Blogging

It was the afternoon after church, I noticed my cell phone had an unread text message.

“Funny”, I told myself, “I didn’t hear the text message alert”.

I quickly opened the message and it read “Newsletter article on your blog for newsletter asap”, it was from our pastor, Pastor Glen.

It was half past three but the message said it was sent at 1pm. Oh well, I replied back and asked what  he meant. PG called right up and told me I needed to write an article regarding my blogs.

“Okay”, I asked “How long?” He said “50 to 75 words”. I said “Okay.”, without really thinking how short that would have to be.

Later, I started to type up the article. Okay, most people who knew me would probably have no idea that I write. And most people would add I don’t talk much either. But don’t ask my wife, as she will tell you that no, most times nobody can shut him (me) up. Well I know, when I’m in the groove hardly anything can stop me.

But yes, I am not much of a talker. And of course, because as most of you know (or don’t know), English is not my main language.

But here I am trying desperately to communicate in what could be the de facto language of the world. And I pray that you are able to understand.

Now going back to the article that I wrote, I sat down, breathed heavily, said a little prayer and I typed and I typed and I typed. And before I knew it, it was up to over 500 words and not even close to the end. And pastor said it was supposed to be 50 or so words. Now come to think of it, nobody can write anything with 50 words.

So what did I do?

I finished the article and posted it on my website: here is the link: Preaching In The New Millennium?

And now I had to write a second article which is what you have just read. And this one is roughly 300 words.

If you are interested on what should have been the original 50 word article, check out the link. And have a blessed day!

James

Now I need to write that 50-75 word article, that is, if I can keep it that short.

So it seems I have moved again.

And in as much as I still want to continue writing on @ this site, at the present time I only have time to concentrate on my newer site @ Hubpages.

Here is the link to that page: http://hubpages.com/profile/4×4

And here is the link to my first post (hub): http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Fork-In-The-Road

If you have gotten used to the way of writing over here, let me warn you that it will be a little different over there but basically the content and the topics will still be the same.

So as of now, this page is serving as an archive for the posts I had moved from the now defunct Yahoo 360 – all 146 of them.

What else can I say other than see you at Hubpages!

God bless.

UDUHJPBA72SD

Is It One of Those Days?

“… if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” From the Book of Corinthians [NIV]

Have you ever had one of those days?

Not one of those.

But, one of these.

You don’t get huh?

Anyway, there are days and nights that I just want to be able to drive thru an automated high-tech carwash but specifically built for humankind.

One wherein we can come in (walk thru) one end smelling, looking and feeling old, filthy and dirty and then out the other end smelling factory fresh & all brand new, looking sparkling clean and feeling like a million dollars.

Yes, like being granted your biggest & greatest & most improbable wish, perhaps by a genie or an enchanted creature in an instant.

Yes, like being set free and found not guilty in all counts of multiple charges brought against you by multiple people at multiple times of your life.
Yes, like receiving the largest lump sum check lottery prize in all of recorded history.

Yes, like being reborn.

And then I can only ask myself… what if? What if?

So, ever had one of those days?

Yes, what if?

Because, some days I think about the things that I have done that I know that I shouldn’t have done. And then I think about the things that I should have done but I just did not do them.

Some days I think about the missed opportunities that I didn’t grab (while that small window was open & have since been completely closed shut on me). Some days I think about the decisions that I put off and that I should have made but did not do.

Some days, I wish I can go on a time machine and travel back in time–back to a time & a place and just start over and do the right thing.

You know, back to where I now know that I can change the outcome of the direct result of what I failed to do which I should have done (or what I did which I should not have done). Yes, all those what shoulda, woulda, coulda beens.

Yes, starting over, starting clean, starting fresh, starting anew.

Spotless. Guiltless.

I know… wishful thinking.

But I guess if there is a God, only He can do such a thing.

And even though I know that He already did, I still cannot bring myself to get it sometimes that such an awesome God would do that for me–me, the often time stubborn, stiff-necked, rebellious, lazy, indifferent, pedestrian, tasteless, tactless, inconsiderate, irrational and foolish me.

But then again, if God is God, He knows me better than myself. So I guess by some heavenly cosmic reasoning that I cannot yet fathom & I doubt if I would ever would, He did that for me (and more).

And so today, just like one of those days–I am thinking about the human carwash, the enchanted creature, the judge, the biggest lottery prize, the time machine, God and the fool that I am.

And today as I do, I can only reflect about one thing.

