Thank You, Loving Father, for all that You have done for me. I thank You for mercy and forgiveness. You are so good to me.
Read Acts 22:6–21
6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’
8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.
“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.
“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’
19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’
21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever shared your testimony with an audience you knew was hostile? Were you tempted to water it down?
This riveting text relates the eyewitness account of one of the most pivotal events in history. With his life on the line, Paul must have been tempted to cut the controversial bits — to tell his story, but not to ruffle feathers. But true to his calling, and true to his sovereign God and Savior, Paul “solemnly testified” in arresting detail, with heart-stopping boldness. To the very men who ordered him to Damascus, he spoke of coming face to face with the risen Savior they were persecuting. One can hardly imagine greater drama, but when we get to verses 18–21, the drama actually increases: Paul reported to them the warning Jesus had given him about that specific audience (18). Such boldness! But there’s no hint of arrogance here in Paul — he confessed that not only was he there at Stephen’s stoning, but that he approved of it. This is not a testimony that says, “I used to be like you, but now I’ve improved myself”; rather, Paul is saying, “I understand what you think and feel, but God has broken into my life!”
How do you speak about your faith with non-Christians? Is your desire more that they accept you, or that they find forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus? Is your testimony about how you have changed, or about how Jesus had changed you?
What has Jesus done for you? People relate to personal stories of hope. Write down your story.
Lord, give me opportunities to share my testimony today.