7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Jeremiah 28:1–29:32
1 Timothy 1:1-20
Psalm 86:1-17
Proverbs 25:17

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 (NLT): “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.”

Reflections from Scripture:

The Apostle Paul was arguably one of the most important figures of the New Testament, second only to Jesus. The Gospels tell us what Jesus did and said, but Paul’s letters tell us why it matters and how it plays out in our personal lives. We are eternally indebted to the Apostle Paul for his contribution to the Christian faith.

Yet, Paul previously went by the name Saul. (Saul was a nice Hebrew name, but the name change to Paul (Greek) roughly coincided with his conversion.) As a man named Saul, he was vicious. If we were to look for a counterpart to Saul in today’s world, we might say he was a terrorist. Because of Saul’s devout, Pharisaic faith, he was jailing Christians and participating in their death. And he believed that He was doing his God a favor by doing so.

But, Paul was saved (Acts 9). Jesus got ahold of his heart and radically changed this man. He went from fighting against Jesus to being one of Christ’s most courageous, passionate, and insightful gentle warriors.

And this is the point that Paul was making in 1 Timothy 1:15-16. He noted that he was downright evil before he was saved. Yet, Jesus had clearly conscripted Paul into His army, and Paul became a very different man. So, if God could graciously forgive someone like Paul, then God could graciously forgive anyone no matter what they had done.

This is the message of the cross, friend. No one is too far gone to be the object of God’s saving grace. The person who is the most vile could have the greatest testimony of the power of the cross if and when God gets hold of them.

So, don’t look down your nose at people who are against Jesus. Pray for them. Ask God to melt their hearts and cause them to see that our God loves them (John 3:16) and has made a way for them to be thoroughly forgiven and cleaned. And then pray that God would allow you to share the wonderful news of the Gospel with them.

Who knows! You could lead the next “Paul” to the Lord!

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me never to see anyone as too far gone. Help me to realize that You do your greatest work with the least likely of people. So, help me to be ready and willing to share the Gospel with those who cross my path today, whoever they are. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Hugo Fergusson on Unsplash