Acts 16:31 NIV—
“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—
you and your household.’”
“They replied, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved,
and your entire household.’"
“Heroin Addict Saved”
Last month I shared about my sister who wanted what I had, and she wonderfully found Who she needed in order to be changed, healed and her heart filled with love for others. This week while seeking God for wisdom to know what Salvation Story to write about, He reminded me about her son, Matt, who actually met the Lord personally even before his mother (my sister) did.
Very often the Lord uses a crisis to get our attention, as each of us know all too well. The crisis that hit us was shockingly unlike anything I’d ever have imagined our family would have experienced. Let me back up just a bit to explain that my sister’s husband cheated on her, yet instead of turning to the Lord, whom she didn’t know at the time, she sadly confronted him. And when he refused to choose my sister over the OW, in anger, rooted in deep hurt, she packed up her four children—the baby was just three weeks old.
Again, rather than having the Lord to help her, she turned to family and the social welfare system. When her two boys reached their teenage years, due to them not having a Heavenly Father (to the fatherless), because my sister didn’t know she could become His bride, as many teen boys without fathers, they became too much for my sister to handle. So she sent them back to live with their father who was too busy and focused on his new family. So my nephews turned to drugs to deal with the pain of rejection.
Just a side note, this all happened many years before my own marriage crumbled. Yet God used it for good because watching how my sister dealt with her husband’s unfaithfulness and how it so adversely affected her children, this was something I thought of often, which motivated me to find a different path for my children.
Though I am sure my nephew's drug addiction, like all addictions, began with something small, by the time my mother (their grandmother) heard about Matt, he had been a heroin addict for many years. My mother was in California visiting and had met with my sister’s oldest son, who said he could find Matt for her (he was living on the streets). So he was able to find him, and clean him up, to meet his grandmother.
My mother could never speak of that meeting without crying because Matt was so horribly thin, a mere skeleton of himself, gray and shaking. My mother said, weeping, that she just held him in her arms while she sent Tommy to get him something to eat, rocking Matt until he returned with the food. After experiencing his grandmother’s love, without judgment, Tommy got Matt a job as a dishwasher that allowed him to get off the streets.
It was just about a month after this meeting in California when we got the urgent call from my sister who was weeping saying that she knew her son Matt was going to die. He’d taken another overdose, yet came through, but she said she just knew it would happen again and the next time he’d die!
The Lord’s timing is always perfectly timed. We got the call just as we were leaving for the revival meeting at our church. Not only is His timing perfect, but so is His leading. That night we sat somewhere entirely different since someone had taken our normal seats. As soon as we sat down, the preacher told us to turn to the person behind us and pray for their needs.
The group behind us was from Teen Challenge! We knew right away about that group of on-fire teens because the Evangelist who was used to bring about that worldwide revival was one of it’s greatest testimonies! He’d been a drug addict, dealer and had the option of going to prison for breaking into a pharmacy (which was a felony) OR attend Teen Challenge. That changed his life and together with his wife, whom the preacher met while in TC, went on to evangelize around the world.
As soon as the young men heard about Matt, they broke free from us and got into a very powerful and intense, loud huddle—crying out for “Matthew”— I heard them shout over and over again, calling Matt to know Him.
Later, when we got home, I called my sister to tell her what had happened and assured her that God was in control and she didn’t need to worry.
Two weeks later we got the call from my sister. The very next morning, the day after these young men prayed, Matt called to tell his mom about a new job he’d gotten, working with the coroner. His job was to pick up the dead bodies of the homeless and drug addicts. Matt called his mom again, just a few days later, trembling and shaken—telling her that he just knew it was a wakeup call and that he could see himself being picked up the next time he overdosed.
Though Matt said he didn’t know how he would get off drugs, because he’d tried before, yet he just knew he was ready to do whatever it took. He said he just knew that one day he’d be picked up and put in a body bag by someone else doing his job and that thought would keep him clean.
A month later we got the other call that my nephew had found Teen Challenge and there met a young woman, who a year later became his wife. This all happened many years ago, and since that time, Matt and Maggie have had two beautiful daughters and are happily married serving the Lord.
So if you have a family member who is in the worst of situations, like we discovered Matt was in. I’d encourage you to read this testimony and maybe share it with other family members who are as frightened as you feel. Then together believe that nothing, not one thing, is impossible with God!
And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
"For nothing will be impossible with God."
But He said, "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (TPT)—
"Beloved brothers and sisters, we want you to be quite certain about the truth concerning those who have passed away, so that you won’t be overwhelmed with grief like many others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who died while believing in Him."
On February 29, 2020 the Lord called Matt home. We were stunned when we heard that my nephew and father of 2 girls was murdered. Though this was a heartbreaking and unfathomable tragedy, we were given comfort in knowing He was resting in the arms of His beloved Savior.
Our focus of course turned to his widow and daughters, but also to my sister who'd lost her son. Due to the circumstances, my most pressing concern was asking the Lord to help her forgive the four youths who were arrested for his death. We never know when a loved-one will face death, but we can trust HIM to make sure they are ready to be called home. And also that He will use it for good, someway, somehow—our job is not to worry but to watch with anticipation for how He will use it.
At the service for Matt, Tara offered her bible and asked me for verses they could read besides Psalm 23. Should you ever need a series of verses to comfort another family, I hope you will share these too:
Romans 8:35, 37-39 New Living Translation (NLT)—
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us. For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing—can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate You.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!
So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…
1 Thessalonians 4:14-17—
For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."
And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Psalm 23 KJV—
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.