Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heavenly visions

"Ananias Prays
for Saul" by
Benjamin West

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 26:19-32

TO CHEW ON: "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Acts 26:19.

Note all the visions that accompanied Paul's coming to faith:
- The vision at Stephen's stoning, where Paul was present (Acts 7:55-57).
- Paul's experience near Damascus (Acts 9:3).
- Paul's vision in prayer (Acts 9:11-12).
- Ananias's vision (Acts 9:10,17).

And throughout his ministry experience, he saw many more:

We may never have heard from God in such a supernatural style. But no doubt we can point to times when we knew God was speaking — through the lines of a book or a magazine article, the words of a sermon or a friend, the lyrics of a song or the canticle birds in the chapel of our own gardens.

The message is so real when we hear it — nothing could be realer or truer. But then we leave the sacred place, step back into what we call the "real world" and that "heavenly vision" is tested. Can we say with Paul, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision" whatever it is.

Charles Spurgeon said:  
"We must take care that we do not neglect heavenly monitions through fear of being considered visionary; we must not be staggered even by the dread of being styled fanatical or out of our minds. For to stifle a thought from God is no small sin" quoted in New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1538.

PRAYER: Dear God, I would love to be in such close communion with You that what you say to me and show me, is as real — no, more real — than the cereal and toast I'll have for breakfast in a few minutes. Amen.

Today is the church Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. The liturgy begins with the following collect:

"O God, by the preaching of your apostle Paul you have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."

Bible Drive-Thru

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