The scripture for today is Acts 9:10-19a, NIV.
“In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias,” “Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. “
This message tells a compelling story of transformation. Here Saul, a powerful Pharisee who persecuted many Christians is rescued by one. Ananias had his doubts about this enemy! However, he was obedient and followed God’s word. Saul, who we later know by his Latin name Paul, has his site restored as scales fall from his eyes. He sees a new spiritual truth as this gift of grace restores his sight. Paul goes on to be one of the greatest evangelists and church planter in the history of Christianity.
As we move into this new year, many of us look at new beginnings. It may be a job, a relationship, a new diet and exercise plan, a renewal of sorts that will improve our lives. I urge you to be like the men in the story. As they trusted and turned toward God, they grew in His grace. No matter how close or far you feel from God, Jesus is always trying to draw us closer. To be more like Him, whether it’s to your family, your neighbor, workmates, or strangers. New beginnings, and the Happiest New Year!
Heavenly Father, as we enter this New Year before us, remove the scales from our eyes that we may see Your will more clearly. Help us to abide in Your trust and love as we face the challenges and opportunities this new year may bring. Fill us with Your everlasting strength. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Ann Byrum Groomes firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern: Peace and safety to those who feel persecuted by others.