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Loyal
Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 4:46 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “You are Loving and Forgiving.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 22 (Select vv. ESV).

Paul was now in Jerusalem. When he arrived, he was greeted warmly by his brothers in Christ. Nonetheless, some Jews from the province of Asia stirred up the crowd against Paul, and they brought false accusations against him. The crowds seized him and tried to kill him, but when the commander of the Roman troops came on the scene, they stopped. Then, the commander arrested Paul and ordered that he be taken to the barracks. Paul then asked the commander if he could speak to the people. He was granted permission, and so he began to speak (See: chapter 21).

His Past Life (vv. 1-5)

“Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.”

And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.”

We all have a past life. We have experiences we have encountered, things we have done for good or for bad, and accomplishments we have fulfilled, etc. For some people, their past life is not much different from their present life, because nothing has really changed in their lives. For others, there has been a change (a transformation) of heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and their present life no longer reflects their past life. This does not mean they have reached sinless perfection, or that they will never sin again, but it does mean that they no longer conduct their lives on a daily basis the way they did before. They now walk in the Spirit, and no longer according to their sinful flesh, to fulfill its evil desires. If they do sin, they confess it, turn from it, and they continue walking in the ways of the Lord.

No matter how bad our past life was, or still is, God’s grace is sufficient to forgive us of our sins, to transform our lives, and to give us new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Unless you are a robot of some kind, if God created you, then he can save you from your sins, and he can set you free to now walk in his holiness and righteousness. Yet, we are not saved by our own efforts, or because of our own goodness. It was while we were yet sinners that Jesus Christ died on a cross to take away our sins. We are only saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ and in what he did for us in dying on a cross so that we could be delivered out of slavery to sin, and so we could be set free to now become servants of his righteousness.

His Testimony (vv. 6-16)

“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’”

The Bible says that no one can come to Jesus Christ unless the Father draws him or her. God drew Paul to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul was not only not pursuing Jesus, but he was working against him and his servants when the Lord visited him on the road to Damascus. Not only did God the Father send his Son Jesus Christ to become a sin offering for us so that we could be saved out of our sins, but he lovingly pursues us, and he invites us to faith in Jesus Christ. Remember what it teaches in Ephesians 2:8-10. It is by God’s grace that we are saved, through faith – and this not from ourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast that he accomplished his own salvation. Even the faith to believe is a gift from God, I believe. So, God gets all the glory for our transformed lives!

When God calls us to himself, he will confront us with our sin, and he will ask that we turn from that sin, and that we trust him with our lives. When we believe in him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, which is to be lived according to the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh – all in the power and working of the Holy Spirit now living within us, as we cooperate fully with God’s work of grace in our lives. God does not save us just so we can escape hell, and just so we can go to heaven when we die. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15).

When God calls us to himself, he does so for a purpose beyond just saving us from our sins, though. He created each and every one of us for a reason. He has a design for our lives. And, he wants us to know his will. His general will for all of us is written about in his Word, the Bible, and more specifically in the New Testament. Yet, he has a very specific will for each individual person, too. He didn’t make us all the same, and he will not use us all in the same way. We have different personalities, talents, abilities and spiritual gifts, which are to be used for the glory of God, for the salvation of souls, for the encouragement of the body of Christ, and for the advancement of the kingdom of heaven. So, we need to have ears to hear what the Spirit has to say to us with regard to our specific calling, and then we need to obey what God shows us, and do what he says.

His Mission (vv. 17-21)

“When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

For some of us, God may keep us right where we are, doing what we are doing, and that is where he may use us. For others of us, he may now be saying to us to “Go” wherever it is he wants to send us, so we must listen to what he says, and we must answer, “Yes” to his call. If we want to know his will, we need to be doing what we already know. We also need to be in tune with his voice, so we will recognize his voice when he does speak to us. Then, we must have willing hearts to obey, and we must step out in faith and go when and where he says, when he says “Go!” Then, we must trust him to work out all the details, and to lead and direct our path each step of the way. Lord, lead me today in your righteousness.

You are Loving and Forgiving / An Original Work / February 19, 2012

Based off Psalm 86

You are loving and forgiving,
Jesus, Savior, King of kings.
You provided our redemption.
By Your blood You set us free.
You are gracious; full of mercy.
No deeds can compare with Yours.
Great are You; there is none like You.
Glory be to Your name.

Teach me Your way, and I’ll walk in it.
O Lord, I will walk in Your truth.
May I not have a heart divided,
That Your name I give honor to.
I will praise You, O Lord, my Savior,
For great is Your love toward me.
You have delivered me from my sins.
Your grace has pardoned me.

