Blinded by the Light

Acts 9:3,6—As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.  So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”  Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 are verses that everyone is familiar with in one form or another and are often quoted.  You know, trust in the Lord…lean not on your own understanding…in all your ways acknowledge Him…He makes straight paths.  But if you keep reading verses 7-8, Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.  Saul would have known these verses forwards and backwards and in his zeal he would have believed he was doing the will of the Lord and not his own.  That is until his encounter that day on the road to Damascus.  Saul was blinded by the light…Paul preached the gospel.  What has the light changed in you?

Everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ should be able to say—they’ve had a ‘Damascus road’ encounter.  It’s not necessarily the place of salvation but the place where your ideas about God and who He is are radically changed.  Saul knew God…but Paul was changed by God.

Do you KNOW God or just know Him?  Has your encounter with Him changed the very core of who you are, how you act, how you talk, how you dress, what you think, what you enjoy, what you want out of life?  Do you want Him to not only visit you in your church, your home, your workplace but to saturate/abide/live there?  I just finished reading a book titled, ‘Not a Fan—Becoming a completely committed follower of Jesus Christ’.  The premise of the book was that there are many fans of Jesus but very few true followers.  I believe to be a true follower you need to be ‘blinded by the light’.  Kyle Idleman in his book says, “Fans are happy to follow Jesus as long as that doesn’t require any significant changes or have negative implications.”  But – “There is no way to follow Jesus without Him interfering with your life.  Following Jesus will cost you something.  Following Jesus always costs you something.”  That is so true.  Yet when we have a ‘blinded by the light’ encounter with Jesus, the cost will not matter because we know He is on our side.

Have you ever read Psalm 119?  Yes—that one…the longest chapter in the Bible.  I always dreaded trying to read it because of that fact.  Well let me tell you—I have learned not to dread it.  There are beautiful verses in that chapter and they all pretty much deal with God’s law, God’s word and how we should love it, follow it, know it, and teach it.  It’s that ‘blinded by the light’ stuff.  God will only do in our lives what we allow Him.  He is very much the gentleman.  The more we want of Him…the more we ask Him…the more He will give.  And the more we have of Jesus…the more we want.  In this day and age we need God to be an intimate part of every second of our lives.  Our choices are easy to see—we either live for Him or we don’t.  But to live for God does mean a change…a change in our lives, in our attitudes, in our hearts, in all we are and hope to be.  A ‘blinded by the light’ change.

Encouragement and Accountability

What really painfully honest answers can you give to the following questions? Do you read God’s Word? Do you study it? Do you share what God puts in your spirit with others?   How often do you pray? How long do you pray? Why do you pray?  Do you praise God—not only in the good times but also in the bad?  Is worship of Him something you do 7 days a week or is it only on church day? Phew…did you think I didn’t take a breath between them. My answers to the questions above—I don’t read His word like I should…I’m not sure I know how to actually ‘study’ the Bible…I don’t pray as often as I should…I don’t spend enough time on my face before God…and sometimes I think I am praying for all the wrong things.  I try to praise Him in all things.  And I’m trying to make my worship of Jesus a lifestyle.  He is, thankfully, still working on me.

Deuteronomy 31:3 says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you.  He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”  Wonderfully encouraging words aren’t they.  Another verse is Psalm 55:22—”Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”  Guess what—we are supposed to speak these kinds of words to each other all the time.  God wants His daughters to lift each other up—to strengthen each other.  This world will do all it can to tear us down and who better than our sisters in Christ should we be able to count on for love, fellowship, encouragement and holding us accountable for our walk with Jesus.  Uh oh…I said a bad word—accountable.

We like being encouraged…we like it when people make us feel better about our life…our selves…but when it comes to being held accountable for how we act…where we are in our relationship with Jesus…what we are doing, it’s another matter.  Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness live in your hearts and make you wise.  Use His words to teach and counsel each other.  Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.”  We are not only to study the Bible for our own growth but to help others with theirs.  “I am warning you!  If another believer sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him”, declares Luke 17:5.  We are to do this with a humble and loving attitude.

Do you have an accountability partner?  Is there someone you can trust and pray with at any time?  That’s what I believe God is calling us too.  He wants His daughters to have closer relationships…to depend on each other…to grow closer to Him not just separately but together.  But do be careful about the person you choose.  1 John 4:1 tell us, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit.  You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.  For there are many false prophets in the world.”  Seek God’s guidance—really!  Allow Him to show you who you need in your life and who can best hold you accountable.  He will lead you to the person most able to help you grow…keep you accountable for your actions…and love you no matter what.  He is an awesome God and only wants the very best for each of us.  ACCOUNTABLE…not such a bad word after all.

Daddy and His Girls

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I’m in the pink. Christmas 2012 with my Dad, my sister Letia (far left) and my sister Abbie next to her. Abbie went home to be with our Savior on February 15th. God knows just how much I miss her. She battled cancer for 18 months and had a strength and courage that amazed me. She never realized just how many people she blessed.