Acts – Paul the Apostle – Wayne Barber/Part 17
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1992|
|There’s one more piece to this puzzle. God prepared the proclamation. What was Paul going to proclaim? What was going to come forth from him? God had already ordered the message for that hour. God has something to say to those Jews there in Jerusalem. Paul’s whole message, if you’ll notice as we go through it, is not one of the gospel of grace. Now you and I both know that was what Paul would have wanted to preach. However, the message was one of defense for his ministry to the Gentile world.|
Ephesians 1:1; Acts 22:1-21
Paul: The Messenger – Part 5
Turn to Acts 22. We are still looking at Paul the messenger. We are completing a study we began earlier. We are seeing the sovereign hand of God on the apostle Paul. You know, the thing that is lovely about this to me is that God has Paul right where He wants him. Where is that? Well, he’s in chains, having been arrested by the Romans soldiers. Not only that, he is surrounded by a hostile crowd that wants to tear him to pieces. He’s exactly where God wants him to be. The sovereign hand of God will be on a person who is willing to say “yes” to Him. God has sovereignly prepared the person. We see that exemplified by Paul’s attitude toward people in positions of authority. If you find a person not submissive, you’ve got a person rebellious to God. That’s something that God supernaturally does within a person’s heart. You have to trust the position. God is in control of that position. I didn’t say to trust the person. Trust the position. It is something that God does in an individual. God prepared the person.
Secondly, God prepared the platform. There was a platform there that He wanted a message to be heard from. Paul probably thought it was going to be a little different, but it happened to be the very place that he really kind of feared in his heart. He sensed there was going to be trouble. That trouble was not going to be bad, but it was going to be the platform from which to preach the message. How in the world could all of the city come together and been attentive to a message? I wouldn’t have had it not been for the way God orchestrated the events to get Paul into that arena.
Thirdly, God sovereignly prepared the people. We saw then in 21:40: “And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned to the people with his hand; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect.” That word “great hush” is only found one other time, in Revelation 8:1. That’s when the seventh seal is opened. It’s a time when great judgment was about to fall. I have a strong conviction that’s exactly what’s going to happen right here. Paul had something on his mind he wanted to say. God had something on His mind He wanted Paul to say. It was going to come forth in this arena of a hostile crowd and while Paul was under arrest by the Romans soldiers. Well, God divinely hushed the crowd.
There’s one more piece to this puzzle. God prepared the proclamation. What was Paul going to proclaim? What was going to come forth from him? God had already ordered the message for that hour. God has something to say to those Jews there in Jerusalem. Paul’s whole message, if you’ll notice as we go through it, is not one of the gospel of grace. Now you and I both know that was what Paul would have wanted to preach. However, the message was one of defense for his ministry to the Gentile world.
I want you to think with me as we go through this and see what God wants to say to the Jews in Jerusalem. It strikes me kind of odd that Paul was not going to be allowed to preach that message of grace. Think with me for a second. Go back to Romans 9:1-5. I want you to see how contrary this was to what Paul really wanted to say. I want you to see how he cared about Israel. When you see this, you will begin to realize how God just changed the whole thing. Certainly, he would have wanted to preach the gospel of grace, but he does not do that. Look at Romans 9:1. This was written about four months before this event took place in Jerusalem. He said in verse 1, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren [He speaks now of the Jewish brethren], my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” That’s Paul’s concern for his fellow Jewish brethren.
So, he goes to Jerusalem under the orders and leadership of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t tell us, but you just have to know in his heart he wanted to preach that message of grace to all of his Jewish brethren that were there. God had a different proclamation that He wanted His messenger to speak while he was in Jerusalem.
