Never Give Up

Keith Knight

“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)

One of the greatest passages of Scripture is found in Romans 10 and is one that holds a special place in my heart.  Many years ago, I heard that Romans 10 was called “The Romans Road to Salvation.”  The theme of the chapter is the heart of the Christian faith.  In essence, Romans 10 says “The Message and Word of Faith Brings Salvation to All.”  This passage of Scripture brings encouragement and hope because I have family members, friends and neighbors that are lost, separated and apart from Christ.  The chapter begins with the cry of my heart.  In Romans 10:1, the Bible says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”  I’m sure you can identify.  We all have loved ones who are not saved and our heart’s desire and prayer is for their salvation.  We all want to know that our loved ones eternal destination is secured in heaven.  Today, I want to encourage you to “Never Give Up and Never Stop Praying.”

After 20+ years of praying, I recently had the honor and privilege to lead my father-in-law, Merle, to saving faith in Jesus Christ!!!  Our hearts were overflowing with praise, love and joy to our wonderful Lord and Savior.  Our God is faithful, He is patient and His timing is perfect.  You see, my father-in-law was put on hospice care a few weeks ago and his earthly life is near the end.  But God was gracious and sustained his life until we traveled back to West Virginia to share the gospel with him one last time.  In addition, over the past couple of years, he has struggled with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  He has experienced confusion, memory loss, hallucinations and the inability to remember certain people at times.  He led a rebellious life and has been a maverick at the core.  Always feeling unworthy, he’s had a difficult time understanding God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.  The chasm and circumstances seemed overwhelming from a human perspective…but impossible is not in God’s vocabulary!!!  We solicited our faithful prayer warriors and God heard our cry…our heart’s desire and our prayers Merle’s salvation!!! 

Merle C. Pettit Jr. received Jesus Christ into his heart as Savior and Lord on the morning of October 18, 2013.  God was masterfully at work.  The window of opportunity was small because family distractions would have been a deterrent and his mental understanding is limited.  But there is POWER in PRAYER and GOD’S TIMING is PERFECT!!!   Merle was alert and in his right mind, family members were not home and I needed to pull the trigger so to speak.   I asked Merle if he’s ever been afraid and he said “Yes, in the Korean War.”  I then asked him if he was afraid of dying and he said “Yes.”  I explained that he didn’t have to fear death and he could know that he was going to heaven by receiving Jesus into his heart that God loves him and sent His son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.  He said “I believe that’s true.”  I asked him if he wanted to pray and accept Jesus.  He said “Yes and no.”  “Why do you say no” I asked him.  He said “because I wasn’t good enough and didn’t know if God would forgive me for being so bad my whole life.”  I explained that we're all sinners saved by grace, that all of us have done wrong things, but that God’s love and forgiveness is unconditional.  With that, he said yes and expressed the desire to pray and asked Jesus into his heart.  I've known Merle for over 35 years and this was the first time I’ve heard him pray.  My wife Toni, Merle and I held hands and prayed.  Merle repeated the sinner’s prayer, my words to God verbatim, which was a miracle itself.  Afterwards, Merle said, “Forgiveness, that’s some powerful stuff.”  We replied Amen.  With his heart he believed and with his mouth he confessed Jesus as Lord, resulting in salvation.  That’s “The Romans Road to Salvation.”  We took a picture together and needless to say, Merle’s smile was priceless!!!       

Today, I want to encourage you to “Never Give Up” praying, “Never Give Up” witnessing, “Never Give Up” sharing the Good News and gospel of Jesus Christ!!!

 

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