God’s Grace Makes The Difference

As we look at these verses today, let’s stop and consider what qualities we tend to look for in selecting a new pastor for our church. Then, let’s consider what others must see in us as they judge our ‘output’ – our character, compared to who we claim to be. How accepting would we be of an individual with a very rough and questionable background, but by the grace of God in their lives they are applying for a pastoral position in your church? Try talking to God about your feelings on each of these things as you meditate with me today!

DATE POSTED Sunday, 2022-06-19
WRITTEN AT: Ocean Breeze, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: You see, I am the least of all His emissaries, not fit to be called His emissary because I hunted down and persecuted God’s church. 10 Today I am who I am because of God’s grace, and I have made sure that the grace He offered me has not been wasted. I have worked harder, longer, and smarter than all the rest; but I realize it is not me—it is God’s grace with me that has made the difference.

APPLICATION: Throughout the Bible we will find stories of how God used ordinary folk to do extraordinary Kingdom work. But Paul seems to stand out in many ways. He was one who persecuted Christians and who tried to destroy anything that represented Jesus Christ. He boasted about the tyrant that he was, and he backed that up in many ways, including beating and even killing Christians. What if Paul applied for a pastoral position at your church and his only qualifications he could share with your search committee was that God appeared to him and totally turned his life around from the scars I just described, to a man willing to follow the commands of Jesus? Do you suppose that any of your committee members would be firm enough in their faith to accept Paul’s new-found faith? Would Paul be permitted to assume your pulpit responsibilities in the next worship service? In my short lifespan I have served on many Pastor Search Committees. We have used many recommended questionnaires filled with tons of questions for our candidates, and we spent many hours discussing the responses given on those questionnaires. We set applications aside for, what appeared to us as, unqualified responses. I’ll be the first to tell you that any candidate telling us that they had served in no churches yet, and that their background consisted of killing Christians and denouncing the work of churches, his application package would have been destroyed and given no further attention. Yet we see that God saved Saul/Paul for a special purpose – a work that only Paul could accomplish after having gone through his life-experiences without Jesus. So is there any surprise why we are reading about Paul’s effort to clarify his qualifications to serve? Friends, I believe that if for no other reason, Paul’s background and his affirmation of his qualifications to serve, might really stir the hardened hearts of Christians serving on a Search Committee, because it would serve to show us that we should be looking at what God did in a man’s life to qualify him to serve in God’s church, rather than all the scholastic and personal achievements that may attribute to his abilities to serve. Unfortunately, one of the ugly things that seem to be the hardest to release when we find Jesus, is the judgmental attitude that we bring along from our past. It is hard to overlook our personal observations and our ideas of perfection, and to simply see what God has done and continues to do in the life of His chosen child. Perhaps we should be reminded regularly that God’s Grace, like that which was given to Saul (Paul) is God’s unmerited favor. In other words, God’s grace had nothing to do with Saul’s learned abilities, or his scholastic achievements. God simply saw a man destined to write many books in His Word; Win many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; and bold enough to speak to those with very hardened hearts. God created us uniquely for His good purpose, and only He could qualify us for truly sharing the Gospel with hardened sinners who feel like they have life all figured out. God knew that Paul would eventually come to himself and recognize the awesome God of this universe. He knew that Paul would go on to convince many hardened crusaders that looked and operated much like he did in his day. Friends, God also has you and I pegged for a specific Kingdom work here on earth. Like Paul, I believe that the work God chose for us to do, is specially formulated just for us. So let’s listen closely to His call, and be obedient to His instructions as He directs our path towards the work He has in store for us. Let’s make every effort to minimize our excuses, for His grace will make all the difference for us, and for those who will respond to His call through us.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: God’s grace makes all the difference in our life, and especially in our career of winning the lost to Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, every day we are reminded of, what seems to be, such an unlimited number of folk that have not accepted You as Lord. Unfortunately they see us, and they hear us, but they see nothing that convinces them of the change they need to make in their life. We often say that it may take ‘a ton of bricks’ to change the minds of some, but You created us Lord, so You know full well what it takes to get our attention and theirs. May Your grace given to us, be obvious to others – especially those who need to make a change in their life. It may be something very simple – much like a simple bumper sticker that opened the eyes of a good friend and contributed to him seeking salvation. But please provoke us to faith and obedience to our Heavenly Father so that You may use even our weak vessels to do miraculous things in the lives of those who need You. May today be the day for many to make decisions for Jesus Christ, because of Your grace in our lives. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog 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 this devotional, please click on 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. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. 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!