Friday, April 3, 2009

When Its Too Late

PDFThe following touching devotional is the real-life testimonial of one of Lamb & Lion Ministries' trustees, Don O'Donnel. Don and his wife, Pat, are now retired from the police force and Don's studying to become a minister.


Police Funeral
Let me tell you about my good buddy, "Mike."

I've known "Mike" for almost thirty years. We were friends. We worked South Dallas in Vice and Narcotics together. We had "each other's backs" and were involved in shootings, drug deals, federal investigations, vicious Jamaicans, crooked sheriffs, and, of course, I was there the night that he got shot.

I guess that you could say that "Mike" and me, well, we've "been around the block" together. His great charm was his quick wit and his ever-ready joke. I grew to love the guy.

Over the years, whenever I started to talk with him about God, he would always jokingly say, "People ask me about religion, I tell them that I'm a pedestrian, and that they should keep on walking."

I already said that I loved the guy. But he was a blasphemer, a thief, an adulterer, a liar, a fornicator, and a lazy, fat glutton. He only cared about himself and his own immediate pleasure and gratification. He would cheat a friend, steal from his family, or try seducing some eighteen-year-old waitress if it was good for "Mike." And "Mike" always rationalized his conduct. He was "talking care of the only ONE that is really important — ME."

Our career paths split and over the years we didn't keep very close. From time to time, I heard that he was having drug problems, medical complications from his gunshot wound (which was very near his spine), problems at work, marital problems, kid problems, house problems, money woes, etc., etc. It seemed as if every time somebody mentioned his name, he was in some kind of trouble.

A few years ago, because of some problem with his wife and a "family violence" incident, he was transferred into the same building where I was assigned. I saw him several times and tried to tell him about the Living God who loved him, about Jesus who died for him, and about the salvation that was freely offered as a gracious gift of God. He would always scoff, make some off-colored remark, and try to shame me with one of his many filthy jokes laced with profanity.

The last time I spoke with "Mike" was in August or September 2008. Deciding on a different approach, I tried to tell him that God's judgment was serious, final and imminent. "Mike" was cavalier and disdainful. He rebuked me. He cursed. He told me, "If God don't like me the way I am, then #!%* Him!"

I prayed for ol' "Mike."

I left the job soon after that. Only, his name popped up a couple of weeks ago. He was in the hospital having another back surgery.

I wanted to go and pay him a visit one more time. Maybe tell him about the Christ who saves, one more time. I even had a gospel tract to give him. Just one more time... but, I was busy and never got around to visiting "Mike."

On Saturday, "Mike" died. He had a heart attack at home while recovering from his back surgery. His funeral was on the following Thursday.

I know in my heart that unless God had moved on him, that ol "Mike" is not in Heaven today. He is suffering anguish and torment. It's too late for my friend "Mike."

Is there someone you need to tell about Jesus TODAY?

19 comments:

son of thunder said...

Wow. I have a co-worker very much like "Mike," who, when you bring up Jesus as being Lord of all and the only way to salvation, actually throws things and gets mad. I mean red-in-the-face, blasphemy angry. Personally, I think he's probably possessed.

I pray for him constantly, but he blames God for every problem he has.

Did I mention that he's a "Christian?"

hartdawg said...

i know of people (even my brothers wife) who i believe their heart is so hardened that its already too late. now before you all go telling me how wrong i am genesis says his spirit will not always strive with man. i believe blasphemy of the holy spirit is a continued hardened heart that is beyond conviction. whether that was the case with "mike" noone knows. that does not negate our responsibility to tell people. is this theologically sound? i always believed this.

son of thunder said...

I think that blasphemy of the Spirit is ignoring that prompting of the Spirit until your final breath.

It's been said that everyone who goes into a brothel is looking for God. I don't know how theologically sound that is, but everyone is looking for fulfillment. We all try to fill that "god-shaped hole" in our lives with something whether it is drugs, women, alcohol, sports, TV, whatever. And none of them work.

We try to block out that voice, that prompting by doing these things. We know they're wrong while we're doing them, but we feel compelled to drown out the voice of our Shepherd calling us. "Mike" was no different.

He knows us all by name and He calls us as He looks for us.

We all have a "Mike." All of us have been or are "Mike." Our job is to tell people about the Messiah, whether it's at work, church, the local watering-hole, or outside a strip club. Jesus doesn't care who they are our how hard they may be.

Jesus made the heart and He can break the heart.

hartdawg said...

i am not so sure, i wonder what nathan thinks. besides, how many times in revelation does it say "and they would not repent?" i dont want to get too far off topic but i do believe this is relevent.

son of thunder said...

I think it's relevant and I would like to know Nathan or Dr. Reagan's (or both) thoughts. But consider this: Repentance is answering that call. It means, literally, to turn around.

