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What Happened?!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

Acts 9:3-7

"As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. 'Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.' The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone."

This Daily-E-Votional may be directly for you, or it may be something for you to use in sharing with someone else. According to Isaiah 55:11, God's Word never returns to Him void, but will always accomplish what He intends.

The story of Saul's conversion is a message of hope for everyone. It tells us that there are those moments in our life when the Lord confronts us with an urgent call that demands a response.

Just to refresh our minds, Saul was a Pharisee who was committed to the persecution and eradication of the followers of Jesus Christ. Two chapters earlier in the Book of Acts, we read that he was one of those who bore official witness to the stoning of Stephan. It is fascinating that at the time of Stephan's execution, Saul was not able to hear and see the things that Stephan was shown prior to his death.

Now, here was Saul, traveling toward Damascus, with the deadly purpose of stamping out the life of any believers who accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. Suddenly, in an instant of time, everything changed. He had a personal encounter with our resurrected Lord. A light from heaven was so strong that it caused him to become blind. A voice penetrated Saul’s innermost being with a question that was eternal, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

It left Saul in absolute terror and left him no escape from answering. When Saul asked "Who are you Lord?" He answered his own question---it was the Lord and that was what Saul called Him. Jesus ordered Saul to continue his journey and it would be revealed to him what he was to do. At this point Saul could either obey the call or reject it. He could have attributed all of this to a bad dinner, or mental lapse --- but he didn't. He followed and became a mighty apostle.

The others who were traveling along with Saul were struck dumb. They knew something earthshaking had happened, but did not have ears to hear the very words of God. Saul experienced conversion, but they heard only noise. It highlights the matter of our own personal choice. Like them, you may have heard the sound (noise), but have not been open to hear the words of the Lord.

Notice that Saul was a very religious man, yet he was an eternally lost man without a conversion experience in his life. Self-satisfied religious devotion can never replace God's demand for our own personal conversion. Saul and his companions continued their trip to Damascus, but only Saul had changed directions in his life. That is the way for all of us. We too can make a complete change and know that we are now bound for our heavenly home.

Here is a prayer which you may pray for yourself, or if you have prayed such a prayer, you may be able to lead someone else in praying: "Lord Jesus, I have felt You speaking to me personally. I know that it is the time for me to make my decision to follow You. I confess that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. I want You to come into my heart and be my Savior and Lord. I will follow You and obey what You lead me to do. Thank You for caring enough for me to die for me. I pray this in Jesus' name, amen.

If you have prayed this prayer, and really mean it, tell someone. You may even write back to me and share it with me. Romans 10:9 says in part that, "- - if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in you heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

That is God's Word of instruction and assurance. We must act upon it by using our mouth to tell someone that we have prayed this prayer, and it must be based upon an inner knowledge that Jesus is truly the promised Messiah, sent to give us eternal life by believing on Him.

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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