And that I should realize that it is not all about me, but that it’s all about Him–the God (the Supreme Being) who made (you and) me.

Have you?

It’s a new day.

Come & seize it.

[God will be God, whether we believe Him or not. Truth will always be
truth, regardless if we doubt it or not. Our dreams will remain as
dreams if we don’t act upon it. And our uncertainties will always be
uncertainties if we do not do anything to tip the balance either way.]

Were You Alarmed?

When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. [From the Book of Mark, NIV]

If you have been in the Los Angeles area (California) for the last 48 hours or so you would be have an idea of what I am about to say here.

And if you aren’t then here is the deal, last Sunday night about eightish there was an earthquake that originated in the LA Area which was strong enough to topple unsecured items, break glass windows and startle, scare, terrify & alarm many people. Now if you are living in the California Region, at the back of your mind you know somehow, somewhere, someday there will be an earthquake that is being called the Big One. Why? Well because the scientific community says so & statistics, probabilities, history, natural science, earth science, psychics & the Bible of all things says so. And if you read the Bible, you will be aware with the fact of the Signs of the End of the Age as we know it. Well, if you watch Hollywood films & best-selling books they also talk about that as well.

So that is the scenario for you.

But there is more. Let us go forward two days ahead, Tuesday afternoon at around 4. Again in the same area, there was another earthquake. It had almost the same intensity as the one that happened mind you, less than 48 hours ago.

Now at that exact time when you were feeling the second earthquake, what would go through your mind?

And here’s the thing, in between those quakes, all the local news were interviewing scientiststs & “experts” in that field who were saying that there would indeed be aftershocks or worse, that that first one was just the precursor to the bigger one that is coming.

And to top things off, people are talking about this person who correctly predicted that there will be an earthquake on that day & uncannily two days later. In fact this person is also predicting that there will be two more quakes that would happen 2 days after the second one & the other, 2 days after that.

So how crazy is that?

Wait there is more, in the LA Area & it’s surrounding areas there has been major problems in unemployment, rising unreported petty crimes (probably due to the unemployment problem). There are people who lost a fortune in the real estate & the stock market crash. There are people who are jobless, laid-off or on the verge of being laid off, underpaid, or have to work with a cut in their salaries or work lesser days or both. And it seems like one out of every ten people are out looking for a job, any job & are finding it hard to find one. The other nine people are out looking for a second or a third job as the first one isn’t enough. Taxes were raised, credit card interests rates went up, prices for food, gas & most other items are going up. And with all these going on, many stores & businesses & even some malls have already closed shop.

There are people who are homeless, kicked out of their homes with rising mortgages or rents or unemployment, there are people with rising credit card debt, with no healthcare insurance, no savings &/or their 401K plans wiped out. Suicides & killings, especially killings of family members are reported on primetime news.

Plus the whole area (Southern California) has a severe water shortage.

Many city governments in the area have huge budget deficits & have cut back on spendings & personnel. And the State of California have the biggest deficit of them all. They are again planning some 5,000 more layoffs. So now, I ask again, will you have been just a little bit alarmed?

Some of you are probably saying, “I’m happy I don’t live there.” Rightly so, but remember in the verse above, written by not just not Mark but three of the Gospel writers some 2,000 years ago as told by Jesus of Nazareth… it says there will be wars and rumors of wars, there will be earthquakes in various places and famines.

Now it does not say just one area (or the LA Area). It said it will be in various places. That’s right. It could be in yours too.

But I am not here to alarm anyone. But I am writing here to encourage all of you, me included. For that prophesy said, that ALL these will happen & it says DO NOT BE ALARMED.

And further it says that ALL these are (just) the beginning of birth pains. The end is coming, but all these must happen in order for the end to come.

So the environmentalists have it right that we need to conserve energy, conserve water, go green, save the planet, recycle, cut emissions, save the animals, save mother earth & all that.

Why, because they also know that the end is coming if we do not do anything right now. And isn’t that what all doomsday sayers as we call them, have said all along.

But those who believe in Jesus & those who believe in the Scriptures are encouraged because they already know that all these are coming & all these are just the beginning of the end & not yet the end. (For the end is so much more scarier than all or any of these). And even when the end comes, Jesus will be there once again to save those who have really believed.

And for those who have not (or have not yet) believed, all these things may just make them truly alarmed.

Are you?

Seize the day.

Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming. [Mark 13:5-8, The Message]

 

For Our Own Good Part II

“…And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand…” [From the Letter of Paul to the Early Believers in the Church of Corinth, NLT]

Yes I know, if it was that good we should help ourselves to a second serving… (Bon apetit)

Anyway, yesterday I mentioned that there there were only two things that has kept me from going crazily insane. The first one I talked about yesterday & the second one I will, today. And that is why we have this second serving of “For Our Own Good”.

And in that long (preachy) discourse I mentioned that the first thing was my belief in a loving all knowing God.

The second thing is about something that the Scripture verse above have touched on (the longer very detailed version I will give below). And I promise that today will not be a long one & will not be the versey-preachey thing anymore.

So if you know that verse above, you’d know it when I say that, that is probably my all-time favorite. Of course we will NOT include the all time great verses of the Bible as everybody knows that since childhood.

But this is my personal favorites as for whenever I have something going on that isn’t good, I always get reminded of that verse & sometimes of the verse we had yesterday.

So together, they become my one-two combination punch.

Pa-paw. Down. You’re out.

No not me, but the thing that was keeping me pinned down in misery, or with depression or worry or doubt or just about anything of a struggle or a temptation even.

Pa-paw!

“No temptation has seized you (me) except what is common to man.”

“Everything work together for the good of those who love God.”

And if you still need a knock out punch (an uppercut to the chin if you would)…

“But even if you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Slam! Down for the count.

Yes, our God is a God of second chances.

Okay for our case, He is a God of many chances. But just do not overdo it & make it a lifestyle. He is there all the time, in the best of times & in our worst of times. But isn’t it always better to just always be clinging close to Him each & everyday, so as not to wander off into the wilderness of dispair & trouble & temptation & sin?

One last thing, I saw this anonymous proverb online just want to share it over here for us to ponder upon. I know it did not come directly from the Bible but let’s just see if it touches a chord in our hearts.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Seize the day!

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. [1 Corinthians 10:13, Amplified]

For Our Own Good

“…That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” [From the Book of Romans, The Message]

There are so many things & so many times & so many tribulations in our lives that make us all want to go bonkers. (Broken relationships, broken homes, broken lives, broken dreams & so on… Road block here, road block there, deadend here, deadend there, detour here, detour there, right turn here, left turn there).

And in my short lifespan so far here in planet earth, there is only one thing that has kept me from or had made me not go crazily insane. Well there are two things actually and both of them aren’t people. And the other one is another topic for another time.

Yes and one of those things is my belief in a God, the God who know more than we all do, who created me, you & everything else.

And my belief in that same God, who is a loving God, who made Himself known to me, by going through all the things that I might go through & by being just like me & you. (Well not like me in all respects of course for that would truly make me bonkers, but you probably know what I mean)… Someone who went through life, living it, like you & me would have & more.

And so, here I am, just like you, walking through my own life. One in which I have been given a huge box of jigsaw puzzle pieces. With nothing to do but to complete it, not even knowing how many different pieces there are, could be 10,000 could be 10 million pieces, not even knowing how much time I have to complete it, not even knowing if all the pieces are already there or if some would come later or if some have been lost. I do not even know what the final picture will look like.

And so my life, our life goes & we go on trying to piece together this (life) puzzle (pun intended by shear pure luck) one piece at a time. Each piece adding to the whole picture of what is to come & each piece we manage to put in making it easier & easier to fit the rest of the loose pieces together. Yes if we can find the right one, at the right time & the right place & order & orientation.

But I am now convinced that there is a God. That same God that I talked about earlier. And that He is like the glue who will hold all the pieces together. And the very one who will finally tell us the who, the what, the when, the how come & the why of all these.

And now I have also applied that to my spiritual life. (Which is like really taking a whole load off my chest, if we really could even fathom how that would really feel like).

And this leads me to believe that I do not have to debate or compare or be upset or be angry at or scoff at or demean or bad mouth another Christian believer, because they are of a different sect, denomination, church or creed or they have different practices, beliefs, traditions, etc. etc. (Well I am not including those that do not believe in the Son of Man & what the Scriptures say about Him). Or regardless if “they” (other Christians not like me) tend to give us “Christians” a bad name or a bad reputation. (Grow up man, to many being a Christian means you already have a bad reputation).

Yes we have no need for that, for I believe that it is for freedom that He set us free. (Just in time for this Lenten Season & Resurrection Sunday). We are all free, but of course we are not free to willfully indulge in a sinful way of life but you know, to live a life that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial kind of thing.

