A Bad Man Takes a Good Turn

Charles Colson recently died and went to heaven. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Colson, he was famous (or infamous) for being a Watergate operative under Richard Nixon, served time in prison for his part in Watergate, and then founded Prison Fellowship shortly after his stint in prison (see recent story published by World Magazine here).

What a great tale of a life that was headed one direction and then turned about-face and headed completely the other direction! It reminds me of a person who is unsaved. He is heading one direction (hell) and then meets Jesus and is born again. He is now saved and heading the other direction (heaven).

The Word of God plainly states that if a person is truly a Christian, their life will change:

Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 

We have all heard of the person that was wrecking and ruining their life and had a “Jesus” moment. Too often, we look down on people who have a past that is less than desirable and think that God cannot use them. However, God likes to use people with “broken lives” to show forth His glory.

In this next installment of the Fight On! stories by Dr. Sam Gipp, we see such a story. Enjoy this short story of one who was serving self and the devil until he met Jesus Christ!

A Bad Man Takes a Good Turn
Dr. Samuel Gipp

There was $60,000 in the safe onboard the Katy Flyer on November 13, 1894, and Nathaniel “Texas Jack” Reed intended to get it. Near Vinita, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), near the Missouri – Arkansas border, Reed and four cohorts switched the train to a siding and stopped it. They surrounded the express car and demanded that the guards surrender the money. No dice. As they opened fire and riddled the wooden car to no avail, the guards, safe inside, denied their demands. Then Reed threw dynamite under one end of the car blowing it open. But a solid wall of fire from the guards guaranteed they would never reach the safe.

So, while his men held down the guards, Reed went through the train and robbed the passengers of $640, eight watches and three pistols. As he stepped off the train a guard took aim at Reed and fired; the bullet entered his hip, passing through the lower part of his body. Gravely wounded, Reed and his gang fled. Once they were well away from the train, Reed, obviously dying, split up the loot and ordered his men to leave him, making only one request, that they return later and bury his body.

They returned the next day to find Reed still hanging on to life. For three days they nursed him, but he ordered them to leave him again when a posse closed in. They left him food and supplies and departed, never to return. After a few days Reed was strong enough to stagger to the home of a friend where he stayed until strong enough to travel. From there he escaped to Missouri and then to his brother’s farm in Arkansas.

With a name like “Nathaniel” you can bet there was Christian influence in Reed’s upbringing and now it apparently bore fruit because Reed repented of his wayward life-style and trusted the Lord as his personal Saviour. He then surrendered to authorities, did five years probation and was finally granted a full pardon. Finally a free man, Nathaniel Reed became an evangelist and traveled and preached the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ until his death in 1950. Fight On!

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3 thoughts on “A Bad Man Takes a Good Turn”

  1. This is a great blog, Joshua! Thank you for the awesome reminder of God’s unfailing GRACE. What a mighty God we serve!! Ps 34:3

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