the woman found her coin, God said

Lu 15:10 “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Lord Jesus, please find lost souls and save them for Yourself. Amen.

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