And he has given us everything we need to do that, we have common sense, or at least we have a little bit of sense which is common enough, we have enough sense of humor, we have a fairly good idea of what is right & what is wrong, we have a conscience, we have feelings–we know how it feels to hurt or be hurt, we have the Word of God or the Scriptures, we have the Holy Spirit and we have a group of people we can come together with & have fellowship with or ask our hard life questions with.

And so each of us Christ believers or Christians, whatever denomination or non-denomination we say we belong to, whoever our pastor is, whatever congregation we go to, whatever version of the Bible we read or not read, whatever hymns or songs we use to sing to our Lord, whatever instruments we use to give praise to our God, whether we believe or not in clapping or screaming or dancing or the gifts of the Holy Spirit or in speaking in tongues, or in tithing or any ceremonial thing or in dispensations or in whatever forms of salvation or the different forms to attain it or in eternal security.

Whatever kind of Christian we are, IF WE LOVE GOD then all things (which makes us different) WILL WORK OUT FOR GOOD.

I do not really preach in here nor quote Bible verses every statement I make but I guess maybe for the very first & last time I will…

And loving God isn’t really the problem here. For God first loved us. [1 Jn 4:19]

The love we give back to God, He first gave it to us. [Jn 3:16]

And the love we give others, comes from that same love. If we do not have that love then maybe we have lost it or have not really have it in the first place. (And please do not mistake a love of yourself for that love for others).

And so if we do have that love, we can love others, even those who believe somewhat differently than us. And if we all love God, we should all love those who believe in the same God we believe in. [1 Ptr 2:17]

So really the problem isn’t really love. But us (and all the missing puzzle pieces that we have yet to put together).

All things will work out for good!

Some people may still not have all the pieces put together, but in time they would. Some people may be a little bit slower than your pace, but in time they would catch up. Some people may be a little bit hard-headed than you, but in time they would come around.

This love that we have is not about who came in first, or who was first to bat, or who made the most goals, the most baskets, the most points, the most kills, the most holes in one, the most strikes, the most strike-outs, the highest score, the loudest cheers, the most awards & accolades, the most prestigious titles & letters preceeding & behind our names.

This love is about Jesus. This love is Jesus. This love is God. God is love!

Think about it, if Jesus was beside you right now, will he be doing what you have been doing? Or will he not be more understanding of your fellow believer? Or will he be doing something else to win his brothers over instead of pushing them away from God or God’s love? Yes the love that you have inside you.

Remember, God did make all the puzzle pieces, He do know where & when & how all the pieces will finally fit into place. He do know more that we will ever know. Yes, even if we have mastered the Scriptures & even if we have decades of scholarly work & studies. Yes, even if we think we know enough or even more than others. Yes, even if we think we have done the whole world a big favor by doing charitable work. Yes even if we were the very first believers in our place & all the others are just starting to believe & are mere Baby-Christians.

It is not about all that, it is not even about us. Apart from God, we cannot do anything. [Jn 9:33] And if you are doing a lot apart from Him or apart from His love, then be very careful who you are doing it with, for it is not with Him. [Mt 12:30]. But test it, for it is by your fruits that they will know you or know who you really are in the inside.

Jesus will come back for a spotless Bride, the whole Body of Christ or the whole Body of believers, not for a few who think they are only ones worthy to be saved because all the other sects, denominations & Christian believers do not get it. I am pretty sure there are a lot of Christian believers who do not get it. But it doesn’t follow that just because they are wrong, that you are right or that you are more right. For all we know, both of you could be wrong. You might ju
st be “more wronger” for being snotty enough to claim that you got it all right and they got it all wrong. (Please)

But make no mistake Jesus will indeed come back, whether you like it or not. Or whether you believe it or not. Or whether you think you are more worthy or more highly of another or not. Or whether you think you got it right & all the rest of us mere human beings got it wrong.

And here’s one last thing to think about. Because we are all different, what if God really plan to have all those different Christian sects, denominations & practices so as to be able to reach out to each of our individual differences, likes & dislikes, hang-ups, nuissances, backgrounds & cultures? And as we all piece together our heavenly jigzaw puzzle, what if in the end we will all finally be able to piece together enough & finally see the big picture & get it. (And get to finally see that we are not better than any of them, but are all the same–someone so messed up & in need of a Savior who has patiently waited for us to finally get it. Remember the Prodigal Son. We were that Prodigal Son at one time or another or all the time. But what if you were the son who never left, but just the same was as messed up as his prodigal brother?)

Seize that thought, seize this day.