You, O Lord, are full of compassion,
Slow to anger, bounteous in love;
Faithful to fulfill all You promise;
Glory be to Your name above.
Hear, O Lord, and answer Your servant.
You are my God. I trust in You.
Turn to me and grant Your strength to me.
You are my comforter.

 
Active
O my, Sue that's simply a wonderful Holy Spirit inspired thread of yours, Bravo. I could actually feel the Spirit's approval as I was reading it. Hey, lovely song as well, are you the singer?

You said this, "The Bible says that no one can come to Jesus Christ unless the Father draws him or her. God drew Paul to faith in Jesus Christ". For me it was approximately 10 years that our Heavenly Father was calling me to His Salvation. I just didn't know what He wanted or how to find out.

Friends of my wife (Now with the Lord) invited us to his Baptist Church and she and I got saved. Then I knew what the Lord was doing those ten years. That was November 1974.

In 1995 I walked away from the Printing Company I established with another and enrolled in Glen Cove Bible College in Rockland, Maine. This was a solid fundamental Baptist College with some legalistic tendencies. Because of my teachings there, I spoke out against a second Baptism, tongues etc. etc. Three Baptist Churches heard their Pastor preach against the gifts.

In 1990, I was in Florida caring for my dying Wife. On a morning walk, God Baptized me into His Holy Spirit by His own right Hand. I've never been the same. Just like the Apostle Paul, God changed my heart and taught me the Truth about the gifts. He forgave me for teaching against the Gifts because I did it out of ignorance.

Praise our Lord Jesus.
 
Loyal
O my, Sue that's simply a wonderful Holy Spirit inspired thread of yours, Bravo. I could actually feel the Spirit's approval as I was reading it. Hey, lovely song as well, are you the singer?

You said this, "The Bible says that no one can come to Jesus Christ unless the Father draws him or her. God drew Paul to faith in Jesus Christ". For me it was approximately 10 years that our Heavenly Father was calling me to His Salvation. I just didn't know what He wanted or how to find out.

Friends of my wife (Now with the Lord) invited us to his Baptist Church and she and I got saved. Then I knew what the Lord was doing those ten years. That was November 1974.

In 1995 I walked away from the Printing Company I established with another and enrolled in Glen Cove Bible College in Rockland, Maine. This was a solid fundamental Baptist College with some legalistic tendencies. Because of my teachings there, I spoke out against a second Baptism, tongues etc. etc. Three Baptist Churches heard their Pastor preach against the gifts.

In 1990, I was in Florida caring for my dying Wife. On a morning walk, God Baptized me into His Holy Spirit by His own right Hand. I've never been the same. Just like the Apostle Paul, God changed my heart and taught me the Truth about the gifts. He forgave me for teaching against the Gifts because I did it out of ignorance.

Praise our Lord Jesus.
@Chopper - All glory to God for any way in which he uses what he gives me to share with the body of Christ for their encouragement.

Thank you for sharing your testimony with me. I grew up in the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church (same denomination as A. W. Tozer), so I grew up believing in the gifts of the Spirit, and I heard holiness preached to me every week. I find that many Baptists and Christians of multiple denominations, including within the C&MA, are afraid of the gifts of the Spirit, in particular miracle gifts, i.e. the kind that can't be done in the natural. They seem to be ok with gifts of mercy, administration, service, etc., but not prophecy, healing, tongues, etc.

Following the leading of the Holy Spirit is scary for a lot of people. Interestingly enough, while this writing was in progress I had to take one of my 2 yr old granddaughters to school. On the way back I decided to stop at Chick-fil-A to get something to eat. I drove right by it, though, because my mind was somewhere else. After I passed it, all of a sudden I remembered that I had intended to stop there. So, I pulled in the next parking lot and drove through the back parking lot to the restaurant. Sitting on the curb in the back parking lot was a homeless woman.

After I drove past her I felt the urge of the Holy Spirit to go back and to talk with her. So, I drove up to her and rolled down my window and I asked her if I could take her anywhere. She said, "No, I am ok." I asked her if she needed something to eat. She said she had just eaten. I asked her if she needed anything. She said, "No, unless you want to give me a couple of bucks." I don't usually give cash to homeless people, so I offered to buy her food or to take her somewhere, but she didn't want that.

I didn't know what else to do since she didn't want my help, so I drove back to the Chick-Fil-A. I got in line. Then the Holy Spirit put the verse in my head, "“I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” I knew immediately that the Lord wanted me to go back and talk with her, so I got out of the line, and drove back over to her. I parked the car, got out, and went over and sat down right next to her. I told her I was concerned about her. Again, I asked if she needed any help. The only thing she wanted was a Master Card. That isn't what she needed.

