The Thought for the Week this Week is by Mandy Stinglehammer

by Susie Jean Sharkey

“Create in me a clean heart……….” psalm 51 v 10

I recently came across some books about Fred Lemon, who in 1950 had a miraculous conversion experience, where Christ appeared to him in his prison cell.  This is just a little of what Christ showed him:

“Clearly yet gently, Christ traced the whole of Fred’s criminal life up to the desperate present,  the drinking, the violence, the bad friends and the crime that had brought him at last to Dartmoor, on a charge of robbery with violence. He spoke of the good things too, of Fred’s small kindnesses and his efforts to reform. There was no harshness in the words, only love”

This encounter with Christ transformed his whole life.  He suddenly was given hope, hope that only Christ can give, that he actually could change, and could become a better person. He had his struggles at the beginning, as it wasn’t easy for him to extract himself from his former life, and his former habits. Yet at critical points on his journey, often when he was ready to give up, it was people in his church who stepped in to help and support, both materially and spiritually. He was eventually powerfully used by God to bring many souls to Christ, often from similar backgrounds of crime, addiction and violence.

As I read I was struck  by two things: 

Firstly, the wonder of God’s renewing, restoring, transforming power. We may not have been living in a criminal underworld as Fred had, but that same miraculous power is there to transform every one of us.

And  secondly, just how vital it is for us as individuals in the church to be ready to come alongside those just starting on the journey, to be aware of their needs and to help, encourage, and support them