Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Turning 30...

It has been 30 years.

30 years today, since my heart was changed forevermore. It's my birthday actually! Not my physical one, but the more important one. Bodies are temporary, and while we celebrate them cheerfully, they fail us, and leave us. But our inner most being was created to never fail us. It will be - always. A transformation of the spirit is required, so that as we pass from this temporary world, into the eternal one, we are assured that we will be our Lord.

In March, I had to write out my testimony as part of a Sunday School class.

I will share with you some of the questions, and my answers to them. As a way of commemorating 30 years of growth, I suppose.

If you are unsure of how you would answer these questions, or if you are unsure if your answer will "count" when you die - feel free to contact me and we can talk about it. Keeping tabs on our lives is immensely important, but keeping tabs on our spiritual lives, goes beyond that. It bears weight of eternal significance.

Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that you are going to Heaven, or is this something you are still working on?
I have come to this place, yes. (more details given in conversion story below). I am certain that the Lord has saved me, however, I am also determined like Paul, to finish the race, well run. So while I am certain of my eternal salvation, I will be taking up my cross daily, working out my daily “salvation” through the work of the Holy Spirit until the day I die.

Suppose you died tonight and stood at Heaven’s gate and cried “Lord, let me in!” then, God looked at you and replied, “Why should I let YOU in?” What, then, would be your answer?
I would answer Him, "Lord, here stands your child". According to His Word, all who ask and believe will receive the gift of eternal life, and I have done so. On this merit alone – that I am a child of Gods – should entry be permitted. My sins were paid for in full by the blood of Jesus, and so entry to eternity with Him depends solely on my acceptance of His precious gift of salvation.

When were you “born again”?
April 17, 1983 – I was 4 years old, and that day was a Sunday. I distinctly remember a disturbing (to me) Sunday school lesson given that very day about sin and hell. It bothered me and I felt it was something to be taken care of right away. I personally remember praying with both by parents, on their bed to receive Christ. My mom wrote in my baby book some details I did not recall about the day – “asked mommy if she could invite Jesus into her heart. We talked about it all to make sure she understood and then she prayed. Afterwards she told Brent (younger brother) about it and said “I asked Jesus to come into my heart and he zipped right in before I finished praying” :-) . I understand now, as I understood then, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fully man and fully God, died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin, for all time. I accept and believe by faith that He has said that eternal life is freely offered to all who believe and accept His gift.

How did you come to know the Lord as your personal Saviour?
(Note: I was raised in a loving Christian home) After my conversion experience, which I believe was genuine – although I was young - I experienced some doubt through my childhood years from time to time– Had I really meant it? Why do I still do bad things? If I say I will follow Jesus completely, won’t He make me a missionary to Africa? (something I was deathly afraid of as a child for some reason:-) These thoughts plagued me to some extent as I learned and grew in my faith, I really was sure that that Jesus had saved me, but I was bothered I suppose (and rightly so) over His lack of Lordship in my young life. When I was about 14 years old I reached a turning point. A point of re-commitment and dedication. Yes, I believed in the free gift of salvation offered to all through Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, and I’d accepted that years ago. Yes, I believed that the work of the Holy Spirit was saving me – not only was I saved and heaven bound, but saved from daily “hells” I would encounter, by way of my own sins, as I submitted to the Lord, and allowed His Life to change mine, every day. I didn’t believe these things because I had been told to, or because I was forced into it somehow by a positive peer pressure (lots of solid Christian influence in my life). I believed these things because I had experienced them. I had seen them. I had wrestled with spiritual things and come to really know what I believed and why. My simple and childhood faith matured to a point where I could see the Lord’s hand in my life. It was not “my parents faith” it was mine. I was convicted to follow the Lord by the example of baptism, something I had previously rejected the thought of, based on the fact that I would have to give a personal testimony of my faith, and I had not wanted to speak in public. I was baptized by immersion on 9/5/93 and took to heart my commitment – to follow the Lord and to identify with Him – to make Him my Lord in all things, and to trust Him completely to conform my heart to His own, to allow His Life to flow through mine. I no longer feared such things as being called off to missions, and began to see the evidence, peace and fruit of a heart given to seeking after the Lord.

What Bible verses do you base your salvation on?
This is a list of only a few...
John 3:16-18 - For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

Philippians 1:6 - And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Do you consider yourself a growing Christian?
I love a quote by George Mueller “If the Lord fails me at this time, it will be the first time.” I have seen my faith stretched and grown in so many ways over the past 30 years that I have been in Christ. I worry, I wonder, I hope, I pray, and in hindsight, I have seen so clearly His loving hand of mercy, provision, and guidance that I have almost come to anticipate the “worrisome” as an adventure. I have never once been left un-cared for, and this boosts my faith greatly. I am on a constant life mission of sorts – to be teachable, to learn, to grow, to allow myself to be stretched and let the peace of God, which passes all human understanding regardless of circumstance, rule in my heart. I believe that humility is required for growth and pride hinders much of what God hopes to do in my life. Getting “me” out of the way, and being humble enough to acknowledge that I can’t do anything out of my natural giftings. I’ve tried and failed, and will try and fail again I’m sure. I’ve come to realize/am coming to realize that God doesn’t need me, and all the things that “make me so great” – and yet He chooses me anyway. I would consider myself growing, still, because I daily endeavor to seek the Lord and allow Him to change me, to convict sin, and to bring revelation of all I am and all I have in Him.

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