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Daily Devotional with Mr. Jeffrey A. Hale 10.23.18 ♥

🎶Blinded by the light
Revved up like a deuce
Another runner in the night
Blinded by the light🎶

“Blinded by the Light” is a song written and originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen, although it is mostly known by its 1977 #1 hit version recorded by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. Mann’s remake was released in the United Kingdom in August 1976, where it reached No. 6 in the charts. A song that speaks of blindness similar to Paul on the Damascus road. Paul had a powerful testimony, but not everyone knew what to make of his sudden turn around. Could he be trusted? Would it last? Was he safe? Perhaps it was for everybody’s sake he was sent home to sort himself out. Verses in Acts 31-32 are one of a series of summary interludes Luke uses between sections of his story, but one wonders how much the “time of peace” in 31 is the calm after the disturbance of someone who saw the truth about Yeshua/Jesus uncomfortably clearly. New converts often have the strengths of their weaknesses. Uninhibited boldness. A fresh experience. A new story. It is a pity if growth in sensitivity and tact and a growing awareness of the complexities in life and faith dull clear testimony. It does not have to be. Paul was not an instantly mature Believer, never mind a leader. He knew a lot, but had to discover what it meant to be a disciple. Over a long period he learnt how to be more relevant and less abrasive, when to speak and when to keep quiet and what to say, but if he grew in wisdom he did not fail in courage and neither need we. A reckless witness is careless of the risks to others, and also uncaring about effectiveness. A living gracious witness can speaking for Yeshua/Jesus and be both bold and sensitive and which knows what can be done and what risks to run. Again we need grace to grow as Paul did, and wisdom to handle Paul’s God which He is sending to stir up our sleepy fellowships. Thank YeHoVaH/God for people like Barnabas. Pray for those who may be brash young disciples today, but who will be our “church” and mission leaders tomorrow. We need to be open to what He wants us to do. We are often surprised how YeHoVaH/God chooses to work. Just like those in Acts 9:21. God is in the business of calling the people we least expect. No one more fits the bill than Paul. YeHoVaH/God had to get his attention. Yeshua/Jesus the light of the world turned up in a big way and Paul was “Blinded by the Light” Amen?

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Christianity, diet, Faith, Inspiration, life, lyrics, Music, Personal Journey, spiritual growth

Daily Devotional with Mr. Jeffrey A. Hale ❤️

Boston sang “Don’t look back” on WLS in Chicago late in the summer of 1978. (I was glued to my AM radio back then) WLS was about all I listened too. How can you beat Larry Lujack? Long before Boston sang “Don’t look back” there was the Apostle Paul was telling Believers, in so many words, ”Don’t look back!” Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians, ”Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the upward call of YeHoVaH/God in Yeshua/Jesus.” His word to us is, ”Don’t look back!” Like the Apostle Paul we must forget ”what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead.” There is a natural, human tendency for us to look back. And there can be great value in looking back. We look back to learn. We look back to affirm the places and faces and circumstances from whence we have come. Facebook friends, ”It’s mainly for some clue to where I am going that I search through where I’ve been, for some hint as to whom I am becoming or failing to become that I delve into what used to be.” So there is, indeed, a time for us to look back, if that looking back carries with it a positive purpose. At the same time Paul tells us to ”forget what lies behind.” But Paul is saying don’t look back in a way that will keep us from going forward. Don’t look back in a way that makes us prisoners of our past, because looking back in the wrong way enslaves us or enslaves others to past mistakes and sins. Looking back in the wrong way does not allow the healing of old hurts and painful memories. Even looking back at past accomplishments and successes can keep us from discovering what lies ahead. So the advice that’s given to us is, ”Don’t look back!” Imagine how miserable the Apostle Paul would have been if he had not put behind the sins and mistakes of his past. Think back on Paul’s earlier years.

Before his conversion Paul was named Saul, and he was the number one enemy of the church. He was responsible for the gruesome persecution and even the murder of people who professed faith in Yeshua/Jesus. When Stephen, the great witness for Yeshua/Jesus, was stoned to death, Luke tells us that ”Saul was consenting to his death.” In Acts, Luke goes on to say ”that a great persecution arose against the church” and ”Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” Paul’s past was cluttered with atrocious acts of evil. And he wasn’t perfect after he became a Believer. He, like us, continually struggled with his sinfulness. Yet he was forgiven. Through the grace of YeHoVaH/God Paul was forgiven. He affirmed in his letter to the Colossians, ”He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Paul was able to forget the awfulness of his past because YeHoVaH/God had forgotten and forgiven Paul’s past. In Hebrews Yeshua/Jesus tells us that He will ”remember our sins and misdeeds no more.” There’s no reason for us to remain enslaved to the mistakes and sins and shortcomings of our past. We don’t have to continually feel guilty and ”second rate” because of something we did years ago or even yesterday. YeHoVaH/God in Yeshua/Jesus has forgiven us, and all we do is accept His forgiveness and say ”thank you.” It’s as simple as that. Don’t look back at past mistakes! Amen?