Obey Heaven's Vision

Your greatest joys in life will rise through your fullest obedience to your heavenly vision.

Acts 26:19 – Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

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Paul had been given a vision by the Lord.  Paul called it his “heavenly vision.”  He knew it came from God, and he was intent on following that vision and fulfilling.  He knew He was being sent to the Gentiles to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.  I am sure that as he went, that vision was revealed more and more clearly to him, and according to his own words in his epistle to Timothy, he fulfilled it.  A study of the life of Paul clearly indicates that as long as he obeyed that heavenly vision, and it was for the remainder of his life, that God was with him, supplying his need, protecting him, delivering him, and manifesting Himself through Paul with signs and wonders.  Keeping in mind that God is no respecter of persons, you should understand that if you will be obedient to your heavenly vision, Father will do the same for you.

So, do you know what your heavenly vision is?  Has it been revealed to you, or are you as yet not walking in it?  If you’re not walking in it, why?  Is it because you were not even aware that God has one for you?  Is it because you have not yet discovered it, or perhaps you have not yet taken the time to seek after it from the Lord?  Might you be someone who has had your heavenly vision shown to you, but for whatever the reason, you have not yet begun to walk in it?  Or have you begun the journey and find that at times you must fight for it?  Regardless of your present state, I can assure you that Father has a plan for you, a heavenly vision designed for you, one that it is up to you to fulfill, and one that is a part of something much bigger than you can imagine.  And while much more could be shared here, allow me to make one more point.  The heavenly vision Father has planned for you is bigger than you know, greater than you, and is, without a doubt, part of a greater work that is connected to other people, many of whom will have similar directions in their lives.

Allow me to encourage you today.  If your heavenly vision is clear, follow it with all your heart.  If it is not clear, remain faithful where you are and follow after your heavenly vision as it becomes clearer.  If it is unknown to you, pray, fast, seek Father’s face until you receive it from Him.  Then follow it with all your heart.  The blessing of Father awaits the faithful.

Manna for Today – Acts 26:12-32; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Romans 10:6-17; 2 Timothy 4:7;  Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 29:18

It is Personal

Do we really take seriously how connected we are to the Lord?

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Acts 26:15 – And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.

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Here is a second look in the book of Acts at the conversion of Saul (Paul the Apostle) on the road to Damascus.  Though we’ve looked at it previously, the fact that Holy Spirit saw fit to have Luke write of this incident twice in such detail should speak strongly to us.  I am convinced that if God said it, that settles it.  If He says it one time, that settles it for eternity.  If He says the same thing two times, especially if it is telling about the same event, He has a strong reason for doing so.  There are many great teachings in the Scriptures that arise from Father having spoken something one time.  I can only imagine how important a thing must be if He reiterates that same incident or specific teaching multiple times.  Surely, He is desiring to show us something very important.

The story of Paul’s conversion is related twice in the book of Acts; chapters 9 and 26.  And the statement we read in our Text for Today is clearly stated in both accounts.  We read the words of Jesus concerning Paul’s actions.  In both passages, when Paul asked who it was that was speaking to him, Jesus responded, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”  Just short years before, when He was arrested, beaten, savagely abused, and crucified, Jesus went to the slaughter like a sheep before the shearers.  He did not speak a word in defense of Himself, for He was required by Father to be the ultimate sacrifice; the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. 

But that day on the road to Damascus, things were different.  Now Jesus was resurrected.  Now it all belonged to Him again.  The work of redemption was done.  Satan was an outlaw and had no more legal right to dominate man, especially any man or woman who had made Jesus Lord, who had become one with Jesus, and as such, had become a child of God and member of the body of Christ.  No longer would He remain quiet.  And for His infant church, He acted to stop the chiefest of persecutors, Saul of Tarsus.  And when He identified Himself to Saul, He revealed a truth you and I need to embrace.  Because we are now one with Him, members in particular of His body, anything that is done to attack, injure, or destroy any member of His body is a direct action against Him.  He takes all such matters very seriously, and very personally.  You are His.  You belong to Him.  You are a part of Him; His joint heir.  When the enemy of your soul attacks you, he is attacking Jesus, and He takes it personally; very personally.

Manna for Today – Acts 26:12-32; John 17; Isaiah 54:17; Deuteronomy 28:1-14

Give Your Own Answer

It really helps to know where you stand when you speak as a witness.

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Acts 26:1 – Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:

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Let’s remove some misconceptions at the very beginning of today’s Second Miler.  I grew up in the church, so often hearing of how Christians should be silent when persecutions, and especially verbal attacks come at them from the world.  I believe the basis for that mind-set can be found in Isaiah 53:7.  There the prophet Isaiah writes that Jesus went to the slaughter of the cross, like a lamb, silent, not opening his mouth.  That is exactly what Jesus did, for if He had opened His mouth against what was happening to Him, because He was the only begotten Son of God, sinless and blameless before the world, His words would have stopped the proceedings against Him, just as His words stopped storms, opened blind eyes, cast out devils, and raised the dead.  The reason for the silence of Jesus just prior to His crucifixion was that He knew He was to be the sacrifice for the sins of whosoever would believe on Him, and that includes you and me.  Thank God He held His peace. 

But dear reader, for the believer today, silence is NOT the answer.  Quite the opposite.  After Jesus was raised from the dead, He was seated as Savior and Lord on the right hand of the Father, and there He still sits as Head of the body of Christ.  And if you will examine the actions of those of the early church, especially the apostles, when they were persecuted, arrested, and falsely charged, they did not keep their silence.  Rather, they spoke up.  They understood well that they had been sent to preach the Gospel to “all creatures.”  They full-well understood that their ability to overcome arose in great part from their testimony, and of course, the blood of the Lamb.  They clearly understood that the world that was against them was saturated in darkness, and that they were now the light of the world, and that the entrance of the Word they spoke, and the word of their testimony brought light.  Therefore, they would not keep silent.

It is to that end today that I encourage you, urge you, even plead with you, that you study the Word of God, have it deeply engrained in your heart and mind, have your mind renewed through it, and allow your tongue to be the pen of a ready writer.  While the Lord always knows what is before you, you do not.  For that reason, fill your heart so full of His Word, that if bumped, jostled, or squeezed in any way, you overflow with that Word.  You can taste the apple in the juice when the apple is squeezed.  You can taste the orange in the juice when the orange is squeezed.  You can taste the grape in the juice when the grape is squeezed.  What will be tasted when you are squeezed.  God is not looking for dried fruit.

Manna for Today – Acts 26:1-11; Isaiah 53:7; Revelation 12:11; Matthew 7:16-20