| HOW DID GOD SAVE YOU? Let's post brief testimonies.|
HE who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of CHRIST JESUS (Phil. 1:6).
I believe GOD's hand was at work in my life from the moment I was born. There were complications at my birth and the chances of my survival were low. But many of the saints at my Church interceded for me and GOD graciously answered their prayers. On one occasion, my underdeveloped lungs began to function by themselves. It wasn't long before the hospital staff had nicknamed me "the miracle baby". I thank GOD that HE heard the prayers of my Church family and preserved my life.
My upbringing was not under ideal conditions. I was raised in a dysfunctional home where circumstances included divorce, poverty, alcoholism, and substance abuse. But my grandparents were always faithful to bring me to Sunday school. In time I began to attend youth group and on one occasion I had made a profession of faith in JESUS CHRIST. The details are sketchy in my mind but I vaguely remember being at a youth conference, hearing an alter call, and going forward to ask JESUS into my heart. I recall being emotional, repeating a "sinner's prayer", and being told I was saved. I was later baptized and continued attending Church and youth group with zeal. But it wasn't long before the light grew dim and the darkness of sin and the world began to extinguish the flame.
Looking back on that experience and the following years, in light of what I have learned from GOD's Word, I believe I was a false convert. I was one of the stony ground hearers that JESUS spoke of in Luke 8:11. My lifestyle didn't conform to what Scripture clearly puts forth as the marks of a regenerated child of GOD (1John 3:6-10; Gal. 5:22). Only the LORD truly knows my eternal state before HIM at that time. But I believe, had I then stood before the judgement seat of CHRIST, in spite of my profession of faith, HE would have said to me, "I never knew you; depart from ME, you who practice lawlessness" (Matt. 7:20-22).
To put it in no uncertain terms, I was a lying, thieving, lusting, drug-addicted criminal who gave no sincere thought to GOD and HIS ways. I lived in sin and relished it; presuming it was well with my soul despite my hypocrisy. But where sin increased, GOD's grace increased all the more! The seeds planted in my heart earlier in life had not been planted in vain; nor did the prayers of my grandparents and others who love me fall on deaf ears. For GOD's amazing love pursued me, wretched man that I was, and overtook me late one night about eleven years ago.
I was walking through an alley to the bus stop after work, smoking a joint on the way as I was in the habit of doing. I noticed the headlights of an approaching vehicle behind me but showed no concern as I smoked my drugs, stepping aside to let them pass. IT WAS A POLICE CAR! I dropped the joint and fortunately they didn't notice. I'd had a lot of drugs on me and would have been in big trouble had I been busted. It was a close call.
The law had almost caught me. But that incident awakened in my heart the knowledge of an infinitely higher law that pierced my conscience: You shall not lie, You shall not steal, You shall not commit adultery, You shall have no other gods before ME... The severity of my guilt before GOD pressed down upon me with a terrible weight of conviction. How could I wallow in the mire of sin for which JESUS suffered and died on the cross? HE endured the FATHER's wrath in my place! What contempt I had shown for such an expression of Divine love!
It was in this moment of deep contrition that GOD spoke to me. It wasn't with an audible voice but it was as clear in my heart and mind as anything I've ever heard with my ears. HE said, "You're a hypocrite. Come back to ME".
That was it. In that moment at the bus stop on 118 Avenue and 97 Street at 1:00 in the morning I was born again and made a new creation in CHRIST. I begged HIM to forgive and save me and promised I would live for HIM and spend half an hour in HIS Word every day for the rest of my life. This was more than vain emotion and a formulaic prayer. It was brokenness and sorrow for my sin, genuine repentance, and eternal salvation; it was entirely a work of GOD.
Everything was different after that night. My circumstances were the same but my heart was permanently changed. Through HIS Word GOD continued to reveal areas of sin in my life and increase my faith (John 17:17; Rom.10:17). Before long I came under spiritual opposition and was forced to trust in HIM. It was as if I was under a dark cloud. It was a time early in my Christian walk when going to work and even stepping through the doors of the Church was a battle. I believe the LORD allowed this period of spiritual oppression to test my faith and humble me. It was difficult and I was tempted to give up. But HE has proven HIS faithfulness time after time, increasing my faith with each provision of grace.
