Not Disqualified

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. (Acts 8:3) 

In our hearts when we hear of someone persecuting and murdering innocents… we want justice. 
 
God sees the wickedness, but he also knows the true identity He has for them. 

No matter how far off track anyone has gotten, God is ready for you to live out your original design. 
 
Saul was there when Steven, who was beautiful and precious, was stoned to death. 

Saul, who approved of Stephen’s execution then,  (Acts 8:1) went on to cross multiple continents on foot just to share the good news of Jesus Christ after his conversion. 
 
None of us is disqualified from serving the King or His Kingdom! God, you have chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. (1 Cor 1:27
 
“…for Saul is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15
 
When I read this devotion I was reminded of Matthew 5:44, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Spend time praying for people instead of talking about them, I guarantee you will get better results. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God but our sins are not greater than God’s mercy. As today’s devotions says, none of us are disqualified from serving God. He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!


Unexpected Grace

And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. (Acts 9:12)

It was an early Saturday morning in my sophomore year of high school, and I was eager to get to my job at the local bowling lanes. The evening before, I had stayed late to mop the muddy tile floors because the janitor called in sick. I hadn’t bothered to tell the boss about the janitor so I could surprise him. After all, What could go wrong? I thought.

Plenty, as it turns out.

Stepping in the door, I saw inches of standing water, with bowling pins, rolls of toilet paper, and boxes of paper scoresheets bobbing on top. Then I realized what I had done: While doing the floors, I had left a large faucet running overnight! Incredibly, my boss greeted me with a huge hug and a big smile—“for trying,” he said.

Saul was actively punishing and harassing Christians (Acts 9:1–2) when he came face to face with Jesus on the road to Damascus (vv. 3–4). Jesus confronted the soon-to-be-called apostle Paul with his sinful actions. Blinded by the experience, Saul/Paul would need a Christian—Ananias—to restore his sight to him in an act of courage and grace (v. 17).

Both Saul and I received unexpected grace.

Most people know they’ve messed up. Instead of lectures, they need a hope for redemption. Stern faces or sharp words can block their view of that hope. Like Ananias, or even my boss, followers of Jesus must become the face of grace in these life-changing encounters with others.

We have all come face to face with this reality and I’m certain we can all recall the individual who showed us grace and forgiveness in a situation where we know we didn’t deserve it. What an impact we can make in someone’s life by showing grace and forgiveness. Today lets do as this devotion mentions and find someone in our lives that deserves the face of grace. As followers of Christ lets choose to give someone hope for redemption and pray for them and with them instead of throwing out anger, judgement and condemnation. We have all messed up. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). A Christian’s grace-filled actions can smooth someone’s path to the Savior’s presence. Let’s choose today to show love and forgiveness. 

Make today beautiful!

Today’s Reading is Acts 9:1-19



$1,000,000 Debt

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22)

Jesus followed this interaction with Peter by sharing what we now know as, the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35). The situation was this; a king forgave his servant for what would equate to, in our day, a million dollar debt. This was more than any average person, let alone a servant, could produce for repayment. The king, out of compassion, kindness, and beautiful mercy forgave the entire debt, and not on the grounds of repayment either. The king knew this servant would never be able to repay the money owed, yet he forgave him anyway. At this point, the narrative is gracious and wonderful. What a good king!

But here’s the servant’s response: straight away, this forgiven man found a coworker of his who owed him just a fraction of what he had been pardoned from repaying the king. He grabbed him by the throat, and demanded he be repaid the money owed him. When that man begged patience, just as the forgiven servant had, “he refused and…put him in prison”!

The point here was this; we as God’s forgiven, redeemed, and reconciled cannot take the forgiveness of a bottomless debt from God’s hand, and then with our own hands demand repayment from those who owe us, or have wronged us. While this does not mean that we become a doormat for those who would walk all over us, it does mean that we do not live like the unregenerate servant who did not understand and appreciate the debt that had been forgiven of him.

Is there someone who you have not forgiven for the wrong they have done to you? Ask God to remind you of the debt He has forgiven of you.

While I have read this setting of scripture many times before, after reading today’s perspective I seen it in a much different light. What truth! We are at times so quickly to hold unforgiveness in our hearts and lives and in return we are forgetting what we ourselves have been forgiven of. Today let’s take a moments and remind ourselves of the debt He has forgiven of us and then turn around and grant forgiveness to someone you have not forgiven. Forgive others as quickly as you expect God to forgive you and when someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they did right. We are to show love and allow God to be there judge.

Have a wonderful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is Ephesians 4:31-32



Forgiveness

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

The question of genuine forgiveness is one of eternal importance. And why is it, you may ask, so crucial that Christians forgive? For starters, Jesus’ statement in today’s text is quite a compelling reason, for “If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Suffice it to say then, we had better make sure we are forgiving “our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

Here’s the bottom line: forgiveness is such a central element to Christianity that it is an indicator of salvation! Not that we are saved by any works of our own, such as forgiving others, but that when we are reconciled to God through Christ, our new life will be marked by grace giving and forgiveness.

Remember, our sin was exchanged for Jesus’ righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), our wrong for His right, our injustice for His justice. God meets our rebellion and pride with grace in and through the person and work of Jesus. Those to whom grace is extended should also extend grace, and those to whom forgiveness is extended should also extend forgiveness.

Forgive as you have been forgiven. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s at the core of who you are in Christ.

What truth! When I read this I knew forgiveness was important but honestly I never looked at it like this. Forgiveness should most certainly be at the core of who I am in Christ. He showed me forgiveness on the cross before I was even born. Those to whom grace is extended should also extend grace, and those to whom forgiveness is extended should also extend forgiveness. Amen! Think on this today as you may be struggling with forgiveness.

Have a wonderful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is Matthew 6