Friday, February 20, 2004
Part of our ministry team works on a remote Indian reservation in the Southwest. In fact, our sons launched this ground-breaking outreach to Native young people a decade ago and named it "The Path." In the past couple of years, that ministry has become a part of ours. Together, we've had the opportunity of launching, by the miracle working of God, a low-power FM radio station on this reservation. A reservation that's hard to reach - spiritually, as well as geographically. Now the light of Christ is going out 24 hours a day across the reservation in an original format that is really making a difference. Part of the adventure was just getting the station on the air - including setting up the tower. That required some special climbing abilities. And one of the Native young men who God sent to help with the station just happens to have that experience - illegally, in the years before he was following Christ. He used to love to climb towers that the law actually forbids people to climb. Now, all of a sudden, those abilities - practiced in a way that did not honor God - were suddenly being used by God to glorify Him. Don't you just love it!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Yesterday's Shame - Today's Victory."
This is one of the amazing ways of God - taking what we did against Jesus before we knew Jesus and turning it into something He can use for His glory. That aspect of God's amazing grace may help shed some hope-giving light on some of the very things you are most sorry for. The things you're most ashamed of in your past.
In 1 Timothy 1:12-18, our word for today from the Word of God, Paul tells us how this miracle of spiritual recycling worked in his life: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."
"...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life." Paul says, "The worst things I ever did have been transformed by God's grace into credentials to show people what He can do." That's part of the grace miracle described in Romans 5:20 - "Where sin increased, grace increased all the more." God always has more grace than we've got sin. Grace always trumps sin.
Never is that more dramatic when God takes the sinning you've done, or the sinning that was done against you, and makes it into a boomerang to hit the very devil who once used that stuff to bring you down. Now all that ugly becomes something beautiful in Jesus' hands, causing people to listen to you when you talk about Jesus, providing living proof of His power - and maybe even helping you climb a tower for His sake.
That's why you need to bring all that sin, all that shame, all those awful memories, and all the things you wish you hadn't done to the foot of Jesus' cross. Accept the forgiveness He made possible by the shedding of His blood for all that garbage. And ask Him to redeem those regrets and lost years by somehow using them for His glory and to help others come to know Him. There's a world of people out there who are where you were before you met Jesus and, under His leadership, you are uniquely equipped to work with Him in rescuing them. They'll listen to someone like you. You've been there.
That's one of God's great grace miracles, and it's waiting for you. Yesterday's shame, touched by the Master, can become today's victory!