This morning I woke up not feeling very well. I was hungry and needed to get some food that was light on the stomach. The thought of going to the store just didn’t appeal to me in any way shape or form, but I knew that I had to do it. So, I reluctantly got up and drug myself down to the Market. I surprised myself by going, because usually I can talk myself out of it very quickly, but for some reason (which I would understand why later), I knew I had to go. Yip, sure as anything, God surprised me again.
As I was walking down the aisles making decisions of what would be good for me today, I very tall guy walked by me and uttered, “Good Morning, Bro.” As I looked at him, my first thought was, “Wow, this guy looks pretty bad.” He wasn’t dressed very well, and as a former alcoholic, I can tell you that he looked wasted. So even though I had drawn a conclusion about him without getting to know him first (John 7:24, Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.), I made sure I gave him an enthusiastic good morning in return since he had made the effort to do the same with me. Before I knew it, we were engaged in conversation.
I was looking at coffee when we met, so I told him that I needed something to wake me up today. He told me that a good beer would do that, so I told him that I had been clean and sober since 95, and gave him a brief version of how the Lord had delivered me from Booze and drugs. All the time that I was giving my testimony, Satan kept tapping on my shoulder saying, “You are still a sinner, talking about God to someone else makes you a hypocrite.” I have to admit that I almost fell into the trap and quit, thinking that I was such a bad person, that I wasn’t worthy to share Jesus’ name with others. But the Holy Spirit kept me going, and soon he told me more about his life and the ugly circumstances that he was living.
He proceeded to tell me that he needs Jesus, and I asked him why he doesn’t take that step. He said, “I keep praying, but Jesus isn’t there.” I told him to take the first step, and that’s how you find Jesus.He told me of how his father had done some pretty bad things, and that he couldn’t understand how Christians could be so hypocritical, so I gave him one of my favorite verses, (Romans 3:23, All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God), and told him not to be too judgmental because we all make mistakes. He smiled and said that’s true. I continued to witness to him for quite some time with many people taking notice, but eventually had to leave. When we parted ways, I honestly believed that God had used me to be His instrument in that grocery store. I’m not sure why He chose me, but I am honored that he did.
I don’t know what will become of Jeffery, but God does. All I can do is to continue to pray that he finds his way into a place of peace and comfort in the arms of God. I ask that you pray for this man as well. The bottom line is that no matter what we’ve done in our lives, and no matter how bad we think we are, God can always use us to reach others. It may be a struggle, but keep repenting and trying, God needs you, so don’t throw in the towel and think that you cannot be used because you are to great of a sinner, we all are.
Below is a list of people who God used that probably sinned far more than you, so remember, you can be used because God’s forgiveness i greater than your sins.
#1 King David: Committed sins of adultery, deception, and murder in the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11 & 12). David repented, asked God for forgiveness, and God forgave him of his sin. God went on to use him mightily, to the glory of His name.
#2 Apostle Paul (formerly “Saul of Tarsus”): Murdered, Harassed, and Persecuted Christians in the early Church. Saul had a dramatic encounter with God on the road to Damascus, repented, and God forgave him of his sins. The entire story of Saul’s Conversion is in Acts 9. After Saul’s conversion, be became known as Paul. Apostle Paul was not perfect, but he became an extremely useful tool in God’s hands, teaching, growing, inspiring and encouraging the early church. He went on to write much of the New Testament and continues to be a blessing to believers even today.
#3 Apostle Peter (Peter the Disciple): Denied Jesus three times, and failed many times (just like us). He had faith and walked on water. He received divine revelation that Jesus Christ was the son of God (Matthew 16:16-17), but turned around and became an adversary (speaking for the devil), trying to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His mission. Thus, Jesus had to rebuke him (Matthew 16:22-23). Even after all this, Peter was used mightily by God to encourage, teach, heal, minister to, lead and grow the early church. He wrote books in the New Testament, and His writings continue to help us Christians grow today.
#4 Rahab the Prostitute: Rahab was a Prostitute. Despite her sketchy background, she was used by God in mighty ways. She demonstrated great faith and helped the people of God. She is listed in the “Hall of Faith”, and she is listed in the direct lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).
#5 The Parable of the Prodigal Son – An Illustration of God’s Mercy, Love, Compassion & Forgiveness
Summary: The prodigal son demanded his share of the family esate, left home and squandered all his money. He “came to his senses” and returned home, hoping his father would accept him back as a servant. His father “saw him from afar”, ran to meet him and embraced him, celebrating his return. This is an illustration of God’s love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy ~ How much God loves us and welcomes us back.