And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Acts 9:3, 4.
With the faith and experience of the Galilean disciples who had companied with Jesus were united, in the work of the gospel, the fiery vigor and intellectual power of a rabbi of Jerusalem. A Roman citizen, born in a Gentile city; a Jew, not only by descent but by lifelong training, patriotic devotion, and religious faith; educated in Jerusalem by the most eminent of the rabbis, and instructed in all the laws and traditions of the fathers, Saul of Tarsus shared to the fullest extent the pride and the prejudices of his nation. While still a young man, he became an honored member of the Sanhedrin. He was looked upon as a man of promise, a zealous defender of the ancient faith.
In the theological schools of Judea the word of God had been set aside for human speculations; it was robbed of its power by the interpretations and traditions of the rabbis…. With their fierce hatred of their Roman oppressors, they cherished the determination to recover by force of arms their national supremacy. The followers of Jesus, whose message of peace was so contrary to their schemes of ambition, they hated and put to death. In this persecution, Saul was one of the most bitter and relentless actors….
At the gate of Damascus the vision of the Crucified One changed the whole current of his life. The persecutor became a disciple, the teacher a learner. The days of darkness spent in solitude at Damascus were as years in his experience. The Old Testament Scriptures stored in his memory were his study, and Christ his teacher.
Paul did not think that he made any real sacrifice when he exchanged Phariseeism for the gospel of Jesus Christ…. When Paul found that he was in a wrong path, he linked himself, according to divine light, with a people he had thought he must wipe from the earth…. He taught Christ and lived Christ, and suffered martyrdom for Christ’s sake.
Conflict and Courage p. 338
Prayer Requests
—–Please pray for me.I am in severe chronic pain in all of my body.The medication I have does not work.I have ask our Lord to put me to sleep.I fell sick with this pain in 2004. Now it is just unbearable.Doctors are not helping! I am in my 66th year and feel hopeless,with no strength left to fight this evil pain. Sandra
—–Please pray for a very special friend who had her mother admitted to the hospital because of her heart!!! Tony
—–Urgent Prayers for David he is struggling with some health issues which are causing paranoia anxiety and hallucinations… please pray for him that he will get the right help and that the doctors will be able to figure out what’s wrong.. Cynthia
Dear Friends,
One Sunday morning about thirty years ago, while Ron and I were still in bed, Esther convinced Ronnie Jay to play barber. When we woke up, there was our daughter looking very sorry for what they had done.  She was quite a sight! Ronnie Jay lacked barbering skills and had cut her hair way too short in some spots.  I grabbed the scissors and evened it up as best I could, but it still did not look very good.  For months, she had to learn to live with the consequences of her decision. 
How often we, too, make decisions in life that we regret but are helpless to change.  Sometimes those decisions cannot be rectified. Often those decisions made in a moment of weakness changes the entire course of our life. 
God’s Holy Word is filled with examples of this very thing. Eve’s decision to listen to the serpent’s temptings brought untold suffering, not only to herself, but to every person who has ever lived.  Indeed, even “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until” the second coming of our Redeemer.  Rom 8:22  The world is still reaping the results of Abraham’s decision to take Hagar as his second wife.  Jacob’s decision to obey his mother’s evil suggestions caused him years of misery.  Although he repented, the result of his deceit was repaid over and over again.  David’s great sin against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, brought him years of unhappiness and pain and ultimately changed the course of Israel’s history.  Pilate who had heard of Jesus and His wonderful miracles had opportunity to accept Him when Jesus talked with him during His trial. God even sent a dream to Pilate’s wife to help him to make the right decision. The governor wavered.  He knew that the Jews had delivered Jesus up to be crucified because they were jealous of Him. He knew they were afraid of losing their influence over the people. Pilate had the power to let Jesus go, but he wavered. The people saw this indecision and acted upon it. “And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend:  whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat.” John 19:12,13 For worldly honor, Pilate allowed the King of Glory to be taken and crucified.  To keep his job, he compromised his convictions. He knew Jesus was innocent. He knew that he should release Him; but He condemned Him to death to please the people. In that moment of compromise, he lost a far greater position than just an earthly one. He lost a place in Heaven for a few years of worldly honor.  It did him no good.  History tells us that soon after, Pilate was stripped of his position and eventually died a broken man.  “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  1 Cor 10:11,12  So it is in our life.  The decisions we make not only affect ourselves, but they affect all those with whom we come in contact.
May we, therefore, firmly decide to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear no matter what the consequences may be. (Heb 12:28) May all of our decisions please our dear Saviour. (1 John 3:22)  May we determine to serve Him first and last and always is my prayer.  (Mark 12:30)

At the Damascus Gate
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