Dark Glass Ponderings

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. -1 Corinthians 13:12

Road to Damascus
I'm thrilled to be able to offer a guest post by Amanda Stanley today.  I think you'll be blessed.  The Lord has orchestrated a few online spiritual discussions between myself and Amanda that have really blessed me.  And she introduced my husband and I to the Ludys and Eric's wonderfully convicting Ellerslie sermons.  (And I can't pick a favorite so I recommend just starting at the bottom with The 9 Lies and working up to his current sermons, you'll be blessed by all I predict).

As we prepare to discuss Through Gates of Splendor (April 30th),  and prepare our hearts for Easter, I hope you will be blessed.

I would love to hear more about your heroes of the faith in the comments.  Here's the poetic voice of Ms. Stanley:

From the chief of all sinners to a chosen vessel, the life, testimony and transformation of Paul (formerly known as Saul) is astounding and showcases the power of a God who is mighty and strong to save. His living, breathing surrender to Christ not only gave us a hope of what is possible in our walk with the Lord but also gave us 14 beautiful books of the Bible. Including one of my favorites – Romans!

We are introduced to Paul (Saul at this time) in the book of Acts where he is agreeing to Stephen’s death by stoning, while the witnesses were laying their clothes as his feet. Wreaking havoc on the church, hauling Christian men and women off to prison, threatening and slaughtering them, Saul was determined to stamp out any hint of Christianity in Jerusalem and abroad. So determined was he that he set out to Damascus to obtain letters from the high priest that he may bring any Christians he came across back to Jerusalem, bound and with the intent to kill them. But on his way to Damascus, “suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell on the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:3-4). Trembling and astounded, he immediately asks the Lord what He would have him do - total surrender as instant as the total forgiveness offered, this marks the beginning of an incredible relationship between Saviour and saved. For “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20).

What touches me the most about Paul’s life is how the Lord could take someone like him and completely and beautifully transform him. It shows that no matter what you’ve done or where you are, the blood of Jesus Christ flows there and will cover all your sins. As the scales fell from Paul’s eyes, this new man was given new sight and a new name. His is one of the most powerful conversions ever recorded. The Lord said that He would show Paul the great things he must suffer for His name’s sake, and yes, they were great! In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 we are given a rough list: “…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils of the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” YET, Paul joyfully accepted them all, declaring in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” But how could he say this? It was because he stood on the promise of the Lord when He said to him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (v.9). One scholar summed up the life of Paul this way: “Jesus commanded, Paul obeyed.”

What a testimony this man left behind! What a walk for us to follow! What an example for us to mirror! He faced most everything we have or could and then some, and still no complaint fell from his lips. I stand convicted by this hero of the faith. I want a heart like his that breaks for the sinner and seeks after God; I want a faith like his that will trust the Lord at all times and in all things; I want a boldness like his to preach the gospel, forsaking earthly comforts for the glorification of the God of all comfort; and I want a love like his that will gladly spend and be spent for others. I want a testimony worthy of being listed alongside such a hero. May we all desire such things, that one day, by the grace of God, they may be said of us also.




Julia, thank you so much for having me today! I’m truly honored you asked me to do this and humbled by that intro. *blushing* Always blessed by our discussions, my friend, and I’m so happy we can all be blessed by the Ludy’s! :) Oh, and I am really looking forward to discussing Through Gates of Splendor! If not for you I might have never read it and I would have missed out on its incredible testimony. Thanks again, dear Julia, for everything :)


Amanda and Julia! What an inspired, wonderful post! You've said so much here about Paul that resonates with me. I've often looked forward to meeting him in heaven one day. He was certainly amazing when he walked this earth! His life is a fiction writer's dream:) Bless you both as you showcase His light and grace here and everywhere! It means so much.

Laura, thank you, my friend! And, won't it be amazing to meet Paul in heaven one day? Goodness, all the stories we're gonna hear from him and others! I can see us now sitting on the ground like little kids in grade school wide-eyed and drinking in every word :) Imagine the commentary we're gonna get on those beloved Biblical stories we've heard all our lives! Oh, the wonder that awaits!


Julia, I completely forgot to comment about that very cool pic of the road to Damascus you found! Perfect fit ;) To think of what happened there is just incredible! And even more incredible is that Jesus loved him enough to meet him there. Praise the Lord that He loves us enough to meet us on our own roads, too, and would seek us out with the same forgiveness and mercy :)

Hey, I wonder if this was the spot? ;)


It's amazing how God uses these folks we've never met in our lives to inspire and change us. Great post, ladies! Thanks for all both of you do to encourage your bloggy friends :) Blessings!

