A TESTIMONY OF THE GRACE OF GOD
Around June 22, 1999, I recieved a letter from a man who had read one of my tracts. This is what the letter said.
"Dear Mr. Lance
My name is M--- D--- S---. I'm very interested about changing my life to God. Could you please send me more information about the rules of Christ, how to go about changing my life. I'm very blind to the Word of God. Could you take it in consideration and help me please. God Bless you friend and thanks alot. I now have 30 days left in jail. I get out July 18, 1999. I'm in here for back child support. I"ve never been in trouble. I don't know who else to turn to but you and the Good Lord Thanks Again
Yours truly, M D S. "
Now this guy had found my tract in the Thibodaux, Louisiana detention center. He felt compelled to write a letter to me and ask for help.
Right now, I'm about an hour away from Thibodaux. But he didn't know that. He was writing to an address which was in Ooltewah, Tn.
When I got the letter, I contacted a brother in the Lord who is a police officer in that area. I asked him if he thought he could get us in Sunday afternoon, since I was going to preach at a church in a town near there Sunday night. Brother Doug got us in to see him Sunday afternoon. Wonderful Jesus! Brother Charlie Paisance of 'My Brother's Keeper" ministries came with us, also.
When he came to the little room they had designated for us to visit in, he had a wonderful look of curiosity on his face. He probably was wondering who these guys were, because he didn't know us at all.
As he approached us, I looked him in the eyes, and said "are you M--- D--- S---?" He said, "yes", and then I held out my hand, and said "I'm Lance Rowe. You sent a letter to me not too long ago."
Wonderful Jesus! You should have seen his face! Total surprise. He just totally lit up. It didn't occur to me until after we had left, that this man had sent a letter to Tennessee, never expecting a personal visit from the man who wrote the tract. All he was looking for was some literature. He kept on telling me "man, you don't know what this means to me!"
He had just been talking to someone that very day about the fact that he hadn't gotten a reply from the letter he had written. He had told the person he was talking to that he probably wouldn't get a response. And then there I was, in person! He acted like he was really in shock.
Well, eventually, we ended up talking about his position. In 1992, he had recieved Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. He walked in the joy of the Lord for a while (but obviously not for a very long time), really being blessed by the presence of God in his life. Then he started compromising, and eventually he found himself caught in sin, unable to get free of drugs and alcohol that had subtily enslaved him.
Then, he ended up in jail for this back child support issue.
He told us that since he was in jail, he had been trying to get back to God, but had not been real successful at it. He told us that he was reading the Bible every day, but he was having a hard time understanding it. But the fact that he was reading the Bible in his cell was having an effect on the men around him. He told us that several had told him that they needed to get right with God.
M--- was under strong condemnation for the things he had done from 1992 to the present time, and he wasn't sure he could recieve the favor of God in his life anymore. I ministered to him the story of the prodigal son, and told him that God's mercy was great toward his children. I ministered the love of God to him, and told him that the son, once he ended up in the pig pen, came to his senses, and decided to go to his father, and make a deal with his father. But the father didn't want to cut a deal, he had been waiting anxiously for his son's return, and ran out to meet him, and put his coat on him, which was a type of the covering of Christ, and the ring was the seal of the promise of God, which says "I will never leave nor forsake you."
The key was that the father hadn't left the son, but the son had left the father, and that the son had to come to his senses before he could get out of the pig pen back into the grace of his father.
I asked him if he had meant it in 1992 when he asked Jesus to be the Lord of his life. He said he had. I told him how when he was in the pig pen, that satan wanted to destroy his hope and his confidence in the Father's love for him. But thank God, he came to his senses, and now it was just a matter of being restored.
He was ready, and all the angels in heaven were rocking out Sunday afternoon over the return of this prodigal son.
Can you see how special a soul is to God? One of my tracts just happened to be floating around the cellblock where this wayward child of God was, and he wrote to the address, in the hopes that he might recieve some sort of enouragement to his soul. I just happened to be an hour away, and God worked a miracle in this man's life just to have him restored to the kingdom. It was a wonderful reunion with the Father and the son, as the Father once more put His covering over His son, and once more sealed him with his Holy Spirit of Promise.
There are so many things that could be said through this whole affair.
First, God never leaves us, nor does His love for us ever diminish. But we can walk away from Him, and when we do, we walk away from His covering and from his Holy Spirit. But God is ever ready to see His children restored. This is seen in how the father put his coat on his son, and put his ring on his finger. The fact that he had the fatted calf killed and prepared for his son shows that our Heavenly Father is ever ready to enter into communion with us again.
Second, it shows that the seemingly insignificant act of handing a tract to someone can have an impact never imagined. We hand out thousands of tracts, and sometimes never see a result, but God can take that tract and get it from one person's hands who could care less into someone's hands who needs it. I have recieved testimonies of my tract ending up in foreign countries...England, Africa, Russia, and I think it was Hungary. I have never personally been to any of those places, but my tract has been there. Wonderful Jesus! Don't ever think your labors for Christ are in vain.
And third, don't ever give up on someone you prayed with, but who seems to have turned their back on God. The Father is ever waiting for them to come to their senses, and when it seems like they never will, God's mercy and His love has a way of drawing them back to Him. The prodigal remembered that even the father's servants had it better than he did, and he got up, and went back to the father. It is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance! Glory! Remember to pray for this young man. You don't need to know his name...his Father knows it. I hope all of you have a wonderful day in Jesus!
Remember to give a tract about Jesus to someone today.
Harold Bourgeois Carrying Cross in Port Arthur, Texas, and conducting weekly street church there
Al Rodriguez carrying the cross in Ft. Worth and beyond, also jail ministry
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