To paraphrase Acts 26:18…We are to turn from spiritual darkness to the light of Jesus Christ… from the limited power of Satan to the infinite power of God, so that we may receive forgiveness of our sins and a place among fellow Believers who are sanctified by faith in Jesus. The Lord has snatched us from danger and set us free…the chains have been broken off and we are no longer a slave to sin and the jurisdiction of darkness…for the Kingdom of God is now residing within our hearts. (Luke 17:21)
These verses remind me of the old Hymn, “What a Friend I have in Jesus.” When our burdens are too heavy to bear…our friend Jesus is there, ready to take those burdens and offer support and comfort. When pain and sorrow fills our body…our friend Jesus is there at the right hand of God interceding, and pleading on our behalf. Yes, if we think about it, there really is no better friend than Jesus.
Maybe you’ve never heard the term – Shekinah Glory – but here in Hebrews it attempts to explain how Jesus was the perfect expression of the divine essence of His Father. God’s luminous presence was manifested in Jesus, and this splendor and light could not be dampened or hidden from sight…for God’s Shekinah Glory cannot be contained.
Verbal histories from our elderly family members give us insight into just where we come from. Those precious stories are filled with important events, human struggles, and surprising accounts of things we had no prior knowledge of. Within those verbal histories, we hear bits of wisdom, sage advice, personal warnings, and lots of humor. With our own ears we listen as important information is given to us about the past. But have you ever thought about how important it is to give a “verbal history” to your children or grandchildren about God’s influence in your life? A once I was… but now I am… testimony showing the Lord’s redemptive power over sin in your life is more important than any other story you could share with them.
Paul realized that he would never be able to please everyone by his ministry. No matter how he approached people, he found some would listen…some would scoff…and some would take offense. When we’re a people-pleaser, our focus is to deliberately and intentionally mollify our message…to water it down in order to be palatable for all, but in the process every ounce of Holy Spirit power is leached out. God isn’t calling us to be wishy-washy, lukewarm Christians who try to be “politically correct” with every person we meet. Paul understood that his allegiance was to Jesus Christ and not to the crowds…his total dependence was then on the Master of the universe not man.
The Ethiopian eunuch had been reading Isaiah 53:7-8 when Phillip came up to his chariot and started telling him about Jesus. Phillip started with the verses the eunuch was reading but then added related verses…threading them together into the Gospel Message. This “stringing pearls of heaven” is an excellent way of telling others about Jesus, and one I have used for a long time. In the front of my Bible I have written the starting point of this 10 point Road to Salvation – Revelation 3:20. Next to each verse is written then the subsequent verse to go to – Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans:5:8, John 3:16-18, John 3:36, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9-10, John 1:12, II Corinthians 6:2. The result is a beautifully told story of need, salvation, and redemption and one you can easily use to share the Good News with others.
You were on the Lord’s mind long before you had ever heard of Him. He saw you saved and made whole when you were at the very lowest point in your life. He saw you doing great things for Him way before you had the confidence to step out in the abilities He had given you. For the Lord not only knew your name… He saw the person you would become through Him.