SCRIPTURE FROM: Acts 9:3-5 (GNT)
TEXT: 3 As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, suddenly a light from the sky flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” he asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you persecute,” the voice said.
OBSERVATION: I would suggest that you click on the Scripture reference and read the context in which our Scripture comes from today. You will find that the above verses are actually displaying a miracle in the life of Saul, one who was out to murder and/or arrest every Christian and worshiper of Christ. In fact, when God intervened, Saul was on his way to the synagogues at Damascus to disrupt the Christians by arresting them and taking them back to Jerusalem. Although we see God make a total change in the life of Saul, we are also reminded of persecutors of the church – perhaps even today?
APPLICATION: Did you click on this devotional hoping that I would give you a list of the persecutors of God’s church today? You might be disappointed, because what I believe that God wants to challenge us on today, is to make sure that we have no indicators of being persecutors ourselves. Oh Brother Ed, you have really gone overboard now, for we are workers in the church, so we would never persecute the church. Friends, here are some subtle ways that I believe we persecute the work of Christ today:
- Supporting the Pastors of your church – these men, and possibly women, battle with the same time constraints that the rest of us do. They receive more criticism in one month than we probably receive in a lifetime. They are often expected to stretch each dollar further than mankind has ever been able to do it. They are on duty 24/7, yet expected to be fresh and at their best every time they stand before us. If you are to be a true supporter of God’s servants – pray for them and their families; support them through constant encouragement; listen close enough to their sermons that you may want to question them on a point raised during their delivery; Lift them up before your friends instead of tearing them down. These things might be more like promoting God’s work, instead of tearing down or persecuting; by finding fault complaining; not attending church; not tithing so that God’s work might go on; etc.
- Volunteer – if you are supporting the work of Christ, volunteer to help get more done each day in the ministry. Offer to help around the church office or property; offer to call shut-ins or visit the sick or hospitalized. Idle hands will lead to ridicule, or persecution, way quicker than building up a greater desire to promote the ministry of Christ;
- Be an encourager – Let the pastors and lay leaders know that you are praying for them. This builds up. This gives you something positive to do instead of leaning to ridicule or persecution. Send notes of encouragement. Specifically pray for someone hurting, working for the Lord, or needing encouragement, then tell them that you prayed for them.
Friends, we can either be a worker, supporter or encourager in the world, or we could be a persecutor, ready to tear down everything and anything God puts together for good. Where do you fit?
PRAYER: Lord, I believe our default character tends to be more of a complainer or discourager. To tear down and destroy. Yet Lord, when we stop and consider that the Son of God came to earth and humbled Himself through death on the cross at Calvary, for the benefit of undeserving sinners such as I am, and you are friend. How can I but love You, my Savior and my Lord? Oh that the love of God may shine through His humble servants this day and every day, so that others may see every indication of Jesus, and never an indication of persecution of His master plan for us while here on this earth. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!