25 Jan Acts 9:1-2 (St. Paul’s Conversion)
Let’s welcome God today by reflecting on this Living In Faith Exchange (LIFE) Group devotion (website, Facebook), based on Living Faith. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Col. 3:17
Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. Acts 9:1-2 (full readings)
Living Faith snippets: “Paul was so sure that he was standing up for what’s right, that he was defending God and the tradition of faith that had been passed down to him. But he was wrong. And in a flash of blinding light and a thunderous voice, God told him so. God took Paul down from his high horse to show that God doesn’t need to be defended, but embraced. Not fought for, but surrendered to. Do I have the courage to remember, in the heat of anger, that my adversary is also God’s beloved child?” by Claire J. King
Rich’s comments: I was not able to attend the March for Life in Washington D.C. on January 22nd, but I did watch it live on my computer. A comment made by Nellie Gray, the founder and president of the March for Life, stuck in my mind as somewhat absurd. She said that next year during the March for Life that hopefully they will be thanking President Obama for ending abortion. The Damascus Christians probably never imagined that their persecutor, St. Paul, would be converted to a powerful evangelist and follower of Christ. St. Paul’s conversion surely gave these Christians great confidence that “nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) Lord Jesus, may we never place limits on You. Use us to bring about many conversions this year. Amen.
Faith Challenges: Welcome Christopher Dalton and Sister M. Anselma to the LIFE Group! Let’s generously share the LIFE Group by forwarding a devotion to others or by using the Facebook Group “invite people to join” link to invite your friends. Steve, Rich, or Pat will gladly add others to the email list.
* NEW: Pray that Christ will remove the scales from the doubting eyes of those who do not share our regard for the sanctity of unborn human life, and inspire them to dedicate themselves to the cause of life.
Counter-Culture News: LifeSiteNews, Vatican, American Family Association, Priests for Life
* Let’s never forget the horrific reality of abortion (images), #1 cause of death in America (23% of pregnancies). Let’s courageously share ProLife Truth to create social tension for exposing abortion’s unjust peace, rebuilding a Culture of Life for setting the unborn (and parents) free!
Our Prayers: Those who pray together stay together. Fasting ideas in footnote below.
* Prayer to end abortion, abused children, chastity, peace, our enemies, our troops, depression/despair, prisoners, politicians, illnesses/injuries, jobs, natural disasters, refugees, addictions, persecuted believers, Peters family (JP, Rebekah), Health care reform (protect the unborn), Haitian earthquake victims, James Ramesbothom (peace for his dying Grandma), Chris Wyckoff (for family during his deployment).
Feast Day of the Conversion of St. Paul: “St. Paul’s conversion is a sign for us today to never fear persecution for our faith. Jesus can instantly make sinners holy, convert persecutors to evangelists, and change enemies into allies. Don’t shrink before the Sauls in your life. Tell them that Jesus is Lord. Then expect Him to do far greater than you can imagine (Eph 3:20).” – OBOB
Faith Quote: “Conversion for me was not a Damascus Road experience. I slowly moved into an intellectual acceptance of what my intuition had always known.” – Madeleine L’Engle
Through Christ our Lord,
* Prayer: Prayer connects us with God’s will & His miracles, changing us & helping others. ‘If you pray that God will move a mountain and He doesn’t, assume Christ wants you to climb it instead.
* Fasting: Let’s fast from things that take our eyes off Jesus (selfishness, pornography, bitterness, criticalness, impatience, gossip, excessive video games, etc) and take on things that fix our eyes on Jesus (selflessness, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, patience, understanding, caring, helping, listening).
* Defend the unborn: ‘Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don’t stand back and let them die’ (Prov 24:11). ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you’ (Jer 1:5). ‘It is a great poverty that a child must die that you might live as you wish’ (Blessed Mother Teresa).
* Evangelization: Let’s make room for unbelievers (be a friend, make a friend, lead a friend to Christ) and perpetual re-evangelization of self and those near us, by way of daily prayer (relationship) and following Christ’s example of selfless love, mercy, and service (Matt 28:19).