Roger Alford

I shared a story here some years ago as told by my good friend Seymour Wattenbarger, a fiery preacher from the hills of southeastern Kentucky.

It went like this: Many years ago, a man widely known for his drinking and cavorting showed up at one of Bro. Seymour’s revival services. That man, Bro. Seymour said, might have best been described as a reprobate. He would get home in the evenings, stumble out of his car and stagger up the sidewalk, cussing loudly and kicking at his dog.

That fellow got saved in the revival service and immediately gave up his drinking and his wicked ways. The change was so drastic that when he got home that night his dog didn’t recognize him and nearly ate him up.

I love true stories about the transforming power of the gospel. Jesus can take a hard-hearted man and make him a new creature. 

I thought it would be fitting to share Bro. Seymour’s story again as we begin the new year, considering all the people who may be struggling this week to keep their resolutions to become better people.

You see, the Lord can bring quick change into our lives, even to the point of giving a man with a nasty disposition a heart filled with love for God and for his fellow man.

The Bible refers to a spiritual heart transplant: “A new heart also I will give you and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart” (Ezekiel 36:26).

The most frequent resolution made by Americans is to lose weight. Others resolved to get organized, to learn a new skill, to start a new hobby, to travel more, to quit smoking or to spend less money.

When we make resolutions, we’re attempting to change ourselves for the better, which may or may not work. When we turn our lives over to Christ, He changes us for the better, and that works every time.

Jesus makes a dramatic change in the lives of people who give their hearts to him.

One rather rough old fellow told me that he felt so clean on the inside after getting saved that he just had to take a bath and clean himself up on the outside. While we may abandon our New Year’s resolutions a few days or weeks into January, the change that Christ brings is lasting. He cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

When the Lord saves people from broken and shattered lives, He gives them brand new lives that are better than before. That’s what he did for the fellow at Bro. Seymour’s revival, and that’s what He does for every new believer.

And, when it happens, your dog should be the first to recognize the change.

Reach Roger Alford at rogeralford1@gmail.com or 502-514-6857.

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