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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is God a personal God?

The answer to this question seems to stump a lot of people. They are willing to believe in God, mainly because most of nature cannot be explained by any other means than giving credit to a Creator God. But to go so far as to believe He cares about us on a personal level is something a lot of people have a hard time with.

The Apostle Paul believed in God, but he didn't have a personal relationship with Him. Paul was a very "religious" man. I blogged about "religion" back on July 6. Religion is knowing about God, but not knowing Him as a personal God. Paul, by all accounts, knew a lot about God. Since he was a little boy, he'd been raised to know the Jewish laws and quote scripture. In Acts 26:4-5 he tells King Agrippa, "The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee."

Paul was so zealous for his "religion" that he would not tolerate anyone who disagreed with him or threatened his beliefs. And the folks of this new "Way" certainly did just that. Paul hated Christians so much he had them killed. Acts 8:1 says this about Paul after Stephen was stoned: "And Saul [Paul] was there, giving approval to his death."

But something truly wonderful happened to Paul. Acts 9 tells us the amazing story of Paul's--the religious, murdering Pharisee's--conversion. I encourage you to read it because it's the story of what happens to each of us when Jesus comes into our lives as a personal God. Some of us require a huge event to shake us to our core in order to finally come to Jesus. Many of us are blind to the Truth and need Jesus to remove the scales from our eyes and hearts. Jesus is willing to meet us where ever we are, no matter what we're doing, and make us into new people.

Not only did Jesus meet Paul where he was--on the road headed to kill more Christians--but he spoke to Paul in his own language. Acts 26:13-15 says:

"About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied."

God didn't speak to Paul in French or Italian or Spanish or Greek or any of the other languages on earth. He spoke in Aramaic, or Hebrew, which was the language Paul had heard all his life while listening to scripture being read. It was essentially the language of his life. Yes, Paul spoke other languages, but Aramaic was the language of his "religion."

Why did Jesus do this?

Because Jesus, who is God, got personal with Paul.

God knew exactly where Paul was and what he was doing, but still He met him. He called him by name. He offered a way out of the life Paul was living. Jesus cared about Paul. He cares about you, too.

One day many years ago I was on a "road to Damascus" and Jesus met me there. He got personal with me and my life has never been the same.

Is God a personal God...to you?

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