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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Friday, June 30, 2006

Planting Seeds

Before I became a Christian, at the age of 26, I was an atheist. Raised that way. I believed that people who needed to lean on a god were weak, too weak to take responsibility for their own life. I believed that their "faith" was their crutch.
I was an idiot.
I was so out of control, that I couldn't see all of my crutches. Drugs, sex, alcohol, all the cussing I did...all just a mask for a life that was leaving me empty and wanting more than I had. Nothing was ever enough. Ever.
I had so many trust issues. How could I begin to place trust in someone when I couldn't trust myself. If I couldn't keep from letting myself down, how could I expect others not to? I never told the truth to anyone, especially myself, how could I trust anyone else to be honest with me? I cheated in every relationship I ever had, so how could I ever have faith in anyone not to cheat on me?
The night that I gave God a chance to show me He was real, was more of a challenge than anything else. People had been witnessing to me in a bar I was bartending and something about the way that they didn't react to my insults, the way they came back night after night after night in spite of how badly I made fun of them or how foul my language was, cracked that shell that I had protected myself with all my life.
All by myself, in the corner of my dark apartment, at 3 a.m., I challenged God. God is always up to a challenge. I asked Him, if He was real, to prove it to me. He did. I've told this story before, and I don't mean to repeat myself, but He left no doubt that He is an awesome God that night and that there is NOTHING that He can not do.
Something I've learned from that night so many years ago, is that faith is not easy. It's not for the weak. Faith is an action, it takes second to second renewing of the mind. Believing in something that you can not YET see is not easy. No, faith is not a spectator sport. It's much harder to love than hate. It's harder to forgive than to resent. It's harder to tithe than to go shopping.
Living for yourself is easy, living for Christ is not. It wasn't easy for those guys to come into that bar all those many, many nights. Being kind to me when I was hurling 4 letter words at them couldn't have been something they were looking forward to. But they came nightly and loved me. They didn't pressure me, they were kind to me. That's exactly what they were. They didn't spew condemnation at me, they loved me with their words and with their deeds. They changed my life. They changed my life. They planted that seed within me that perhaps there was more than what I empty bitterness so deeply rooted in my core that I didn't even notice it anymore.
I am so thankful to those Christians who walked into the pit of hell and witnessed to me. Each and every single day of my life is a witness of their love for Christ Jesus...and for me, a stranger.

Forgive me Lord, for the wrongs that I have done. For the thoughts that were not of You, and words that hurt rather than bless. I thank You for Your forgiveness, and for the mercy You show me.
I thank You, Lord, for those who witness, especially when it is outside of their comfort zone. I pray that You would bless them and reward them greatly for their commitment to You, and to Your word. Help me to be a light unto others, and not simply keep them company in their darkness.
With all my heart, I love You. I thank You for those You have sent to me. I thank You for what You have brought me out of and what You bring me into with every breath I take. I praise Your holy name. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.