Today I am taking a detour away from the garden for a moment.
Yesterday at church, we had a visiting preacher who is teaching our church how to be an effective witness (as in…. to share what we believe about Jesus Christ and why) in an unoffensive way. He says the best way to share is to tell our story. We all have a story, whether we believe in Jesus and what He has done for us, or we choose not to believe.
At the end of last night’s meeting we wrote out our story of how we came to know Jesus, and there was a commitment page to sign, stating we would tell at least one person our story before we came back to class on Monday night. I didn’t sign it for fear that I was making a promise to God that I could not keep. Remember in a prior post where I referred to….James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow”?
Well…. Monday is here and to honor the God I love, I want to tell my story. Please bear with me for this one day of a detour.
As a child the most important people in my life were my mother, father, grandmother, and older brother (my younger brother wasn’t born until I was almost twelve). My father was a Baptist preacher, so I was at church for every service and event that occurred. At age five I was a chronic liar and a spoiled brat. I hated school and would lie on my mat in first grade after lunch and pretend to be asleep. I found I could get out of school work that way. The teacher talked to my parents in the meat market one Friday evening. I cowered in the background as I listened to my mom defend me, because I had asthma, and she thought that I was probably tired from that. Whew!
Not long after this I was taken to a revival and, even though I was only five, I apparently felt convicted enough to know that I was going to hell if I didn’t change my ways, so I talked to my parents and they prayed with me. Whether this conversion was real or not, I do not know. I stopped lying as much in 2nd grade and tried to do my work. At age nine, however, I took up smoking. At that time my father was the preacher at a small country church and we lived in what people today call the boonies. The army came to the woods behind our house to do their training. It was a good spot for my brother and I to go to on Sunday afternoons, while our parents napped, and smoke cigarette butts picked up from the parking lot at church (eeeewwwww!!), yes, and we were especially excited when we found one that had hardly been smoked.
I smoked for a year, then we moved to a small town with no woods. My smoking days were over. I continued on a path of sometimes being good, sometimes being bad, but overall, by today’s standards, I was a pretty good kid. But…..”being good is not good enough to get you into heaven”. Click here for more on this.
If you are reading right now and you don’t believe in heaven, hell, God, or Jesus, just remember……you can’t afford to be wrong! Study for yourself. Get a Bible and read the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as a beginning.
Anyway, once again, at age 12, I found myself at a revival. The preacher was describing how desperately wicked we all are and we deserve to go to hell. He described how Jesus suffered as he died on the cross to make a way for us to have a relationship with God so we would not end up in hell. He said, “If you die tonight, where will you be….heaven….or hell?”
I sat there, taking it all in and getting more scared by the moment. Over the years my parents had talked about my conversion at age five, but I could not remember it by this time. I didn’t want to go to hell, and I firmly believed there was one to go to. Once again, I approached my parents. They tried to convince me that I had already accepted Jesus into my life. I was insistent that I pray again. I told God I was sorry for being a sinner, that I believed He sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to make a way for me to come to Him. I asked God to take over my life and help me live for Him. I followed this up with Baptism in our church, and felt real joy and peace, and a desire to please God in all that I did.
I have had my ups and downs throughout my life in my walk with God. I have failed miserably in areas of marriage, raising children, caring for others, but God continues to help me. I have had to go through some unbearable experiences that, were it not for God walking beside me, I would have given up on this life. God is my rock. I could not face each day and do the things I need to do without Him by my side.
If you don’t have a relationship with Him, you are missing out on the greatest thing of all. We think that our life on this earth is what is important, but what is really important is how this life prepares us for the eternal life we will live in heaven after this short life on earth is over.
I will go one step further and say….once you come to know God and establish a relationship with Him through the death and raising of Jesus as our redeemer….and you study more…..you will find out that one day, God is coming to make a new heaven, and a new earth. (Revelation 21:1). I am preparing myself right now for that new earth. There will be jobs to do in God’s Kingdom and I am hoping and praying He lets me work in His garden. 🙂
If you want to follow-up on anything I said, please contact me by my email…. firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
I want to leave you with a final thought….
If you think you may be “good enough” for heaven I would like for you to evaluate your life by the Ten Commandments. Most people try to follow these commandments whether they know it or not, for instance….everyone knows it is wrong to lie, steal, commit adultery, murder, etc.
If you have told one lie…..you are a liar.
If you have taken one thing that doesn’t belong to you….you are a thief.
For murder and adultery, in the New Testament, Jesus said if you hate someone it is the same as murder, and if you lust after someone it is the same as adultery. God calls us to a high standard and without Him we can’t meet His standard. In Revelation 21:8 it says that murderers and liars will be thrown into a “lake which burneth with fire” (hell). In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 it says…adulters, thieves, fornicators….etc. will not inherit the kingdom of God….back to the hell thing.
My favorite scripture, and the scripture that I prayed at age 12, is found in Romans 10:9-10,13 and says:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
WHOSOEVER……That’s YOU and its ME!
Study and check these things out. You can’t afford to be wrong!
BACK TO THE GARDEN TOMORROW, AS I WALK MY DAYS OUT, WITH GOD BY MY SIDE.