Amazing Grace

I was planning on posting Part 2 of “Breaking Free” today. As you can see, God hijacked my plans…

I did have a thought about how strange it may look with this post smacked right in the middle of another subject… But it doesn’t matter.

God obviously had different thoughts.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

Surprise love notes from my Heavenly Father… An unexpected revelation by the Holy Spirit… A holy experience at work… A deep conviction of the human inadequacy and selfishness of my fleshy nature… An overwhelming shower of grace and mercy and love…

Right in the midst of a hectic 12-hour shift.

My Father has been chipping away the burdensome traditional layers embedded in my heart through years of being exposed to a legalistic Christian teaching and theology…

It has been painful at times. However, after the pain, always came freedom and joy to worship my Lord and Savior without anything holding me back.

Let me explain…

Did you ever judge a book by its cover? Was there ever a time when you judged a person simply by looking at his or her appearance? I have.

And I am deeply ashamed and repentant of this.

Walking into one of my patient’s room at start of shift, I judged this human being… Not with an overt judgment. I didn’t change my attitude, my demeanor or my body language, no! But in the deepest part of my heart I passed a judgment on him simply based on his appearance.

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” Romans 2:1-3 NIV

As I walked into that room I saw a young man with a stocky build covered with tattoos. Judgment passed. A subtle judgment. One that was initially missed by my conscience but later illuminated by the Holy Spirit…

While we discussed the plan for the day, I sensed that there was something different about him. Something that connected with my spirit. This was a man with a difficult past but with a rare passion and love for Jesus.

He had one of the most frightful diagnoses one can get: CANCER. In spite of this, joy, peace, and love were overflowing through every word he spoke.

He didn’t know me. Didn’t know whether I was a believer or not but was impatient to share with me how God changed his life and to share the Gospel.

As he shared his story – full of violent turmoil but in the end triumphant in Christ and through Christ – tears streamed down my face. I wanted to fall down to my knees, for God Himself was present in that hospital room, rejoicing with us…

“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 NLT

This young man testified of God’s love and mercy and His amazing grace… This was a newfound brother in Christ who used to be lost as I was lost before being found. This was a new man rejoicing about what Jesus did for him the same way I get joyful and overwhelmed when I contemplate about the Cross…

We prayed for lost souls and we prayed for healing. We prayed for a spiritual awakening within the body of Christ. We prayed for our families and we prayed for each other.

You see, if someone had told me years ago that I would be standing in a hospital room, worshipping God, and praying with a former gang member and an attempted murderer,  I would say this could never be…

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21 ESV

Amazing Grace…

It radically changes one who is willing to put his or her faith in what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago.

Grace changed this man. Grace changed this man’s brother, who was also a gang member selling drugs on the streets and addicted to crystal meth. Grace changed a prostitute possessed by seven demons. Grace changed a deeply religious man hell-bent on persecuting Christians on a road to Damascus. Grace changed the heart of David Wood. It changed millions of drug addicts, alcoholics, cheaters, pathological liars, psychopaths, rapists, etc, and gave them a new heart. A heart after God’s own heart. A heart ruled by its rightful King. A heart owned by Jesus and transformed into His likeness…

Grace radically changed me, a young woman who was breathing resentment and hate towards her Creator at one time… And it still changes me. Hallelujah!

Amazing Grace… How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me… I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see…

Are we, as Christian believers in Jesus, in need of reevaluating our attitudes and feelings towards others? I am. I am continually in need of the Holy Spirit and His power to change my behaviors, my desires, my heart, into Christ like behaviors, His desires, and His heart.

Do we have a heart for the lost? Or do we write them off as people who are “beyond the point of return?”

A special thanks to my newfound brother in Christ for allowing me to share his story.

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One thought on “Amazing Grace

  1. As I was reading this inspiring article, I remembered your tears of joy as you shared the story for the first time on that Saturday evening… I was crying too… Crying and praying and praising God for His unfailing love and mercy. Thank you for sharing this testimony as well as an amazing testimony of David Wood! Both me and Oleg were truly inspired. Love you!

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