Pray Father, teach us to trust your ways and your works in our midst. We cannot always understand the ways that you are working but teach us to always trust the unfolding of your will in our lives.
Read Acts 9:1 – 5, 11-16
Reflect
After Pentecost the church began to impact the world very quickly through the preaching of the disciples. It exploded so fast that it faced intense persecution from the Jews in Jerusalem. The stoning death of Stephen started an intense persecution of the church and the disciples of Jesus were scattered throughout the region. We are told in Acts 8:3 that Saul was ravaging (continuously causing harm) the church and dragging off men and women and putting them in prison.
You know that in the midst of such persecution the people of God were praying and seeking God for protection. They were running for their lives and their fear of Saul was very great. When God called Ananias to go to Saul, his reaction was “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, and how much harm he did to Your saints in Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:13)
The church in Acts in their wildest expectations would have never thought of Saul becoming their leader. I guarantee that no one saw that coming when God called Saul to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. We need to remember Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Respond
One of the greatest challenges of the church is learning to trust God. He does not follow our expectations or our desires. He will always accomplish His purposes according to His ways and thoughts. And he will use men like Saul to bring Him glory in the world. Most of the time when God is at work, we will have to be honest and say, “I never saw that coming!” God’s ways are always best, Saul becomes Paul by God’s grace and preaches Jesus Christ to the world. Remember “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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Dr. Branson has been pastor of Village Parkway Baptist Church in San Antonio since 1994 and has been in the ministry for 40 years. He is married to Jan and they have three children and eight grandchildren. An adjunct professor for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for the last 12 years, he has previously been adjunct professor for Wayland Baptist University. Steve is Chairman of the Board for the Life Choices Pregnancy Care Center in San Antonio and has seen over 2,008 babies saved from abortion over the last three years in San Antonio because of the ministry of the pregnancy center. He has spoken in 2004 and 2007 at the Oxford Round Table at Oxford University. He is working with Havana Seminary in Havana, Cuba in training professors and their students. He received the Jonas Clark Award from Family Research Council in 2014 for his work in protecting Sgt. Phillip Monk from the cultural battles that are taking place in military. He became one of the key pastoral leaders in San Antonio in battling Mayor Castro over key cultural issues in the city of San Antonio. His church is involved in Costa Rica and Honduras for the last ten years working with medical and missions in both countries