When You Think, You Have to Thank
David Dykes, preached a sermon called, Why It's Easier for "Bad" People to Go to Heaven. In it, he tells of a prostitute who lived a rebellious life and got involved in drugs, alcohol and prostitution when she was a teenager. When she was seventeen, she was arrested and spent seven years in prison. When she got out of prison, she went back to the streets, gangs, drugs and numerous abortions. She lived in a sleazy part of Texas.
One of her former clients became a Christian. He was radically transformed and started witnessing to her and others who were still in that destructive lifestyle. He visited her at the bar and told her she needed Jesus. She cussed him out. He called her up and told her how much God loved her, and she hung up on him. One day he called and asked her to meet him outside the bar. That night he told her he couldn't see her anymore because he had made a commitment to God that he wasn't going to hang around with tramps anymore.
"When he called me a tramp, I wanted to cut his throat”, she said. "All this week you've been calling me and telling me how precious I am to God and that I was valuable. And now in one word, I was garbage."
But, before I could strike back he said "but Jesus can turn you into a lady." When he said the word “lady”, it was like something just exploded inside me. And I thought, "All I've ever wanted to be was a lady."
He said, “You see, it's really like a marriage--it's not just believing. But it's a commitment of your life to Him, saying, 'I give you me.' It's not just a one-way street. Jesus gets all of you and you get all of Him."
“Then he took my hand and led me in that prayer. It was like God pulled back a curtain on my heart. And on March 31st, out in front of an old bar, I knelt down a tramp, a loser, and a zero. And I stood up a lady, clean, pure, forgiven, innocent, blameless, cherished, and a brand new creature in Christ Jesus. My life was different."
Today, this lady lives in Texas with her husband, and they serve the Lord full time. It's been many years since her conversion but she remembers what the Lord has done for her and her family!
Can God still save prostitutes and tax collectors? Absolutely. This is why she doesn't let a day pass without thanking God every day that someone loved her enough to be willing to come down to the bar and share God's message of hope and forgiveness with an "outcast."
During this Thanksgiving season, I'd like you to reflect upon your past, your state of mind, and your story. When you think, this should cause you to thank. Thank God for His mercy, grace, His love, and kindness. When you think of where He met you, and how far He's brought you from; it will bring about a joy this world could never give, nor ever take away. Make a list every day of the week leading up to Thanksgiving of all the things the Lord has done for you which you are grateful and thankful for. Think, then Thank! Think, then Thank! That's it, because every time I think of the goodness of Jesus, I just have to Thank Him!
Ps 116:12-13 “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.”
Kirkland A. Smith Senior Pastor of Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch