Transformed by God’s Love
By Derek Morris
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” – Jeremiah 31:3
Mary Ann Roberts grew up in a Christian home, but as a young person she never made a personal commitment to Jesus as her Savior and Lord. After college she married, her husband joined the military, and they moved to Europe. It was there that Mary Ann abandoned all connections with church and became a self-described party animal.
In 1983 she hit rock bottom. In the midst of a weekend-long drinking binge she became so drunk and sick that she was unable to attend a family reunion. That’s when Mary Ann decided to ask God back into her life. The vivid picture that came to her mind at that low point in her life was of a loving Father running down the road to meet His prodigal child. Mary Ann knew she was that child.
Realizing that she needed to make some radical changes in her lifestyle, she wrote to a Christian pastor and told him of her commitment to become a follower of Jesus. That pastor’s wife understood how difficult the transition would be and supported Mary Ann by calling her on the telephone every single morning for an entire year to pray with her.
Even though Mary Ann started attending a Christian church and God became a vital part of her life, she sensed that something was still missing—that God had something special in store for her that she had not yet discovered. She always wished that she had continued her education, and decided to go back to school. Perhaps it would fill the void in her heart. She applied to and was accepted into a graduate program in science and eventually completed a PhD in neuroscience. But somehow life still seemed incomplete.
In the summer of 2001, Mary Ann attended a campmeeting in North Carolina. She was mainly interested in socializing with friends, so she sat near the back of the auditorium. During one of the meetings though, she overhead a Christian evangelist invite those who were interested in a ministry project in Kenya to meet with him after the service.
“Usually I like to mull things over before I act,” Mary Ann recalls, “but it was as if someone were standing in front of me and pointing directly at me.” At the close of the meeting she walked up to the front of the auditorium under deep conviction that God was calling her to participate in the ministry project in Kenya. After talking with Mary Ann, the evangelist invited her to conduct a series of meetings in the community of Rongo, Kenya. Mary Ann was not a public speaker. She had no homiletics training and absolutely no experience in frontline mission work. It had never crossed her mind that God would ask her to become a preacher. But she was open to the working of the Holy Spirit that day, and, in her own words, she began to pray a very radical prayer: “Lord, I give You permission to throw me out into your harvest.”
Fast forward a few months and Mary Ann traveled to Kenya to do just what God had called her to do. Although she was terrified, every night when she stood up to preach, she sensed God speaking through her to the crowd assembled in the town square. At the end of her meetings more than 500 people confessed their love for Jesus in baptism. As you can imagine, Mary Ann was filled with joy—radical joy! And that joy has not disappeared. Mary Ann has continued to preach, share God’s love, and follow His leading. She found her calling when she gave God permission to use her in His harvest.
Will you give God permission to use you in His harvest? It might not look the same as it did three months ago, before the COVID-19 crisis hit. But there is still much to do, and many souls waiting to hear the good news! Pray and ask Him what He would have you to do!
Derek Morris is president of Hope Channel International. For more inspiration like this, we encourage you to read our featured book of the week by Derek Morris titled The Radical Prayer, from which this week’s devotional has been taken.
HEART QUESTIONS: What about our life today? Have we given God permission to use us in His harvest? If we feel distant from God, let’s remember that He’s waiting with open arms of love for us to turn to Him. He not only wants to welcome us home, but He also has a special place of service for each of us. Will we open our hearts to His call?
ACTIVE HEART CHALLENGE: Look around for the different ways God is showing you His love. Perhaps you will see His love through others, through nature, or by some other means. When you discover His love in a unique way, write it down, then share it with two people this week as you claim John 15:12. Make it a habit to look for God’s love and for unique ways that you can share His love with others.
“The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 2 Corinthians 5:19. . .Such love is without a parallel. Children of the heavenly King! Precious promise! Theme for the most profound meditation! The matchless love of God for a world that did not love Him!” – Steps to Christ, p. 13, 15
Going Deeper: Additional reading suggestions for this week
• Ellen White, Steps to Christ, chapter 1 "God's Love for Man" Click Here to Read
• Derek J. Morris, The Radical Prayer
Day 50 – Prayer Focus – Friday, May 15, 2020
- Elizabeth W.: “I praise God for His healing power!”
- Member in the U.K.: “Praise God for hearing our prayer and miraculously providing food and financial help just at the right time. Also, for healing my back problems!”
- Scientists are eagerly working on finding a vaccination and remedies that help to slow down the virus. Much progress has been made and there is hope!
- Pray for a willing heart to be used by God whenever and wherever He calls.
- Pray all the online evangelism and digital church activities will be utilized and greatly blessed.
- Pray for young people who are in the valley of decision for or against Christ. Pray that they will experience the love and truth of Jesus and gladly serve Him all their lives.
- Pray for the many church groups around the world who don’t have a building to meet in and are seeking to find land. Pray also for God to awaken all members to engage in church-planting activities.