God is still welcoming prostitutes and publicans into His kingdom. Iris Blue grew up in Houston, Texas. She lived a rebellious life and got involved in drugs, alcohol and prostitution when she was a teenager. When she was seventeen she was arrested and spent seven years in prison. When she got out of prison, she went back to the streets. She was part of the Banditos motorcycle gang, addicted to heroin and had numerous abortions. As she grew older, she graduated from being a prostitute to being a pimp. Her "office" was a topless bar in a sleazy part of Houston.
One of her former clients became a Christian. He was radically transformed and started witnessing to Iris and others who were still in that destructive lifestyle. He visited Iris at the bar and told her she needed Jesus. She cussed him out. He called her up and told her how much God loved her, and Iris hung up on him. One day he called and asked her to meet him outside the bar. That night he told her he couldn't see her anymore because he had made a commitment to God that he wasn't going to hang around with tramps anymore. Let me pick up the story at this point in Iris' own words:
"When he called me a tramp, I wanted to cut his throat. I thought, 'All this week you've been calling me and telling me how precious I am to God and that I was valuable. And now in one word, I was garbage."
But before I could strike back he said, "You don't even understand, Jesus can turn you into a lady." When he said the word, "lady," it was like something just exploded inside me. And I thought, "All I've ever wanted to be was a lady."
He said, 'You see, it's really like a marriage--it's not just believing. Because if just believing in Jesus would save you, you would have been saved when you first heard about Jesus. But it's a commitment of your life to Him, saying, 'I give you me.' It's not just a one-way street. Jesus gets all of you and you get all of Him. Are you ready?"
I said, "I'm ready." He said, 'Okay, I'm going to lead you in a prayer, kind of like a wedding. And He said, "Jesus, do you want her?" I didn't hear nothing, but he said, "Jesus said, 'I do.'" And then he said, "Iris, do you want Jesus?" And I said, "I do."
We knelt there on the sidewalk. Nobody was playing, 'Just as I am.' But it was like I could feel the music on my knees. He said, 'Pray with me.' Then he took my hand and led me in that prayer. It was like God pulled back a curtain on my heart. And on March 31, out in front of an old bar, I knelt down a tramp, a loser, and a zero. And I stood up a lady, clean pure forgiven, innocent, blameless, cherished, brand new. My life was different."
Iris Blue trusted Christ that night, and since then has lived for the Lord. She lives in Murchison, Texas with her husband Duane, and they serve the Lord full time. She spoke here at Green Acres about 15 years ago. Her testimony has been put into a book entitled, Iris: Trophy of Grace. Can God still save prostitutes and tax collectors? Absolutely. But Iris thanks God every day that someone loved her enough to be willing to come down to the bar and share God's message of hope and forgiveness with an "outcast."
You may think you're too good to take the Gospel to bad people like that. Well, that's too bad, because for bad people the Good News seems too good to be true--but that's why bad people consider it to be good news!
(From a sermon by David Dykes, Why It's Easier for "Bad" People to Go to Heaven Than "Good" People, 8/20/2012)
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