|W||Acts 9:13-15 New International Version (NIV)
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.
|O||Here we find the Lord speaking with Ananias. God wanted Ananias to minister to Saul, a notorious persecutor of the church. Ananias was reluctant to obey the Lord for he knew of all the terrible things that Saul did to God’s people. However, God instructed Ananias to GO! God CHOSE to use Saul to proclaim His name despite Saul’s past and all the evil things that he had done! Verse 15 of the text confirms God can use anything and anybody for His glory!
This encounter was the beginning of Saul’s conversion from being a dishonorable persecutor of the gospel to a distinguished preacher of it. Be encouraged by Paul’s testimony (1 Timothy 1:12-17-NIV):
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
|R||God can do anything! I am super encouraged from reading about the transformation of Saul to Paul. If you have free time I highly recommend you to read more about Paul’s journey in the book of Acts (chapters 8-28). Sometimes I get discouraged thinking about the times when I let God down. I wish there was a way that I could erase some of the things from my past, but I can’t. Although I feel like I am getting better and better each day, I often feel sadden by the choices I have made. Paul’s story gives me the courage I need to keep moving forward in Christ. As I think back to how far I’ve come in my walk with God, I can let out a sigh of relief.
I have grown. Matured.
Thankful that I am far from who I used to be, even though I recognize I still have more growing to do.
I just ask God to give me the strength to keep going. The strength to forget about the past and the determination to stay strong as I continue to move forward in Him. I thank God for His unmerited favor in my life. I am grateful for God’s grace and mercy. I know that without Him I am nothing. I just want to finish the rest of my days on Earth making the Lord proud. Giving Him the praise, honor, and glory with every breath that I take and every move that I make. I know there is nothing I can do to earn His unfailing love. I just want to give Him back what He gave to me—my life! God has brought me a mighty long way. I am thankful. My desire is to run a strong race. When it’s all said and done, I want to be able to say like Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).”
As I continue my journey onward with the Lord, this passage of scripture (Philippians 3:12-14) remains in the forefront of my mind (IT’S MY MOTIVATION):
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
No more looking back…
|D||Dear God, I thank You for my life. Thank you for choosing me. I thank You for always being there for me and never giving up on me. I thank You, Savior, for never turning Your back on me. I thank You for seeing the good in me even when I can’t see the good in myself or when others remind me of past sins. Thank you for always being there for me in my times of need…whenever I felt forgotten, alone, or when I didn’t feel good enough. Thank You for Your unconditional love. I appreciate You for reminding me of who I am and whose I am. Thank you for this unspeakable joy that I have and this unexplainable peace. You are the best! Continue to hold my hand and guide me. Show me how to truly live for You. Use me Father! May You get the glory out of my life. Keep working on my heart, Lord. I love You!
In Jesus’ name, Amen
Her testimony is interesting. Check it out…