1 sneeze + 3 men in a truck = 2 salvations
Greetings, my friends, this is Dr. Judy with a message from God's Word in my series - GOING BOLD FOR GOD. Today's testimony story and lesson focuses on taking advantage of the common things of life.
At a busy gas station and convenience store one beautiful day in Arkansas, I observed a man walking across the parking lot eating a sandwich. He reached his pick up truck, which was about ten feet from where I was standing, when I heard him sneeze. I called out in his direction, "God bless you".
"What did you say?" he replied. As I walked closer I repeated myself, "God bless you, I said!" He was now sitting in the driver’s seat and I was approaching his truck, smiling and praying for an opportunity to speak with him about Jesus. He smiled back and said thank you to which I replied, "You do believe in God, don’t you?"
"I hope there’s a God," replied John, age 67, "although I wouldn’t really know, I haven’t been to church since I was a little boy." I asked if he knew the Bible verse from the Gospel of John which bares his name, John 3:16, and I began quoting it. "For God so loved you, John, that He gave His one and only son …. He smiled saying he had a faint recollection of hearing those words. He then asked me if I believed in heaven. As I gave him my affirmative answer and tried to share about Jesus, he interrupted me and shared that he was hoping he had been "good enough" to go to heaven when his life is over. Will I see you there, he asked?
I smiled and said I would be there but not because of my good works. It was very busy and noisy at the gas station so I showed him a Good News witnessing card and began reading the words on the card to him so John could see them as well as hear the Gospel message. He looked startled as I continued to tell him about Jesus and then asked in a very matter-of-fact tone, "Is all this true?" I assured him it was God’s Word, and most certainly true. "Well, what does this mean for me, is there something I need to do besides my good works?" John asked.
Just as I was getting into the message of salvation and explaining why Jesus died on the cross, one of his co-workers opened the passenger door and slipped in the back seat of the truck. I glanced at him and smiled and continued to talk with John. He quietly sat in the back, even leaning forward to hear what I was saying, but said nothing.
John and I continued our conversation and he asked if there was a difference between little sins and big sins. He continued by asking, "If I tell a lie, isn’t that just a little sin? But the guy who robs the bank or kills somebody, aren’t they really big bad sins? I told him sin was sin in the eyes of the Lord and if you told one lie you are a liar, right, I asked? John looked puzzled and then said, I don’t get it. If everyone believes in Jesus are they going to go to heaven? I assured him that Jesus’ word says to believe in Him alone and you will be saved. We talked about why Jesus had to die on the cross and about His resurrection. I also shared with him about repentance, and faith, and a changed life.
John’s lunch had been sitting on his lap this whole time. He wrapped up his sandwich and put it next to him in the truck and turned to me and said, "I want to know Jesus and forgiveness of my sins. Please tell me more." John took the Good News card and immediately began reading it out loud. While he was reading it, another of John’s co-workers arrived and climbed into the front passenger seat of the truck, saying hello and trying to be friendly.
John turned to him and asked him to please just listen then he turned back to me and asked a few more questions and I shared a little of my personal testimony and salvation story and what Jesus means to me and what happened in my life. I shared several more Bible verses with him and told him of the Lord’s faithfulness, love and mercy toward us. After hearing all of this John said he believed and was ready to repent and place his faith and trust in Jesus and start living for Him today." I prayed with him and he prayed to ask God for forgiveness of his sins and then said, "Wow, I feel so refreshed, so different, what has happened to me?", he asked.
I explained that the Lord now lives within him, which is the Holy Spirit, and it is no longer he who lives but Christ who lives in him. Galatians 2:20.
Leroy, the man who had just arrived in the passenger seat, spoke up and said, "John, you’re saved and you’re going to go to heaven when you die." He explained that he had been saved since age 17 and was so excited to hear about John’s decision to give his heart and life to Jesus. Hearing this, I turned to the man in the back seat and asked Joe what he believed about God.
Obviously touched by what was happening, Joe’s eyes welled up with tears as he admitted, "I really don’t know anything about God but I want to." I turned to Leroy and asked him to tell Joe how much God loves him.
As Leroy earnestly assured Joe that Jesus died for him, John chimed in, too. "Give him that Good News card, Judy" he said, and with tears of repentance, Joe, age 64, was also ready to believe and receive forgiveness of his sins and invite Jesus Christ into his life and heart. John and Joe both invited Jesus into their lives, seeking forgiveness and repentance. LeRoy, age 68, then prayed for both of his co-workers and for me also. He promised to help them grow in their faith and invited them to his church. They drove away, headed back to work, praising the Lord and rejoicing as they waved.
I stood there for a moment with tears running down my face, praising the Lord for this wonderful divine appointment. I felt numb from what had just happened, yet in awe at the love and mercy the Lord shows us. I prayed for these men again as I saw their truck drive out of sight, knowing that one day we would be reunited in heaven.
Dear friends, let me encourage you to listen and the next time you hear someone sneeze, what will you say? I hope you’ll see how the Lord can use everyday, ordinary things as opportunities for us to be His witnesses.
Remember the truth behind the words spoken after a sneeze, God bless you, they can change a life. Many myths were spread centuries ago about sneezing. Many believed that your heart stopped beating when you sneezed, and that is why bystanders would say, "God bless you", hoping the person wouldn’t die. Well, that myth is not true, your heart does not stop when you sneeze. When your chest contracts because of a sneeze, your blood flow is momentarily constricted. As a result, the rhythm of your heart may change, but it definitely doesn't stop.
When I was a child, I always heard, and I guess learned to say, "God bless you" when I heard someone sneeze, whether it was a family member, a friend, or a stranger. I thought it was just a nice gesture.
As I grew older and became a Christian, I continued to say "God bless You" when I would hear someone sneeze. Although I must admit, I heard fewer and fewer people offering those words of truth. Sometimes I heard the greeting shorten to just "Bless you", of which I would ask, "who will bless you?"
Today I think the common sneeze is just another opportunity to open a conversation with a stranger, and so I pray for the Lord to use the occasion to give me and you the opportunity to share the Gospel message with the "sneezer." Keep your ears open, my friend, a witnessing opportunity might be just around the next corner when you hear someone sneeze!
If you are not sure where you will spend eternity, please contact me or a Christian friend as soon as possible, we have some GOOD NEWS we want to share with you.
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AND MY DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS, I WANT TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO STAY FAITHFUL TO YOUR MISSION AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU GO AND BE BOLD FOR GOD!