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. [Romans 8:28, Amplified]

Taking a Break

“Give me a break… (From a Psalm of David, The Message)

Yes, indeed I did take a long break from Day 141.

Anyway, I am back. And talking about breaks I am actually taking a break right now, a lunch break.

But taking a break is good. And one thing is that you learn many things while you are gone. Like for instance, I found out that talking about a particular subject or series is hard. It is limiting to say the least. And that is part of the reason why I have been in a break for weeks now (months even) . For as you might have noticed I was talking about the Early Christian Church for quite some time before that, going through the Book of Acts and that is normally not what I do or that is normally not how I do it.

I normally just sit down and type. (Praying first is a good thing to start it too) But usually I find an inspiration somewhere–most often in Scriptures, but not always. Otherwise I write from what I experience, from what I feel, see, hear, think or dream about. The Scripture references comes later.

But that is usually not the case (as least for me) when you do a series or go read down chapter after chapter, verse by verse of a Book in the Bible. I just couldn’t fly off somewhere and write something about a totally unconnected/out of line topic. Which is normally the way I do it. So today, I am back to that. Even typing on the fly on my lunch break, looking down on my lunch plate which I have almost half-way eaten by now.

Take a break! We all need it. But afterwards, it’s back to work!

Seize this day!

Psalm 39:12 (The Message)

“Ah, God, listen to my prayer, my cry—open your ears.
Don’t be callous; just look at these tears of mine.
I’m a stranger here. I don’t know my way—
a migrant like my whole family.
Give me a break, cut me some slack
before it’s too late and I’m out of here.”

From Persecuting Skeptic to Fearless Defender

…But Saul increased all the more in strength, and continued to confound and put to confusion the Jews who lived in Damascus by comparing and examining evidence and proving that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah).

After considerable time had elapsed, the Jews conspired to put Saul out of the way by slaying him…

Preaching freely and confidently and boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and discussed with and disputed against the Hellenists (the Grecian Jews), but they were seeking to slay him. [From the Book of Acts, Amplified]

Well if we read the narratives (in the book of Acts) after the “scales” were taken off Saul’s eyes it will seem that the “impossible” has happened. Saul, the persecutor of the early Christian believers is now it’s most ardent defender.

Yes, even with the countless threats to his safely and even death threats, not to mention the embarrassment and the ridicule from his peers and the fall from his high position in the community.

And that would only mean that either he has “gone mad” like the rest of the early believers who were mostly “first-hand eye-witnesses” to the Christ or that he was “really fully convinced” that Christ was who he claimed to be, yes like the rest of the early believers who lived along side the man we now know as Jesus Christ.

Either way he believed, even to the point of death, yes again like the rest of early Christian believers. And why would people kill them, for merely sharing the message of the Christ.

And not to be outdone, the early believers also took Saul in (believing) even if they were unconvinced if he is now really a believer. For it could be merely a ploy on Saul’s part so that he can take them all in and put them to jail or worst, order them tortured or put to death.

Today we still see believers who are willing to suffer and have indeed given their lives just for sharing Jesus to others. If you are still unsure of why they have done so or why they do it, it wouldn’t hurt to give some time to read about them and even to try understanding them.

Seize the day!

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. [Acts 9:19b-31, NIV]

The Flip Side

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias…

The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul,…”

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! [From the Book of Acts]


Don’t you ever remember when you were a young kid, when somebody told (asked) you to do something that you know that you were too scared to do. And you reason out, but people wouldn’t want to hear it?

“Go!” They might say, or words to that effect.

“Go!”

Today we will look at the flip side or the other side or the reverse side of what happened yesterday to Saul, the unbelieving persecutor of the Christ & of the early Christian believers.

Today we look at Ananias, who is a believer of Jesus (or he thought he was) who also got a word from the Lord. Telling him to meet up with Saul, the infamous Christian slayer of his time.

Now his faith in the One that rose from the dead, is being tested. He is being commanded to do something that is so terrifying, he is about to choose either to follow his belief or his gut feel slash emotion. Does he choose his God or does he choose the easy way out?

Most people who do not believe God, think that believers have a “good” life, that they do not have these moments of doubt or that they just follow blindly & do not think for themselves. Well the simple fact of the matter is in the inside both those who believe & do not believe in God are essentially the same. They both have thoughts & emotions going inside their heads & they also come to a fork on the road where they need to decide which path to take (the left or the right).

Let us see what Ananias did as narrated in this passage from the Book of Acts.

Now there was in Damascus a disciple named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias. And he answered, Here am I, Lord.

