Who was Shaul before he met Yeshua? Shaul says about himself: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did … I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees… “Acts 22/3, Philippians 3/5.
Shaul was one of the best disciples of Gamaliel, who was a leader of the High council. Shaul was a member of the High council. He was a prosecutor. That’s why he could go to Damascus to arrest Christians and deliver them to Jerusalem for trial. Shaul was a very well-known and influential person in Israel. He had the opportunity to meet the high priest and even get appropriate letters of recommendation from him to the synagogues to fulfill his mission: to go to other countries and arrest people there. It means that Shaul had a very high position, which was acknowledged even by the high priest. Shaul not only had the right to arrest, but he also managed the court and carried out executions (The case of Stephen). The only type of person who could hold this high position, in accordance with the law, was a married person. Even nowadays, many Jewish theologians, who treat Yeshua with respect and count Him as a prophet and teacher, do not recognize Shaul; accusing him of being the founder of Christianity. The reason behind this, is that they see Shaul through the eyes Martin Luther, Calvin, and through the eyes of Catholics and Protestants and they do not see the Apostle Shaul as a Jewish rabbi. His true doctrine has been distorted by Christian theologians to
unrecognizability. For this reason Shaul is still not recognized in the Jewish world. Shaul says about himself: I am a Jew … brought up … under Gamaliel … As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did… I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees…
And so, this dedicated Pharisee, in a moment, becomes a follower of Yeshua. What happened to Shaul, what happened to his soul? In one instant he changed and stood to protect those whom he persecuted and even killed. What must happen to the human soul for him to become an ardent admirer of Yeshua and devote his life to Him?
Changes in our lives always begin within us. External shocks are not sufficient to change us from within.
The tragedy that happened on September 11 in New York City, shocked the USA. And one preacher said: after what had happened, the USA will not remain the same. Americans will turn to God sincerely, American churches will change and
become close to God. Years passed, but nothing has changed. An awakening in America did not happen. These attacks did not awake America to turn to God. Why did the awakening not happen? The answer is simple: what happens outside is not
enough to change the person from the inside. The deep turmoil and sufferings only cries out to people: pay attention to their souls!!! You must cross the line where free life begins, the life of the spirit.
The great awakenings happened in the Body of Messiah as a result of changes that took place in the roots of human hearts. Changes begin from within. And when it starts burning inside of us, others can see it and can be attracted to the holy fire. Tragedy can shake people and make them pay attention to God. But no tragedy can change a person from the inside. 3,000 people died in an instant from the hands of terrorists, and it did not change the country. What must happen, to change the hearts of people?
In everyone’s life there is a line that limits them. We approach this line very close and we cannot cross it. We sincerely pray, to God to use us for His Kingdom. And when we are so close to the realization of our dreams, we stop and do not cross it. What keeps us from the most important step in our lives? Why do we stop right in front of this line, where true sacrificial life in God begins? Our soul (flesh) which does not want to change anything in our lives, does not allow us to cross this line.
There was one young girl that that was a believer. She had a successful business. She had her own house, a new car, she dined at good restaurants, she liked to dress well, and wore expensive shoes with high heels. She was pleased with herself. But something started happening in her life, and she could not understand what it was.
This all started from the moment when one day while dining at a restaurant, she saw how the owner of the restaurant was beating a hungry boy with a baton, just because he ran inside the restaurant and picked up leftovers off a plate. She could stay put in her seat; she jumped out and began beating the man on his face and screaming at him that he had no rights to beat a hungry child. The man was petrified by surprise, and she took away that boy and other children and started to feed them. And she could not stay the same anymore, her heart yearned for God. She cried and could not stop for a long time. She sold her house, her car and all that she had, and left to Haiti. And there in the jungle, she searches for children whose parents have died, to take care of them. What happened with her? She crossed her
line. She forced her soul to obey and become humble before God. And all of her life has changed; her priorities have been changed, and she does not want to go back. She lives in the jungle, doing the work necessary for God and she is happy. What motivates people? What makes certain people pass this line? To cross the line, that many cannot cross.
Before the Ark of Covenant was established in the Tabernacle, after the Ark was captured by the Philistines, David put it in the house of Obed-Edom. For three months the Ark was in his house. Three months, the presence of God did not leave his house. It was not in vain for Obed-Edom. In Chronicles chapter 15 it tells us what kind of a man he was: we see him fully devoted to the God service. 15:18 – Gatekeeper, 15:21 – play the lyres, 15:24 – guard the Ark, 16:38 – every day service for the Ark. Once having tasted the clemency of God’s presence in his house, he crossed the line and could not live without serving God; he constantly sought to be close to God.
Bill Wilson was 13 years old when his mother left on the street. One believer picked him up three days later and paid for his stay in the Christian camp. At the age of 19, he was already involved in full ministry. He moved to an American ghetto for a permanent residence. Today he has a church that consists of 25 thousand homeless children. He travels all over New York on his bus and gathers homeless children to care for them. He heard something about Thailand and flew there to find out what’s really going on. He found out that in Thailand parents sell their children for $250 to rich people for the satisfaction of sexual pleasures. Bill made a decision to buy these children himself. Today, on two of his ranches, Bill has over 350 children, whom he teaches the Scriptures and cares for.
Our soul always opposes our calling. A calling is a response to needs that we find in the lives of others. When people ask me: why do you serve over 5 years in two countries at the same time? Why do you deal with two congregations and missions? Did God call you for this? No, God has never called me for service. I just saw a need and responded to it. For me, a need IS a calling. When you cannot sleep, seeing that another person’s needs are not met, this is a calling. If you see a need, and you can respond to it now, that is your calling for your life today. This man, who found Bill on the street, saw a need and responded to it. He did not need to pray, he had to act, and he responded to the need of the little unwanted boy. As a result of it, there are thousands of rescued children and a wonderful congregation in New York. You do not need much. Obed-Edom responded to every need and fulfilled it. The presence of God in his life taught him not to be indifferent to needs. He accepted that the respond to the needs of others is his calling.
This article was written based on the preaching of Bill Wilson.