Thursday, February 2, 2017


Today’s Bible Reading:  Exodus 33-34, Psalm 16, Acts 9
Topic: Waiting

SCRIPTURE:  Acts 9:29-31

29 And he (Saul) 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 Tarsus31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. (Acts 9:29-31 NKJV)


These key verses in Acts must first be prefaced with a chronology of the context: 

At this juncture in the narrative of the early Church, Saul the persecutor of Christian believers has undergone an amazing conversion to Christ after the incident on the road to Damascus.  Saul had been saved, healed and called to serve Christ, the One he had previously been persecuting (see vv. 1-19).  Saul immediately began standing up for Jesus and convincingly preaching in His name to non-believing Jews in Damascus, but they were angered and tried to kill him (vv. 20-25).  Then he fled to Jerusalem, but the Christians there did not trust a man who had been throwing them in jail, whereupon a disciple named Barnabas stood up for him and took him under his wing (an amazing topic for another reflection).  This brings us to verse 29.  Despite the setbacks, Saul continued to preach, this time to the Grecian Jews in Jerusalem (Hellenists); but these too tried to kill him (v. 29).  So the Christian believers sent him away for his own safety to Caesarea and eventually to Tarsus.  Finally (in verse 31) we come to the key observation that strikes me in this passage — 

After Saul was gone and out of the picture, the Church had peace, gained in strength, and grew.  Saul (later to be named Paul) was called by Jesus Himself to be a leader in His Church, but rather than having any place of leadership, he is immediately sidelined.  In fact, it seems the Church actually prospered better without him. 


At this juncture in my life and ministry, I identify with Saul.  I have been called to ministry and leadership.  I’ve served as a starter on the Lord’s team.  But trying circumstances and forces against me in the past few years seem to have benched me.  I continue to study and prepare myself, and minister in small ways; but I wonder about how or if the Lord will use me in the future. 

We know that Saul (Paul) did not remain on the bench, and that he eventually fulfilled God’s calling upon him.  I am therefore encouraged to await greater usefulness and fruitfulness ahead.


Lord, my life and my calling is to serve You.  May You continue to prepare me for the work and path You have ordained ahead.  I humbly and eagerly await Your bidding.

In Christ’s name and for Your service.  Amen.  -AP

NOTE: I penned this particular journal entry some years ago after leaving primary pastoral ministry to care for my wife through surgery and recovery from cancer. She got better and is now cancer free PTL! But even after she gained in strength, getting back into the game seemed to take a while. I praise the Lord for the opportunities I have had to serve him since, yet I still long to serve Him more fully. Never-the-less Lord, not my will but Your will be done with my life.  

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