Beautiful post, my friend!! Thank you so much for the reminder of what's really important and where our aim and heart should be--in obeying God and serving Him. :) Paul is certainly an amazing example of humility and devotion to God.

Amanda, your writing is certainly poetic, as Julia noted, and now that you've already been asked to write a guest post I might have to ask you to visit my blog sometime. ;) But only when you have time!

Julia, thank you for inviting Amanda to share with us, and thank you for hosting this series!

God bless you both!


Thank YOU, Amanda! We are blessed by the Ludys on a weekly basis and I too cannot wait for the discussion on Through Gates of Splendor.


Thank you for coming by and thank YOU for being a light especially in the world of CBA. More spiritual voices like yours are needed. I hope you'll stop by even if you haven't read Through Gates of Splendor. I would love to hear about how that inspired your brother.


Oh, how I can't wait to see Israel, either on this side of glory or the other. Thank you so much for your timely responses to the post, too.

Renee Ann,

Thanks so much! I am always blessed by your comments whatever sight you are on. Thanks for teaming up for Through Gates of Splendor. Can't wait to discuss and you have such insightful ideas on the books.


Thanks for stopping by in the midst of your end-of-year craziness. Amanda kept coming to mind when I thought of this series and when she sent me a devotional shortly afterward that sort of clinched it for me.

I definitely see the Holy Spirit working through Amanda's writing and it will be neat to see how the Lord continues to use that :).

Renee Ann, thank you! And I'm gonna second what Julia said, your comments are such a blessing and encouragement on whatever blog you visit! Actually I always look for your comments for that reason :) And you're right, it IS amazing that God uses these folks to bless us! I'm sure most never knew the things they went through would be not only recorded but have such an impact while all being orchestrated by the Lord to do so! Makes you wonder what might be said of us after we're gone and what kind of impact we might leave behind...


Amber, thank you my sweet friend :) Your words and encouragement always mean so much, especially because you're such an incredibly talented writer! And, yes, Paul certainly is an amazing example of humility and devotion, as you said. As far as his humility, I am always amazed by what he said in Philippians 4:11 - "...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." WOW! I'm still learning the words to that worship song, let me tell you! But praise God for His patience with dust, Amen? And as far as Paul's devotion, 2 Timothy 4:7 sums it up beautifully - "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:" Both of these verses are what I pray with all my heart I will be able to say someday.

And, YES!! I would LOVE to visit your blog, my friend! Oh, and you know I ALWAYS have time for YOU! ;)

Thanks again, girl :)


Awww, Julia... you have NO idea what your words mean to mean, my friend. I pray the Lord could use me in some way, even small. Sometimes I don't feel too usable, but again, thats His sovereign mercy and patience with dust. God is good. And I must admit, I'm so very happy I kept coming to mind, humbled, but so very happy ;)

Julia, the Lord has used you so much, especially in my life and I thank you for being a ready vessel for Christ that pours out His goodness and love :) You also encourage and inspire me as I see the Lord molding you into a hero of the faith. May we all be as pliable for His good pleasure and cause.


Do you write devotionals Amanda? I think you have a talent for it.

I was just about to chime in and say Philippians chapter 4 is my favorite chapter in the whole Bible. But I see you mentioned it in a comment above.

These words have gotten me through the deepest valleys of my life:

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Thank you so much, Joy :) I write for/put together a newsletter for my church and I’ve written stuff like this all the time but I never really dared to hope they could be considered devotionals until you girls mentioned it! So I guess the answer is yes, I do write devotionals, LOL! :)

Isn’t Philippians 4 just amazing? That’s beautiful that these precious words have carried you through the valleys. There are verses that come to mind, most penned by Paul, that have wrapped my soul in strong arms and carried me through my own valleys, too. God’s Word certainly is the surest of foundations and the testimonies of Christians past – that have faced much and overcame through Christ – serve to keep our feet firmly planted on that Foundation. Like the verse says, we certainly can do all things through Christ who strengths us! Thank you for sharing that Joy! Praying His Word will always carry you in the valleys and soar with you in the high places :)


Julia M. Reffner

About Me

My photo
Christ-loving bookworm & homeschool mom of 2 stealing the rare quiet moments to pursue that all elusive writing dream. I also write book reviews for Title Trakk and The Historical Novel Society.


Contributor at The Writer's Alley:


FeedBurner FeedCount