In preparing for the new year, be encouraged by the biblical story of how God changed Saul to become Paul.
The historian Luke tells us that executioners laid their garments at the feet of Saul (Acts 7:58), who was in full approval of the mob’s murderous actions (Acts 8:1). Saul later ravaged the church, entering the homes of believers and committing them to prison. Saul’s anti-Christian zeal motivated him not only to arrest and imprison male Christians but to lock up female believers as well (Acts 8:3).
Paul’s post-conversion experience reveals even more about his background. In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul describes himself as a Hebrew, an Israelite, and a descendant of Abraham (2 Corinthians 11:22). In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul says he was a Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5).
While on his way to Damascus to arrest and extradite Christians back to Jerusalem, Saul was confronted by the very One whom he was persecuting (Acts 9:3–9; 22:6–11; 26:12–18). What followed was one of the most dramatic conversions in church history. Saul of Tarsus became the apostle Paul, an ardent missionary to an unbelieving world and a fine example of faithful service in the face of fierce persecution (Acts 14:19; 16:22–24; 2 Corinthians 11:25–26). Saul’s education, his background as a Pharisee, his Roman citizenship, and his unflagging zeal all contributed to his success as a missionary, once those credentials and traits had been subjugated to the lordship of Christ.
In contrast, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, I pray for the president! To save America we must all pray for him, too. We can only hope that someday, that change in the twinkling of an eye will come. Nothing is too hard for God!
USA Today shared research that proves the president of the United States of America has gone through his life taking advantage of workers, small business owners, most of whom were excited to get hired by a man they admired as a billionaire. They were wrong! A USA Today analysis of legal filings across the United States found that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and his businesses have been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts during the past three decades. They range from skirmishes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate suits to personal defamation lawsuits.
See how what felt like a dream come true turned into a nightmare, time after time! The sheer volume of lawsuits is unprecedented for a presidential nominee.
See the contrast? Saul lived his life as a non-caring, cold-blooded murderer, yet God chose him to use for the good deeds He had in mind. Someone with the worse character can be switched in the twinkling of an eye, into someone who is the total opposite.
Let’s take a look at Walt Disney, for example. Early in his career, he proved to be a sputtering, crashing business dud. In 1923, at age 20, Disney started the Laugh-o-Grams company, an animation studio supplying shorts to Kansas City movie theaters. Always the visionary, he embarked on groundbreaking and vastly expensive projects like a combo live-action and cartoon flick called “Alice’s Wonderland.” (Spoiler: It was no wonderland.) Big Walt lacked the financial acumen to back up his high-octane creativity. He soon found himself virtually homeless, sleeping in his office (where he befriended a tame mouse) and taking showers at the train station. Just a year after opening his doors, he was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Obviously, Disney didn’t let the setback knock him down. He spent his last dollars on a bus ticket, headed out to Hollywood and started the company that bears his name.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.