Paul formerly known as Saul persecuted the believers/disciples of Jesus until he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. From there since his conversion, the Lord has revealed visions to speak boldly with faith and courage in the Lord. We who are the children of God need not to be afraid, but rather we need to be encouraged as the Lord is faithful always to us and will give us His Words to speak. When the Lord calls us to go in His Name to speak the gospel message, we need to not disobey Him by choosing to stay in our comfort zone, but instead Trust in Him always. It is not what we say or how clever we speak, only it is the Power of the Holy Spirit of God that speaks through us to others. Pray in the Holy Spirit of Truth to reveal God’s Wisdom and Knowledge in Acts 18: 5-11, 18-23 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my own responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titus Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul had left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phyrgia, strengthening the disciples. Acts 19:1-17 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there was a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate, they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Some Jews went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish Chief Priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirits answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirits jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.
Speak as Paul regarding your conversion when you met Jesus. Giving the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy for those who belong to the kingdom of God as it says in Revelation 19:10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Listen to Paul’s testimony in Acts 22:1-11 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. “What shall I do, Lord?” I asked. “Get up,” the Lord said, “and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.” My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He does not change and He still chooses to speak to some of His children by audible voice in visions of both the day and night. There are those whom I do know besides myself that has heard the audible voice of God. I, too heard Him and can testify to hearing His voice in a vision of the night as God woke me up from a deep sleep. I could not see Him, but truly I heard Him as He spoke these words to me on Monday, December 6, 2010 at 4:42 am “Take the time to read the Book of Job.” and He also said this to me in His audible voice while humbled to the ground, “I will put burning fire in your heart for Me that no one can ever put out! You will go out and tell others about Me with fire in your heart.” I am speaking the Truth of my conversion when I met Jesus on March 7, 2008 and a messenger of God placed something in my hand, closed it while speaking these words, “Here, this is for you,” He quickly walked away not to be seen. When I opened my hand the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my heart to see Jesus as I saw these words and believed with all my heart on a cross that was given by God with the words, “I Jesus Lord.” That is where I met Jesus and knew immediately in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God and my Lord and Savior. I, like Paul, used to reject Jesus and His followers/believers/disciples/Christians. I used to mock them with harsh criticism. I am not saying that I did all the things that Paul did, but just merely comparing similarities to rejection and obstinate ways. I did grow up in a true believing church, but later as a young adult, I became obstinate. I had only head knowledge and therefore went away from God altogether, completely rejecting His Word.
Paul did not reject the God of his fathers, but was obstinate to the Truth of Jesus as the Messiah sent from God. He had zeal for the Lord, where obviously I did not. But the truth remains that Paul and I both were headed down the road of judgment and death along with permanent separation from God. My grandfather used to take me to a Jewish synagogue as a child and I didn’t understand why or what we were doing there. But he did speak to them as I witnessed his zeal for Jesus while he was working there. He died when I was nine years old and later I found out the Truth about my grandpa. He was an undercover FBI agent sent there to protect them from threats and violence. He also was a preacher who preached in small churches. I found all of this out later. But I did witness my grandfather as he took care of the people in the synagogue and spoke of Jesus to them. My grandfather was well respected by the Jewish community because he didn’t just do his protective duty, but truly cared for them and I didn’t understand until I was saved in 2008. This is the reason why I say that God does not change and He alone chooses whom to reveal His audible voice to. I mostly hear the Lord speak to my heart, but truly He has spoken to me in His audible voice waking me up and then awake, not able to see Him, and all that I could do was go to the ground on my knees in AWE of GOD! I am still in AWE of GOD! We need to have faith and courage in our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus and Listen to the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts, minds, and even our ears in visions of the day and night, those whom He chooses to do so, speaking boldly of our testimony of Jesus and go where he tells us to. Praise the Lord as He is faithful always in the Name of Jesus, Amen!
Amen! Enjoyable read Julie. Let’s have courage to be obedient to God’s will. And, we must remember, when we do harm to God’s people, we do harm to Him. And, He takes it personal. Praise God.