Breathe in clear thoughts of peace and reflection as you prepare to hear God speak to you through the scripture and the writer. Put aside all the things the world says you have to accomplish today and use this time to rest in God’s presence.
Acts 9:26-31 (NRSV)
When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
If we ever feel that our past is so overwhelmingly sinful that there could be no possible good come out of it, the study of Paul is a testimony of the magnitude of forgiveness the Lord has for us. Whether our past was abusive to others, to ourselves, drugs, murder, rape, robbery, etc.; God’s grace is offered to everyone who will accept. Paul became one of the greatest preachers and correspondents that we have the pleasure of knowing through God’s word. The zeal that he used to persecute, was now used to promote the Gospel of Christ. Look at our past, and see what prevailing characteristic executed the acts of our sinful nature, because God can that small prevailing characteristic and turn it around for a blessing to someone struggling with their present. We are not defined by our past, but we are defined by the presence of our Lord in our life, and how we make him Lord of our lives to work his glory in us.
My Lord and Savior, I pray that the things in my past can be a blessing to someone who is struggling with their present. Give me the courage to share my past with those who are in need of your glorious mercy, so that they can receive the same peace you have granted me. Help me to be a better witness for you. Amen.
Go with God!