Open Your Bible

Acts 9:1-30, Acts 13:1-12, 2 Corinthians 11:18-31, 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Have you ever been to a gym with a coaching program that promises personal transformation? I’ve known people who have signed up for those, and it often works. Over the course of six weeks, their bodies went from looking like they had never set foot in a gym to approaching model-worthy. Unfortunately, most of the time, the results didn’t last. Because the thing with transformation is that it requires you to stay committed far beyond the accountability that a six-week program offers.

Unlike a fitness routine, Paul’s inner transformation was lasting. It was so quick it’s almost unbelievable. If we didn’t have his full ministry story, thanks to the New Testament, we might be more skeptical. Who is this guy who suddenly decided he was on the same team as Christ’s followers? One day he’s breathing threats and murder and the next he’s proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues (Acts 9:1, 20). What made the difference?

Christ made the difference. His calling on Paul’s life is what changed him, as God commissioned him to be a “chosen instrument” and take His name to “Gentiles, kings, and Israelites” (Acts 9:15), when Paul encountered a light from heaven. Once he’d encountered the true, living Christ, Paul never went back to his old ways of living.

Understandably, Paul received distrust from those who only knew him as a murderer, and so he had to rest in the knowledge that God knew his heart and its transformation. That’s what mattered most. God was his defender and advocate and, as we see from Barnabus’s response, He sent people from Paul’s community to advocate for him too (Acts 9:27). No matter how unbelievable it looked, the apostle’s transformation was real.

We are human beings who will inevitably fall short. There is grace for that. When it’s merely our own resolve that gets us into the gym or prompts us to give up something, the results may or may not be what we’d hope for. But when it’s God who calls us into something, there is a much better success rate. When it comes to that kind of supernatural spiritual transformation, He alone completes the work and deserves all the glory (2Corinthians 11:30–31).

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38 thoughts on "Paul"

  1. Alicia McCann says:

    What a powerful story, amazing how Jesus can completely transform a person and turn the whole direction of their lives upside down

  2. Rebecca Walker says:

    So much division, so much hate being spewed back and forth in our country (and also in my own heart). It is somewhat uplifting to know that there’s nothing new under the sun and there was hate and division in the time of Paul. BUT, Jesus still reigns “…where’er the sun” and He is still on the throne. Lord forgive me, forgive us as a nation, and help us.

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I know that God has changed so many things in my heart, but I’m so glad that he isn’t done with me yet!

  4. Lehua K. says:

    My comment was lost and I can’t remember what I initially wanted to comment… I’m a few days behind but will catch up this weekend. It is always such a joy to read all your comments and learn from you. It takes me some time and I have been caught up with many changes at work. I will be better next week with managing my time especially around devotional time.

    Tina, your story touched my heart… I will always remember and think of you when I hear the words BUT GOD… Thank you so much for sharing.

    Blessings sisters as we all head into the weekend.

  5. Michelle V. says:

    Jennifer A, in response to your question about singing in CA churches: my husband is a worship pastor (in CA), and his understanding is that it was only directed at churches in high risk areas. So, we continue to sing. And seats in our sanctuary are spaced more than 6′. Also, I have not seen any data showing that people are becoming ill as a result of singing in church. I personally believe this is an overreach of our governor, like so many of the current restrictions that are going back in to place.

  6. Searching says:

    Jennifer, I’m in Florida and although no ban here, our church has opened without congregational singing- only the worship team is singing. I’m all about individual rights but to me, some of this is common sense. If wearing a mask, social distancing, staying home when possible and not singing in church might help rein in the rampaging virus, I’ll comply. I have elderly family members at their homes who are getting depressed from the isolation and others in nursing homes who beg during daily phone calls for someone to come see them. I think guidelines for opening nursing homes are 28 days with no new cases so many in long term care will die without ever seeing family again. No brainer for me.

  7. Jennifer Anapol says:

    This doesn’t have to do with the devotional for today, but what do you ladies think about the ban on singing in church in California? I really can see both sides. The side that thinks this is taking away our religious freedom and the other side that thinks about loving our neighbor. I wonder what Jesus would do.

    1. Paige Bennett-Primke says:

      I live here in San Francisco, where churches have been virtual since March. As my pastor put it so graciously, we are doing this *because* we love our neighbors and we should “consider it joy.” Churches here will be reopening in a few weeks, thanks to our low case rate, and while we’re thrilled we haven’t felt “persecuted” like I’ve seen some suggest. For us, we’ve taken this opportunity to show Christ through caring for our city’s most vulnerable.

  8. Tina says:

    Sisters, I am in awe!

