16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. –John 3:16, 17 (KJV)
Both of my parents were born and raised in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and I have heard many colorful stories from their respective childhoods. My father told me of a neighbor who lived next door to my dad’s family. The man’s name was Oliver and his lifestyle stood in stark contrast to my grandfather who was a God fearing and upright person. According to my father, Oliver was a raging alcoholic whose hard drinking was legendary in their small community. Oliver would go on drinking binges where he would stay drunk for days on end. My dad said he recalled going to the house one day to visit one of Oliver’s sons and finding Oliver just climbing out of a featherbed after an extended binge. Dad described Oliver’s disheveled appearance as being complete with ragged overalls and feathers clinging to his hair and beard. He was at least a sight.
Oliver’s hard drinking ways continued for many years resulting in the loss of his marriage and many family relationships. However, toward the end of his life a light shined in Oliver’s heart and he trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. Dad reported Oliver was a changed man who never again drank and lived a clean and sober life. Later on, as Oliver lay dying in a hospital bed, he sang praises to God for His grace and mercy and he glorified Christ for the salvation granted to a sinner like him.
I relate this story to demonstrate again the incredible power of God’s grace. Jesus came to save sinners just like Oliver, not condemn them. No one is out of God’s reach or beyond hope. As a man such as Oliver could testify, the power of Christ overcomes all sin.
I am deeply thankful for God’s grace in Jesus Christ. I trust you are as well. Be encouraged, be thankful, for Christ loves you, and will make all the difference in your life.
God bless you today.