Passage of the Day: Acts 9: 1 – 4 … 1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
My Journal for Today: Okay, let’s take a second look at this shocking event (at least to Saul/Paul), which, on the road to Damascus, changed his life forever. And as Swindoll points out, for a little over three decades, this man, Saul of Tarsus, had been in personal control – or at least he thought – of his own destiny. And his ego management had taken him to the top of his Jewish culture. He had become renown as a strong leader of his people and culture.
But on that fateful day, as he traveled to Damascus, with purpose in mind, Saul of Tarsus learned exactly Whom was really in control of life. He also found out that day that his personal purposes in life were at cross purposes with God’s will and designs; and as Swindoll points out, that also happens to many of us.
We’re riding along, thinking that we have things in hand and under control; and WHAMMY! We get a phone call and find out that a loved one has been in a head-on collision. Or we have a check up and learn that we have “the Big C” … cancer. Or we’re mugged at gunpoint while on vacation. And in each instance, our lives will never seem the same. From that point onward we have a different perspective on life. Who, post 9/11, doesn’t see the world as different than before that fateful day?
Yes, dear one, we may think we exercise personal control over life; and most certainly, God has given us the free will to make choices; but we mustn’t be deceived to think that the God of the Universe does not have ultimate control over our lives. But unfortunately, according to Jeremiah 17: 9 - linked for study - that is the nature of the human heart … to be deceived into thinking that our free will gives us God-like control. However, like Saul of Tarsus, God intervened at one point in my life to show me that I had to surrender my life to His way … in His timing … for my life to have real meaning.
And that’s a lesson we all must learn – sooner or later. For Saul of Tarsus, he needed to be blinded and stricken from his ride to Damascus to get the picture of God’s control over his destiny; and it took him in a direction which he would have never forecasted before that God-ordained set of events. Have you had a “Damascus road” experience – or maybe more than one – in your life? I certainly have; and I went from being a Devil’s advocate to a Minister of the Gospel because of my “Memphis Road” experience. God broke me down from being an atheist; and He has built me back up to recreate in my heart the desire – and ability - to share Christ with anyone who’ll listen.
So, maybe you can see why I identify so strongly with Saul/Paul. You don’t have to teach me that God is in control! I’ve learned that lesson; but I still have to keep learning that I must submit my plans, my purposes, and my power to my Lord’s so that my surrender and choices can honor and glorify Him in what I think, say, and do. I hope you’ve learned that lesson, my friend. Because if you haven’t, God will most certainly teach it to you somewhere in life; and He may just have to kick you off our high horse to do it.
Take it from me … from experience. It will be far easier to CHOOSE to humble yourself before God than to have Him do the humbling process for you. So, repeat after me … “God is God … and I am not!”
My Prayer for Today: Lord, oh, may I remain humble before Your throne of grace. Amen