Well, let’s start the whole scene and see what happens. Acts 22:1 says, “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.” The people are hushed. They are ready to hear the proclamation God has ordered. Well, first of all, he disarms their hostility. I want to show you that. Literally it says, “Men, brothers and fathers.” The term “brethren” is a term that Paul uses. It is a tender term; it’s an affectionate term. He is trying to show that they are his kinsman. They are his blood brethren. He identifies himself with them by using that word “brethren.” The word “fathers” refers to those older Jewish men who were in positions of authority. So what Paul is saying is, “Listen, I respect those elders that are among you. I respect your positions of authority. I am your fellow brother. You are my kinsmen.” Paul addresses them with words of affection.
Now remember, they were ready to tear him apart. It’s a hostile, violent crowd. God has hushed them and rather than Paul being arrogant in any way, he turns it to tenderness and affection and begins to disarm their hostility.
In verse 2 he does it even more. He speaks to them in the Hebrew dialect. Now remember, he is from Tarsus of Cilicia which meant Greek was his basic language, but he speaks to them in Hebrew. It says in verse 2, “And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet.” In other words, they had already been supernaturally hushed, and now their attention was drawn right to the Lord Jesus Christ. As he spoke in the Hebrew, it really zeroed in their attention on what Paul was saying.
I heard a missionary one time that said, “If you ever, ever, ever want to win people in another culture, learn their language. You have said to them that you care about them.” Paul, by speaking in the Hebrew dialect, was affectionately and tenderly putting himself right alongside those hostile, Jewish people who were in that crowd. He could have spoken Greek, and they would have understood it. He chose to speak Hebrew.
Here is what he does. There are four things in this prepared proclamation God has him to say in this particular arena there in the city. In verses 3-5, the first thing he proclaims is that he can identify with their hostility. He understands them. Now this is sort of hard to work out, so stay with me. Look at verse 3. He starts off by saying, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia.” Now, this would have been difficult if he had left it there. He is proclaiming to them, “I understand your hostility.” He identifies himself with them. He speaks in the Hebrew dialect and wants to show them that he understands where they are coming from. That is an incredible thing that Paul is doing.
Now watch. He uses three perfect participles in verses 3-5. What does it mean when you use a perfect participle? The perfect tense is not one of the tenses in our language, so sometimes it is difficult to understand. The perfect tense usually refers to something happening in the past and bearing a present result. That’s the tense that is used in 1 John. It never really goes back to the experience as much as it does to what is going on right now as a result of the experience. Oh, a lot of folks love to stand up and say, “I got saved 30 years ago.” No, the perfect tense means, “I got saved back then. I am still saved, and I am still believing Jesus. He makes a difference in my life.” The perfect tense also has to do with describing a person’s state of being. Paul is saying, “There are some things about me that cannot be changed. I want you to hear what I’ve got to say.” What are the three perfect participles he uses?
First of all in verse 3 he says, “I was born in Tarsus of Cilicia.” Now by saying that, he almost causes a problem, but he goes on from that. Why is that a problem? Because by being born in Tarsus of Cilicia, it meant he was a Hellenistic Jew. In other words, they were Jews. Yes, they were Jews, but they were of a Hellenistic influence. Now you say, “What’s that got to do with anything? What does the Greek influence on these Jews have to do with anything? Why would it be a problem?” Go back to Acts 6:1, and I’ll show you. There was always a rift between those Jews who were not from Jerusalem and those who were from Jerusalem. It says in verse 1, “Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.” There was always this little rift between them. It would be kind of like you talking about the fact that you are a New Jersey Baptist while you are in an Alabama barbershop. That’s exactly what it would be like, especially if it was a small county seat town. I mean, “You may be a Baptist, but you are not one of us. You talk different. You look funny. You are not one of us.” That is exactly the same thing in Jerusalem. I mean, if you were a Jew, it didn’t matter where you were from. Are you from Jerusalem or are you from Asia Minor? So when he says, “I am a Jew born in Tarsus,” that is really not enough. That could have divided the crowd one more time.
