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Tag Archives: the Road to Damascus

S.A.N.S. Episode 284: Who I Am

Mirrors provide a reflection to help you remember what you look like. If you look close enough, you’ll begin to see all of your imperfections. While writing a teenager pastor, the apostle Paul opens up about how he sees himself. Despite Paul’s spiritual transformation on the Road to Damascus, Paul saw himself as the greatest sinner of all. Perhaps Paul was haunted by overseeing the death of the apostle Stephen. This is the topics Ben Fuller sings about in his song Who I Am.

The saying is sure and true and worthy of full and universal acceptance, that Christ Jesus (the Messiah) came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost. 16 But I obtained mercy for the reason that in me, as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might show forth and display all His perfect long-suffering and patience for an example to [encourage] those who would thereafter believe on Him for [the gaining of] eternal life, 1 Timothy 1:15-16.

In this age of self-help books, many people try to hide their flaws from others. Yet, Christians are called to higher standards, Matthew 5:48. One of the first images in the attached video, Ben picks up a Bible. According to Hebrews 4:12, this book is living and active. Another passage speaks about how to use and operate the Bible, 2 Timothy 3:16-17. May the lyrics of Who I Am speak to you and encourage you to be honest and open with the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

Recognizing the Limits of Politics

Saul from Tarsus was a member of the Pharisees, a religious zealot, and a Roman citizen. However, even as a religious man, there are politics inside the house of God. Take for example a man named Nicodemus who approached Jesus under the cover of darkness, afraid of what his friends would think, John 3:1-5. Like a high school jock in the hallway, Nick is sarcastic with Jesus, making a joke while responding.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good, Proverbs 15:3.

When Saul changed his name to Paul following his conversion on the Road to Damascus, politics was used on a few occasions. As a Roman citizen, Paul played this card after being arrested in Philippi, Acts 16:35-39. Meanwhile, when the same Jewish leaders who crucified Jesus wanted to accuse Paul of a similar crime, he appealed to Caesar so he could share his testimony to the government in Rome.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and Yours it is to be exalted as Head over all, 1 Chronicles 29:11.

Paul’s arrest, trial and subsequent death as a martyr illustrates that politics has its limits. While modern day politicians in America are like exclusive members of a private country club, God is still in control whether they like it or not. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, and no one is exempt, even politicians from God’s judgement, Matthew 12:36. Therefore, lean on the Lord and not politics, Proverbs 3:5-6.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 191: Look What You’ve Done

Tasha Layton first emerged on the Christian music scene in 2019 with her hit song Love Lifting Me. Yet, it wasn’t until 2022 when I first discovered Tasha. One of my best friends had a daughter who was going through a difficult period in life. Since I’m on You Tube daily, he asked me if I could pass along as many encouraging songs as I could find. This search led me to uncover Look What You’ve Done.

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [g]infuses inner strength into me; I am [h]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency], Philippians 4:13.

If there is one individual who was truly transformed in the Bible, its Saul from Tarsus. Saul’s background as a Pharisee led him to persecute the church and oversee the death of Stephen in Acts 7:59-60. On the Road to Damascus, Saul has an encounter with Jesus and is temporary blinded. However, by Acts 9 God does a miracle in Saul who changed his name to Paul to highlight what Christ has done in his life.

by Jay Mankus

Perspective is Everything

When you’re talking to a co-worker, friend or family member, perspective is everything. Depending upon your age, background and life experiences, outlooks will vary. One bird’s eye view often provides a broad and complete picture which few have ever seen. Meanwhile, a maturing Christian will likely alter their perspective as they draw closer to Jesus, James 4:8.

O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination. 21 [For] by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith. Grace (divine favor and blessing) be with you all! Amen (so be it), 1 Timothy 6:20-21.

The apostle Paul writes two letters to a teenager pastor to share his own perspective. Perhaps, Paul was trying to play a similar role that Barnabas played in his own life. Following his conversion on the Road to Damascus, none of Jesus’ disciples believed that Paul was genuine about his newfound faith. According to Luke, Barnabas convinced the disciples to accept Paul as a fellow believer, Acts 9:27.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). 17 For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. 18 But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law, Galatians 5:16-18.

Paul went from a persecutor of the church, overseeing the death of Stephen, to a repenting sinner who returns to his hometown to tell others how God had changed his life. Yet, shortly after this revelation, Jewish leaders tried to kill Paul, Acts 9:23-25. This persecution gave Paul a new perspective on life, of how Jesus laid down his life for mankind, Romans 5:8. Meanwhile, Paul served as a mentor for several new first century Christians to provide a Christ-like perspective on life.

by Jay Mankus

Enemies of the Cross

A person who is actively opposed to or hostile to someone or something is an enemy. This adversary often becomes a nemesis who will do whatever it takes to resist a cause or movement. In the first century, Jewish religious leaders had the most to lose as Jesus’ popularity began to skyrocket. When members of local synagogues began to refer to Jesus as the King of the Jews, enemies sent this innocent man to die on a cross.

For there are many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, who walk (live) as enemies of the cross of Christ (the Anointed One), Philippians 3:18.

One of these enemies of the cross wrote a majority of the books in the New Testament. Perhaps, Paul’s past aggression toward Christianity tugged on his heart. If not for his encounter with Jesus on the Road to Damascus, Paul may have continued to be an enemy of the cross. When Paul saw his former friends continue to persecute and harass Christians, tears began to stream down his face.

They are doomed and their fate is eternal misery (perdition); their god is their stomach (their appetites, their sensuality) and they glory in their shame, siding with earthly things and being of their party, Philippians 3:19.

Well before Paul wrote his epistles, Jesus warned his disciples of the hatred that awaits his followers, John 15:18. In other words, don’t take the enemies of the cross personally. Behind the scenes, there are spiritual forces at work that will overwhelm you if you’re not prepared, Ephesians 6:12. The best way to cope with modern enemies of the cross is to put on the armor of God, Ephesians 6:13-20. As you do, you’ll be able to fend off criticism with the love of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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