e-book The Good Ole Boys: Paul & The Road of Damascus

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Syria was the name once applied to most of the territory on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea and in the seventh century it became the seat of the Umayyad caliphate. The smaller modern state of Syria — adjoining Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon — began as a French mandate when the Ottoman empire was broken up after the first world war.

It became independent in Its capital, Damascus, is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Order of the Ba'ath: The Ba'ath party , which has dominated Syrian politics since seizing power in , was founded in as a pan-Arab nationalist and socialist "renaissance" movement. Its slogan is "unity, freedom, socialism". Under President Hafez al-Assad — , the Ba'athists consolidated central government and brought a measure of stability to the country — though at a high cost in terms of repression.

Bashar al-Assad was in London, pursuing a career in ophthalmology when his elder brother, Basil — heir apparent to the presidency — died in a car crash in Bashar was recalled to be groomed for power. When his father died in , Bashar was made head of the army and leader of the Ba'ath party.

01 Paul's conversion journey

But at 34, he was too young to become president under the Syrian constitution. The age qualification was hastily revised and he was "elected" president in a referendum. His wife, Asma Akhras , was born in Britain to Syrian parents. She formerly worked as an investment banker at JP Morgan. The Golan Heights, a mountainous and strategically import area bordering the Sea of Galilee, was captured by Israel during the war.

Part of it was handed back after the war, but the return of the remaining territory has been one of the Syrian regime's principal goals ever since. There is a spot on the ceasefire line known as Shouting Valley where Syrians use megaphones to hail their relatives on the other side. In Syrian forces launched a brutal assault on the city of Hama to quell an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing thousands.

The Big Change - a story about Saul on the road to Damascus by Linda Sue Pochodzay Edwards

Memories of the event, which is rarely mentioned publicly in Syria, continue to cast a long shadow over political opposition to the regime. Syria has some of the world's most beautiful railway stations. Lebanon was separated from Syria under the French mandate, since it was largely a Christian enclave, and became officially independent in From Damascus, Lebanon still tends to be viewed as part of Syria's traditional sphere of influence.

Syria used its military to stabilise Lebanon after the civil war but also meddled extensively in Lebanese politics.

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Protests and diplomatic pressure after the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in forced Syria which was widely blamed for the attack to withdraw its troops. Hooray for the president: During public speeches in Syria, it is customary to applaud each time the name of President Assad is mentioned.

Why do you want to persecute me?

Saul, not recognizing the voice, said, "Who are you? The answer came back, "I am Jesus. Of course, Saul was terribly afraid. He was shaking and trembling and could hardly speak. In a weak voice he said, "Lord, what should I do? Jesus replied, "Go into the city, and someone will meet you and tell you what to do.

The friends that were with him were astonished! They didn't see the light. They didn't see a person. They only heard the voice. They didn't have a clue what was happening! When Saul was able to get up off the ground, he uncovered his eyes, but he couldn't see anything. His friends had to hold his hands and lead him into the city of Damascus.

Saul (Paul) Becomes a Christian

The light was so bright it had blinded him. For three whole days he couldn't see anything at all. While all of this was happening on the road outside the city of Damascus, something else was happening inside the city.

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The Christians were becoming fearful because they had heard that Saul was on his way. They knew he was a cruel man that didn't like them. They knew what terrible things he had done to other Christians and they were getting quite worried.

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There was a Christian man named Ananias who loved the Lord very much. God spoke to him in a vision, telling him to go down the street to find Saul. Now, Ananias had heard all the stories about Saul and he wasn't very fond of this plan. Ananias spoke to the Lord: What if he even wants to KILL me? Are you sure about this, Lord? The Lord spoke to Ananias again, reassuring him that everything would be fine. Ananias found the house where Saul was staying and went in for a visit. While he was there, he prayed for Saul and the blindness left him.

The Lord healed him so he could see again. Saul stayed in Damascus with the Christians. He became good friends with them and learned from them. It wasn't long before Saul became a preacher teaching people about Jesus.

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They couldn't believe that this was the same person that had hated them so much and wanted to kill them. Does Jesus only care about good people? Can anyone change or just some people? If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature