Think of your coming to faith. Reflect on each step and thank God for the way in which he led you.
Read Acts 25:23-26:18
 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.  Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.  I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome.  But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write.  For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”  Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense:  “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews,  and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.  “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem.  They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee.  And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today.  This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me.  Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?  “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.  And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.  Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.  “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.  About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.  We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’  “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied.  ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.  I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them  to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ 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.
ReflectHow did Paul relay his call from the Lord?
The story of Paul’s conversion–one of the best known in the Bible–has already been told twice in Acts. Here it is again. Each account adds some new detail to the overall biblical picture. Paul emphasizes the massive change that happened. He had once thought exactly the way that his opponents did, but God turned him around. Jesus really was alive. It was not a made-up story. In persecuting the church he was persecuting Jesus. This experience gave him a totally new perspective and purpose. We have not met Jesus in quite the way that Paul did, but we will still have experienced the transforming power of the risen Jesus in our lives. Once on a mission to destroy, Paul is now on a rescue mission. And so in our own way are we. The tragedy is that many do not know that they need rescuing. We should not be surprised if some people do not respond, yet we can rejoice when others do and find a new relationship with God as a result.
Recall your story of what God’s done in your life and ask God to give you opportunities to share it.
O Lord, You have done so much in and for me. I’m thankful and I want to be able to tell others that, too.
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