Verse: Acts 22:17-21
17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me. 19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
Paul stands in front of an angry crowd and begins to tell his testimony of how Jesus changed his life. Against all odds, Jesus took someone who was hunting Christians and turned him into someone who helped people become Christians. He went from an enemy of the gospel, to one of the gospel's greatest proponents. And while the forgiveness of Jesus fully redeemed him, it seems he never forgot where he came from.
This morning as you reflect on this passage, I wonder where God has brought you up from? How has God changed your life? What has he delivered you from? What has he rescued you from?
Take a moment this morning and lean into gratitude. Don't look back at what he's saved you from and then head into shame. That's not where Jesus is. He is not a God of shame and condemnation. But instead, with joy and gratitude, remember from where you have come and celebrate how God has changed your life!
As David wrote in Psalm 40:2-3,
"He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
How has God lifted you out of the slimy pit in your life? How has he put a new song in your mouth?
Start today with gratitude and wonder for your Savior. And if you don't know Jesus in that way, today is a great day to call out to him and make him your Savior. To give him your life, including all your shame and pain, and let him bring you into forgiveness, healing, and joy.
Thank you Jesus for saving me! Thank you for changing my life. You are truly a good and merciful God. I rejoice in gratitude today!