I am currently writing a paper on the conversion and ministry of Saint Paul...What an awesome thing to write about!
Reading through the entire book of Acts (which is my new favorite book, by the way), a few things really stuck out to me...
Every time I've read the Bible in the past, there has always been a separation between me and the people within those books. They're people who lived in a completely different society thousands of years ago, who have little to no connection to me. They're distant...Perhaps like God seems distant sometimes?
But reading through Acts has been a completely different experience. Reading about the early disciples has been an astounding experience. I read about these people...Peter, Paul, Stephen, Barnabas - all of them...and don't feel like they're distant. I feel like they're brothers. Literally brothers! It's a cool feeling...I wish I could describe it better, but I should be writing my paper, not writing on here...
It's amazing how awesome scripture can be when the Holy Spirit gives you the eyes to read it.
Besides the feeling of brotherhood that Acts has elicited, I also love how it's packed with examples of how we should react when we are persecuted. The vivid account of the execution of Saint Stephen, the first martyr, is one of these examples:
"They kept on stoning Stephen as he called out to the Lord, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!' He knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, 'Lord! Do not remember this sin against them!' He said this and died."
I really don't think I could act with such humility, but what an example to take to heart!
If you haven't read through Acts, you should. It will only take a couple hours, and every minute is a joy.
Now back to writing that paper...