Monday, March 27, 2023

A Past With A Purpose

Monday, March 27, 2023 

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14

A Past With A Purpose

From the inspirational words of Paul there may be many who would say, “I know Paul learned how to maximize the moment. I see how he labored more often, was more productive, and got better results than the other apostles did. But I have so many problems in my life I don’t know if I can overcome to serve God.” Good news!  So did Paul.  He had what appeared to be rather serious limitations

Paul had a history He persecuted the church of God publicly.  He arrested believers and testified against them.  His reputation was well known for wreaking havoc in the early church.  Even after his conversion to Christ, he was originally rejected by the other apostles because they were afraid of him due to his history and dark past. His friends were few, his enemies were many and suffering was his lot.  Yet, he was successful in running the Christian race.

His presentation was weak. Paul was not a great speaker and referred to his speech as rude, uncouth, unpolished; not smooth or eloquent.  His appearance was weak, as were his eyes.  He really did not measure up to the other apostles in appearance nor in presentation in the physical sense.  However, Paul had a great message of truth, in spite of a weak delivery!  Peter was more robust, and Apollos was more eloquent; but Paul was very effective. 

In First and Second Corinthians, Paul attempted to justify his being called an apostle. He was not one of the original twelve He describes himself as "one born out of due season."  He was not in the company of Jesus during his earthly ministry and did not witness the miracles of Jesus.  Yet, his ministry was more successful than some who accompanied Jesus daily.  Paul expanded the kingdom of God.  Not only did he establish more churches, but also he wrote two-thirds of the New Testament books. 

In 2 Corinthians 11:5, Paul defends his ministry by saying, for I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.  Paul labored as a debtor to Christ. He was overcome with love and appreciation that Christ had called him and was using him in His service.  

As you look throughout the Bible, you will find it is full of the stories of real people who had flaws and shortcomings.  God knew we could not be perfect because we are human and wanted us to know that we are still valuable to Him and His kingdom.  Even with our past sins and mistakes God can still use us. Our scars have value and sometimes the scars we carry may make another person with a similar past see that God can love them in spite of where they have been.  Not only can He still love us, scars and all, but He can USE us!

How can God use your story to reach your One? 

Who's Your One Prayer Guide Day 23

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever. 1 CHRONICLES 16:34, CSB

Father, I give thanks to You for Your goodness in my life. I know Your faithful love endures forever. You have never abandoned me, and You continue to demonstrate grace in my life, though I’m so prone to forget Your kindness or rebel against Your authority.  ____________ needs to know Your love. He/she needs more than an intellectual understanding of Your existence; rather he/she needs to experience the love You have demonstrated in my life. Break through his/her hard heart, and cause him/her to truly experience Your life-transforming love and to be able to join with me in giving You thanks for all You are and all You have done.

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