August 10, 2020
1 Timothy 1:12-17
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

New International Version (NIV)
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me . . .”  Are you still amazed by grace?  Paul was.  Writing to his protégé Timothy, Paul gave thanks that God considered him trustworthy and appointed him to service.  Paul remembered the season when he was attacking the church and persecuting Jesus through his mistreatment of his followers.  When he was the least likely to become a Christian, grace was poured out on him abundantly. 

Like Paul, we should be amazed by grace.  Take a moment to consider what God saved you from.  I became a Christian at a young age under the tutelage of my mom.  It would have been hard for me to tell the pastor at the front of the church, “For years, I wandered in the degradation of sin.”  I was seven years old.  Nevertheless, Christ not only saved me from my sin nature and sinful choices, but Christ saved me from what I might have been.  With John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, who called himself a wretch before Christ, I can say I was lost when Jesus found me.  I do not want to think about who I would have been apart from Christ.  Newton wrote, “I am not the man I ought to be; I am not the man I hope to be; I am not the man I wish to be, but by the grace of God, I am not the man I used to be.” 

A trustworthy servant speaks trustworthy sayings.  Paul offers them to Timothy in this letter:  “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.”  We might have used the past tense in that, saying “I was,” but not Paul.  As he reflected on God’s mercy, he realized that he embodied his message.  If God could save a blasphemous, violent persecutor like Saul, he could save anyone.  So he offers a doxology:  to the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever.  Near the end of his life, John Newton, the former slave trader said, “Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things clearly:  I am a great sinner and Jesus Christ is a great Savior.”  This is grace.  Are we still amazed?  We should be amazed.

Pray with me:         
Father, your grace still amazes us.  Unmerited favor poured into our lives from your heart through Christ’s death and resurrection.  Lord, let your grace continue to transform us into the likeness of Christ today.  We have not arrived.  We are still not who we will be, but because of your grace we are not who we used to me.  Lord give us a glimpse of your grace again that we may become gracious with others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:22-24
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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