So, then I asked her what she knew about Jesus, and then the Lord led me to share with her the gospel. I told her that God created her for a purpose and that he has something he wants her to do and he has a place for her in this world, and that he is inviting her to leave her life of sin behind her and to follow Jesus with her life. She wasn't ready, but she said I could pray with her, so I did. Then I gave her a home-made tract, of sorts, in which the gospel is shared. My phone number was on the back, so I told her she could call me if she needed something, or if she wanted to talk with me about Jesus. I hated to leave her there, but I knew God had sent me there by divine appointment, and I believe God will take what he had me share with her and that he will use it in her life for his purposes and for his glory. Her name is Cynthia. I am praying for her salvation.

If I had not been sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and if I did not respond in obedience, then I would have missed out on this blessing, and this woman may not have heard the true message of the gospel. I praise the Lord for giving me this opportunity, and I know his word will not return empty. There is just nothing better than walking in the Spirit and following the Lord in obedience.
 
Active
@Chopper - All glory to God for any way in which he uses what he gives me to share with the body of Christ for their encouragement.

Thank you for sharing your testimony with me. I grew up in the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church (same denomination as A. W. Tozer), so I grew up believing in the gifts of the Spirit, and I heard holiness preached to me every week. I find that many Baptists and Christians of multiple denominations, including within the C&MA, are afraid of the gifts of the Spirit, in particular miracle gifts, i.e. the kind that can't be done in the natural. They seem to be ok with gifts of mercy, administration, service, etc., but not prophecy, healing, tongues, etc.

Following the leading of the Holy Spirit is scary for a lot of people. Interestingly enough, while this writing was in progress I had to take one of my 2 yr old granddaughters to school. On the way back I decided to stop at Chick-fil-A to get something to eat. I drove right by it, though, because my mind was somewhere else. After I passed it, all of a sudden I remembered that I had intended to stop there. So, I pulled in the next parking lot and drove through the back parking lot to the restaurant. Sitting on the curb in the back parking lot was a homeless woman.

After I drove past her I felt the urge of the Holy Spirit to go back and to talk with her. So, I drove up to her and rolled down my window and I asked her if I could take her anywhere. She said, "No, I am ok." I asked her if she needed something to eat. She said she had just eaten. I asked her if she needed anything. She said, "No, unless you want to give me a couple of bucks." I don't usually give cash to homeless people, so I offered to buy her food or to take her somewhere, but she didn't want that.

I didn't know what else to do since she didn't want my help, so I drove back to the Chick-Fil-A. I got in line. Then the Holy Spirit put the verse in my head, "“I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” I knew immediately that the Lord wanted me to go back and talk with her, so I got out of the line, and drove back over to her. I parked the car, got out, and went over and sat down right next to her. I told her I was concerned about her. Again, I asked if she needed any help. The only thing she wanted was a Master Card. That isn't what she needed.

So, then I asked her what she knew about Jesus, and then the Lord led me to share with her the gospel. I told her that God created her for a purpose and that he has something he wants her to do and he has a place for her in this world, and that he is inviting her to leave her life of sin behind her and to follow Jesus with her life. She wasn't ready, but she said I could pray with her, so I did. Then I gave her a home-made tract, of sorts, in which the gospel is shared. My phone number was on the back, so I told her she could call me if she needed something, or if she wanted to talk with me about Jesus. I hated to leave her there, but I knew God had sent me there by divine appointment, and I believe God will take what he had me share with her and that he will use it in her life for his purposes and for his glory. Her name is Cynthia. I am praying for her salvation.

If I had not been sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and if I did not respond in obedience, then I would have missed out on this blessing, and this woman may not have heard the true message of the gospel. I praise the Lord for giving me this opportunity, and I know his word will not return empty. There is just nothing better than walking in the Spirit and following the Lord in obedience.
That's a wonderful testimony Sue, thank you for sharing it with me. I hope others read it as well and are inspired to help the homeless.

Over the 40 years of serving Jesus as a Pastor, I've had many folk come to the parsonage for help of various needs. The Holy Spirit helped me determine the ones I could help and the ones who just wanted to go on a drunk.

I've tried to be faithful to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go to a person that He pointed out to me. I remember one time that I refused. There was a homeless man that I'd seen in Town for several years. He had relatives that tried to help him but he refused their help. He loved living in the woods.

I saw him sitting on a park bench one morning. The Holy Spirit prompted me to share the Gospel with him. I was way to busy with church matters to spend that amount of time. So, I passed by. That same week, I read in the news paper that he'd jumped off the bridge in Town to his death. O my, I've never forgot my sinfulness in refusing to obey what the Holy Spirit wanted me to do for Him.

