The transformation from Saul to Paul in Acts 9 is inspiring to me, especially as I think about when Jesus showed up and confronted me in my own transformation.
I didn’t persecute and hadn’t physically killed anyone. But, in my heart and mind, I hated those who had hurt me since childhood; they might as well have been dead to me. My heart had become hardened. My feelings, words, expressions and actions all felt justified by the pain I had endured.
Did Saul love God? He did, but he was deceived and blinded by his own ideas. Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (v.4, NKJV). Jesus’s words to me were, “Who is your father?” Jesus confronted me in such a soft voice that all I could do was surrender and think about that question. Who is my father?
I pictured the earthly man who had not loved me or cared for me; he was a stranger, really. I explained all my reasons for hating this person to God. Then, just like Paul, I discovered God was my Father.
There and then I surrendered to God’s love, acceptance, forgiveness and promise to never leave me. I’ve never been the same since. I was able to forgive my earthly father, to pray for him and tell him about Jesus’s love and transformation. I can now speak of the Father to the fatherless. My heart is free of hate, and I speak words of blessing, instead of a curse.
1. Holy Spirit, search our hearts for any deception, blindness or ideas that can destroy others around us; confront us and break anything we hold dear if it doesn’t bring You glory or bring people closer to You.
2. Lord, the longer we know and serve You, the easier it may become to hide pain, which then turns into resentment and even hatred. Help us to be transparent and to give You our pain, so that we may live in Your freedom.
3. God, help those whose earthly fathers are not in their lives understand that You are their heavenly Father. Fill the voids in their hearts. Bless those great fathers who are representing you well and are doing their best to love, protect and provide for their children.
4. Pray for church leadership, with the Holy Spirit, to raise up and empower young leaders to take large leadership roles for the future. May our senior pastors mentor and shepherd future generations of senior pastors.
5. Ask the Lord to connect our ministers to wise mentors and leaders from whom they can learn.
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