Thursday, April 16, 2015, 6:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Open My Heart.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 9:1-19 (ESV).
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
Saul/Paul was persecuting Christians, i.e. those who had believed in Jesus Christ for their salvation, who had died with Christ to sin, and who had been resurrected with Christ to new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6-8). Because Paul was persecuting Christ’s servants and messengers, according to Jesus, he was persecuting Christ, for we, his followers, are his body.
In our world today there has been a massive increase, I believe, in the persecution of Christians around the world by those who would benefit from our destruction, removal and/or our demise. So, who gains? Well, we read in Revelation about the dragon pursuing Christ’s followers, i.e. “those who keep the commandments of God and who hold to the testimony of Jesus” (See Rev. 12:17). So, Satan is at the core of this persecution. He is still hoping to destroy Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation, because they stand against (oppose) Satan and his kingdom work. And, under the authority of the dragon (Satan) is the beast (See Rev. 13), which I believe is a conglomerate of various governments, world leaders, and the wealthy, elite and powerful of this world, etc., i.e. the New World Order. Included in this New World Order are the Trilateral Commission, the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg group, etc., which includes the USA.
So, this New World Order “Beast” is presently in the process of conquering nations and peoples and in bringing the world’s governments underneath a one world global rule. And, the USA is a big part of the “police force” of this N.W.O. We can’t trust anything any of our leaders tell us, and we especially cannot trust the news media. Anything can be faked these days, and much is. Lies and deception abound. ISIS is a creation of the N.W.O./USA. Our government in Washington, D.C. is party to the destruction of nations/peoples and the persecution and murdering of Christians throughout the world. Follow the money. Google all this while information is still available. Such information is becoming scarcer. First we knock the squirrels out of the tree, and then we go into save them, but we don’t really save them. Our (US) government is party to many “false flag” operations for the purpose of going in to other nations and conquering them in order to bring them under the N.W.O. “Beast.”
Yet, this persecution of Christ’s followers is not just from outside the church, but it is also from within the church, i.e. there are many false shepherds of the people who have come into the church by “another way” (See John 10), who have brought a false gospel into the church in order to destroy the church and the true gospel of our salvation from within. Because of that, those who “keep the commandments of God and who hold to the testimony of Jesus” are being persecuted within the institutional church, as well, while the church is being led astray by these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who dilute the gospel to make it more acceptable and appealing to the world, and who have turned the church into a marketplace.
But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
There are many today who are guilty of persecuting Christ Jesus via the persecution of his followers (servants and messengers), via the diluting of his gospel in order to make it more palatable to the world, and via turning the church into a marketplace. In the church, they are pastors, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers and/or small group leaders, youth and children’s leaders, and committee members, et al. They are also church members who think salvation is merely an escape from hell and a ticket into heaven, but is a free license for them to live however they want, claiming God’s grace covers it all. In the world and in the church they are those who find fault with the beliefs of Christians and who mock them, and who tag them as intolerant, bigoted, hatemongers, disunifiers, and troublemakers who need to butt out of other people’s lives and stop inserting themselves into the lives of others.
I believe God is calling out to them to stop their persecuting, too, and to get up and follow Jesus Christ instead. They have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear, but do not hear, and God wants to open their blinded eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (See Ac. 26:16-18). Because of God’s grace and mercy, even the worst of sinners, as Paul often referred to himself – a reference I believe to when he was persecuting Christians – can be saved and can be transformed into mighty servants of the Most High God in leading others to salvation.
A Chosen Instrument
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.
Now Saul/Paul was a chosen instrument of God/Jesus to carry Jesus’ name to the Gentiles, to kings, and to the children of Israel (the Jewish nation). This is one of the most awesome aspects of God’s saving grace, I believe, which is to change our hearts and lives away from sin to God and to living and walking in his righteousness and holiness, and in making us into his servants and witnesses to spread the message of salvation to the world around us, no matter what we did before then.
It is so encouraging to me, as well, and gives me much hope that our Lord can transform the lives of even our persecutors and can turn them around to be the Lord’s servants, too. Yet that also means they will then become recipients of the very persecution they once dealt out to us, but God will strengthen them through that in order to give them the determination, perseverance and the courage to remain faithful to their Lord and to continue on in doing what he commands them no matter how bad things get.
In this passage of scripture I see such a message of hope, don’t you? We serve an awesome God who loved us so much that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that we could be set free from the control of sin over our lives and so we could now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It doesn’t matter where we have come from or how many bad things we did, because we are not saved because of our goodness, but because of God’s love and grace to us.
I also see an encouragement here to those who are suffering at the hands of those who would oppress them, no matter how little or how severe that persecution may be, for it still hurts. I see that God is absolutely in control of all aspects of our lives, and that he will accomplish his purposes through it all. We just have to trust him and believe that God will use even the hardest times in our lives for our good and for the good of others, that they may, too, come to know him as Lord and as Savior of their lives. Glory to God!
Open My Heart / An Original Work / July 2, 2013
“Be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil” (Rm. 16:19b).
Open my heart. Let Your truth in.
Make of me a servant, pure within;
Sing of Your praise all of my days.
Let Your Spirit transform all my ways.
Jesus Christ died on a cross to
Save me from my sin.
“Repent of sin. Be cleansed within.
Obey all of His commands today.”
“Why do you doubt? Why do you fear?
Jesus Christ will wipe away your tears.
He cares for you. He feels your pain.
Die to sin, and life with Him you’ll gain.
Follow Him where’er He leads you.
Talk with Him each day.
Then you will know what He has planned
For your life before your world began.”
“Come unto Me, weary in heart.
Let My love and grace to you impart.
Believe in Me. Trust in My care.
Take your burdens to the Lord in prayer.
He will meet all of your needs,
And give you peace within.
Rejoice in Him! Tell of His love.
He will give you comfort from above.”