Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘Saul’

Before and After

Many years ago, a certain cosmetic company displayed before-and-after pictures that looked pretty impressive.  On a whim, curious to see how beautiful they could make me look, I presented myself for one of these free makeovers one day while my husband and I were in a mall.

He still has vivid memories of what I looked when I emerged from that place, expressed with phrases like “wicked woman.” “ghastly,” “gave me the creeps.” I didn’t look like his wife! After looking in the mirror, I agreed–it did look horrible.  Making a beeline to the nearest restroom, I washed it all off! 

We find in the Bible several people whom their friends scarcely recognized after Jesus had done his work on them—but, unlike my “makeover,” the results of these encounters were wonderful transformations.

A man born blind, normally seen begging in the streets, suddenly shows up with normal sight.  The neighbors debate about whether this is the same man they knew or a different one.  He excitedly tells them he’s the same man, healed by a man called Jesus.

A man lame from birth, normally found begging at the Temple gate, suddenly shows up inside the temple jumping around and praising God, to the total astonishment of the whole crowd of worshipers.  He had been healed by Peter and John in the power of Jesus.

Saul, who had been terrorizing Christ-followers with imprisonment and murder, suddenly shows up in a Damascus synagogue preaching that “Jesus is the Son of God!”  Astounded worshipers gasped, “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers?” But Saul had met Jesus and had been totally turned around.

A dinner guest the other day had the rest of us spellbound as she described the changed lives of the most unlikely people who had come into possession of the Bible in their own language and had been reading it insatiably.  From despair to hope, from a deviant to normal, from fearful to fulfilled, through bereavement, shark attack, and other tragedies, they have been transformed by the power of God.

When I look in the mirror, I see signs of aging.  But my main concern is that my spirit is becoming more and more like Christ as the Holy Spirit is changing me.  (2 Cor. 3:18) 

Are you ready for a makeover from the inside out?  If the Holy Spirit is the one doing beautifying you, you won’t want to wash it off!

Here’s the link for “When Jesus Comes”—a beautiful song about what happens when Jesus comes into a life.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8-ixOyO0TM

The Word Spreads

Step by step, the beautiful plan of Acts 1:8 unfolds in sequence:  And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Some of the key players in the stages of this plan are featured in Acts 6-10.

Stephen (chapters 6-7) was originally selected for a food distribution program in Jerusalem.  But along with that, he made good use of his God-given wisdom and power for preaching and doing miracles.  As we know, he was falsely accused and killed by jealous religious leaders. 

Philip (chapter 8) was also chosen for that feeding program, but like Stephen, he couldn’t help but preach and do miracles to spread the Good News about Jesus, especially when persecution drove him out of Jerusalem.  God used him in the neighboring province of Samaria to bring crowds of people to faith in Christ and also to an Ethiopian convert to Judaism.

Saul (chapter 9), more commonly known by his Greek name Paul, was a sworn enemy of Christ and His followers.  But he was arrested by Jesus, was turned around 180 degrees, and called to service among Gentiles in “the ends of the earth.” 

Peter (chapter 10), though his primary ministry was to the Jews, was chosen to “midwife” the first real Gentile conversions—Cornelius and his household. 

And on went the Good News from there, reaching around the world, and still spreading. 

Aren’t God’s ways and Word amazing?  I’m so glad His plan includes me!

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

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