To say that Paul was a frequent traveler would be an understatement. He logged over 20,000 miles on his missionary journeys! But the furthest distance he traveled was near the very beginning of his biography as we read in Acts 9—from the top of a horse all the way down to the dusty Damascus road. You could say that it was the first 5 feet that changed him forever.
As Saul, he persecuted the church—the body of Christ. And Christ stopped him in his tracks, gripped his jealous, angry, murderous heart, and renewed it with the glorious, life-giving, soul transforming good news of the gospel. Over time, as Saul (“the desired one”) was humbled, surrendered, and submitted—he became Paul (“little one”).
20,000 miles of missionary travels came to an end in a Roman prison. But his circumstances did not cause him to despair. His suffering was not senseless. He pressed on. He forgot those things which were behind him. He reached forward to what was ahead.
Let’s be honest—when we’re in the pit, it’s tempting to remember what got us there, to fixate on the circumstances of our suffering. For Paul, his entire ministry looked like a constant sequence of suffering and futility and failure ending in prison. But from God’s perspective, Paul’s life gloriously fulfilled its purpose—because he submitted to suffering.
When suffering comes to us, we have a choice. Will we see it as failure, or will we follow Paul’s example? Like Paul, we can choose to forget those things which are behind. Like Paul, we can look forward to what’s ahead—Jesus’ glorious appearing!
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From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends
Strengthened by grace is the Bible Teaching ministry of Pastor Dominic Dinger.
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