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April 2019

cross easterOh Happy Day! Every day can be a day of rejoicing in Christ, who gave us His righteousness, peace and joy, through the power of His resurrection. As we bask in His love, we can’t help but celebrate His goodness that brought salvation to the world. The Apostle Paul asked,

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” 1

An Amazing Testimony…

Ralph from Etowah, Tennessee writes: “I just wanted to say that I am so proud of you, and tell you a little about myself.”

“My older brother and I came from very abusive parents. When I was 16, I witnessed my brother’s suicide. I had started doing IV morphine right before his death, and I continued it and heroin for the next 24 years. I was a horrible person with over 100 arrests. Everyone gave up on me and wanted me to stay away. I really was evil, and I did everything to get my drugs.

“Once again in 2014, I was sentenced to prison, #238972. I developed a limp in my right leg and digestive problems and was told by medical that I was faking. So, on June 26, 2015, at 9:45 p.m., I was just asking God for a sign that He was real, never expecting anything to happen. But it was like something physically shook me and silenced me. I heard nothing!

“Then out of nowhere, I hear a cricket and a peace like I’ve never felt came upon me. I always expected that if God ever gave me a sign that it would be a lightning bolt, not a cricket. It was letting me know that God was there all the time, but I was too busy to see it. I gave my life to Christ, and the urge to do drugs and crime completely left me! Though my cellie shot heroin every night, I had absolutely no temptation!

“I started teaching a drug class in prison – RDAP. People knew that something happened to me that made me stop drugs. They asked, which gave me an opportunity to testify. After paroling in 2016, I went to a Christian Training Center, plus I was diagnosed with a rare disease in my spine – Traverse Myelitis. I’m in a wheel chair most times, have to use a catheter, and I’m in pain, but take no narcotics. I’m covered in prison tattoos, so addicts know I’ve been where they are. I share my story everywhere. I even go to jails and talk to inmates.

“My family and the people who gave up on me are my greatest testimony. They know only a miracle could have changed me. It amazes me that God took away my addiction all at once, not even tempted, but my language is still fowl, though getting better. We are living proof that God changes lives. God Bless! Ralph, TN.

Amazing Grace…

I didn’t hear back from Ralph and learned it was because of his severe tremors. Before sharing his testimony, I wanted to make sure he was still succeeding. I found out he had to skip doctor’s appointments because of no insurance, so his illness progresses. “It takes 3 years to get disability”, he says. But still, he’s taking online classes to get his bachelor’s in psychology in the field of addictions, with a 3.73 GPA. He’s still drug free, sharing his testimony everywhere, even to the world on this site.

Isn’t God good? I share testimonies not only to bring the good news of salvation, but to build your faith and to hopefully encourage you to write and share yours. I can’t share them all, but I believe the few I’m led to share will bear fruit.

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” 2

Our heavenly Father is the One Who made our testimony amazing by sending His Word into the world. We may be tempted to take pride in our testimony, but let us remember, “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” 3

Eventually, the Spirit of grace takes root in our heart, recreating our spirit, so that His light can shine through our lives to the world. So, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” 4

Amazing Faith…

I bet you are as amazed as I am that God could use a cricket to spark Ralph’s faith to receive Christ. It reminds me of the woman with the issue of blood in the Gospels, whose faith was sparked when she reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. Both she and Ralph were in great physical pain with no help from medical physicians. So they cried out to God in anguish and desire, and He answered them. Jesus told the woman who touched his hem: “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” 5

Faith is acting upon what you believe, One man said recently, “I need proof!” The sound of a cricket was all Ralph needed to act and receive all that Jesus died for and rose to give. At the sound of a chirp, Ralph acted on what he knew to be true about Jesus, like the woman touching His hem. Then, a great peace came upon him like he had never felt before. This was “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…”, which the apostle Paul wrote about to the church at Philippi, and what “…will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 6

And the same peace that I’m experiencing at 3 a.m. while upon my bed writing this view, is the peace that Jesus left us after his finished works on the cross, still flowing today.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” 7

Amazing Deliverance…

Faith is simply responding to the amazing grace of God. I’ll never forget that Friday night in May 1975, when I received Christ in the prison chapel. As Reverend Devito spoke the Word, by faith I went forward to kneel. When the man of God reached out and gently touched me, my faith was sparked for salvation. Maybe your faith is being sparked now that you have reached out to us as a “point of contact.”

“For he [the Lord] saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured [helped] thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” [emphasis added]. 8

Ralph said, “It [the cricket] was letting me know that God was there all the time, but I was too busy to see it.” The biblical definition of faith is “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 9

What do you hope for today? What evidence do you need to believe? Ralph’s “…urge to do drugs and crime completely left him.” Whatever you need, the same can be true for you after receiving Christ, “…the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” 10 Won’t you receive Jesus today?

A Prayer for You…

Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, I present myself to You. I am sorry for my sins. I receive Your forgiveness. I believe Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross to pay for my sins and rose again from the dead. I want to be born again and become a new creation in Christ. Right now, I ask You to come into my heart. Please change my life and make it pleasing to you. Amen!

Scripture References (NKJV):

1) Rom. 2:4 NLT
2) Isa. 55:11
3) Rev. 19:10c
4) Matt. 5:16
5) Mark 3:34 KJV
6) Phil 4:7
7) John 14:27
8) 2 Cor. 6:2 KJV
9) Heb. 11:1
10) Rom 1:16