The Next Paul

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“And Saul approved of his (Stephen’s) execution… but Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” (Acts 8:1, 3)

If anyone was an unlikely candidate for salvation, it was Saul.? He was glad to see Stephen lying in a bleeding, rock-pummeled heap.? He hated Christians and wanted to stamp out the church.? He had no compassion as he dragged men and women from their homes and children and threw them in jail. ? Saul was hard-core.

Yet in the next chapter of Acts, as Saul rode to Damascus to wreak havoc on believers there, God flattened him with a blinding light and turned him from a great persecutor to a great preacher.

God can save anyone.? No one is too hard, too evil, too blind or too fargone for God’s mighty arm to save.

Christ can convert his enemies into his friends. He can transform those who hate him into great men and women of God. He can make his greatest enemies into his greatest advocates.

Who knows what Jesus will do with those who now oppose him? They could become great preachers. They could yet influence thousands, even millions for Christ.

We must never give up, never stop praying for God to turn people around and use them for his praise.? The more wicked a person is, the more glory God gets when he saves him.? Don’t despair for your mom, your friend, your neighbor or your son.? Keep fervently praying for them.

Who knows?? Your daughter may be the next Lydia.? Your son may be the next Paul.

photo by CaptPiper

10 Comments

  • Dan Smith says:

    This is amazing. Truly, something that a guy like me needs. I'm not a strong soul-winner, but this is exactly what I need to keep pressing forward.

  • lisa says:

    Thank you, Mark. This is an encouragement and makes me think of my brother-in-law, who is hostile toward the things of God and the gospel. May God grant him and others like him understanding and repentance — may the scales fall off as they did for Paul!

  • Dave Wilson says:

    Terrific post Mark. It reminds me of a quote I saw recently:

    "Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to teach the teachable; He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works." –Robert Farrar Capon

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hi Dan,

    I'm not a strong soul-winner either, and these verses encouraged me – glad they encouraged you too.

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Glad the Lord would encourage you – may the Lord save your brother-in-law! He's not too hard for the Lord to save – keep praying!

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Great quote Dave! Thanks! I'm going to save it for future use….

  • Ron Reffett says:

    Hey there Mark,
    Great encouragement, as always! I so struggle with this not just in my life but seeing that potential in other's lives, especailly in my own family. My self righteous eyes can only see in the here and now, how I truly need the eyes of Christ to see people as He does. Thank you so much for yet another encouraging word!
    Blessings
    Ron Reffett

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Hi Ron,

    I struggle with it too! I too "need the eyes of Christ" – great way of putting it! Thanks.

  • Susan W. says:

    Thank you for encouraging me to continue to pray for my daughter. It's been 11 yrs. .(she's 30 yrs. old now)….she struggles with addictions. I tend to lose hope for her at times.

  • MarkAltrogge says:

    Susan,

    I felt so sad for you when I read this. I can't imagine what a painful 11 years you've endured. Don't give up praying for your daughter. The Lord could save her tomorrow or even sooner. He hears every single one of your prayers. Not one is wasted. And he is greater than the power of any sin or enslavement.

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