He goes on. He says, “but brought up in this city.” That’s the next perfect participle that he used. “I can’t change that,” Paul says. “Yes, I was born over there. Yes, I know the Greek language, but I was raised in Jerusalem. I’m one of you. I’m a home boy. I really come from Jerusalem. Even though I was born in Tarsus, I was raised in this city.” Then he says, “educated under Gamaliel.” Now that is very, very important. Gamaliel was the most respected teacher in all Judea, not just Jerusalem, but all of Judea. Because Gamaliel was important, he taught as it says here “strictly according to the law of our fathers.” Gamaliel was one of those purists. He was one who never added anything to the teaching. He just took the teaching of the fathers and continued to bring it down to the people. So what Paul was saying is, “I’ve got a pretty good pedigree, guys. I’m really a hometown boy. I’m a pure Jew. I was taught under the teacher every one of you would give your eye teeth to be taught under. I was taught under Gamaliel.” Nobody could have had better credentials.
Then he goes on in verse 3 and helps them to understand how he knows where they are. He says, “being zealous for God.” That word “zealous” has the idea of fire. I mean, it is something that just fuels the fire, “being zealous for God, just as you all are today.” In other words, Paul is saying, “I understand what you are doing. I used to do it myself. I was raised up in this city. I was taught under Gamaliel. I understand your hostility towards me. I uses to have it towards others.”
He said in verse 4, “And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also receive letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.” Paul is simply saying, “I know, I know, I know how you feel. I once was as hostile as you are.” That was the first thing God had him to proclaim. He wanted those Jews to know he wasn’t some Greek from a distant country. He was raised right there in Jerusalem, and he was taught by the best of all the teachers in that city.
Well, secondly he proclaims to them something else. He proclaims to them what happened to him made the change occur. That’s important. He is just giving his testimony. He is just sharing with them what has taken place in his life so that they can understand him. He says, “I understand you.” What he is trying to do is get them to understand him. Look in verse 6, “And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me.” He leaves out some of the details you find in Acts 9. Let’s just wade through this. I think it will bless you.
First of all in verse 6 he describes a blinding light. Now notice when God chose to meet him on the Damascus road. It was at noontime. What he is saying is, “This light was so blinding it was brighter than the sun at high noon. I was met on the Damascus Road and God appeared to me. Christ appeared to me, as a bright light on that road. Guys, I grew up like you. Guys, I used to persecute the Way. I understand how you are, but you need to understand where I’m coming from. Something has happened to me. Let me just continue to share with you.”
Well in verse 7 he says, “and I fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’” Verse 8 goes on to say, “And I answered, ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘“I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’” He says, “Guys, I’ve got something to tell you. This is not some whim. This is not some psychological experience. The Lord Jesus whom we crucified was the One who met me on the Damascus Road, spoke to me, and blinded me with the Light of His presence. It was He Himself. It was not some vision that I had because of what I ate the night before. This was literally the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In verse 9, he says, “And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.” That’s interesting to me. God didn’t speak to those Temple policemen going with him to Damascus to bring back those believers. He spoke to Paul. They heard the voice. They saw the light, but they did not understand what was going on. God had a message for a man.
Have you ever been in a crowd and felt like you were the only one there? Everybody heard the voice of the one speaking, but no one really heard it. This is the way salvation is. You could have people in an auditorium, and I’d be preaching to believers and if there is somebody who is lost there, he’ll feel like he is the only person in the whole building. God is speaking and speaking and speaking to his heart. This is the way God operates. Paul said, “He spoke to me specifically.”
Then in verse 10 he says, “And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’” Paul is proclaiming to them, “Guys, listen, I was born in Tarsus, yes, but I was raised up in Jerusalem. I was just like you. Something happened to me. I wasn’t seeking it. I was on my way to Damascus, but Christ was seeking me and stopped me in my tracks. Guys, I’ve never been the same.” He could have said it that way. He is saying, “Christ appeared to me and spoke to me.” He speaks of his new birth that he found in the Lord Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road.
