God did extraordinary miracles through Paul...
Thoughts for Today:When I read this passage with my youngest daughter, we played our learning game. I asked, "Who did?" Amanda said, "God did." I questioned, "Paul did?" She said, "No, God did." I asked again, "Did what?" She paused for a moment as she sounded out the words e-x-t-r-a-o-r-d-i-n-a-r-y m-i-r-a-c-l-e-s (Amanda is in first grade). "I know what a miracle is, but what is extraordinary?" Amanda asked. "It means special," I answered. Amanda thought about that for a moment then asked, "Why did God do special miracles for Paul?" "God didn't do miracles for Paul, God did miracles through Paul," I answered. "Do you understand the difference?"
Once again Amanda thought about what I had said, and then she said in the profoundly wise voice of a seven year old, "God wanted Paul to be special so everyone would listen to him." Now it was my turn to think about what she said for a minute. I realized that my little girl had got it right -- God magnified the voice of His preacher by doing extraordinary miracles through him. I hadn't thought of that before.
Throughout Bible history God has done the same thing -- whenever He wants to make a statement He chooses a spokesperson (usually someone very ordinary or even less than ordinary), then does something extraordinary through them to get everyone's attention. There is one common ingredient in all these stories -- the person God chooses is always flawed. They're not perfect. Now we may think that we have to be an incredibly spiritual and gifted person to be chosen by God, but that is indeed not the case. Paul for example was in the business of persecuting and killing Christians before he was saved. He definitely would not have been my first choice. But God chose him nonetheless. Why? I believe it's because God knew how Paul would behave after the miracles -- He knew that Paul would continue to place the emphasis on God the designer of the miracle not on Paul the instrument.
Questions to Ponder:"Who did?" "God did." "Paul did." "No, God did." This might seem like a very elementary discussion but it is the key to a life filled with "extraordinary miracles." Remember, God did. As simple as that is, it is a very hard thing to do. Who gets the glory for the miracles in your life? You, for your hard work, skill, and perseverance, or God? The answer is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary miracles. Which will you choose for your life?