Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)
Here we have Saul in deep shock from his experience on the road to Damascus. We know that he will become one of the greatest persons of profound faith in God. But isn’t Ananias’ faith in God as shown in this story extraordinary? The Lord tells Ananias in a vision that Saul is praying and that Saul too is having a vision. Saul sees “a man named Ananias” coming in, laying hands on him so that Saul may regain his sight. Ananias doesn’t say, “that must be another man named Ananias.” He doesn’t say, “Lord, I don’t know how to do that.” He knows that God wants him to do this and he has faith that it is possible. He does have fear though and he tells God about it. The Lord assures Ananias that Saul is a part of his plan. Saul will be a vessel of God’s message to all people. That is all it takes. Ananias goes to Saul and does what God has asked.
- What fear do you have about a task you feel God may be calling you to?
- Would sharing that fear with God free you to step out with confident faith to do that task?
Psalm 30 starts out sounding like a typical praise psalm. It begins full of joy that God has stopped the writer from dying. But there is an abrupt change in tone at verse 8. We have a glimpse of the dark moments that came before. Perhaps the psalmist lost his sense of security when he became sick. This may have been the moment he felt that God hid his face. The writer appeals to God saying that once he is dead, he won’t be able to praise God and proclaim his faithfulness. How can I love you, God, when I’m dead? Then in verse 12 there is another turn. The psalmist pleas were heard, He is restored to health and promises to exalt God and give thanks forever.
- How can we stay “as strong as the mountains” even at those moments that we feel God’s face is turned or our prayers aren’t answered?
- Do you think we might stay “as strong as the mountains” when we feel God’s face is hid, by calling upon the Lord for help and asking for mercy?
The book of Revelation is written in the apocalyptic style and is a literary genre that we modern readers find difficult. We are unfamiliar with so much of the symbolism. What is clear in this passage though is that both God, the one seated on the throne, and Jesus, the Lamb are equally worthy of Universal praise.
- Can you picture this image in your mind and imagine yourself singing with full voice, joining with angels, the symbolic living creatures, elders, and every creature in heaven, earth, and sea, calling for blessing, honor, glory, and might to the Creator and Redeemer?
This Gospel passage is full of parallels with other Gospel passages. In Luke, Jesus told Peter to throw out the nets after a fruitless night of fishing. The nets were miraculously filled with fish then too. Peter has been in a boat before and tried to get to Jesus walking on the water. Here he jumps into the water and swims to Jesus. Peter has been near a fire of burning coals before while being asked a question three times. He denied that he knew Jesus three times. Here Jesus redeems Peter by asking three times “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Three times Peter says “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
- Do you ever feel that Jesus is saying to you “If you love me, feed my sheep?”
- What are some ways that you feel others have “fed” you?