Day 15: God makes us NEW – 28 February 2020
By Benescke Janse van Rensburg
Have you ever been at a point where you wanted to give up on someone in your life? Maybe it’s your spouse with his or her sharp tongue? Maybe it’s your manager at work that makes life unbearable? Maybe it is a parent who tries to control you or a loved one trapped in an addiction? These situations cause hurt.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Ilse Maartens, a former Captain in the Police force, who now works as manager at MES in Cape Town, an organization that reaches out to homeless people on the streets of Cape Town. Here is one of her testimonies:
Ilse: “For quite some time, we worked in a certain area where we often encountered Johnny, or Rasta as everyone called him, an elderly man who smuggled marijuana and who drank way too much. At times he would look at us and mockingly ask, ‘So what do Jesus’ people do on the streets so late at night?’ Although we did not notice any change in his life (and in fact had little hope for it), we continued to show unconditional love and offer help.
One Easter, Rasta radically got saved. It was a Saul-Paul conversion during which he was freed from his addiction to alcohol and drugs in an instant. His story was that Jesus appeared to him and asked him, ‘How many times do I still have to send my people to you before you listen?’
It took some time to get Rasta off the streets and into a workable housing option. However, we saw God at work in his life. About six months after his conversion, he came into our office one day. His transformation was so drastic, that I hardly recognized him. Completely surprised, I said: ‘Wow, Rasta, is it you?’ He answered, ‘No sister Ilse. I am Johnny Blankenberg in Christ and Christ in Johnny Blankenberg.’ Before my eyes, I saw the transformation power of Jesus Christ at work in this man. Johnny later died of asthma, but in my heart I have no doubt that he is with his Creator today.”
In Revelation 21: 5, God says, “I am making everything new!” It is also written in Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” And in 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
God makes us NEW. No person is ever too lost or too far away to be saved. Instead of condemning the lost, it is necessary for us to take a step back. Let’s talk to God about the matter. Let us give Him a chance to work through His Holy Spirit in the person’s heart. Let’s even go a step further and ask Him to also show us what we need to change in our own hearts and lives amid this situation.
God works differently than what we think. He met Johnny Blankenberg and it changed his life. God is still able to reach those difficult people in our lives in the way He knows will work. Let’s keep praying and trust Him. God bless.
Father God, thank you for making me a NEW creation in Christ. I bring (mention the name) to You and I ask that You touch him / her. I also ask that You show me what I need to change in my own life to become more holy. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen