This S.O.A.P. Note Bible Journal entry is from the One Year Bible reading for Wednesday June 13th. The New Testament passage for that day was Acts 9:1-25. This is the story of Saul’s conversion.
In this passage Saul is on his way to Damascus to persecute the followers of Jesus when a light from heaven shines upon him and a voice identifying itself as Jesus asks Saul why he is persecuting him. Saul is blinded by the heavenly light. But Jesus tells him to go on to Damascus and do as instructed. When Saul arrives in Damascus, God instructs a believer, named Ananias, to restore Saul’s sight.
Ananias is reluctant because Saul has previously persecuted the Church. It is God’s response to Ananias that I chose to focus on for that day’s journal entry.
But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. – Acts 9:15 (NLT)
In this verse, God tells Ananias that Saul has a very special destiny. He is to preach to the Gentiles.
Interestingly Saul’s commission is given before Peter received the vision which prepared him to meet with the Gentile Cornelius. To me, this underscores God’s identification of Saul as his chosen instrument to preach to the nations.
While God did say that Saul would deliver the message of Jesus to the people of Israel “as well,” it the Gentiles and kings whom God mentions first. I think this shows that God always intended to put the Gentiles at the core of Saul’s ministry.
And so he did.
Perhaps one of the reasons Jesus chose Saul, who would become better known as the Apostle Paul, was because Paul was the absolute best man for the job. Perhaps the particular destiny of Paul hinged on the fact that he differed from the first disciples (including Peter) in several very important ways.
Paul was a Roman citizen. He spoke impeccable Greek. He could read and write in both Hebrew and Greek. His Greek was so eloquent that, to this day, his letters contain some of the most beautiful passages in the entire Bible.
Interestingly, Paul was also a Pharisee and well taught in all aspects of Jewish Scripture and Law giving him both authority and confidence.
I don’t know how Paul’s passion and courage stacked up with that of first disciples but I know that Paul was as zealous in promoting the church as he once was in persecuting it. When all was said and done, he had delivered a message that was instrumental in bringing Christianity to the ultimate attention of the entire world.
There is no doubt that we owe Paul a tremendous debt. But I can’t help wondering how he felt about the commision he was given. As his ministry took him further and further into the land and hearts of the Gentiles, did he ever wish for the same success back home with his own people?
Perhaps. But whether he did or whether he didn’t he accepted the calling that God had given him.
I believe that all Christians have a similar (though usually smaller) calling. I also believe that part of this calling involves sharing the message of our Lord with others and that those others are chosen, not by us, but by God.
Just as God chose those to whom his Son would redeem, he chooses who we might lead to the word. If we are to be like Jesus we understand that he is setting an example when he tells God:
I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. – John 17:6 (NLT)
And here is why this idea that God decides who we will share his message with is so meaningful to me.
I have felt called to write ever since I can remember. And as the world has changed I have felt called to do media work as well. And I believe that this is all a part of God’s calling on my life.
I don’t know who God means for me to reach or if he just wants me to utilize the creative process to better understand his truth for the benefit of my own soul. And it’s okay either way because, while it is nice to help people, I like what I do so much that it doesn’t really matter to me what purpose it serves.
But there is something in all of this that does matter to me very much.
Of my three adult sons, only one goes to church. And while I am crazy grateful for that one, as a believer who is quite sure that Jesus is the narrow gate, I can’t help worrying about the others. In the past I believe God clearly assured me that all three of my sons will eventually be saved. But I have no idea how or when or who will facilitate this.
On Wednesday, as I journaled on this verse, it suddenly occurred to me that the ‘who’ probably won’t be me. Like Paul, I may never reach those who are closest to me.
But thanks to Acts 9:15 I understand that I am meant to press on with my own upward call, trusting that God has worked everything else out as is best for all concerned.
And so these words of Paul seem especially appropriate.
…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14
Dear Lord. Thank you for whatever calling you have placed on my life. Help me to accept it and to receive and share the message you have given me as you have intended it. Thank you for everything you have given me to steward including my children, home, experience and abilities. Help me to trust that you will save my boys as you have promised in the manner you deem best. Thank you for that promise. May my prayers be answered. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
About the One Year Bible Journal
I do a S.O.A.P. note Bible study each morning on a verse or passage from that day’s One Year Bible reading. Each week I pick an entry that has been particularly helpful to me and share it here in my online journal. It is my hope that this journal will serve as an example of how the living Word of God works in a life of one perpetually struggling Christian <3
Next Week’s One Year Bible Readings:
1 Kings 18:1-46
1 Kings 19:1-21
1 Kings 20:1-21:29
1 Kings 22:1-53
2 Kings 1:1-2:25
2 Kings 3:1-4:17
2 Kings 4:18-5:27
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