A number of days ago, another missionary friend of mine posted something on her Facebook status that made me cry. I have to say that first of all, before I share this story, that I have so much respect for her and her ministry. She is the real deal…nothing fake about her. She is involved in a ministry that I could never see myself doing. I think I would either be terrified or sick to my stomach. Yet it is where God has called her, and that is to the gangs of this city. I love her heart for these boys. Boys, that most would be afraid of and stay away from. She truly loves and cares for them like a mom. She is Jesus to them. His hands. His feet. His heart. There are times when she has brought food to them. And she always, always told them about Jesus. She is making a difference in an area where most would be afraid to enter. I think a lot of people would maybe think they are unreachable or a lost cause. But you know what? They still need Jesus even though they may have done terrible things. They still need to hear about his love for them. And that is what Teresa does. She loves them. Not for what they do, but as they are. A lot like Jesus. Because Jesus accepts us as we are, because of who He is.
The other day though, something happened. She attended a wake for a young man she had known many years. One with whom she had shared Jesus with countless of times. There had been some sort of accident at the prison where he was and he was taken to the hospital for surgery. After this man woke up, his aunt called him on his phone. He told his aunt that God had given him another chance. His aunt asked him if he was ready to give his life to Christ. He responded that yes, he was. He also gave some cocaine from his pocket to the custodian because he did not need it anymore.
Within ten minutes this young man, a brand new follower of Jesus was shot to death in his bed with over one hundred bullets.
When I read this story, I cried. I don’t understand why things like that happen. I don’t know why he did not have a chance to live for the Lord, or a chance to grow in his new found faith. He received the free gift of salvation…and now I believe He is with the Lord in heaven. He may have done some evil things while on earth and he may have lived a rough life. But, he had another opportunity to make things right with God, and he did. At just the right time, moments before he was so brutally murdered, God saved him. That is grace. That is mercy.
See that is how God is. He accepts us and loves us where we are at. Not because of anything we have done, or haven’t done. There is nothing we need to do for God to love us. We don’t need to change first. We don’t need to clean ourselves up before coming to Him. No matter the kind of life we live—He loves. We are loved by Him. He wants us to have his free gift of salvation, so that we can have eternal life with Him. He changes us. And he wants to have a relationship with us. It’s why he died. So we can be forgiven and free.
Teresa is not afraid to go into the hard places. The dangerous places. The places to where God has called her. I think of the countless young men she has reached out to. Time after time after time. She may be the only “Jesus” they will ever meet. I know that there are others, that because of her faithfulness that are in heaven today because of her planting the seeds, and not giving up, even though there may have been times where she felt like it. What if this young man I told you about had never been told about Jesus?
It kind of made me stop and think; who is God asking me to talk to that I have held back due to language barriers? What about the neighbours I see and talk to when I am walking every day? I’m getting to know a number of them in the conversations I have with them, but how many of them know my Jesus? Maybe it is more than just the kids in the schools that we are reaching. I have no problem talking to them. I’m not afraid or nervous. I’ve been reflecting on this a lot. It’s challenged me to step out of my comfort zone. Because there are no guarantees in this life. You never know when time will run out.
1 Jn 1:9
But, if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.
Can we boast then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our aquital is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.