People run away from God. If we turn around, we are running to God.

hartdawg said...

ah, the word is if. hebrews warns of refusing god and hardening your heart. God can break any heart but that dont mean he will. someone once said "what good is a 2nd chance after death? they'll just make the same choice again"

Anonymous said...

Remember that God looks at the heart, but all we can see is the outward. For this reason, I don't think it's wise for us (who don't see clearly) to ever judge and say someone is beyond accepting Christ as Savior. After all, some believers will tell you that when they were most virulent toward the Lord, they were also most open to His voice!

To me, this type of action is akin to the judgment some believers make when they say a person isn't really a Christian.

Both of those scenarios, inappropriately set the believer up as a judge--and our judgments can only be based on what we see and hear!

Only God knows what's really inside a person (and what his or her response to Him has been or will be). I think it's best to let God do His job. He's infinitely better qualified at it than I am.

Besides, we're called to witness to others--not decide whether they can be saved or not!

Laura

son of thunder said...

This is true. Even at the end of the Millenium, with people living at the greatest time in human existence, under the direct rule of the Messiah, there will be rebellion.

Let's look at the facts: During the Exodus, how many times did Pharaoh's heart soften then harden again even after seeing God work? He could have ignored that urge to be hard and let the Hebrews go, but then they wouldn't have went through the sea which symbolized going from a life of self to a life of God. But that's a different topic.

David, on the other hand, after cheating with Bathsheba, could have hardened his heart to Nathan the Prophet. But he didn't. He even wrote a Psalm about it.

I believe life is about choices. Do we follow after God and His way or do we reject Him?

But to say that God won't is an Islamic belief. "He specially chooses for His mercy whom He pleases; and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace." -Surah 3:74. The Qur'an is full of that kind of stuff. That God will only save who He wants and, literally, to hell with everyone else.

God desires that no one perish and I believe He calls everyone, but, most never answer.

hartdawg said...

laura, if you will carefully reread my 1st comment i said it does not negate our responsibility. do i believe a person can harden their heart beyond conviction? YES. do i believe its for us to say it has happened to a certain individual? unless God gives us a special gift of discernment (and he sometimes does) NO. so for the most part i agree with you that we cant judge if its happened. i am curious as to nathanas take on this.

Nathan Jones said...

That's a tough call, Hartdawg. Romans 1:18-32 shows that when mankind denies God continually, he gives them over to a depraved mind so that they will be destroyed. And yet, some God works harder on some to bring them to repentance. I've got a number of friends that before salvation would have killed me over a drink or for kicks, and now they have the best testimony of how the Lord has changed them.

It's truly between God and the person He calls.

"God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith." - Acts 15:8-9 (in reference to the worst heathens of all - Gentiles)

hartdawg said...

i resonally believe that is what blasphemy against the holy spirit is. and sadly it gets worse in the last days. the biggest symptom in my opinion is not open hostility but careless indifference. nonetheless, i still do all i can which is the whole point of his testimonial.

Anonymous said...

Hartdawg,

I wasn't trying to refute what you or anyone else said. I was simply adding my two-cent's worth.

My apologies if it came across as offensive.

Laura

Anonymous said...

I feel sad for this man.
But it's true god gives you a choice, What you do with it matters.

hartdawg said...

i wasnt offended, it just sounded like you didnt quite understant what i said, perhaps a little vague on my part so i simply clarified. in this post i see 2 warnings, 1. dont play games with God, to trifle with him or to pit your will against him is a dangerous thing.to the unsaved turn to him before its too late.2. for us christians, it would be very tragic not to see people we love in heaven because we were too scared, lazy or whatever to share christ with them.

Billy said...

If someone chooses not to accept Christ it is THEIR choice. Thankfully we won't suffer anguish once in our redeemed bodies over the loss of an unsaved loved one since our memories of this person will cease to exist.

I do believe people can be saved even to the point of impending death as one of the men on the cross next to Jesus shows.

son of thunder said...

I agree that someone, if they are truly repentant, can be saved up until the point of death. Some would disagree and say they have to be baptized, but if you've got only minutes to spare? Please.

hartdawg said...

if a person is repentant then their heart has not been too hardened. that a person can hardened their heart to where they will never repent to me makes sense. if there is any desire to repent then that has not happened.

son of thunder said...

That sound's about right to me, hartdawg.

Unfortunately, most people have no idea what to do with that repentant feeling. They think if they make "amends" then it'll be all right. They're "good people" and God will let them in, is the thought and what has been taught for thousands of years.

Donald Dolmus said...

What a shocking testimony!

Let's hope that in the last minute of his life, Mike could have the opportunity to repent and give his life to Jesus.