Acts 22:11-21

And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.

 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,  came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.  For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.  And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

“Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You.  And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’”

 Paul received his assignment and was faithful to complete it.  God has his chosen ones, to do his will, and we are to be a witness to all of what we have seen and heard.  We are commissioned to share what we receive with those who will listen.  God has his chosen who need to hear what he has for them.  It is not his will that any should perish, it is our responsibility to share the word for how can they receive if they cannot hear it.  We who receive are his messengers, messengers not of what we were but of what he can do, the change and love he can bring into their lives.

Keep it real…

John 13:18-30

“I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me. ‘Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.

Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.

 It is possible to sit under Jesus’ teachings, see his miracles, sense his love and presence and still not believe.  And it troubled Jesus deeply.  The hand is outstretched, offering the gift; there are those who rather than take it, will slap the hand and send the gift crashing to the floor.  And the one offering the gift is doing so for the benefit of the other, not to benefit themselves. How sad this is.  Some are only along for the ride…

 But then we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd say, “I know whom I have chosen…”  And with belief in his words, believing him, we are one of the chosen.  “I know whom I have chosen…”  He knows us; we can know him and the one who sent him.  Let our relationship with him deepen and grow.  “Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”  Amen.

Not just called; chosen…spirit and flesh.

John 6:60-71

  Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”  He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

 “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.”  “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” – Jesus.  Moving from our present experience, one we can see, smell, touch, hear and taste, to an experience that includes the spiritual, beyond the flesh, and one that lasts for eternity is a greater stretch than some can make.  “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” – Jesus.

To be called by God is a blessed and wonderful thing; but it is also a fearful thing.  Once we are tagged we have entered a different world, one that is aware of both the natural and the spiritual.  Many times we find them not compatible thanks to sin.  Many times we find them confusing, thanks to the enemy of our soul.  Keeping our focus on the speaker of words of life, keeps this living experience in the right perspective.  “The  words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” – Jesus.  He asks of us; “You do not want to leave too, do  you?”  Answer with Peter: “to whom shall we go?”  Become not just the called but also the chosen.