    SUZIE GLAZE, sorry to have made you cry… blessings and love..❤

    CHRISTINA FOWLES your words… thank you..❤

    OLUSEYI..bless you!❤

    MARI V. Jesus sure does walk with us … through thick and thin… Hope you are well and that your little people are blessing you in all they do..hugs..❤

    JANE K.,I am glad that sharing my story gives you hope and encouragement to face( and not alone, you are never alone) the world.. Blessings.❤

    BLESSED BETH,thank you for your encouragement and love..❤

    LEANN, Thank God .. He us Faithful, right? He is good!❤

    SHERRY, I am so so very sorry for the loss of your precious little girl..
    Praising God for you and your testimony..
    Absolutely, But God..
    Sending love wrapped hugs and prayers❤

    BONNIE.. thank you for your prayers. Sending love wrapped hugs..❤

    WENDY, But God..

    NANCY SINGLETON, What truth.. only God..❤

    KAREN JOHANSSON, your words warm my heart.. thank you..❤

    CHURCHMOUSE.. my friend, forever, I will praise Him. Forever, I will lift my hands..because only He can make beauty out of ashes..
    Love and hugs wrapped in prayers across the pond..❤

    TAYLOR, Tgankful,absolutely for you. Thankful for the revelation that it is only in Him we find our worth..
    You are a child of God. In His eyes you wear a crown Taylor. A crown! Wear it! Own it!❤

    DIANA FLEENDOR, You speak truth. Thank you!❤


    LINDSEY C, God is good. Amen!❤

    COURTNEY, it’s been a journey, But God..
    Thank you..❤

    And to ALL, my love and gratitude for you .. and to borrow words from Paul, I thank my God for you every time I think of you ..❤

  9. Michelle says:

    Tina, that story … WOW, thank you for going deep into your hurt and sharing with us. I do my Bible study in the mornings (usually) and throughout my work day today (I’m a coach, so it’s not a typical work where I sit at a desk and have time to allow my mind to wander), but it’s stayed with me all day so far and I believe I’ll always have this “picture” in my mind. Would you allow me to share this? No names shared or anything, but share the background of your story with a good friend of mine if that’s ok? Her best friend lost her 10-yr-old son a couple of days ago, just after she had returned from her grandfather’s funeral. This might be something that she can share with her, together and give comfort in some way to both of them. Bless you and so very thankful for our Father in heaven, always watching out for all his children, watching and waiting.

  10. Courtney says:

    Tina: Your faith is an inspiration. Thank you!

    From: A sister who continues to be transformed daily by the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  11. Lindsay C. says:

    Tina, thank you for sharing in how God has taken the deep pain of loss and turned it into a testimony for His glory. I am so sorry you experienced such suffering. But God!
    Taylor, I pray you continue to realize your worthiness in the eyes of the Lord!

    Today my thoughts keep going back to Ananias and Barnabas. Where would Paul be if not for the obedience and faithfulness of these two men? Ananias knew he could be imprisoned by Paul, yet he trusted the Lord and went anyway (likely trembling as he went). And Barnabas’ willingness to stand up for a new believer with a bad reputation, showing Paul the kindness and love of Jesus, lead to a beautiful mentoring relationship.

    May I be willing to show the love of Jesus to those who are outside of my comfort zone. To extend a hand to those in need. To honor and respect all who are created in the image of God.

  12. Dorothy says:

    SRT has once again has given me scripture I have not ever read. After reading Paul’s and Barnabas’ mission to Cyprus, I realized that Paul had done more than just preached about Christ. I have also wondered why it was Barnabas, an apostle, not one of the disciples who truly believed Saul. Here is this guy who went from killing Christians to preaching, in full force, about Christ. He was one of the most dreaded Jews around and suddenly after a trip across country he’s a Christian. But God, But Christ, But the Holy Spirit, all have decided to speak with Saul and he changed. Boy did he change. Oh to have the enthusiasm of Paul.

  13. Pam Williams says:

    Thank you for sharing Tina❤️

  14. Angie says:

    I was struck by Jesus words to Saul on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” In the literal sense, Saul was persecuting humans, followers of Jesus Christ. And yet, Jesus did not say, “Why are you messing with the gospel message?” or “Why are you persecuting my followers?” Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting Him.

    Whatever we go through in this life, goes through Jesus first. His unity and bond with us is that tight, that solid, and complete. We go through nothing alone.

    God’s love, His mercy, His grace, His vastness just keeps expanding; blowing my mind and sucking me into His heart more deeply simultaneously.

