An Unlikely Convert

One of the most powerful stories of conversion can be found in Acts Chapter 9. It tells the story of Saul, a Pharisee( a Jewish elder and authority) who wholeheartedly rejected Jesus as the Son of God. Saul was a powerful member of the Jewish faith, and he opposed all who believed that Jesus was anything other than a man who claimed to be God. Even worse than that, Saul openly persecuted those who did believe that Jesus was the Son of God by arresting, imprisoning, and executing as many of them as possible. He was convinced that Jesus blasphemed God the Father by claiming that He was one with the Father and that the Father had sent Him into the world to be sacrificed for the sins of the people who put their faith in Him.

Jesus spoke directly to Saul as he was on his way to Damascus to arrest more people who believed in “The Way” (the earliest Christians). Prepare to have your mind blown by God! Here goes: Acts Chapter 9, verses 1-22: Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed aound him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”  “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But 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. I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.”

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All 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?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. [NIV Bible]

God reaches out to all people, because He is our Creator, and He wants us to know Him. God happily receives agnostics, atheists and people of other faiths who turn to Him and accept His Son as their Savior. You aren’t too far away from God to come to Him now! He would love to hear your voice. Talk to Him. That’s what prayer is–talking directly to God, having a conversation with Him. No memorization is necessary. You can just talk to God like you would another person. Tell Him you’re frustrated, tired, angry, lonely, irritable–you don’t have to put on airs with God. That’s one of the most awesome things about Him is that He knows everything anyway, so there’s no need to pretend or sugar coat anything. If you screwed up, confess it, and He will forgive you. If someone treats you unfairly or misunderstands you, He knows the whole truth, so who better to go to for comfort? All He asks from you is that you believe He is the one true God, not one of many you could choose, but the only One. Jesus made things right between you and God the Father by sacrificing His (human) life as a payment for the sins of all people who believe.

Having “faith” in God means that you believe He is who He says He is, and that you trust Him. Put your trust in God today. Believe He is who He says He is, and allow yourself to be welcomed and loved by Him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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