Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23, 2011 … A Special Testimony

Passage of the Day: 1st Corinthians 15: 3 - 8 … [see underlined verse in context] 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 … and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

My Journal for Today: Paul’s eye-witness testimony to seeing the risen Christ allows Paul to be set apart as unto the office of “Apostle.” Prior to today’s highlight verse 8, in the context of 1st Cor. 15: 3 – 7, Paul writes of many other eye-witnesses to Jesus after His resurrection and before He ascended into heaven. However, Paul’s testimony of post-resurrection contact with Jesus was/is unique. His witness of Christ’s bodily appearance was the only such post-ascension contact recorded in the NT; and the event totally and radically transformed the former Saul of Tarsus, yielding the Apostle Paul, who would become Christendom’s preeminent outreach missionary to the Gentiles of the first century. Paul’s experience was a metamorphosis of character and witness which most certainly confirms his claim to the office of Apostleship.

As one can read in biblical and historical accounts, Paul first gave witness in his testimony to his former sinful life as a persecutor of Christians. Next, we all can read of him being transformed from a selfish Christian-hater into a selfless purveyor of God’s love, … one who was willing to endure horrible agony in his witness and ministry for Christ (read about Paul’s trials in 2nd Cor. 11). And finally Paul was totally changed, from one who wanted Christians killed into one who zealously desired to see all non-believers, even Gentiles, come to salvation in Christ (see Rom. 1: 16).

And may I say as humbly as I can, I identify with Paul’s metamorphosis. I, too, had a “Damascus Road” experience in my life where God brought me down from my anti-Christian attitude. No, Christ didn’t appear bodily to me as He did for Paul. Hence, I certainly have no claim to the office of “Apostle.” However, God’s Spirit and His prevenient grace did bring me down from my lofty perch of pridefulness to a humble place where I could respond to the life-transforming power of His Spirit. And like Paul, I was changed from persecutor to promoter of the Gospel. I, too, found the truth and reality of Paul’s writing in Rom. 12: 1 – 2…

: Romans 12: 1-2
... Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Paul’s life and witness, as does mine, provides strong evidence for the life-changing power of Christ’s resurrection. And I can only pray that any who read this have surrendered to His saving grace as well as having experienced the fruit of God’s Spirit through His sanctifying grace. Tomorrow, this year, is the day we celebrate the risen Lord, Easter. I pray it will be the true day for you to celebrate having God’s resurrection power changing your life as promised in Phil. 1: 6.

Celebrate with me the truth >>> HE IS RISEN … HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!

My Prayer Today: I am one, Lord, who was changed by Your grace; and I praise Your Holy Name! Amen

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