1 Timothy 1:12-14 ESV
“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
The last devotion the Lord had me write was from Psalms 139, and there it talks about how God formed us in the wombs of our mothers, and how all the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came into being. And this was on Mother’s Day, so I was talking about how not everyone had parents who they believed loved them and who treated them with kindness and who did not abuse them. For some of us were abused as children, and so Psalms 139 is a difficult reality for some.
But then the Lord had me talk about the sovereignty of God over our lives and how he is the one who put us in those households knowing full well that we were going to be persecuted, but then he also had me talk about Joseph and how his brothers sold him into slavery and how many years later he met up with them again, and once he revealed to them who he was they felt badly for what they had done to him. But he told them that Satan meant it for evil but God meant it for good for the salvation of human lives.
So, then my next passage was this one, and so I was thinking about how God took a man who was a persecutor and a murderer of Christians and how he turned his life around, and how he used him to spread the truth of the gospel and to write half of the New Testament books, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And I was thinking about how God has used this man in all of our lives in teaching us the truth of the gospel and what it means to be a Christian and how we ought to live and not live, etc.
So, then I was thinking about how God, in his sovereignty, not only uses evil done to us for good in our lives, but he can even use us who have done evil for his purposes and glory and for the salvation of human lives once he has turned us around and we are no longer doing the evil we had once done but now we are living for him and we are walking in obedience to his will and to his ways which he has for us to walk in. For all that we have gone through in our lives can be used of God to prepare us for the ministry he has for us.
And then I relayed how I had known the Lord since I was seven, and how I had served the Lord in ministry many years, but how I had been abused and mistreated and persecuted much over my lifetime, and how it got so bad at one point in my life that I cracked from the pressure of it all and I gave into the flesh and I sinned against my Lord on and off over a period of time. And then one day the Lord brought me back to my senses and he taught me to trust in the sovereignty of God, and then he called me to this ministry.
And the point of what I was sharing in the video is that no matter what we have gone through in our lives, and no matter where we have been, or what has been done to us, and no matter what we have done, God can use us for his purposes and for his glory and for the salvation of human lives when we turn to him or turn back to him in faith and obedience, and like Paul we are no longer who we were before, doing the things we did before, for the Lord transformed us and so we are now living our lives for the glory of God.
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Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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