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theopenlife
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


 Update: My mugger came back!

[url=http://www.theopenlife.com/audioblog/20090311%20-%20Run%20in%20with%20Robbers%20-%20Part%20II.mp3]Download .mp3 version[/url] [4.2 MB]

Some of you should recall last year, when I was attacked and robbed while riding a bicycle home from work. The astounding details of that incident are recorded in the post for July 7th, 2008, [url=http://theopenlife.blogspot.com/2008/07/run-in-with-robbers-part-i.html]Run in With Robbers - Part I[/url], but the gist of it was that I chose not to react violently because of my religious beliefs. Instead I prayed, gave them my knife and offered my possessions willingly and calmly in return for an opportunity to tell them the good news of Jesus. Rather than listen, the thieves ran off with nothing but an .mp3 player loaded with an audio bible and some gospel sermons. Afterward multiple police told me I should have attacked since it was not likely the men were armed. I held, however, to my belief that I was directed by God to refrain. I have wondered since then what I might do in a future similar circumstance.

Now, jump eight months forward to March 11, 2009.

Just after 2:00 PM I was riding my bicycle through the same infamous stretch of the Lowe's parking lot where I was mugged. During the daytime this is usually a busy area but at present I was alone, at least until a red Mustang sidled up and slowed to my pace. The driver was a unfamiliar Hispanic man, perhaps twenty-one years old, and he leaned over and pointed something at me. In his hand was a green iPod mini and some earphones. Sometimes people try to sell stolen items on the street, but an immediate thought which occurred to me was, 'don't stop pedaling, you might be getting set up again.'

He waved the item at me again and said, "Don't you remember me? I stole your .mp3 player last year." Instantly I clutched the brakes. My friend Erin was on the phone with me so I told her to pray and hung up. An enormous grin crossed my face as he stopped his car. Lord, thank you.

Again he expressed desire to give me the .mp3 player. "It's fine, man, I don't need it. I have another."

"But I want to do something for you... can I give you my number? I'll go to church with you... what can I do?"

I told the young man all I wanted was for him to go home and read the whole New Testament, and see for himself the Son of God who had transformed me from a worse criminal into someone capable of loving his enemies. As if to show his improvement without religion, he explained how he had cleaned up since the night when he mugged me. Apparently that event signaled the beginning of a realization he had about the foolishness of his life. Two weeks after, he totaled his car. Perhaps confronted with the thought of death, he resolved to live differently from then on.

Over the next eight months he walked out of drugs and crime, and into a regular forty-hour job. "Now I need to be a man and earn a living. I can't be a fool anymore. I need to do good to people." He confronted his friends and convinced one of the attackers to straighten up. Now that man is apparently living in another city pursuing a decent life as well. With sober pride he even confessed his acceptance by a semi-pro baseball league in Mexico which he will be joining soon. "I was raised Roman Catholic, but I'm not sure about religion. Now I'm trying to find my own path, to be a good person."

"You can't take credit for that," I retorted, shaking my head. "For weeks after, hundreds of people were praying for you, from my church and around the country through my website." With manifest care, I added, "You'll be the best person in hell, friend, if you trust in anything but the perfect sacrifice of Christ for your standing before God. " I pointed to the drink in his cup-holder. "Does that taste good?" He nodded and smiled, "Sprite? Yeah, Sprite is good."

"But," I went on, "what if you opened the lid and saw black filth inside, all around the walls of the cup? You'd be disgusted and throw it out the window. Your deeds may be outwardly good but God sees your motives. The greatest commandment is not to love others, but to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Every thought, action, intention, is supposed to be for Him. Instead of using your muscles to rob people, you ought to be using them to help others for God's sake. Even a dog licks the hand of the one who feeds it, but how thankless towards God are you? If your ultimate reason for doing good things is not to glorify God first, but to magnify your self-worth, or elevate others, or shut your conscience up, then God sees it all as filthy rags. That's what Isaiah said."

This whole while he listened intently.

"It's a matter of values. If you saw someone kick a dog, you might not think twice. But if you saw someone kick an infant you would be enraged. That's because infants are more valuable to you than animals. But to God, every sin that a man commits is against the Lord, Himself. He takes it personally. Psalm 5:5 says, "The foolish shall not stand in God's sight: the Lord hates all workers of iniquity." After David committed murder and adultery, he said, "Against God alone have I sinned." The Bible says that only perfect people will be acquitted at God's judgment. And since God is infinitely valuable, His punishment upon offenders will go on infinitely. It's justice."

