Gospel Daily Devotional

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people”  — 1 Timothy 2:1

The crinkled letter had traveled thousands of miles to get to my mailbox. The address was unfamiliar to me, but the blue and red stripes around the outer edges of the envelope told me it was an international piece of mail. As I opened it and read it, I couldn’t help but cry as I took in the stories from a bother in Christ who was experiencing grave persecution in his hometown in India.

Do you ever think your life is rough and then God uses something like that letter to show you someone who has it worse off than you? This seems to be something God does for me in my most grumpy moments.

There are Christians who are being persecuted, and even dying for their faith as we speak. How do we get our minds around this? How do I avoid being filled with great hatred toward the people who were hurting, like my newfound penpal friend in India?

There is a story about a Christian killer in the Bible. He ruthlessly would persecute Christians until death. Yet that man was used by God to bring the Gospel all over the world. Perhaps you have heard about Saul in the book of Acts eight. He would go around persecuting Christians, leading others in this gruesome act and then standby in authoritative approval of their execution!

Imagine being a Christian in Paul’s time. You be fearful of him and probably be convinced that a guy like that could never change. Surely someone who wouldn’t think twice about killing a Christian would ever become one himself.

To many people’s surprise—including Saul himself—that is exactly what happened on the road to a city called Damascus. In Acts 9, while Saul was on his way to go rile up more believers and arrest them, Jesus appeared out of nowhere in the clouds and asked, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

After Christ’s appearance, Saul was blind for 3 days until he met a Christian named Ananias whom God used to give Saul back his sight. After that, Saul was a new man. He accepted Jesus and was baptized. Quite a conversion experience, right?

Not only did God change Saul’s life, but He also used Saul powerfully: he changed his name to Paul, a name you might recognize because it was Paul who wrote half of the letters we have in the New Testament of our Bible. My friend, don’t lose hope when sharing the gospel with the hard-hearted. If a former murderer of Christians can be saved and used by God, then maybe the person you’re thinking of who is far from God has a chance.

Pray for people who don’t know Christ and don’t be afraid to share your faith with them—even if it seems hopeless. God hasn’t given up on them, and neither should you.

Reflect: Where have you allowed your own lack of faith to stand in the way of sharing Christ with someone?

Pray:  Ask God to give you courage, words, and a means to share the truth of Jesus Christ in a loving and genuine way with a person you consider hard-hearted toward the Gospel.

Act: Send a text message or an email to another believer asking them to pray for you this week as you make an in-road for the Gospel in a hard-hearted person’s life.