God’s Transforming Power
The powers of darkness are real, but God’s presence and power are far greater. Years ago, on a hill over-looking the village of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, was a house that was used for the powers of darkness. The family that lived there earned a living by practicing sorcery, holding séance’s and interaction with evil spirits.
The father of that family was feared throughout Puerto Rico. He was referred to as the “Great One’. His own wife who assisted him in this “darkness” bore him eighteen children. Their dwelling was a favorite place for mediums and spiritualists to stay.
One of the seventeen sons was deeply affected by growing up in that house. He was afraid of the sorcery that was practiced there, and he resented what he felt was a lack of attention in a family that was so large.
While he was young, he started acting out and getting into trouble. One day his father caught him stealing from his mother’s purse. For punishment, he locked five- year-old Nicky in a filthy pigeon house. He tried to escape but only succeeded in startling the birds who flew around slamming into his little body. When the father finally released him, he cried uncontrollably for several hours. He began having nightmares, over and over.
Nicky of all the children seemed destined for a life of evil. When he was eight, his mother declared that he was not her son, but a “son of Satan, a child of the devil!” He yelled back at her, “I hate you!” It seemed that he was cursed in a house of curses. It wasn’t long before he became an uncontrollable rebel. He tried several times to run away. The hatred he felt for his parents resulted in contempt for all authority.
Realizing they couldn’t control him, when he was fifteen, they sent him to New York City. After arriving at the airport, he disappeared into the streets for several days. Relatives there, enrolled him in school, but he was expelled for repeatedly threatening students, teachers and even the principal. It wasn’t long before he left the home of relatives and began truly living on a street in a very rough part of the city. In time he became the warlord of a vicious street gang known as the Mau Maus. He was filled with a consuming rage that expressed itself in violence, crime and bloodshed.
A police psychiatrist told him that he was on a fast track to the electric chair. One day a pastor read about these gang members and he traveled to New York City to find them and tell them about the God who loved them and Jesus Christ who died for them. Nicky heard that gospel message and surrendered his life to the Savior. THE CHANGE IN NICKY’S LIFE WAS POWERFUL AND INSTANTANEOUS!
All of a sudden, all the hate and rage that had filled his mind and soul, was gone and he was filled with love and compassion for hopeless cases – young people who were on a course to self-destruction. Nicky attended a Bible School in California. There he met his future wife and later he returned to Puerto Rico and saw the conversion of his mother. It seemed like the LORD opened one door after another, and he traveled all over the world sharing his testimony. He became an amazing evangelist. Thousands came to faith in Christ through the ministry of Nicky Cruz, who was once cursed and declared to be a child of the devil.
He and his wife were blessed with four daughters. They, their husbands and children are all serving the LORD. Talk about God’s awesome transforming power!
The Apostle Paul was one who experienced a radical life transformation when he encountered Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. From that meeting he was able to write in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
The words, “in Christ” speak of being in union with Him. When a person is truly converted or born again, it begins a life transformation. The Holy Spirit indwells us at the point of conversion and He begins to create a divine life in the believer. Paul in Romans 8:8-10 wrote, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Now Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
The Apostle Peter wants us to understand that if we have been born again through faith in Christ, that we belong to Christ because He has redeemed us. In Peter 1:18-19 he wrote,
“For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life
inherited from the fathers, not with the perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.”
Peter says here that you and I “have been redeemed”. (purchased, paid for with the precious blood of Jesus.)
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:18 that God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ.” The Greek verb used here is katallasso, and it means to change or exchange. It was used as a monetary term referring to changing or exchanging money – but generally meaning to exchange one thing for another. Paul uses that word to help us see that non-Christians can be reconciled to God through Christ, and we are made spiritually alive. Talk about God’s transforming power!
You don’t have to be a Nicky Cruz to experience this amazing power. All of us have sinned and are sinners. But through repenting of our sin, confessing it and asking Christ to forgive us, we can and will experience God’s forgiveness, acceptance and adoption into His forever family. If you haven’t, please call me. I would love to introduce you to Jesus.
Dear Jubilee Family,
Thank you so very much for the many best wishes on our 55th wedding anniversary. Your hugs, congratulations and gift blessed Joyce and me so very much. God has been so good to us.
We love you and thank the LORD for you and your partnership in this great endeavor.
In His Love,
Leonard and Joyce