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Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927

 Testimony - With Thoughts on God's Sovereignty

Fellow SI Member "HeartSong" suggested I post my testimony with thoughts on how I believe God's sovereignty had a role in my conversion.

[b]Note:[/b] This is not intended to spark a huge debate, if you have any comments or questions that could cause a huge fuss, please consider just PMing them to me and I will try and answer them as time permits.

To put this into time perspective - I am currently 22 years old. I will try and be somewhat brief, so the reading does not become too tedious.

I was born into a loving family, however, we did not have any kind of serious spiritual life. My Mom's side of the family was Catholic, and my Dad's side was Baptist. The only "church" experience I remember until the 6th grade was the occasional Roman mass.

When I was in the sixth grade, my grandparents started taking me to a local Baptist church. I grew up in the youth group, and even played in the youth group band. However, I lived a completely wicked life. I need not go into the details, but suffice it to say that I was a wretched sinner. I graduated from high school, and attended Arkansas Tech University. During my Freshman year, I began attending a Bible study that literally met right aside my dorm room. I was remotely interested in spiritual things because of my youth group background, so it wasn't a huge step for me to attend the Bible study.

As I continued attending this Bible study, some young Christian men took me out to lunch and, to my perception, taught me how to share the Gospel. They showed me the "Bridge" illustration. Little did I know that they were actually sharing the gospel with me! I continued in my wicked life through my freshman year and into my sophomore year, all the while attending this Bible study.

However, during my Sophomore year, I met some other serious Christian young men who I began to spend time with. It was through these men that the Lord convicted me of my sin and my need for Christ. I became very convicted at how I had trifled with the things of the Lord and his Gospel. I quitely sat outside and contemplated these things. I believe it was sometime during these weeks that the Lord brought me to repentance and faith in Christ.

I soon began longing to study the Lord's Scripture more. So, I began sparing 10 extra minutes in the morning to read Oswald Chamber's devotional. :-) .. Ah, the small beginning we all have!

I continued attending Bible study, however, I now had much more love and passion for the things of God. The Lord had given me a new heart! (Ezek 36:26-27)

I joined a sound church, and was mentored by the pastor. We read through Thomas Watson and Jonathan Edwards together, and he taught me much by his example about loving the Bible and loving people.

So, I have now been a Christian for about three years. Some parts of the journey have been slow and trying, however, the Lord continues his work of grace in my soul.

Now, to relate all of this to the sovereignty of God in my salvation. First, consider the means that lead to my salvation. There were human means. God providentially placed a Bible study outside of my dorm room. That Bible study was not accidently there; neither was God suprised at the coincidence of my lost soul having a Bible study outside of my dorm room.

Moreover, why did I feel the conviction that I needed to flee to Christ? Well, there are several reasons. God used human means. He used other serious Christians to show me Biblical Christianity. However, why did I feel convicted about it? Why did I not simply move on with my wicked living? Well, obviously, it was because God convicted me. I didn't convict myself. Then, we arrive at the question, why did I choose to believe in Christ when I was burdened under that conviction? Did I wise up, become more receptive to spiritual things, and begin to be disgusted with sin, all while being blind and dead in sin? No. God ripped out my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. He [b]caused[/b] me (Ezek 36:26-27) to walk in His statutes. Yes, He caused me to do so - that is Bible language. Our blessed Lord made me willing in the day of His power (Psalm 110:3).

Who made me to differ? Myself? Did I give myself a heart that was willing to embrace God? Did I give birth to myself (John 3:3)? No. "Of His own will He has begotten us unto a lively hope". It was God's work - not mine. God made me to differ. God changed my heart. God opened my eyes, and gave me the desire to run to Christ. The root is all in God.

I hope this helps some understand how those from a Reformational perspective view the grace of God in our lives.

With care in Christ,

Taylor Otwell

 2009/1/19 18:46Profile

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3156

 Re: Testimony - With Thoughts on God's Sovereignty

Thank you for the testimony. I have a few questions, if I may.

What is it that you love about the Lord?

 2009/1/19 19:09Profile

Joined: 2007/6/27
Posts: 1573
Omaha, NE

 Re: Testimony - With Thoughts on God's Sovereignty

I sought the Lord
and afterwards I knew
He moved my soul
to seek him, seeking me
It was not I that found
O Savior true;
No I, was found, was found by You!

For Thou didst reach out
Thine hand and mine enfold,
I walked and sank not
on the storm-vexed sea;
Twas not so much
that I on Thee took hold,
As Thou, dear Lord;
took hold of me.

I find, I walk, I love;
But Oh, the whole of love
is but my answer, Lord, to Thee;
For Thou wert long
beforehand with my soul,
Always Thou hast loved me
Always Thou hast loved me!!

Martin G. Smith

 2009/1/19 19:10Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 1519
Santa Cruz California


Brother Taylor your story reminds me of one my more favorite hymns-

'Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee-Josiah COnder

1 My Lord, I did not choose you,
for that could never be;
my heart would still refuse you,
had you not chosen me.
You took the sin that stained me,
you cleansed me, made me new;
of old you have ordained me,
that I should live in you.

2 Unless your grace had called me
and taught my opening mind,
the world would have enthralled me,
tho heavenly glories blind.
My heart knows none above you;
for your rich grace I thirst.
I know that if I love you,
you must have loved me first.

Thank you for your testimony.

patrick heaviside

 2009/1/19 19:36Profile

Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927


I love His wonderful person.

This includes many characteristics. His grace lavished upon sinners; his justice; his discipline; his Scripture; his holiness.

His grace opened my eyes to love Him.

With care in Christ,

Taylor Otwell

 2009/1/19 19:38Profile

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3156


Hello Taylor,

Forgive me for taking so long to respond. I missed the fact that you had replied.

Thank you again for your testimony. The Lord is working something in me (or maybe out of me) in this matter and what you have written has been very helpful. While things are still not clear, your testimony has helped me to see more of the underlying issues. May He continue to bless you.

 2009/2/6 11:36Profile

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