Thirdly, he proclaims to them how he was sent out to live a life that is now identified with only the Lord Jesus Christ. Now this is so very important to see. Ananias, Acts 9 tells us, was appointed by God to go to Paul. His name was Saul at that time. Remember Ananias sort of complained. He said, “Now, Lord, are you sure? Have you made a mistake? This guy goes around killing Christians. What are you doing sending me?” It was a Jewish believer God was sending to Paul. He was a devout Jew. Ananias commissions him, under God’s orders, to go out and live a life identified with Christ, never again to do what he has been doing, but to live a totally radically different kind of life.
Let’s look at verses 11-16. Verse 11 reads, “But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.” Now he leaves out the three days he was blind. Every time he would look up thinking his eyes would be cleared up. They never cleared up for three days. You are talking about a guy who had an experience with Jesus. You say, “Well, am I really saved? My experience wasn’t like Paul’s.” Aren’t you glad? I mean this is unique to Paul. He was such a hard head. God had to speak to him drastically and dramatically the way He did.
Verse 12 says, “And a certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me.’” Notice how he puts in the credentials of these people who came to him. This is a Jewish audience, and man, they are out to burn Paul.
Verse 13 continues, “came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth.’” Now what is Paul saying? Paul is saying, “I qualify to be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.” How? To be an apostle you had to be a witness of the resurrected Christ. God had divinely appointed Paul to be a witness of Him and to hear directly from Him.
Well, it goes on in verse 15 to say, “For you will be a witness to Him [Now watch the next phrase very carefully because this plays a role in what we are talking about] to all men.” You know the word “all” is a beautiful Greek word. We’ve said it before. It means “all, each and every one and all of them when you put them together.” That means not just the Jews, but all men. You see, Paul knows why the people are hostile towards him. He knows exactly why they are hostile. Paul is trying to tell them, “I am not here because I did something. I am here because Christ did something in my life and because He’s given me the desire and the burden to take this message of what you have seen and what you have heard to all men. Then Ananias challenges him to go out and live a life identified with Christ.
Notice the next verse. It could confuse you. Watch out. “And now why do you delay?” Oh, listen, some folks are going to love this verse if they believe you have to be baptized to be saved. He says, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” Now if you read that carelessly in a surface translation, you would think, “My goodness.” We’ve sung, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” That must be wrong. We need to change it. “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the water in the baptistery.” Boy, that really excites you, doesn’t it? That’s the way the verse makes it look, doesn’t it?
When the translators take these words in the Greek language, which has so many more words than our language does, they have to do the best they can to get it to the point we can understand it. Sometimes, I don’t think they do quite the job. I want to tell you, I wouldn’t touch what they do. They do far better than I could ever do.
Here is the key. He translates it as if the phrase “calling on His name” is in the present tense. In other words, you are doing this at the same time you are calling on His name to wash away your sins, as if that was a present participle. It’s not. It is in the aorist tense, and because it is in the aorist tense, it should be translated “having already called upon His name.” Do you see how a translation can make you come up with all kinds of weird theology? What he is saying here is there are two kinds of cleansings, if you please. Really the word is “washing.” It’s not the word for cleansing. The word for cleansing is another word altogether. It is the word that means to be thoroughly, inwardly cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Without the shedding of blood, there would be no remission of sins. There would be no forgiveness. There would be no cleansing. That took place when he called out to Him, when he gave himself to Him. We do receive Christ in that sense, but you’ve got to remember, it is not just receiving Christ. It’s giving yourself to Him, calling out to Him. It’s surrendering yourself to Him. That’s salvation. That’s what Paul did on the Damascus Road. That’s when his sins inwardly were cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
What is Ananias telling him? Ananias says, “Listen, you go out and be baptized (middle voice).” In other words, “Don’t you have somebody baptize you; you go out and baptize yourself.” Baptism is also a picture of identification with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is saying to him, “You go out and live the life from this point on. Wash away your old lifestyle by symbolically testifying to everyone that you have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Rise up and never again live the same way. From now on, you live a life identified with Jesus Christ.” That’s what baptism is all about. It is a public testimony to the fact you have been inwardly cleansed. In a sense, you are outwardly being cleansed, not in a forever sense, but in the sense that you are committing yourself to live a lifestyle completely opposite of what you used to live. You are now identifying yourself with the One who has cleansed you inwardly.
