Acts 9:10-19 (NIV) – In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
“According to the Barna Research Group, a majority of people who attend Christian worship services leave without feeling that they experienced God’s presence. Less than one-third of the adults feel as though they truly interacted with God. Eventually people cease to expect a real encounter with God and simply settle for a pleasant experience. So what happens when the pleasant experience is replaced with the real encounter?
“With the Scripture and Church history as our guide, it becomes very evident that when a holy God encounters sinful people, at least one of the following three things usually occur: 1) Sinners are radically converted; 2) Christians are transformed and renewed; or, 3) The mind of the saint or sinner is offended and the state of his heart is revealed. Just as a storm is produced when high and low fronts converge, so too a storm of a different kind emerges when the glorious and radiant presence of the Lord comes near.” [Steve Beard, Power, Holiness, and Evangelism, p.136]
Let’s pray that God would encounter us, giving us his visions and his dreams. We’re not seeking after the visions and dreams, we’re seeking after the One who reveals Himself through them. May we experience conversion, transformation, renewal as they come. Also, as the college conference is this weekend, let’s pray for real encounters of the Holy Spirit for each person coming.