Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Darker The Night – The Brighter Our Light

 “And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.” —Acts 26:11-13

Those verses recount Paul’s conversion. Perhaps you can remember yours.  I certainly can my own. Not the hour or even the day, but certainly the circumstance.  I do know it was a Sunday night in September of 1976.  Perhaps it was the 5th or the 12th. No matter – that is not really the point.  The point is that Paul was on his way to Damascus with a mission in mind – punish and correct those Jews who were Jesus followers.  He was convinced that they were wrong and he was right.  Before I was born again, I was so too convinced. 

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.” – 1 Corinthians 2:13-15

Since my mom was born again in 1969 – I was in the Army in Vietnam at the time, she had been sharing her faith – rightly with all of her children – her heart’s desire was to see all 7 children saved. (And she did) I was tolerant of what I considered to be her religious rantings, but not in the least bit interested.  Convinced that she was embracing a philosophy and not some unrevealed cosmic truth.  She was faithful to pray and trust God, knowing that she could not save us – me.  That salvation is by individual faith in Jesus. That there is a moment in time when the Spirit draws and some – not all – respond in faith and are born again by the Spirit of God.  But that is something you cannot understand until you have the Spirit of God in you after your are born again by the Spirit.  As a lost sinner – I had no idea that my mom was sharing eternal truths with me.  She might as well have been speaking another language.

Paul was convinced he was right and the Jews he was hunting were wrong – heretics.  He could not be persuaded otherwise and then one day he met Jesus.  His life was changed and correspondingly my life was changed forever. I say that because Paul was sent out as the Apostle to the Gentiles – I am one of them – most likely you are too. Until Paul was saved, he did not understand the Spiritual truth that Jesus was the Messiah – the One the Jews longed to see.  So where am I going with this?

Our responsibility is two-fold. First to be  a witness –  telling people about Jesus with words – second to be a witness in the way we live.  Most Christians struggle with both of those.  Why? Because we have a problem loving God more than the world. I won’t chase that “rabbit” – at least not today. But I will say the effectiveness of our witness is totally on our devotion – our love – for God.  Now, having said that, this one thing I know. My verbal and life testimony cannot, by themselves save anyone, but God can use them and does use them as stepping stones on a persons journey to salvation.  I don’t understand it but I know it’s true. I don’t understand a lot of things that are true, come to think of it!

As we watch the culture in this country distance itself from the God of heaven and His design, we wring our hands and worry about the future of this country.  Take a look around at the rest of the world. There is not a lot of difference with respect to morality. How people relate to and treat each other.  Our responsibility in the midst of this mess is to be true our faith. Our words should match our living. The world should see how we live and hear what we say and know that we are Jesus followers – out testimony.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” – Acts 4:13

Let your light shine. The darker the night – the brighter the light. (Charley Elgin)

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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