So Paul says, “Guys, I was sent out. I was stopped on the Damascus Road. God stopped me. He saved me. Then He sent His man who sent me out and commissioned me to live a life totally identified with Him. I was one of you. I know how you feel. I know why you are hostile. But listen to my heart.” Finally, he proclaims that it was God, not Paul or Ananias. It was God who sent him to preach to the Gentiles.
Now this is where it is going to get hot. Verse 17 reads, “And it came about [Now watch this carefully!] when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance.” Where was he praying? What does your translation say? “In the temple.” What did they accuse him of in the past chapter? In 21:28 they accused him of doing what to the temple? Desecrating the temple, as if Paul didn’t care about it. Paul says, “Oh, no. Yes, God changed me, but the temple to me is still the place of holy prayer. I was there praying in the temple that you accuse me of desecrating, and while I was praying there, I fell into a trance. Something happened supernaturally and divine in my life.
It says in verse 18, “and I saw Him saying to me [he didn’t just hear him], I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’” Now this is incredible! Paul says, “Guys, I know what’s going on today. If you will just listen to me, let me tell you. God has already told me this would happen. I knew this would take place. I knew you would not receive my testimony.”
Look what Paul did when God spoke to him in verse 19: “And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in Thee. And when the blood of Thy witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out of the cloaks of those who were slaying him.’” Now what is he saying here? He is almost debating with God. “God, I know you are telling me to leave because they won’t accept my testimony. But, God, I have got to give witness of what happened. These people won’t understand unless I have a chance to share with them.” God says, “No, they are not going to understand. You are going to have to leave them for another ministry.” You see, Paul was telling this group, “I wanted to stay with you to tell you what I am telling you now, but God said, ‘No, they won’t receive your testimony.’”
Now look at verse 21: “And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to [whom?] the Gentiles.’” I want to tell you something. Just soak on this for a little bit. When I was studying this, it hit me like a rock right between my eyes. Paul wanted those precious brethren there in Jerusalem to come to know Christ. That was his burden. God said, “You go now to Jerusalem.” He knew that. God had already spoken to him previously and said “They will not accept your testimony.” Paul said, “I would rather be accursed than to see my brethren lost.” Paul goes to Jerusalem wanting to preach that gospel, hoping against hope they would hear what he had to say. God said, “I’ve already told you, Paul, they are not going to hear. I have something to say to them, however. I have something to say to them.”
Now why is it so important? You’ve got to remember, these are straight religious Jews, folks. They do it right, they have missed the very covenant which they are known for. Before the Jewish race ever came into existence, God raised up a man by the name of Abraham. In chapter 12 of Genesis, He told Abraham, “Through you, all nations on earth shall be blessed.” He promised Abraham three things in Genesis. First of all, He promised him a nation, Israel. “Alright!” I can hear the Jews from Jerusalem now if Paul was repeating this. “Alright! Yes, that’s us! Those of you from Tarsus of Cilicia, we’ll let you in, but we are the real true blue Jews. We are from Jerusalem.” Boy that ethnic thing is really strong here. Secondly, He promised him a land. “Alright! Alright! Israel, that’s where we live. This is it!” There was one more thing that God promised Abraham that no Jew was willing to even listen to. He promised him a Seed. Galatians 3:16 speaks of that and says, “That seed is the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all the Gentile nations of this earth will be blessed.”
