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Acts 2 20

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AM Psalm 1, 2, 3; PM Psalm 4, 7
1 Kings 1:5-31; Acts 26:1-23; Mark 13:14-27

KEY VERSE: "First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds." Acts 26:20

The story of Paul's experience on the road to Damascus is familiar, but it always amazes me -- think of the 360 degree turn in Paul's life from that encounter. He changed from being the leading persecutor of the new faith to being the leading proponent and missionary to the Gentiles.

It must have been an overwhelming experience for Paul, who immediately set his life in an opposite direction.

I am reminded of the woman who was driving through the state of Pennsylvania and lost her way.  She asked a man how far it was to Phillipsburg, New Jersey.  He replied, "Well, the way you are going it is 24,995 miles.  However, if you will turn around and get back on Route 22 going East, it is about 5 miles."

Sometimes we are heading in the wrong direction and we need to be turned around.  Sometimes we drawn into activities which take our attention from what we should be doing; sometimes we procrastinate about what we know we should be doing; at times we even do things we know are wrong.  This kind of indifference or defiance in regard to God's will in our lives sets us off in a totally wrong direction.

It is then that we -- like Paul -- need an encounter with the risen Christ.  It doesn't need to be as dramatic as Paul's encounter on the road to Damascus.  It can come during quiet contemplation, or in the midst of emotional turmoil -- when it becomes apparent that we are going wrong and we need to turn around.  We have a need to repent -- stop what we're doing and head in the other direction.

I like the definition of "repentance," given by the child who said it was "being sorry enough to stop."

ACTIVITY FOR THE DAY:  Think about those areas of your life where you have strayed "off-course," and decide how you can turn towards the path Christ would have you walk.

PRAYER:  Dearest Lord Jesus, Confront us when we wander in the wrong direction, for only your love and teachings can guide us where we should go.  Amen.

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