Andrew Palau: Redeeming the Past

I lived a wild and crazy life before surrendering to Jesus Christ. I was selfish, foolish, and near-sighted. Though I’m certainly not proud of that season, I can see how God used those experiences for His ultimate good. My story has resonated with others. Because of it, they’ve heard the Good News. God does that. He takes our past, whether good or bad, and allows it to be a platform to reach people.

Another example of that is King David. Before David became King he was just a shepherd boy. He faithfully did his job, day after day after day. When the Philistine army came, King Saul needed someone to fight Goliath. David responded by saying that, as a shepherd, he fought lions and bears and God rescued him. Now he would fight Goliath, knowing that God would rescue him again. God used David’s past of faithfully tending the sheep to prepare him for battling Goliath and a future as the King.

Is your past one of rebellion like mine? Or, is your past one of faithfully doing your job like David? Regardless, God wants to take the experiences that you’ve had and the choices that you’ve made to reach others. There isn’t a past that He can’t redeem and use for a glorious future. Ask God to show you how He wants to use your story for His glory. Then, step into the marvelous future that awaits.

The Best Evangelism Tool

God’s Word and His promises were the only things I had to offer when I saw the communist party secretary of Ecuador many years ago. This woman, a bitter revolutionary, came to see me after she’d watched one of our call-in television programs. She cursed me out and proudly described herself as an atheist. She seethed with anger, but I could tell she felt very guilty for some of her more violent revolutionary activities.

As we talked, I just kept repeating Hebrews 10:17: “Your sins and evil behavior I will remember no more.” She said she didn’t believe the Bible. I said the verse again. She called me a cheater and a liar. I quoted the verse again.

After an hour and a half of this, she finally began to cry. Suddenly, she dramatically shouted, “If God could ever forgive a woman like me, He can forgive anyone!” I said the verse one last time and right then and there she asked the Lord Jesus to forgive her sins. That was in 1965!

She’s walked with God all these years. So when you’re sharing with someone, don’t worry about what you’re going to say. Just remember to pick an appropriate verse or two from God’s Word and trust Him for the results. He’s got the power!.

Freedom from Bitterness

Do you know anyone who is being eaten up inside by bitterness? They need to know that forgiveness sets them free. That’s what a European friend of ours learned when the bottom dropped out of her marriage. Eight years ago her husband announced, “I’m tired of you.” And he rattled off all sorts of hurtful lines.

He left her and took off with another woman. For the first few months after the split, the wife felt terrible anger — and rightly so. But, one Christmas Day she telephoned my wife from Europe. “I’m free, I’m free!” she cried, “I forgave him!” She had finally decided that her bitterness and anger were destroying her. She told us, “Just as God in Christ has forgiven me, I forgive him. And I feel so free!”

Colossians 3:13 says, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Let’s reach out to our friends and tell them there’s a two-fold solution for escaping their cage of bitterness: Accept the forgiveness of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, that’ #1 – and then, #2 – forgive the person who has wronged you.

The Meaning of Repentance

Did you know that “repentance” is the most positive word in the English language? I never thought of it like that until I heard my friend John Hunter make the claim. We usually think of repentance as a negative, sad, and horrible term.

Actually, it’s the greatest term in the world. It’s the doorstep into a brand-new life with God. It’s leaving the past behind. It’s a very liberating word. To repent means simply to admit the truth about our evil and sinfulness – confess it to God – and start moving in a different direction. Repentance doesn’t mean groveling in the dirt and acting weird.

Repentance is the deep conviction that “I did wrong, I hurt other people,” particularly confessing, “I offended God–and I want to change.” That’s the only way to start over. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Why not start a conversation today by discussing the word “repentance?” Talk with your friends about their concept of that term, the misperceptions of it, and share your own testimony. Tell them how much repentance and faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ has meant to you – how you now have freedom from guilt, a new start, and eternal life.

Sharing in a Crisis

Are you looking for opportunities to share your faith, but don’t know where to begin? Try reaching out to those who are in a time of crisis. That’s what I did when I met Dr. Fernando. He was the Secretary of Defense for the South America Republic, and he had it all. He had an MBA from Harvard and his father was an internationally acclaimed artist.

However, when Fernando was accused of using drug money to finance a presidential political campaign, he was thrown into prison. When I went to see him in jail, Fernando was a broken man. We spent an hour with him. He had a Bible and was reading the book of Romans, but he didn’t understand how God could ever forgive him.

I shared Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Finally, on our knees, Fernando asked for God’s forgiveness. Years later, when he was released, he told me that he would never have listened to the Gospel unless he had been in jail. His pride was too great. God often uses a crisis to soften the most hardened heart.

So, let’s be aware of people in a crisis. As we share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them, the Lord can open their hearts and radically change their lives.