Guest Writer: Meet my son-in-law Tripp Prince. We are blessed to have him as our guest writer.
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 23, 2015
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Acts 9:1-2
Do you remember what you were like before you knew Jesus? You may have been blessed to grow up in a Christian family where you were taught to follow Christ from an early age, or perhaps you lived many years far from the Lord and were drawn to faith later in life. Whatever your story may be, chances are your conversion is not as dramatic as the story of St. Paul found in Acts 9!
Saul, later known as Paul, was the great persecutor of the early church, actively seeking to imprison and kill those who followed Jesus. If you were a Christian in those early days, you certainly would have known Saul’s name, but he wasn’t someone you’d want to meet! Saul was an enemy of God and God’s people.
Yet the Scriptures remind us that God is in the business of transformation. We serve a God who turns even the most unlikely of hearts back to him, a God who came to redeem and save his enemies (Rom. 5:10).
And all who heard (Saul) were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon his name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests? But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” Acts 9:21-22
We must ask ourselves today, as we look at the conversion of Saul, do we still have the expectation and prayer that God continues to change hearts today? What is our posture towards our friends, family members, or co-workers who are far from the Lord? What about people who even persecute or seek harm and destruction of Christ followers? Do we write them all off as ‘too far gone’ or enemies, or can we instead look to Saul and see how God’s grace can transform the most passionate persecutor of His church into the most exuberant evangelist in all of history.
If God has the power to change Saul, trust that his love can reach the depths of even the most wayward heart. If you’ve never experienced this love or if your walk has grown cold, remember this great conversion story and reach out to God in prayer, asking him to come fill your heart afresh with the same transforming grace that filled Saul’s heart centuries ago.
Prayer: Father, thank you that your love reaches even the hardest of hearts. May I receive today your transformative grace and know your great love for me.
Related Readings: Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 5:17; Galatians 6:14-15
Post/Tweet this today: God’s grace can reach the depths of even the most wayward heart. #grace #wisdomhunters
Get ready for Two Minutes in the Bible Through Proverbs: You’ll soon be enjoying the benefits of a storehouse of wisdom in your heart. Pre-order Boyd’s newest devotional book coming August 1st! (Learn more about our friends at Harvest House Publishers)
Additional Resource: 5 minute music video- Phil Wickham: This is Amazing Grace
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God is transforming people every day. When you receive Christ as your savior you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and the change begins.
I would like to comment on this statement.
“Saul was an enemy of God and God’s people”.
He was not an enemy of God. He was doing what God had told the Jews to do for 12 hundred years. Be true to Jehovah and follow Him.
He just didn’t understand who Jesus was, The promised one.
Thank you for your perspective on the statement from the devotional, “Transforming Grace”. I will pass along your thoughts to Tripp.
As I read Paul’s words in Acts 22:4-5, it was hard to imagine that he was not an enemy of God : “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and the Council can testify”. But you are certainly right, this was all before Saul (Paul) met his Savior.
In Acts 22:3, we get a glimpse into Paul’ life as Saul: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsas of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.” Which does shed some light on your perspective.
For Paul’s sake (and mine) I am thankful that our God is a God of transformation and redemption!
Thank you,Ed, for sharing your thoughts with us. We always appreciate hearing from our Wisdom Hunter’s family and we look forward to hearing from you again.
Grateful for you~
“Find rest, o my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from Him.”
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