Monday, February 18, 2008


A week or so later one of my friends from our funeral group invited me to attend a “church meeting” with her in another town. She called it a charismatic service; I had no idea what that meant. The event happened to fall on the same day as my birthday, so I tried to use that as an excuse to get out of it, but, wouldn’t you know, my husband told me I should go ahead and go with her so I could get out of the house and away from the baby and kids for a day. Maybe I was acting a little crabby and he wanted to get me out of the house? More to be friendly to my new friend than anything else, I decided to go with her.

The service was one of sharing personal stories and times of prayer, but it also had the “charismatic” part of it that was pretty off-putting to me as a Catholic; I frankly just didn’t know what was going on so I tried to ignore that element of the service as I listened. Their “testimonies," one after the other, were of changed and transformed lives and I found myself feeling intrigued and drawn on one hand and angry on the other. I really didn’t want to do what it seemed they had done, and that was to actually accept anything that God would bring into my life once I took the step of faith they had made. I didn’t want to give up drinking and partying. I had a lot of “fun” things in my life that I really didn’t want to give up. My husband and I had plans! I mean, I certainly didn’t want to go to Africa to be a missionary. What if God asked me to give up my husband and children? What if He asked me to give up my life?! It was just too much! But soon I began to realize that God was speaking directly to my heart through the people who stood up to give their “testimonies." I remembered that I had asked God to show me the truth, and person after person stood up to tell their story about becoming “born again” or having “accepted Christ.” My heart began to melt as I finally began to really “hear” the story of the free gift that was offered by Jesus. Funny how I had always known about Jesus dying on the cross, but I really didn’t know that that act had any more particular importance than Noah and the flood or Moses' exodus from Egypt in the litany of bible stories I had heard as a child. I suddenly saw that the whole Bible from beginning to end actually pointed to Jesus! For the first time I saw that it was completely His work and His sacrifice alone that brought salvation, and it had nothing to do with anything I could do, any “good” thing I could perform. I saw that I could never do enough good things to be acceptable to a Holy God. Only by believing on Christ, Who died to take my sins away, could I be made acceptable.
At an invitation to receive Christ, an altar call, I felt God drawing me forward and I felt His Spirit whispering in my heart that I could trust Him. Knowing full well that it would change my life completely, knowing that I was trading my old life for His, I accepted His free gift of forgiveness for all the wrong things I had done. I felt completely washed clean and forgiven for the first time in my life and I knew that I had found the right answer. I felt like I was starting my life over again. That was June 14th, 1980.

Since I’ve made my decision to follow Christ, my life has had many ups and downs, but through it all God has been my strength and my comfort, and He has blessed me abundantly in so many ways. I have learned to love His Word as I study and ask Him to change me to have His nature. I have learned to ask Him for forgiveness daily for the sins I still commit, since we struggle with our sinful nature for the rest of our lives here on earth. But I know that in the end, Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient and complete, and by faith and through the assurance of His Holy Word, I believe with my whole heart that someday I will be with Him in heaven. I hope that if you haven’t already, you will now choose Jesus too. Jesus made it simple for us. Ask God for forgiveness for your sins, tell Him you accept the sacrifice Jesus made for you, mean it with your whole heart and tell Him that you want to live for Him, whatever it takes. Then tell someone, and watch the wonderfully bumpy journey begin! You will never regret it.
“….because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10.9 – 11

What a joy it would be for me to see you in heaven! Jesus says, quite clearly, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” God bless you, friends.


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