And the Lord said to him, Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying [there].

And he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias enter and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.

But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard many people tell about this man, especially how much evil and what great suffering he has brought on Your saints at Jerusalem;

Now he is here and has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call upon Your name.

But the Lord said to him, Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of Mine to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the descendants of Israel;

For I will make clear to him how much he will be afflicted and must endure and suffer for My name’s sake.

So Ananias left and went into the house. And he laid his hands on Saul and said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you along the way by which you came here, has sent me that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

And instantly something like scales fell from [Saul's] eyes, and he recovered his sight. Then he arose and was baptized,

And after he took some food, he was strengthened. For several days [afterward] he remained with the disciples at Damascus. [Acts 9:10-19, Amplified]

Okay, now some of you are saying “Whoa, wait a minute, scales falling from his eyes?” Or some of you are saying “Amen.” (Well some will say “Whatever.” But I love it that they read this far, and are probably telling themselves why not finish this thing.”)

So, yes the believers’ life is not filled with roses. In fact the life of most believers are filled with nerve-wracking decisions & never ending trials, tribulation and persecution, an unbeliever would probably think why would they do that? And they would have not even really seen it in that light before, that believers too suffer from this & that (yes just like the rest of us) & more and they still hold on to their beliefs.

And yes, there could in fact be “scales” coming off their eyes right now–making them able to “see”.

Why would the early Christian believers (and of today) go through the trials that they know they have to endure? Wouldn’t it easier to just toss that belief away & just sweepingly say, “We are unsure of all these anyway, or to see is to believe, or the hell with this, I’m out of this.”

Yes it is easy & safer. And it is even easier & safer today. Especially now that all the first-hand eye-witness believers are long dead & buried. All those who have actually seen, heard & experienced everything they have written down and preserved through the centuries which we are still able to read about today. Peter, Paul, Mary, James, John, Stephen, Philip, Ananias…(you, me,…)

Why did they believe? And why do others still believe today. Yes that is the flip side. You might just need to turn the long-playing (LP) record around so that you can hear all the songs on the other side (Side B). Sometimes we are so engrossed with our own side (point-of-view) whatever side that might be & we have never really listened to the other side.

Will we do that today?

Seize the day!

Blinding…

Now as he traveled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, And he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me [harassing, troubling, and molesting Me]? [From the Book of Acts]

And then it comes to pass, we are back to Saul. The same Saul who was giving the okay for the stoning of Stephen, which we have seen a number of days back.

Today we see him even seeking out the believers from the early Church and obtaining warrants for their arrest, so that he can bring them back to Jerusalem and deal with them as one does common criminals.

And if we think about it, there are still Sauls out there in this world who seek out Christian believers who dare speak about the Christ. Humiliating them, persecuting them, proving them wrong… because of numerous reasons, some only known to them. (For I am still at a lost at to why someone who truly do not believe in God would go to such lengths as to what some people are doing to “attack” those that do believe in (a) God. But also on the flip side I also do not get it when people who truly believe in God would jump through hoops trying to convince these people that God do exist, as if God needed help to convince anyone that He is God.)

And going back to the people who do “attack” the believers, it would be wise for them to read this passage of Scripture, they would for sure not believe any of it. But at the proper time at least they would remember what happened to Saul as written down for us, all these years.

The Blinding of Saul

All this time Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. He went to the Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem.

He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?”

He said, “Who are you, Master?”

“I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.”

His companions stood there dumbstruck—they could hear the sound, but couldn’t see anyone—while Saul, picking himself up off the ground, found himself stone-blind. They had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He continued blind for three days. He ate nothing, drank nothing. [Acts 9:1-9, The Message]

A blinding light. Yes, many people do not know it yet but they are blind and it takes a certain kind of light to “unblind” them. (Which sounds totally illogical to anyone–but Jesus did say that He is the Way, the Truth and the Light).

People who do not believe in God say that the believers are blind as they cannot see the truth. But what if, what if it was those who do not believe are the ones that are blind and that they are the ones who needed to see (or feel or experience or understand).

For I do believe that people who persecute and attack the church or the Christian believers might have some other thing motivating them to do so. (Some of them may actually want to know the real reason why the believers do believe what they believe. Well I did, before when I was an unbeliever)

I would gather to say that some of them might even be seeking for the truth themselves. And if God is God. And if Christ is the Truth. Then it wouldn’t be hard to see that one day they would both meet each other. And it might probably be almost the same way as Saul found what he was looking for all along.

Seize the day!

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