FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29
But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 9:22 (NASB)
THE DISRUPTIVE GOSPEL: EXCHANGE MY PLANS FOR GOD’S PURPOSES
In a little mission church in New Zealand, a line of worshipers knelt at the altar rail to receive the Lord’s Supper. Suddenly, from among them, a young native arose and returned to his pew. Some minutes later, he returned to his place at the rail. Afterwards, one of his friends asked what happened. The young man explained, “When I went forward and knelt, I found myself side by side with a man whom some years ago had slain my father and whom I had vowed to kill. I couldn’t partake of the Lord’s Supper with him, so I returned to my pew. As I sat there, I thought about Jesus’ statement at the first Lord’s Supper: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” I remembered the Lord Jesus hanging from the cross and remembered He said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” That’s when I returned to the altar rail.” (Andrews)
God began using Saul in gradually increasing ways. This “confounded” the Jews. The idea of “confounding” is to cause surprise or confusion in someone, especially not according with their expectations. Not only would the Jews be surprised at Saul’s conversion from persecutor of Jesus to proclaimer of Jesus, but also surprised that he was proving Jesus was the Messiah by using their own Scriptures. This brought great conflict into the life of Paul and so God gave him the strength he needed to accomplish God’s purposes.
Cole challenged us in the sermon to exchange our plans for God’s purposes. There are times when this will bring conflict and challenges into our lives and we will need God’s strength. Can you think back to times when God gave you the strength you needed when you surrendered to His change of plans for your life? Are there currently any plans in your life you think God may want to change?
Later Paul would write “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Php 4:13) Praise God for promising you the strength you need through Christ.