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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)

TITLE: A Holier Calling
By Coleene VanTilburg


I am Saul of Tarsus. I lay here, exhausted after a day of much satisfaction. I do believe I am making progress towards ridding this city of those "Christians." Who do they think they are, preaching this Jesus as the Messiah? I hate these people, who claim to be Jews yet! I want their blood. I will continue to hunt them down, display their heresy in a public trial and then the executions. Oh, there is so much work to be done. Watching the crowd today, they were filled with disgust like me as they dragged that Christian, Stephen... I think his name was, through the streets and past the city walls. The stones were pummeled at his body and I smile knowing his words proclaiming this Jesus as the son of God, that he was resurrected, of all things, from his own appropriated death. His words will die in the dust, never to be repeated just like his so-called savior. The mob sees that what I am doing must be done. We must protect our law, our Jewish heritage. We must not be like those of old and give in to these new thoughts, for our God is a jealous God. I am gaining strength and watching as these witnesses lay their clothes at my feet. Tomorrow we will begin to knock on the doors; we will find more. They will be exposed. My goal is to fill the prisons with these "Christians" and destroy their church, all those who believe this Jesus to be the Messiah. I will find them out, imprison them, try them, stone them. It does not stop here, for they are writing letters from the prisons. I will get permission with my own letter from the High Priest to go to Damascus and crush more followers of this Way.

The letters of approval came today. I now have the authority to go to Damascus. Who would have guessed with all my knowledge that I would be given this task? I feel empowered, like I have a special calling. Tomorrow I will gather my attendants and head for Damascus to further root out more of this infectious disease they call Christianity.

We are now traveling the road to Damascus and it must be around noon. I am planning my attack. Should I scout out the synagogue first or just go straight for the neighborhood where I know they congregate?

A tremendous flash of bright light, as if the sun had swooped down in front of us, knocks me off my seat. The air is sucked out of me. Gasping, I hear a powerful voice penetrate the very depths of my bowels.

"Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?"

"Who are you, Lord?" I asked.

"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." The voice touched every hair of hatred on my trembling body. "Now get yourself up off the ground, continue on into the city and you will be told what I want you to do."

Slowly I arose to my feet feeling an immeasurable mixture of inconceivable love and reverent humility. My traveling companions helped me to my feet, as I had been blinded. I was only able to visualize in my head the face of Jesus within the voice of God. I cannot eat or drink for three days now. I have emptied myself of the man I was before hoping that God would enable me to have an "after" as I wait in obedience. In those dark hours I saw that a man named Ananias would come to me---to me?...whose goal in life was to destroy the followers of what I now know is the True Messiah. What is this inner strength these chosen ones have?

Today Ananias came. I stand humbly before this man of God as he places his hands over my eyes and a scaled covering literally falls from my eyelids allowing for my vision to be restored. I am now a bond slave to Christ, a True Believer, unworthy as I am, yet willing to be an instrument to rekindle the fire I had so relentlessly wanted to snuff. I am baptized and receive the Holy Spirit---now I can testify to my transformation.

I am Paul. I will preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the saved and the unsaved, to the Jew and the Gentile, to Jerusalem and all of Samaria because Jesus has saved me and called me to a Holier Calling.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/21/09
Great use of the topic words!

I think your first long paragraph could easily be broken down into several shorter ones. Be careful of switching from present tense to past tense and back again.

Thanks for shedding some light on Paul/Saul.
Sunny Loomis 05/25/09
Very well crafted story on Paul's conversion. Thank you.