"But that's where Jesus comes in. From before time, God foresaw selfish, wicked, God-hating people like you and me and determined to save them by His grace. The Bible says, "Christ died for the ungodly," not those whom He foresaw doing good works to earn salvation. He wanted to magnify His kindness and generosity to undeserving sinners. So Jesus came and fulfilled the moral laws of God; he lived the way you and I should have. And then He suffered God's wrath as a substitute on the cross. He took the whole penalty in his soul and became accursed for others. He bore all the sins of everyone who would believe on Him, so that anyone who will believe can have faith that since Christ, the infinite Son of God, bore their entire judgment, they will receive His righteousness credited to them. It's a transfer: God looks at Jesus suffering to death and sees you; God looks at you and sees Jesus obeying throughout His life."

"God doesn't want you to try to earn anything. That takes away from His glory. It makes salvation a wage that you earned, instead of a gift to be received. He doesn't even want you to have faith in your faith. He wants you to turn from doing everything He hates, just to please Him, and to rely on Jesus' life and death to be good enough to satisfy the Father's justice. Rely on the resurrection as proof that Jesus was accepted by the Father."

"Anyways," I concluded, "I don't mean to overwhelm you."

"It's cool," he laughed, extending his hand. I gripped it and smiled once more.

"I just want to see you in heaven, and I want you to trust Jesus instead of your actions. Do good because it's right, but not in order to be right with God. When you believe, you're born again and obedience and good works come supernaturally by His Spirit."

"I've done a lot of bad stuff, man... that night we had a gun, we wouldn't have hesitated to shoot you."

"It doesn't matter. Christ bore all for all who believe on Him. He changed me. All I feel for you is love, bro. God bless you."

We shook hands again and he drove out. "Lord, thank You!" I shouted. Oh, how the Lord is good to such an undeserving sinner as me.

In consideration of the gun, I now realize more fully how close to the threshold of eternity I was! But really, am I further now? This life is a vapor that vanishes away.

Please pray for this man. He is near to the Kingdom of God.

 2009/3/12 2:46Profile
Miccah
Member



Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752
Wisconsin

 Re: Update: My mugger came back!

Praise, praise, Praise be to the LORD!

This has truly made my night/morning. Thank you my brother for obeying the Lord. Your witness was not lost upon this lost one.

Grace upon grace my brother.


_________________
Christiaan

 2009/3/12 3:23Profile
KathleenP
Member



Joined: 2008/4/3
Posts: 228
Maine

 Re: Update: My mugger came back!

Glory to God! How wonderful a testimony and how faithful a God to honor the prays of his saints and to bless your forgiveness of this man.

May this be instrumental in bringing him to Jesus. Oh, this is just wonderful and has made my morning Brother.

Keep Us all posted.

Kathleen


_________________
Kathleen

 2009/3/12 5:19Profile
HeartSong
Member



Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3165


 Re: Update: My mugger came back!

God is so good!

Not only did He let you see the fruit of your obedience, but He sent the seed back for more water!

These things just put me in the clouds.

 2009/3/12 6:44Profile









 Re: Update: My mugger came back!

I remember that message eight months ago and am honored to hear this one. It is truly astounding what the Lord can do, and is doing. You and he are in my prayers.... as before. What an edification to the body and what a testament to your faithfullness to God. Keep doing what you do Brother!!!

 2009/3/12 7:57
ravenmolehil
Member



Joined: 2006/11/10
Posts: 279
North Carolina, US

 Re: Update: My mugger came back!

AS soon as I read the thread title my heart rejoiced!!! Praise God for working through this event and allowing us to see such things come to pass. It seems that he has made restitution with man, I pray God would grant this fellow repentance and saving faith - No doubt he has heard the Gospel!

Quote: "With manifest care, I added, "You'll be the best person in hell, friend, if you trust in anything but the perfect sacrifice of Christ for your standing before God" Amen


 2009/3/12 8:40Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7494
Mississippi

 Re: Update: My mugger came back!

Awesome!

I assumed you exchanged contact info? You implied it may have happened...If you didn't you may want to maintain your routine of biking through Lowe's parking lot so he will know where to find you if he wants to talk more!

Great story! Just think how it could have progressed had you reacted violently...makes you shake in your boots, does it not? Yes, it appears God is not through with him still; gets exciting when God places you in his path to assist in this process, does it not? We await further developments...and will pray for you as the Spirit prompts..

ginnyrose


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2009/3/12 9:22Profile









 Re:

Quote:
Some of you should recall last year,



Wow... brother, praise God!

 2009/3/12 9:44
fuehrerbe21
Member



Joined: 2008/10/21
Posts: 151
Wisconsin

 Re:

Our God is good! As I read this, I felt as if it were a bit unreal. It is a blessing to be reminded that God is still in control and He is capable of changing the chief of all sinners.

May God continue to work in the young man and in your own ministry. I will be praying. Keep us updated with anything else that might happen.

By the way, did you get the mp3 player back? It doesn't really matter, I was just curious.


_________________
Ben Fuehrer

 2009/3/12 10:41Profile









 Re:

This is really cool!

Krispy

 2009/3/12 10:44





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