Living the Life
Bring to God some of the challenges you’re facing in life now and ask him to work in them.
Read Acts 9:19-31
 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 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 Messiah.  After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews 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 Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.  When the believers 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 and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat important role did Barnabas play for Saul?
It’s one thing subscribing to a belief in a small room away from too many people, but when you’re a well-known public figure who has just done an about-face on your policies, it’s another thing altogether. It was a massive risk for Saul to go public about his conversion. Saul certainly had some extra challenges in living as a follower of Jesus. The Jews who had previously been in agreement with him were now out for his blood. This was not only because of his conversion but more, I would imagine, because of his public change of sides. It wasn’t going to help their cause! Then there was the Christian community. Even though Ananias had accepted and forgiven Paul and could vouch for his genuine faith, there was still bound to be distrust among the people he’d been on his way to arrest (21) and more so among those back in his home city (26). However, none of this seems to daunt Saul. His conviction is resolute and he preaches Jesus boldly, risking death continually both in Damascus and Jerusalem.
Consider whether fear is holding you back from taking any steps of faith to which God may be calling you.
Pray for God’s power and love to drive out your fear and for his boldness to help you do whatever he calls you to.
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