I am absolutely caught up on my one year Bible reading plan! Yay!
The readings this week are still in Job and Acts. For some reason, I am very curious about Job and want to understand more about it. I’ve read a book on Job but didn’t find it very helpful for my understanding so I will be on the look for a good Job study in the future. If you have one to suggest, please let me know!
Acts is also fascinating. For those whom are unfamiliar, the Book of Acts tells about the beginnings of the church through the acts of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit descends to the Christians. Christians are persecuted, the number of believers is added to, and the gospel is spread widely. It must have been a mind-blowing time.
Do you continue in disbelief as you saw darkness overcome the day after Jesus’ death? Disbelief after seeing or hearing of miracles- the blind become seeing, the lame become walking? Disbelief when the miracles are now coming through Jesus’ disciples?
Do you believe and risk your life?
Or do you secretly believe and hide it?
The reading of Acts 9 came in the week before this past week, but I’d like to visit there for a bit because it tells of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Saul was a leader among those persecuting the Christians (Acts 8:1 -3; Acts 9: 1-2).
He was on a mission to Damascus to capture believers and bring them back to Jerusalem in chains (Acts 9:2) when he was struck by a light and fell to the ground (v.4):
…and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!
Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus.
(v.4-6, 8; NLT)
I just wonder what must have gone through Saul’s mind at that point? I can’t imagine.
Later on, Saul’s sight is restored and his name changes to Paul. Verse 20 says, “And immediately he [Saul] began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is indeed the Son of God!’”
I am not in the habit of hating people though I can remember back in high school, there was someone who annoyed me so much that I couldn’t stand to be in the same room as him. Then an incident that involved him, and not me, caused me to see him in a different way or I saw a different side of him. A year later, we went to prom together.
I mean, nothing really changed. Maybe he changed a little, maybe I changed a little, or we both did. I can’t explain it but we are very good friends to this day.
Okay, the guy wasn’t trying to kill me, and as far as I know, he didn’t have a problem with me being a Christian, but that’s the example that readily comes to mind about someone changing or about seeing someone in a different perspective and the situation changed.
Ever since then, I always hold out a little hope for each person, even more so now that I’m coming to understand more about God.
And I could use a lot of hope for myself!
Who knows who might be annoyed by me right now, or who is harboring a grudge against me? I know of at least two specific times when I saw someone headed in my direction, saw me, and completely went around to avoid me. Maybe it was in my mind but I’m pretty sure that they avoided me.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be that person that people avoid. I don’t want to be the person that people say can’t be changed for the better. I don’t want to be the person that walks in the door and everyone else walks out.
And so, God, please continue to work in our lives. Change our hearts towards you so that we might change our views on others, to come to see them the way that you see them, with love.
God, please continue to give me the strength and courage to speak about you, what you’ve done in my life, what you mean to me, to live the way that you will me to live. Please forgive me when I don’t.
Well, I’m not great at sharing lessons I read from the Bible, but hopefully I will continue to get better at this as I continue to practice.
I'd like to know more about Paul's life as well as Job. If you have any good suggestions that I should read, please let me know in the comment section below!
I hope that you have a good week! If this or anything I write has been in anyway helpful to you, please do let me know!
Thank you for reading.