(A heart after God)

I wanted to write about someone who had convictions. Someone who set out to do what they felt God had told them to do. If at all possible about someone who, maybe did some things the wrong way but then saw the error of their ways and changed because they saw the truth. That is when I remembered the story of Saul of Tarsus, who was later renamed Paul.

Acts 9:1-2; In Jerusalem Saul was still threatening the followers of the Lord by saying he would kill them. So he went to the high priest and asked him to write letters to the synagogues in the city of Damascus. Then if Saul found any followers of Christ's Way, men or women, he would arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem.

With a certainty in his convictions, Saul believed that he was doing the right thing. With these convictions Saul of Tarsus took action and headed out on his mission. In order to be able to fulfill his mission he had to be able to convince the high priest to agree with him on these matters. He was convinced that he was doing God a favor by persecuting the Christians. When we speak to others about something we totally believe in we will find ways to be convincing to others.

When Jesus, the voice of truth speaks to Saul on the road to Damascus his simple words that break apart all of Saul's reasoning for persecuting the Christians. He was wrong!

Acts 9:10-17; There was a follower of Jesus in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision, "Ananias!" Ananias answered, "Here I am, Lord." The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to Straight Street. Find the house of Judas, and ask for a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus. He is there now, praying. Saul has seen a vision in which a man named Ananias comes to him and lays his hands on him. Then he is able to see again." But Ananias answered, "Lord, many people have told me about this man and the terrible things he did to your holy people in Jerusalem. Now he has come here to Damascus, and the leading priests have given him the power to arrest everyone who worships you."

But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! I have chosen Saul for an important work. He must tell about me to those who are not Jews, to kings, and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." So Ananias went to the house of Judas.

Ananias was convinced with good reason that Saul of Tarsus was bad news to the Christians. But when the Lord spoke to him and told him what to do he "chose" and I do say chose on purpose, to trust in what God had said and he acted on that trust by obeying in spite of fears that he might be killed or persecuted for obeying.

The scales in this story, to me, mean that Paul was blinded by his wrong thinking, and that when they fell off he was able to see the error of his way of thinking and receive the truth of what God really wanted him to do. It is easy to get into wrong thinking about lots of issues in life when we are not seeking God's direction in life.

We have all been wrong at times. And unless we face the bald truth about it we won't be a willing vessel to believe or except anything else, but what we have been standing firm in. We will whole heartedly pursue what we believe in and do whatever we can to make sure it gets done. Have you ever been sincerely wrong? I have. I remember reading a verse one time and thinking some "off the wall" thoughts that didn't line up with the rest of the Bible. Later on I discovered how wrong that thinking was when I studied on it and found scriptures that just out and out lined my crooked thinking right up. My mom used to get a hold of my ear and pull when I didn't listen good, and that was the way I felt when God straightened me out that day.

So, what's your conviction, why do you serve the Lord? Is it because you have to, or you think it's what you're supposed to do, or have you met Jesus on your own road to wherever your headed, and you are now convinced that he has saved you. If this is the case then I believe that you will choose to make a difference and tell that person you have met or already know about the fact that Jesus loves them and He came to save them too. Make the difference!

As I stated before, when we strongly believe in something we will use convincing words because we want others to believe as we do. Paul became convinced that Jesus was indeed the son of God and he strongly urged others to do the same. He was amazing in his ability to convince. If we get a hold of the gospel message in our hearts and strongly believe that He has saved us, we will want, even pursue the desire to see others come to know Him. We will study and find out all that we can so that we will be able to convince others of what we have found to be true.

Father I pray that the great commission that Jesus gave us to "go" and preach the good news, would be burned into my heart. There is a multitude of lost and dying souls all around who need to hear that Jesus loves them. That He is the answer!

In His Love
Karen Trevino

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