Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
Acts 26:12-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Paul Tells of His Conversion
12 “With this in mind, I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 when at midday along the road, your Excellency,[a] I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew[b] language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ 15 I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me[c] and to those in which I will appear to you. 17 I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Acts 26:12-18 is one of the accounts of Paul’s dramatic conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He went from being a persecutor of the Church to a passionate missionary proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to anyone who would listen. Sometimes we assume that people can’t change, don’t we? We even have expressions for that belief, like “A leopard can’t change its spots.” (That actually comes from the Bible, Jeremiah 13:23)
Is that true? Thank goodness it is not! By God’s grace, change is possible. It happens all the time and very often that change comes about by some kind of encounter with God. It very often happens when someone takes seriously the message of Jesus and begins to love and live and Jesus called us to do. It often happens when someone experiences the powerful, transforming message of grace that is at the heart of the Good News.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster