Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Always Keep Hope!

And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Timothy 4:18

Warning: Graphic Picture content below.

A few events over the last few weeks have reminded me of how much I deeply love Jesus Christ and just how far down He had to reach to pick me up and save me.  Just a couple of weeks back after the godless vote against traditional marriage in New York, I read several comments on a few blogs and websites that expressed a great deal of hatred towards the homosexual community.  There were even some that suggested that a Christian should never witness to someone caught in this lifestyle.  First, I concur with scripture and must tell the truth.  This is a grave sin and a sure sign that the nation has been given over to judgment already.  Furthermore, it shows that a deepening rebellion against the Holy One is growing and that sincere repentance is needed immediately or great tragedy will befall this nation as a whole. Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.  (Proverbs 14:34)  Yet, Christ died for those who have been blinded and deluded by sin, even the sin of homosexuality.  He died to set people free from transgression; furthermore, He forbids His followers from judging a person to the place that they believe a person should never be witnessed to.  The blood of Jesus Christ and the grace of God expressed through the atonement is able to wash away the blackest stains of sin!  There is no greater power in the universe than the blood of Jesus Christ.

God is in the business of taking a broken man or woman and making him/her into a child of God through whom He reaches other sin broken people.  He used a liar and deceiver named Jacob to father the twelve tribes of Israel from which the Messiah and Savior of humanity would be born.  God took a murderer named Moses and made him a deliverer.  He took a prostitute named Rahab, cleaned her up, and made her to be the great grandmother of a king.    God forgave a backslidden, adulterous, murderer named King David, great grandson of Rahab, and promised him an heir who will reign from his lineage forever.  Imagine! Jesus Christ is a direct descendant of Rahab in his humanity.  He forgave an old big mouthed, rough fisherman named Peter, filled him with His Holy Spirit and used him to win thousands.  God also took a church persecuting zealot named Saul of Tarsus who we call Paul and used him to turn the world upside down for Jesus Christ.  Is there any sin too strong for the precious blood of Christ?

Yet sometimes we fail to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ because we feel God may have written someone off.  They are just too deep in sin to reach, we conclude.  They have gotten beyond God's grasp, we assume.  (Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?) Rather than witness, we ignore them while consigning them to hell.  Is that the love of Jesus Christ in action?  What would you have thought of me 31 years ago had you seen me wearing a t-shirt with this logo?  The album cover for this concert tour showed angels smoking marijuana--blasphemous!

I used to wear this to Christian's homes just to tick them off!
Oh!  The depth of God's mercy!

Would you have written me off had you seen me as a drug addicted, heavy metal listening, drunk who cared more about self than anyone else?  Would you have been so appalled at such blatant blasphemy that you would not help me to know the Messiah who could deliver?  Would you have withheld the gospel?  Would you have ceased intercessory prayer?  Would you have concluded that nothing productive could come from such a wasted mess?  Would you have shared the thought that God hated me?  What would you do?  If you would have invited me to church and I showed up in this shirt (true story), what would you do?

Let me tell you what a few folks in Germany did.  They saw a messed up young soldier in desperate need of a Savior.  They took the time to love a young man who did not even love himself.  They shared a message that saved a life.  They introduced me to a savior that saved a marriage.  They did not judge me in such a way as to see me beyond hope for they knew the power of the One whose blood cleanses even the vilest of sinners.  They helped save a marriage.  They saved three children from a life of torment.  They introduced me to Jesus and made me aware that He had loved me from eternity just as he loves any of us. They were patient for they knew, "...the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."  1 Corinthians 1:18 

I have been saved so long that most people do not remember nor would have guessed that I was such a wretch.  By grace I later graduated in the top 25 of 780 students in Ohio University's College of Education and have taught nearly 2,000 students.  God gave me the call to share the message of hope in Jesus Christ in the mid-eighties.  He allowed my wife and I to see our children grow to serve Him.  He kept His promise to me from Psalm 128 when I began to pray it daily when we were nearly divorced--twice!  He has picked us up at the death of a child and gave us hope that we will meet him soon one day.  He is ever present even when I blow it.  Oh!  How I love Jesus!  Because He first loved me.

Don't ever believe that anyone is too far gone.  Don't believe the lie that says a person's sin is just too much for Christ.  Share Jesus.  Sow the seeds of His word.  Bathe that seed in patient prayer.  Always keep hope.  Jesus still saves!   

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  Romans 5:8-10

 PS:  If you want to hate somebody, hate the prince of the power of the air that blinds the minds of those that do not believe. "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."  2 Corinthians 4;4 


  1. Yes John,
    Our hate should be directed at Satan, the one who is responsible for inspiring them to commit the sin, not at the people. I remember the comment well, that you're referring to and it has bothered me ever since.
    I fear for the bitterness that seems to have taken root in the person. I keep checking my own self, so that I haven't let a root of bitterness or any unforgiveness creep into my own heart. It's a very dangerous thing-bitterness and unforgiveness. The word of God says that it defiles us and that unforgiveness can even keep us out of Heaven, because if we don't forgive others their sins, neither will our Heavenly Father forgive us our sins.
    I think that we can take other's sins too personally. We are forgetting that they have sinned against God first, and He has the most reason to be angry at them, not us.It's not our place to be so angry and bitter at other's sins.

    Sometimes I look at sinners and think, how can they do all of those evil things? As if I'm better than they are. Then I remember what I used to be, when the Lord saved me, And realise I was just as bad they are.
    It's just that I've been walking with the Lord for so long now that its easy to forget what I used to be.
    When the Lord called me, besides being full of sins,I was a girl who was SO painfully shy, that if I bought something in the store, I NEVER talked to the clerk.I just couldn't speak. After being born again, one of the first things God did for me,was to loose my tongue!I heard myself making conversations with people that I didn't know, something I could never do before.It may seem small to others, but in my life, it was HUGE!(God knows)
    I'm ashamed now, when I think of the things I used to do,(all the various sins and habits I picked up along the way). Because now I see how wrong these things were, but at the time I didn't see it.

    There are many out there that just don't know, and yet they are on their way to Hell.
    I shutter to think of the times I came close to death, because now I know that Hell was waiting to swallow me up!
    I think that wrong doctrine has a lot to do with this bitter mindset toward sinners too. Because if you believe that God predestined and created people just to be thrown into Hell( a Calvanistic belief) than it's easy to hate people that are trapped in various sins.Because after all,they have just been created for Hell anyway, so God must hate them too.

    John, I love the way you share with others what you were before the Lord cleaned you up, because it gives all people hope that maybe they are not too far gone in their sins either.God's salvation is open to everyone, even them. Whosoever will, may come.
    All the work of transformation that the Holy Spirit has accomplished in you and me, gives God great glory.Its easy to transform a basically good person with few faults, but there is great glory in taking a sinner with many faults, sins and habits and transforming them into the image of Jesus.
    What the Bible says is true,that they who have been forgiven the most, love more.And they that have been forgiven little have a hard time understanding God's grace and what it means to people like us who had to have MANY sins forgiven.They simply do not love as much.And to love has the greatest joy and reward, because to love is to be like God, for God is love.And love will cover up the multitude of sins.
    Thank you SO much for this post and for bringing truth to light.I hope you're feeling better and that your neck has healed.
    May the Lord continually bless both you and your family with all of the riches that are in Christ Jesus.

  2. Hey! That was me too. I was terribly shy and shocked when the Lord called me to preach. Of course we know these things as it reveals that this is Him and to Him belongs all of the glory!

    Between this and watching a video on contemporary music called Hells Bells 2, I realized that without Him, I am nothing. Thanks!

    My neck is doing much better and they think I may not need surgery at this point!