As I was handing out $5 McDonald gift cards in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I saw a guy sitting by himself and watching me. So as I work my way around to where he was, I introduced myself and told him what I was doing. I asked, "What is your name, sir?" He said, "I've seen you down in this area before. You can give my card to someone who deserves it, but thank you anyway." He seemed very articulate and well educated. I asked him what he meant and why he doesn't deserve to be helped. He began to explained, "I had a good life, a great job and a sweet little family. Then a so called friend offered me drugs. Just five years down the road and all has been lost. Everything! You see, other guys and gals around here deserve what you are doing, but not this one." I simply said, "Well, I am sure sorry to hear about all that you have lost. I won't deny that the decisions you made were dumb. However, we have all made dumb decisions! But the good news is that GOD doesn't hold our past against us. HE isn't pointing a finger of scorn to remind us of our failures. Instead, HE spreads HIS arms wide open just to love you." I tried to hand him the card again, but he still wouldn't reach to accept. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, "You are loved way more than you realize. Don't let your past decisions destroy your present and even your future. Forgive yourself, GOD already has forgiven you!" I am not certain, but It sure looked as though he wiped a tear from his face, while continuing to look down. I laid the $5 card on the sidewalk beside him, and said, "I am praying for you, sir." As I turned and began to walk away, he said, "Tyreese" I turned to look at him and he said again, "My name is Tyreese. Thank you Johnathan."
GOD thank you for never holding my faults and failures against me. Thank you that YOU are not focusing on my past. But instead you are loving me, moving me to a better future!
Friends, don't allow your past continue to destroy what GOD has planned for you. HE loves you and has forgiven you! Forgive yourself and let HIM bring you joy, love, and happiness! HE has great plans for you! Remember the scripture where HE says HE will gladly trade you beauty for ashes? Give HIM the ashes from your past, and watch HIM as HE gives you beauty for a better life! A simple trade, beauty for ashes, is available for you right now. All you have to do is make the trade.
Please take time to remind your family and friends that GOD has great plans for them, as well. HE loves each of us more than we can even imagine!
Have a happy Testimony Tuesday!