I Kings 11:1-12:19; Acts 9:1-25; Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 17:4-5
I am a happy woman right now. I've got my cup of coffee next to me and some worship music playing in the background as I sit here to write about the words of life given to us today. We had a busy weekend with two family birthday celebrations, a high school graduation, and an all church picnic. We have much for which to be thankful. I am also in need of some quiet downtime and a little re-centering with my Jesus.
"There is power in the name of Jesus..." That is the line from a song I am listening to right now from the Jesus Culture Awakening: Live from Chicago album. The second half of the line says "...to break every chain." I can't help but find this song especially true and powerful as I couple it with today's reading in Acts. We see a huge act of Jesus to completely change the life of a man most people thought would never bow his knee to the name of Jesus. The Damascus road conversion of Saul is a well-known Bible story. We can have a tendency to read over it without connecting to the incredible act of mercy, power, and miraculous healing that took place.
Today the part that caught me most was Acts 9:9 - "For three days he [Paul] was blind, and did not eat or drink anything." Three days is a long time when you are completely in the dark, with no food and no water. How completely disorienting and almost grave-like that must have been. What was happening with Paul in this time? Was he praying and seeking Jesus? Was he believing in Jesus at that point, or was he struggling to find the truth? Were the 3 days that followed the blinding light encounter with Jesus when the real conversion took place? Maybe he was recounting the Psalms and Scriptures he had memorized from his training as a Pharisee.
"My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too lofty for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul...put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore" (Ps. 131:1-3). I can see how those words would have been very apt to his situation, just as they are in our lives when we read them today.
I am glad for the dramatic conversion story of Saul. Even though my own conversion story is nothing like it, it gives me hope for those around me who seem so hardened and closed to the gospel. They've heard it all before, they have baggage from the church, they tried Christianity and it didn't work for them, they don't want to live under such rigid "rules" - these are all reasons they may give. It seems almost impossible for the good news of Jesus Christ to break in.
But it can. It did. It will.
There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain! There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain! There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain! Praise the name of Jesus.
- Mary Matthias
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