Tag Archives: Acts 8

1Samuel 9-10; Acts 8

How I view myself can obscure how I see God. It’s not much different from holding up my hand to block the sun. My puny little hand is powerless to change the immensity and force of the sun, but attempting to block it out keeps my vision on that which is closest to me. When I focus on myself, and my abilities, I fool myself into thinking that the God who made me and continues to provide my next breath is unaware who He is dealing with or my circumstances.

And there hides Saul in the baggage, God’s chosen king over Israel, quaking with fear and trying to hide from his calling. It’s as if he is back in the Garden with Adam thinking that he can hide from God. But haven’t I done the same when I have thought that God was incapable of using the likes of me to help establish his kingdom here on earth?

Another dangerous paradigm can take place; it happens if I adopt Simon the Sorcerer’s thinking that personal influence and resources might allow access and control of the mysterious and untamed work of the Holy Spirit. It’s a heart full of “bitterness and captive to sin” ( Acts 8:23) that gives birth to this falsehood. It gives rise to a prosperity theology that robs so many of true joy and wonder.

I may take Saul’s view and think that personal fear and weakness are greater than God’s power or I may join Simon and think that I can somehow control the very Spirit of God. Both lies shrivel and die in the light of God’s grace. When  I stop thinking about ME and dwell on the wonder of God and who He is, I see beautiful things happen in some of the most unexpected places. Our God, is the one who delights in surprising and amazing us with who He is and what He can do.  True freedom and the abundant life are found in the unobscured light of God’s love.

Lord, give me the grace to get out of my own way when it comes to following you, who loves me ever so fiercely. I love you in all your mercy, grace and beauty. Thank you for all that you are.





Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

Genesis 8, Ezra 8, Matthew 8, Acts 8


“And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.” Acts 8:1 (NIV)


Struck by God’s wrath as he floods the earth, his deep love is still fully evident. I intended to stay in the Old Testament until I saw this solitary sentence staring at me on the computer screen. Scripture chose me. Saul stands there, watching as Stephen is stoned for his convictions. I know further on as this story is written, Saul becomes Paul–a major proponent of the gospel. But in this moment, he is an unbelieving sinner–and I cried for him: because of the miraculous change I knew would occur in his life, and how Christ would use this man’s story to shine His light.


I turn to the Bible for lots of reasons: comfort, guidance, history, discovery, understanding. Sometimes I’m taken off guard at the things I find in there about myself. Today, scripture was a mirror. I could just as easily substitute my own name: “And Courtney was there, (insert grievous action).” How could I not be humbled by this: knowing who I was and where I came from, transformed and being transformed … because of Christ. Through Christ. In Christ.


When my story is finished, Lord, I hope it is full of your light.



Filed under Acts, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Uncategorized