Thursday, January 24, 2013

Having Strength for Greatness

Acts 9:1-31

The Damascus Road: Saul Converted

Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.[a] It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
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.”
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Ananias Baptizes Saul

10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting hishand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus,[b] who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

Saul Preaches Christ

20 Immediately he preached the Christ[c] in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”
22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesusis the Christ.

Saul Escapes Death

23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.

Saul at Jerusalem

26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.

We are all so Great!  I keep saying that I am so excited about this year because of Greatness that God has spoke to me that this is the year for it!  Today we are going to focus on strength.  In order to be great we must have strength.  Recently I had gone through a few things that I felt was unnecessary but when I prayed about it and had my quiet time with God he the Holy Spirit said I have to strengthen you.  In order for you to do what I have called you to do, you must have strength and these things you go through will only make you stronger.  I received those words and felt so much better afterward because the work that he has planned for me, the places he is taking me I am going to need his strength.    There is  so many examples of strength in the bible but today I want to focus on Paul.  The Apostle Paul had no reason to think he would be great in the  sigh of God because he murdered Christians for a living.  He had a goal to kill them.  He had no hopes, no dreams for Greatness.  But that was until he met God.  On the road to damascus he came to know God and  realize that he now has hope for Greatness, that he has been predestined for Greatness but had not known it.  His life before God mirrored something different than what God was offering him.  Paul had an amazing journey with God and an amazing ministry.  However if we think about his former life and the new life he had in christ you can say that he would need  strength to make it through.  He suffered a lot for the sake of Christ and the only way he did it was through strength.  Things got shaky and windy but he did it, he made it, he was great!  If paul had tried to do what he did in his strength he would have failed.    The only way to Greatness was through God's strength.  He wisdom was not enough,  nor his knowledge, or even his understanding but he did it all in the strength of the Lord.  Paul was truly transformed by God Holy Spirit ( the strength that makes living the Christian life possible) and he God a new Name!  He went from Saul the man who Killed Christians to Paul the man who preached the Gospel Of Jesus Christ and      saved Souls.  This excites me to know that if I remain in his strength I can do Great things and be Great.

Paul always acknowledged Gods Strength in his life.

2Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and thatall the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

Paul knew that he had to put off the old man that he once was and walked in the strength of the new man that God had transformed him to be.  The old man is weak but the New Man is Strong and full of strength because it is from God Almighty!

Ephesians 4:17-24

 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of[a] the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,  having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;  who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
 But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:  that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,  and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,  and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.


If God Brings you to it, he can bring you trough it

All Strength comes from God
2 Chronicles 16:9

We can't full serve God without fully surrendering to his strength
Isaiah 40: 28-31
Isaiah 41:10
1 Chronicles 16:11
Philippians 4:13
Psalm 18:32-34
1 Corinthians 10:13

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