February 2021 Memory Verse

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
-Ephesians 2:10

The coastal city of Ephesus was a large and very important stop along the trade routes during the early spread of Christianity. The Apostle Paul spent time in Ephesus on two of his missionary journeys. His letter to the church there was written around 60AD while he was imprisoned in Rome.

Before his conversion, Paul was known as Saul—a well-educated Jew from the Pharisee sect who was known for his violent persecution of Christians. He was armed with the Sanhedrin’s authority and tasked with finding Jewish followers of Jesus in foreign cities. Going house to house, he would drag men and women off to prison for blasphemy, and when they were found guilty, he called for stoning them to death.

Around 35AD, Saul was on such a trip from Jerusalem to Damascus. As he neared the city, he was suddenly enveloped in a flash of light from heaven which took away his vision. “He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’” (Acts 9:4) Jesus called Saul “my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). When Ananias healed his sight, Saul was filled with the Spirit and baptized. “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished…” (Acts 9:20-21).

His new life as Paul was his response to Jesus, a total change of commitment as he became “all-in” for Christ. With a complete circumcision of his heart, he was transformed from Saul the persecutor to Paul the gospel evangelist!

That is what should happen to us when we accept Christ into our lives. In our February memory verse, Paul tells us that we were created by God Himself—created in Christ even before we were born—for good works which He prepared for us to do. Just think, God planned a specific set of good works for each of us. We are not saved because of them; because we are saved, we do them.

As we contemplate the conversion of Saul, we pray for the discernment that leads us toward those good works. We believe that the Holy Spirit will empower us, like Paul, and enable us to perform them through faith. Remember the words of this great hymn penned by Adelaide Pollard (1906):

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

Be thankful that, each day, we can yield to the Spirit and be the hands and feet of our Creator God; He made us and has prepared us to be that way.

by Janet and David Mustian