The drinking, smoking, and other lifestyle choices that once made him happy were no longer part of his life. He found it difficult to read at first—his mind wandered many times—but as he persevered, taking one page at a time, the book became precious to him.
He found in its pages the love of God, and by faith accepted that the promises of God were meant for him. He finally found peace. When I gave my heart to Jesus at age 19, my whole life changed. Bible study and prayer became my daily companions. I looked forward to attending prayer meeting, Bible study groups, Sabbath School, and church—anywhere that the Word of God was presented and testimonies were shared.
I hungered for more and still more of Jesus. The more Christ filled me, the more my taste in music, entertainment, clothing, everything, changed! I found this to be true. A desire bloomed in my heart to tell everyone I could that Christ loved me and forgave my sins, that I was clean and precious to Him. If we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and are filled with the joy of His indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace. Where could I begin?
This was easier said than done. What do I tell them? I thought. They could tell what they knew; what they themselves had seen, and heard, and felt of the power of Christ. This is what everyone can do whose heart has been touched by the grace of God.
We can tell how we have tested His promise, and found the promise true. We can bear witness to what we have known of the grace of Christ.
I waited for the Lord to give me opportunities to witness for Him. I was working as an office receptionist when breaking news came across the television screen, alerting us that a terrible hurricane had struck the U. Things are just crazy! I quickly made my way back to my desk. Soon, Ginger came to the front where my desk was and plopped herself down in a chair. I want to know!
I then extended the invitation to her to do the same. The Lord opened a door, and I chose to walk through it. God has given me the privilege of working with Him for nearly 40 years. These have all been wonderful opportunities to share what God has done, but the most effective way to win souls for the Master is by coming close to people through the tender touch of compassion, by meeting their needs and winning their confidence.
Then you can invite them to follow Jesus. The children of God are to manifest His glory. G was a respected teacher at a small boarding academy in the rolling hills of Eastern Washington in the United States. This school taught not only the principles of reading, writing, math, and vocational skills but also the fundamentals of practical Christian living.
Students learned to give Bible studies, preach evangelistic meetings, and lead out in their home churches by teaching the Sabbath School lesson, preaching the sermon, and doing community outreach. G was a vital part of that education. G taught from the book Steps to Christ for his eleventh-grade Bible class. His life was a testimony to the power of God, and he stressed upon the minds of his students the importance of starting the day with Christ.
I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. G taught not only upper grade Bible class but also carpentry to ninth-grade boys. The class was divided into two sections. First, they studied a book; next, they applied what they had learned in a practical way. One day during class, Mr. G was helping three of the boys build a supporting wall, while the other three played on a pile of lumber. G asked the boys to stay off the lumber since it could fall and injure someone. The boys continued to wrestle on the wood, and when he went over to talk with them, a large plank fell on his foot.
He danced around in pain, clutching his foot. The boys, thinking this was very funny, laughed and pointed at him. Instantly, Mr. G became angry. Heated words flowed from his lips. Like Moses, who lost his temper with the children of Israel, he lost his temper in front of his students. Running into a nearby office, Mr. Rest in God. He is able to keep that which you have committed to Him. Everyone does it. The next class period for Mr. G that day was Bible.
The students came in and took their seats, and one of the girls put her assignment on his desk. That one sentence was just what he needed. Years later, he received a letter from one of those boys. Now that I am a father, I have had to ask my children many times to forgive me for when I failed, and because of your example, it has helped me be a better father.
You made a huge mistake this time! I want to work for You, but not here! Many of these children were homeless, victims of abuse, or involved in gangs, drugs, and even prostitution. I had spent over 20 years teaching in a sheltered Christian school environment, and this new assignment seemed like more than I could endure.
Students entered the classroom on the first day holding up their pants and wearing hoodies that covered their faces. Trouble broke out within the first hour as one boy began to shout threatening obscenities toward two other young men. Here I was, totally out of my comfort zone, with a fight about to begin.
I was intimidated. Their crude language, music, and explicit images displayed on their computer screens made me long for my protective environment.
Sending up a prayer for help, I pressed the Lord to fulfill His word given to Jeremiah and bring calm into the room. Each of you must take your seats and quietly begin working on your assignments. I glorified God in my heart, praising Him for His goodness and mercy. Over the next few weeks, I continued to plead with the Lord to take me out of my work situation.
He answered my prayer in an unusual way—by showing me the condition of my own heart. Not until you move beyond your built-in prejudice and fear will you be able to reveal My love to these children. You are here to make a difference in their lives, to reveal My character to them. Later that afternoon, the same scenario happened, this time with a young girl. What difference could I make?
It began with little things, such as providing a healthy breakfast so they could start the day with at least one good meal.
I won their confidence by listening to their stories and entering into their sufferings and by becoming a friend and mentor. When the tsunami struck Asia, the students wanted to find out what I thought of the tragedy. The students were very sober when I explained that Jesus was warning the world to get ready. We were on a two-week mission trip in Iloilo City, Philippines, when I was called to the business office of the church.
What happened? My youngest brother, Frank, broke the news to me that our oldest brother, Danny, an alcoholic and drug addict, was found with a needle in his arm in a motel room. He overdosed on a deadly cocktail of heroin mixed with alcohol. During the long flight home, childhood memories flooded my mind. I remembered special moments playing with my brother. I remembered how protective he had been of me. My heart had ached for him to have a better life, to know God and find peace and contentment. Danny always found it easy to make friends. But when he entered high school, his friends were the ones who partied, drank alcohol, and experimented with drugs.
It was not long until Danny became an alcoholic and drug addict, which made him a frequent visitor to the county jail and court-ordered detox centers.