    Our past, today, every tomorrow, the ins and outs, moment by moment…were His first.

    Life reminds me of fabric patterns in a quilt. It is the hand of God that holds, caresses, cuts, and sews in the various pieces and colors. He uses the needle, pricking through to bind the pieces with the threads necessary to make our part of the quilt beautiful and His. Lights and darks, bold and pastel, patterned and plain…He works them all together. But the quilt is not ours. The quilt is His masterpiece. The quilt is made up of the fabric of every person’s life. And, as only the God of this universe could do, He blends us together.

    The quilt/tapestry idea is not a new thought to me but, the realization that the rips, tears, even wearing out of my fabric effects Jesus first and always…leaves me undone. I think, “how could Your love be that huge,” and even more scales fall from my eyes. He shows and reminds me, “My love is huge, daughter, even more than you can understand. And child, this immense love, is only the beginning – it keeps expanding – the best is yet to come. One day, like my servant Paul you will be able to say…My departure is close. I have fought the good fight and kept the faith. At that time, I, Your righteous Judge, will be waiting for you and place a crown of righteousness upon your head, earned by Jesus, for you.”

    Brothers and Sisters in Christ, He is with you in the rips, tears, and wearing-out also. His heart holds your life. His mouth prepares to speak your welcome home. His hands will hold your crown. His best is yet to come! Hallelujah! Amen.

    Yes, I am undone, so very thankful!

    1. Audrey Stokely says:

      Amen Angie ❤️

  15. Diana Fleenor says:

    Beautiful testimonies of the Lord’s transforming power in the life of Paul and the life of Tina! May each of our lives reveal this greatness of our Lord, the righteous judge who will award us on the Day, to all who have loved his appearing.

  16. Buffy Rennie says:

    ❤️thank you for sharing your story. ❤️

  17. Lizzie says:

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6
    We are born again to live for a future that is imperishable. We are being guarded by God. We rejoice, though we are grieved by various trials, for our faith is being tested, to the praise and glory of Jesus! So we love Him whom we have not yet seen, we believe with a faith that is becoming like gold. We rejoice in joy, not a fleeting happiness, but a solid contentment knowing who he is and recognizing his grace. 1 Peter 1.
    Like Paul, not one of us deserved this gift, we are ever so weak. (2 Corinthians 11:30-31) But also, like Paul, each of us have been offered immeasurable grace. Not an escape from trials, but an invitation to suffer them with Christ.
    Let us suffer with Him, looking forward, remembering that He has our backs.

  18. Taylor says:

    Thank you Tina for sharing part of your testimony. I believe that our testimony is one of our most powerful weapons for drawing others to Christ. I am right in the midst of a paradigm shift in my own testimony. After being completely heart-broken and devastated at the young age of 16, I have struggled deeply with my self-image and my worth. For years I tried to find my worth in relationships and for my boyfriends to make me feel worthy. During quarantine, I had a wake-up call and throw down with God. He was pleading with me to surrender my relationship and fall into His loving arms where He would show me where my worth truly lies, in Him.

    I’m only a few short months into this journey and it hasn’t always been easy but God (thank you Tina for making those two words stand so clearly in my mind now) BUT GOD has been so faithful. Through SRT, my friends, family, and church community, I am now learning how worthy I am because of Jesus. I find my true validation in Him. I don’t need the approval of others to find my worth, but can run to the arms of my Savior who holds me so tightly and is teaching me day by day who I am in Him.

    1. Jane K says:

      Praise God! Thank you for sharing your journey Taylor!

    2. Caitlin Ganjon says:

      Taylor, I resonate with your story, thank you for sharing ❤️

  19. Ashley White says:


  20. Churchmouse says:

    The power of testimony. Paul’s. Tina’s. And countless others who have shared here. All take us beyond ourselves and place us right in front of the grace of God. His tender mercies, new every morning. His endless love, even and especially when we rage. His profound peace, embracing us in His arms. His mighty power, propelling us forward one trembling step at a time. Yes, Tina, we lift holy hands in praise of the One who doesn’t leave us or forsake us even when we are at our ugliest. He truly makes beauty out of ashes. Great is His faithfulness.

  21. Karen Johansen says:

    Tina, thank you for your testimony to God’s healing. Your precious daughter is safe and well with Christ, and He is healing your soul and spirit even now. What a powerful witness you are today to God’s love! Thank you for allowing Him to transform your darkness into light, and to see beyond this limited time here to the blessings awaiting us with Him when we finally make it home. My parents are waiting for me there now.

  22. Nancy Singleton says:

    Thank you for sharing, Tina. God alone can bring us from absolute despair to eternal hope! Yes, He is so good!