Do you see what’s happening here? To me, it’s a message of judgment against the people of Jerusalem. When Paul went there to preach a message of salvation, God said, “No, I have already prepared another proclamation. Paul, you’re going to be put under arrest. I told you they wouldn’t listen to your testimony. You are going to be put out in front of a hostile crowd. I am going to shut them up, and I want you to say something to them. I want you to let them know I sent you to the Gentiles. Whereas the elders of Jerusalem rejoice at the Gentiles being saved because they were believers, all of the nation of Israel is being judged because they can’t celebrate that the promise to Abraham is finally being fulfilled through the Seed whose name is Jesus.”
Paul had one message on his mind. God had another message on His mind. The Jews couldn’t stand the thought of anybody ever being blessed by God outside of themselves. We have studied before about Jonah, the prophet in the Old Testament, the first prophet God ever sent to a Gentile nation. What did Jonah do? What did he do? You tell me what he did? Did he go? Well, finally. What did he do first of all? He turned and ran. Why? Because he knew that those same people would be the ones to take his own nation into captivity, and he said, “I will not. I am not about to go over there.” They were so close-minded. They rejected the Seed, therefore, they couldn’t see beyond themselves.
God said, “Paul, I have prepared a proclamation for you. It’s not going to be what you think. It’s going to end up defending your testimony, but it’s going to be an act of judgment.” The only other time that “great hush” comes is in Revelation 8:1, as we said, and that was a time of God’s judgment on this earth for people who had rejected His Christ. Paul said, “I’ve been sent by God to a Gentile world.”
Well, what can we glean from that? What can we learn from it? What I want you to see is the sovereign hand of God in a person’s life who is surrendered to Him. First of all, God prepares that person, and teaches him that he can submit to the spiritual authority or to civil authority. Why? Because he understands that God is the one who is really in control. The position is there, but by honoring the position, he is really honoring the God who is in control of the person who is in that position. He prepares the person.
Secondly, He prepares the platform. In other words, when we have a message on our heart, we have to let God choose when and where it’s going to be squeezed out of us. Sometimes it’s through pressure and those kinds of things. Somebody came to me recently and asked me, “Could failure or sin actually set up a platform for God to say something to others?” You’d better believe it. When you are willing to repent of that sin, God will take it, as the Master Weaver, and make a platform out of it to squeeze a brand new message out of your life that’ll touch somebody for all of eternity. Yes, sir. It will work that way.
Then God prepared the people. When God’s ready for you to speak, He’s also got an audience to hear you. It may not be who you think it’s going to be, but He’ll prepare those who need to hear what you have to say.
Fourthly, God will prepare the proclamation. He’ll let you know what to say when it’s time to say it. It’s incredible. The sovereign hand of God. Isn’t it interesting how God selects peculiar people and puts them on peculiar platforms to reach peculiar crowds? I mean, it’s just amazing. It just gives me hope. There is hope for all of us. We can fit in somewhere. I love that scripture in 1 Corinthians that says God uses the foolish to confound the wise. I love that. It just gives me hope every day I look in the mirror. God just uses people. It’s amazing. God will pick up people who can’t even balance their checkbooks, if they are surrendered to Him. He’ll pick them up. He’ll use them and give them a platform. He’ll give them a message. He’ll give them a people to hear that message. That’s true in your life. That’s true in my life. That’s true in the life of our church.
So what’s the encouragement down the road? When you are trusting God and looking around you and nothing seems to be working out like you had planned, as a matter of fact, it’s getting worse instead of better, don’t look away too quickly because God may be using that to do what you could have never done in any other way in your life. God is ready to use people who are surrendered to Him. He is sovereignly in control of what He does. He is the Rock that we stand on. He is not shaky. He is not disturbed. If we will just stand on Him, watch how He’ll lead us wherever He wants us to be. That’s the key. Don’t give your agenda to God. Just say, “God, will You give Your agenda to me?” Don’t look at the frustrations of tomorrow as hindrances. Look at them as opportunities to drive you to the cross and let God perfect a brand new message in your life. Then the squeezing will start. He’ll make the message first, then He’ll squeeze it out of you to bless somebody else as a result of it.