By: Darrelyn L. TuttSaul, turned Paul, was the most extraordinary missionary and visionary in the New Testament. Of his life it can only be said,"Look at the wonders God has wrought."God chose, selected, and favored Paul for His glorifying purposes.He claimed him, changed him, sanctified him, and loved him, appointing him to a service of regarded servanthood."But the Lord said to him, 'Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto Me to bear My name before the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."Acts 9:15-16-------Paul was a sinner turned saint, sealed with a task and anointing as sizeable as the ark, demonstrating and illustrating the power of the Almighty.His calling, while noteworthy and praiseworthy, teemed with extraordinary suffering; his calling was intertwined with severe rejection and met with continual resistance. His "lot" in life was accompanied with distresses, duresses, beatings, imprisonments, mockings, ridicule, and "disdains" of every kind.Curiously and interestingly, the realites that attended Paul's "new" life were laced with his old life. The negative treatment and realities he had once imposed and inflicted upon others, he now became subject to himself.Hmmm ...The loving favor of God on Paul's life was composed of such pain.Paul personally and, first-handedly, understood a scope of unbelievable suffering having been a partaker in it ... but now on the other side of it.He had witnessed faithful testimonies emerge and reign triumphant (remember Stephen,) in the face of extraordinary suffering and persecution.And I wonder if he remembered Stephen's final words,"And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, 'Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.' And when he had said this he fell asleep.'And Saul was consenting to his death ..."Acts 7:59-60; 8:1Of course Paul would've remembered.Paul, himself, would become but another Stephen.Blessed be the name of faithful witnesses.Blessed be the name of our faithful God.Blessed be the name of the One who prepares us in advance for the works He has called us to.-------God's favor attended Paul in private and companionable ways ... and as his suffering grew so did his fellowship.As his pain grew, so did his partnership.As his discomfort grew, so did his development.Paul's soul was "stole" by the Almighty and nothing else and no one else mattered to him.In the end Paul was wholly absorbed in the wholeness of God.His final report rings out with clarity and life-gving hope:"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."Romans 8:37-39--------God uses our lives for His glory, and our "pasts" are a part of the story, that He chooses with purpose ... and on purpose.Live an open life and let Him use you ...let "your" Saul become Paul; a life of favor.Hallelujah!------
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