April 12
         
Today's Bible Readings
     Leviticus 16
     Psalms 19
     Proverbs 30
     I Timothy 1
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." (I Timothy 1:15)
 
CHIEF OF SINNERS
            No verse quite sums up the testimony of the Apostle Paul more than our memory verse today. Paul knew he was a great sinner, which motivated him to great service. Paul's understanding of how Jesus had dealt with him is the secret behind his determination to serve others. Notice what he said in verse thirteen ''...I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor  and an insolent man ..."  In other words, no matter how badly others may have treated Paul, they could never treat him with the same degree of spite and hatred with which he had treated Jesus Christ. Most of us realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our selfishness and sin. Nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake.
            I have observed that usually the strongest and most committed followers of Jesus Christ are those who were forgiven most. During the years that God allowed me to pastor His churches, some of my sweetest memories are those who came out of great sin to be committed to great service for our Lord.
            When I pastored in New Orleans, a man named Al Lazaro was converted. He was known as a mean man, constantly involved in barroom brawls. When he came to Christ, he was totally changed to a sweet, humble man who was committed to Jesus. No wonder he was chosen, year after year, to play the role of Jesus in the Christmas drama.
              Paul's idea of service was to pour his life out to the last drop for others, and whether he received praise or blame made no difference. He was a bondservant for Jesus. As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him. If we are motivated by our love for God and our gratitude for His grace, then no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving Him and one another.
            Jesus said, ''yet I am among you as the One who serves." (Luke 22:27) This was also Paul's spirit. He said, ''We are your bond servants for Jesus sake."  (II Corinthians 4:5) We must never forget, there are no VIP's in the work of the Kingdom. The only difference between the best of us and the worst of them in the world is the grace of our Lord Jesus. If you are called to be a spiritual leader, then you are called to be a servant. Those who recognize themselves as the chief of sinners have the potential to be an effective servant.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
The Republic of India remains our focus of prayer today. The capital city of Delhi alone has more than 14 million people. The largest city, Mumbai (formerly Bombay), has more than 25 million souls.  I recently rode the train from one side of Mumbai to the other, and it required most of the day just for the train ride. The great heartbreak is to know that, as the train rumbles over antiquated tracks; it is filled with, and is passing by the side of the train, literally millions of unsaved people.
Currently, India is in a continuing dispute with Pakistan and China over the land of Kashmir. We have recently been training pastors in India through our RHEMA Institutes. Many of these young men will go into places like Kashmir, and other places, to reach these people groups for Christ. I believe the only hope to reach India and the Hindu dominated countries of Asia, is through the training and sending out of national pastors and evangelists. Pray for the success of this strategy. In addition to our ministry, other men of God and other ministries are doing a magnificent work of training the national. If India is to be won to Christ, it will happen through the trained efforts of Indian leaders.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''The only saving faith is that which casts itself on God for life or death."
Martin Luther