Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write for the BIOGRAPHICAL Genre (12/04/14)
By Julene Celander
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He was a terror. He was mean spirited, cold hearted, and cruel. His favorite words were, “Off with their heads and I don’t care how you do it, just do it!” He was a hater of all Christians and his aim in life was to rid the planet of them. He had no tolerance for this new ‘King of the Jews’ and hoped one day soon to rid the world of Him, too.
He led his army of crusaders far and wide just to pillage and destroy their homes and places of worship. Barely a single person survived one of his army’s raids. He left behind total devastation and heartache.
His name was Saul. His job was persecution and he loved his job! Not a day passed without him feeding his ego on the destruction and persecution he created. He was truly becoming the biggest enemy of God’s new covenant and the person called Jesus.
Then lightening struck! The lightening became God speaking to Saul directly and giving him just one chance to change his heart and turn his life over to Him. Just to let Saul know who was really in charge, God placed scales over his eyes so he could not see. He was led to Damascus where he fasted for three days until a disciple named Ananias was sent to him to heal his eyes through the power of Jesus.
Ananias was severely frightened of Saul. But God told him that Saul was His chosen Apostle to take the message of Jesus to kings and Gentiles and that Saul’s suffering would be much in His name’s sake. Ananias did as he was told.
From the time Saul was healed and baptized and received the Holy Spirit, he became known as Paul and began preaching in the synagogues. Immediately his life was in danger and Paul had to flee Damascus. His journey took him to Jerusalem where he attempted to join the other disciples.
They too were afraid of him because of his reputation. Barnabas introduced him to the apostles and from that point on he began preaching boldly in the name of Jesus. His efforts once again brought the threat of death to him. Brothers in the faith sent him on to Tarsus.
Paul journeyed and preached boldly in the name of the Lord and founded many churches and was the first to preach to the Gentiles. This, remember, was the calling the Lord had given him…to take the Gospel to kings and Gentiles alike. Paul and Barnabas established the church in Antioch and saw many conversions over a year’s time. This is when we were first called Christians.
Paul spent many years traveling and preaching and converting. He took three missionary journeys and almost lost his life many times over for standing firmly in his belief of Jesus. He was stoned and imprisoned. Everywhere he went there were men preaching against him and his God. This did not stop Paul.
He continued to preach and as God had promised he suffered for upholding his faith in Jesus and preaching in his name. What WE receive from Paul is courage, strength, and faith as he encourages us to be more like him as he himself imitates Christ. Paul has given us fourteen letters written by him through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These letters have become books in the New Testament of God’s Holy Word.
In these letters Paul teaches us how to be good Christians by loving one another. He teaches us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. He shows us how to love our husband or wife. He gives us encouragement on how we are to raise children. He encourages and he disciplines all of us and does it out of love for everyone. He gives us examples of a good deacon and deaconess and gives the characteristics of good elders.
He teaches us how to conduct church and how to be humble and gracious and generous and thankful. He teaches us the importance of having the Holy Spirit within us and the importance of always putting God first. He teaches us how to withstand persecution and sorrow and doubt and fear.
Paul became a wonderful, gracious, loving, humble servant. Serving was his first priority no matter what was happening. He urges us to imitate him as he imitates Christ. I can think of no other person I would rather imitate other than Christ himself. “Go and do likewise!” Luke 10:37
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