There is one homeless man in my Town that I see every now and then. He is hungry most of the time. I usually give him some money. One day, I asked him what he needed. He said that he hadn't eaten for a day and a half. I gave him $20.00 and he went across the street to a restaurant for burgers and french fries.

Sue, if you could have seen the happy relief on his face just thinking about a hot meal on this cold winter day, it blessed my heart in such a great way. It made my day a rejoicing day that I followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I think that you're a lot like me, I live to help other people with the gifts that our Lord has given us thru His Spirit. For most of my adult life I live for teaching others the Truth from the Scriptures. Next to that is, like you, to help the unfortunate.

Keep it up Sue, you are a very gifted song writer, and vocalist. Such an unusual gift of the Holy Spirit. I truly want you to know that you and the Holy Spirit are blessing my soul and spirit, thank you so very much.

In Jesus, I Love You!
 
Loyal
That's a wonderful testimony Sue, thank you for sharing it with me. I hope others read it as well and are inspired to help the homeless.

Over the 40 years of serving Jesus as a Pastor, I've had many folk come to the parsonage for help of various needs. The Holy Spirit helped me determine the ones I could help and the ones who just wanted to go on a drunk.

I've tried to be faithful to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go to a person that He pointed out to me. I remember one time that I refused. There was a homeless man that I'd seen in Town for several years. He had relatives that tried to help him but he refused their help. He loved living in the woods.

I saw him sitting on a park bench one morning. The Holy Spirit prompted me to share the Gospel with him. I was way to busy with church matters to spend that amount of time. So, I passed by. That same week, I read in the news paper that he'd jumped off the bridge in Town to his death. O my, I've never forgot my sinfulness in refusing to obey what the Holy Spirit wanted me to do for Him.

There is one homeless man in my Town that I see every now and then. He is hungry most of the time. I usually give him some money. One day, I asked him what he needed. He said that he hadn't eaten for a day and a half. I gave him $20.00 and he went across the street to a restaurant for burgers and french fries.

Sue, if you could have seen the happy relief on his face just thinking about a hot meal on this cold winter day, it blessed my heart in such a great way. It made my day a rejoicing day that I followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I think that you're a lot like me, I live to help other people with the gifts that our Lord has given us thru His Spirit. For most of my adult life I live for teaching others the Truth from the Scriptures. Next to that is, like you, to help the unfortunate.

Keep it up Sue, you are a very gifted song writer, and vocalist. Such an unusual gift of the Holy Spirit. I truly want you to know that you and the Holy Spirit are blessing my soul and spirit, thank you so very much.

In Jesus, I Love You!
@Chopper - I hope you have forgiven yourself for not obeying the Lord that one time with that homeless person. I know that must have hit you hard. Sometimes we learn things the hard way. I know I have.

I do try to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to obey his promptings in my heart. I do care very much for hurting people, and my heart did go out to her, but I care about their true needs, i.e. what would be beneficial to them, not necessarily what they think they want or need. When prompted by me, she told me she just wanted a ride to a specific bank so she could get a Master Card. She wasn't thinking about finding a place to stay. She didn't want food or clothing or shelter. Even if the bank would have issued her a Master Card, that isn't what she needed. She lives on Social Security. She doesn't need to go into debt. She admitted that she drinks alcohol and that she had lived in several different shelters. What she needed she didn't want, including Jesus. What she wanted, she didn't need. People get stuck there, I know. And, it is hard for them to get out. Only by the grace of God can any of us get out of a cycle of sin - of living to please ourselves, instead of living to please God. I know God led me to her by divine appointment, though. She has my phone number, and she is free to call me, and I will help, where I can, with her true needs.

Concerning the song writing, the Lord just gave me this gift in 2011, at age 61, but honestly he is the one who puts the tunes in my head, and he is the one who gives me the words to go with the tunes. I have no words in mind. He just pours them into my heart and mind and I just write what he gives me. So, all the glory and praise belongs to him alone. As far as the singing, this is the voice God has given me at this time, and it is not young anymore, and I have a goiter and allergies, so I struggle to even record the songs without my voice cracking, but I pray through each recording, trusting the Lord to give me the voice he wants me to have, and I leave the results to him. So, he gets the glory there, too.

Chopper, I thank the Lord that he has used what he has given to me to be an encouragement to your heart. That is what the body of Christ is for, for us to encourage one another and to help strengthen one another in our walks of faith with Christ, and that is why I am here, to encourage and to be encouraged by others on this site, too, by those who also love the Lord, and are walking by faith and not by sight. So, thank you for your encouraging words to me. I appreciate them, and I appreciate you and your relationship with Jesus Christ. Be blessed!
 
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