DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-03-07
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: Acts 26:15-18
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)
BIBLE TEXT: 15 “I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus,[h] the one you are persecuting. 16 Get up and stand to your feet, for I have appeared to you to reveal your destiny and to commission you as my assistant.[i] You will be a witness to what you have seen and to the things I will reveal whenever I appear to you.[j] 17 I will rescue you from the persecution of your own people and from the hostility of the other nations that I will send you to. 18 And you will open their eyes to their true condition, so that they may turn from darkness to the Light[k] and from the power[l] of Satan to the power of God. By placing their faith in me they will receive the total forgiveness[m] of sins and be made holy, taking hold of the inheritance that I give to my children!’
OBSERVATION: Imagine a pastor who you remember as the sidewalk drunk from your small town. Imagine the murderer, who finally got out of prison, coming to your door to tell you about Jesus. Imagine the baddest kid on your block during middle school, now in high school and telling everyone that he wants to be a pastor. As you meditate with me on this Scripture today, use these examples to understand why it was so challenging for Paul to convince King Agrippa of his current status as a minister of the Gospel. Read on in the Application to understand how this applies to you and I!
APPLICATION: Christians might tend to think that they will have a hard time convincing God that they are not the person they used to be. However, that’s the easy part, as God was the one who called you from that life of sin, into His wonderful kingdom of light! The challenge comes when we stand before an earthly person, such as the king before whom Paul stood. Today we tend to remember our high school friends, just like they were the last time we saw them in person – perhaps at graduation 20 years ago! A prosecutor will introduce you to the judge by reflecting on the worst years of your life, not for the good things you may have done. So Paul had quite a challenge on his hands, to convince King Agrippa that his life was changed by a man named ‘Jesus’. While you might easily identify with much of the above, I believe you might just as easily identify what Paul must have faced, and felt, when struck by the Light on the Damascus road. Because when we are filthy in sin, we tend to feel distant from God and unreachable by God. But notice what God did with Paul, He not only saved him from the life of persecution against God and His people, but He commissioned him to come and be actively involved in the work of God! Wow! I’ve heard people referred to as ‘bums’; ‘murderers’; ‘criminals’; ‘pedophiles’; ‘trash’; ‘no-goods’; etc, etc. What do you suppose God looks at people called by either of these names? They were created by God, so they are not throw-aways or junk. In fact, they were made in His likeness. If God is Father of all, then each of these types would be considered ‘His children’. Friends, Jesus went willingly to the cross of Calvary and was crucified, so that we, and each of these types, could be rescued from our life of sin, and go on to enjoy life eternally in heaven with He and His Father. Please remember today, that God rescued/saved Paul in spite of his misgivings and in spite of how others looked on him. When you feel the tug of God on your heart, please don’t brush Him off because of your condition at the time. He knows you, He knows about your sin, He knows about your need for salvation, and He will be quick to remind you that He died because He knew that you would have such a need. Surrender to Him today dear Friend, He is ready to commission you into His service just like He did for Paul, and all other sinners after Him. There is only one place to run when we acknowledge that we are mere sinners – to the ONLY One who is not a sinner, the ONLY One who can save – Jesus. Please read my Footnote for Biblical help on how to surrender your life to Jesus. A local Bible teaching pastor would be happy to speak with you, and I would love to hear from you also. You may not see a bright light quite like Paul, nor a calling of your name like Samuel, but it mat be a still small voice getting your attention, or a devotional similar to this one where God might call you away from persecuting Him, and to serve Him instead. Hearken to His call today my friend, while there is time.
PRAYER: Too often we think that we are way too evil to ever be considered by You, or used in Your service, oh Lord. But in our Scripture today You reminded us through Your call on Saul/Paul that You have a work for us to do and You are ready to commission us into Your service. Oh that each one reading this devotional today may be convinced of Your call on their life. Perhaps one might be deep in sin and feel so inadequate or ‘dirty’ to ever serve the King of all kings. Lord please touch the heart of each child that will read this blog today. Call them into service into whatever capacity You have set aside for them. There are many who need You, precious Lord, please use us to reach one in our circle of friends and family, so that Your kingdom might be enriched with more workers, more servants and more assistants today, for this is my humble prayer, with hopes that You would begin with me. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!