May 18/Acts 9

Verses 1-2 > Satan can sure stir up a lot of anger in a person. He can make the anger seem justified. Saul thought that he was doing God a favor by getting rid of followers of Jesus. See how Satan can twist a person’s thinking. In fact Saul was so stirred up that he was going all the way to Damascus to get the Christians. Damascus was roughly a 170 mile walk! Saul must have been one of those guys that we would label ‘least likely to be saved’. But even this angry, blood thirsty, religious heart was not hard enough for God to soften. So never give up praying for those that you know are not saved. They are not too difficult for God. Satan through Saul was breathing out threats to kill but God uses his breath to bring life. There is the difference between the breath of the world and the breath of God. How ’bout you and me does our breath in the form of words bring life to those around us or death? Something to think about right?

Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) — 21 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

John 6:68 (NLT) — 68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.

Verses 3-8 > Isn’t it interesting that Jesus told Saul that he was persecuting Jesus and Jesus in essence told him he better stop or he was in big trouble. If someone speaks ill of Cleo they just spoke ill of me. If someone treats Cleo badly they just treated me badly. When Cleo and I got married we were joined together and the two of us became one. Mess with Cleo and you are messing with me! I take things that happen to my wife personal because I love her. Well with that in mind remember we are Christ’s bride. So in essence he told Saul you are messing with my bride! And Saul was knocked to the ground! Jesus doesn’t want anybody messing with this bride.  He takes it personal because he is jealous for and in love with his bride.

Now think about that, if I or you are criticizing, speaking ill of, find fault with, or treating badly another Christian, who are we messing with? Yikes! Confession time.

Ephesians 5:25–28 (NLT) — 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.

Revelation 19:7 (NLT) — 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself.

We need to be encouraged by these verses. Jesus will not allow anything to happen to his bride(you and me)that we can’t handle. Whatever he allows into our lives is only to make us a better bride! He is maturing us for the day that we will meet him face to face. He is custom making us for himself! As a bride is prepared for her wedding day with the facials, manicures, pedicures, hairstyle, makeup and whatever else they do; what happens to us in this life is our preparation to meet Jesus! And what a wonderful day that will be.

Isaiah 44:2 (CEV) — 2 I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.

Psalm 139:17 (NLT) — 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

Verse 43 > Sometimes we need our hides tanned:) Just Jesus shaping us. Must be a hidacure!

Be Inspired Hilltop!

P.S. I am going on vacation tomorrow and will resume this blog the first part of June. I love you Hilltop!



  1. Mark Gundersen says

    Saul remains commuted to his beliefs. First he persecuted anyone who believed in Jesus because they threatened the status quo. Jesus advocated direct contact with the Father and forgiveness through repentance and grace. After Saul saw the light for the second time he first was confronted with his blindness and then became as passionate for Jesus as he was passionate against Jesus just 3 days before. After that he was placed on the sidelines to mature and also probably start speaking to a gentile audience. Saul is a passionate man who cannot be silent and passive.

  2. Mark Gundersen says

    In acts chapter 10 we see Cornelius, a new believer, show faith to God in his prayer life and in acts of service. God noted his faith and sent an angel to lead him to the next step in faith through Simon Peter. Before this could occur Peter needed to have a gtowth in faith to allow him to accept God’s plan for the gentiles. He did this through a vision on dietary cleanliness. Unfortunately as we will see in later chapters Peter will need to relearn this lesson. The result of God’s intervention in this chapter is that Cornelius ‘ family was saved and the Jewish believes started to accept Gentile believers.

  3. Alice Broyles says

    Saul’s change of heart is indeed an encouraging miracle…..that any heart, no matter how hard, can change.

  4. Mark Gundersen says

    In chapter 11 there are three main events. Peter brings back to Jerusalem the vision about not calling unclean what God calls clean and the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurring in the gentiles. Believers in Antioch being know as Christians, this is the first time this term is coined and Barnabas brings Paul back from Tarsus to start his ministry. Remember you may be on the sidelines for a season but God does not forget you.

    • Thanks Mark for continuing your chapter comments! Yes, it would be great to keep the blog going while Pastor Dan is away. Two weeks gives us plenty of time to unintentionally slip out of routine.

  5. Mark Gundersen says

    In chapter 12 belief continues to play a large part in the believers lives. James loses his life for his faith while Peter escapes from prison but thinks it is a dream until the angel leaves him after God orchestrates his escape. Even after Peter gets out, Rhoda does not expect Peter at the door and therefore does not open it. Do you open the door when God’s plan is knocking? Finally we are introduced to John Mark who will have an initially rocky road with Paul but will eventually write one of the Gospels. If you sell yourself out for Jesus your faith and expectations will be tested, but God will be watching how you handle the test by making the ultimate sacrifice, or sleepwalking your way out of imprisonment or leaving the door closed when your destiny knocks.

  6. Mark Gundersen says

    In chapter 13 John Mark goes on the missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas but leaves partway through. This leads to friction between John Mark and Paul for awhile and splits up the team of Paul and Barnabas. It is important to note that John Mark was not commissioned to go with them and therefore completing the whole misinary journey may not have been God’s plan for John Mark. This shows the importance of listening to God before commissioning a missionary team both for an effective result of the mission and so hard feelings do not come because a non-commisioned team member may only serve for part of the trip. Because Paul was a pharasie his message started with the Exodus and Moses and moved through the judges, kings, and prophets leading to Jesus. This was to confirm what Jesus stated that His purpose was not to remove the law and the old covenant but to build on it and move back towards God’s original plan of living in a unity with God not the discord shown in the chosen people’s rebellions in the past. This caused a split between the Jewish converts and the gentile believers that will haunt the early church leading to persecution from outside and inside t h e church. The lessons from this chapter are to comission, to use the old to foreshadow the new and to remind us that God sent his son for the whole world not just one specific group.