  23. Wendy says:

    Tina, thank you for sharing your heartbreaking, tender testimony of transformation. Its always amazing to hear how God has worked when we are at the end of ourselves

  24. Bonnie says:

    Tina, wow. Your story is so powerful and a true testimony to the grace of God. Although our losses are painful, they are temporary as our God has given us the most amazing gift – everlasting life. Prayers for all of those who are walking through the darkness. May they know that joy DOES come in the morning. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Sherry says:

    Tina, Thank you for sharing your story. I too raged and screamed at God after the stillbirth of my little girl. It is now my testimony. I tell others God wants all of you…your sadness, your anger, your hopelessness. He will not leave you. He will walk the path with you. He will bring you to the other side…His side. But God…

  26. LeAnn says:

    Tina, thank you for sharing your testimony. I have been through a similar time of pain and raging against God but He is so faithful, so forgiving,Redeemer, Saviour, Strong Tower.

  27. Searching says:

    One thing about Paul, nothing wishy washy about him. Right or wrong, he was 100% all in.

    Devoted to the Law and not believing Jesus was the Christ? He was on a rampage to destroy everyone that did believe.

    Amazing revelation and transformation by an encounter with none other than Jesus Christ Himself? He was on a rest-of-his-life mission to tell everyone what and Who he believed and why they should as well.

    Am I all in for Christ? Are you? Lord, please give me the words and strength to speak about my faith, right time, right place, right person (heart prepared to hear).

    NKJV includes Jesus’ saying to Paul, It is hard for you to kick against the goads – which are long, sharp sticks used to get the oxen’s attention. KJV uses the word “pricks” instead of goads. Is my heart or conscience being pricked to get my attention? To speak to someone? To turn and go another way?

  28. Blessed Beth says:

    Oh Tina you are a true witness of God, I became breathless as I read this and will carry you and your testimony with me forever. Thank you for sharing you intimate story. God is and will continue to use you.
    Thank you again.

  29. Tina says:

    I had my transforming moment when 6 months after my daughter passed away, I sat in a little village church, crying out to God as I had done for the months prior, accusing, shouting, raging… then when exhausted from that (yep, six months of broken venting can do that), I sat down in that same small village church, and there God showed me the most beautiful picture I will ever see.., my daughter running through a meadow, looking radiant and happy beyond what we on earth believe happy to me, shouting as she ran through the meadow I am alright mum.. I am happy. Tears flow as I recall, these bitter sweet tears remind me that she is safe in Gods keeping, though I may miss her with every fibre of me being, I also know we WILL see each other again when my time comes..

    I tell you this, why?


    But God..

    Oh my God, But God…

    I was, daily, for months being disrespectful, accusing, shouting and down right rude, in His house, to the One who gifted my girl to me in the first place.. and yet, whilst I was still sinning, right there in the Lords house, He gave me a new hope, He slowly fixed my broken heart, (it has taken years) to see beyond the days ahead, to a time when, one day there will be no more crying or tears..

    I look back often, and I see how far God has brought me, how far I have come. He has carried me when some days have been a struggle, He has given me strength when I have doubted there to be any more strength in me, He has and continues to walk so close, oftentimes I am in awe..

    I raise my arms often, most days, my friends will attest to that, because I know not how else to thank Him, how else to give Glory and Praise Him that has turned my mourning into dancing, who promised that joy would come in the morning..

    These are my mornings.

    These are His transforming powers.

    This is His Blessings over me each new day..

    Thank you Lord God. With all that I am, Thank you. Thank you..


    Praying God turn His face to shine on you and yours today.. He is good, so so good..❤

    1. Susie Glaze says:

      Thank you, Tina for sharing your deep pain and the transforming power of Jesus working in your heart to turn mourning into dancing. I cried as I read your words this morning. But God…❤️

    2. Christina Fowlkes says:

      Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad Jesus tore the veil and made it possible for us to boldly come before the throne of grace. I’m so glad God blessed you with that vision of your daughter happier than she could ever be here on earth.

    3. Oluseyi Adediran says:

      Thank you for sharing your transformation story! It really touched me. But God!❤️

    4. Mari V says:

      I don’t get tired of reading your story Tina. As a mom myself my heart begins to ache but thankfully we have Jesus that walks us through our pain.

    5. Jane K says:

      Your life story has given me hope and encouragement to face the fears that strive to tear me down. God can and will restore, bless, protect, and bring meaning to this crazy world. And if not now, then in our real home with Him! Thank you, Tina, for sharing your story.