I was reading today from the Book of Acts the accounting of the story of Saul of Tarsus who was converted to the Christian faith in a dramatic way. Saul was a Roman citizen and Jewish by birth of the tribe of Benjamin. Saul was also a Pharisee as was his father before him. With the influence and rise of Christianity changing the lives of many people came persecution and Saul was burning with zealous self righteous rage against Christians and was encouraging violence and murder. It was on the road to Damascus that Saul found himself surrounded by a brilliant light and I'm sure a very real presence, because he fell to the ground, probably somewhat terrified, and did hear a voice asking him the question, "Why are you persecuting me?" The speaker identified himself as Jesus, and from that moment forward, Saul's life changed forever. Saul became known as the Apostle Paul, and what a life of service to God he had! What passion! And I think he must have been made of iron, for all the went through, but I know it was God who gave him the strength of endurance.
Doesn't this help us to understand something of incredible importance here? That God can change a life completely. We should never give up believing for the salvation of those we pray for. We should keep absolute faith in what God will do. The Bible tells us we can speak life or death with our words. We should think about that because our words can be harmful. We certainly want to speak faith -speak life, and pray with faith. The days may come when we may feel "Do I have the faith I need?" "How do I receive that faith?" God gives to us this marvelous gift of His Holy Spirit. Faith is a spiritual gift. And we receive because we ask. Remember that Saul was just a man, reacting on a human level of emotions and beliefs before Christ changed him forever. It was God's Spirit working within him that changed his life and brought out the faith and passion for the lives of other. He became more than just a man. He became "the vessel" which God poured into. He received new life through faith in Christ. He became like the man Jesus once described - the man who found that one treasure in life which nothing else could compare to - and was willing to give up all else he had to have obtain it - "Such is the Kingdom of Heaven."