Stepping out of my comfort zone by getting involved in a small group was instrumental in my spiritual growth. Through the encouragement of my brothers and sisters in CHRIST, GOD has strengthened me to continue on the narrow road. I am convinced that, apart from the Word of GOD and the fellowship of believers, it is impossible to make it in the Christian life. I am so thankful for my Church family and sound Bible teaching.
I rejoice in all the LORD has done and that HE broke my heart and chose to save a sinner like me. I know the only good thing about me is JESUS CHRIST and apart from HIM I can do nothing. Even though the world, the flesh, and the devil are set against me, GOD is faithful and I am confident that HE who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of CHRIST JESUS.
| 2009/1/19 23:23||Profile|
| Re: HOW DID GOD SAVE YOU? Let's post brief testimonies.|
He hunted me down like a pack of hounds on a fox.
| 2009/1/20 11:43|
| Re: |
I was working in my garden one day contemplating how I should raise my young son who was three at the time. I thought to myself, "I should expose my child to religion like my father did."
At that moment, these words came to my mind,
"How can you teach your son about Me when you do not know Me?"
I was overwhelmed at that moment, tears came to my eyes. A couple days later, an old man came walking up to me again while I was working in my garden. He invited me and my family to attend a small baptist church in our little village.
After some time I came across this Scripture which speaks of God's call to me...
Job 33:14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, [yet man] perceiveth it not.
Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Job 33:16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
Job 33:17 That he may withdraw man [from his] purpose, and hide pride from man.
Job 33:18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
And then also
Pro 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
| 2009/1/20 12:52||Profile|
| Re: |
At the age of 7, there was an old woman who did this thing called a "5 Day Club". The first 4 days she told Bible stories of David and Goliath, Moses, Noah, the Ten Commandments, ect. I didn't know it then but I know now that she was introducing me to the Nature of God and the kind of Person He is. Then on the 5th day she told me about Jesus. and I placed my trust in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins.
I know Christ saved me in Miss Ruth's backyard.
I was raised by the State. From the age of 11-15 I spent time in many foster homes and group homes. At the age of 16 I was committed to DYS. I got out at the age of 18. At 19 I decided it was a good idea to become a heroin addict. I didn't last long and ended up in Prison. How exactly it worked out would take too long, but I ended up in a ministry called "Teen Challenge". I finished the program and stayed on as staff.
| 2009/1/20 14:16||Profile|
| Re: |
Listening to Billy Graham preach from the Roman
Road on Armed Forces Radio; I realized I was on
the broad way to destruction and ruin. Only
One Way to go, the road through the Cross of
Calvary to behold the Lamb of God and receive
HIM as my Living Savior !!
Martin G. Smith
| 2009/1/20 15:12||Profile|
| Re: HOW DID GOD SAVE YOU? Let's post brief testimonies.|
My story began when I was 17 years old.
My brother invited me to come with him to church. I agreed to come and at the end of the service one of the elders invited me to have bible study with him, one-to-one.
We studied to book of mark slowly in a period of 2 years. In that time I remember I argued and disagreed a lot with the elder but eventually I understood what the cross meant.
The meaning of the cross hit me like a bag of bricks on my face. It woke me up.
I remember I was so filled with joy, and was only 19 years old, I felt so happy that I could know the truth at such a young age. Reading the word from 10 PM until 2AM at night time every night. I could feel God's presence throughout the days. It was not comparable to anything ever experienced. Knowing God is so much better than anything the world could offer.
I'm so thankful for this site, too. Through this site, I've been blessed by sermons from Paul Washer, Zac Poonen, and Leonard Ravenhill.
At the moment the only material I use for reading are Zac Poonen's articles and free e-books. Other than that am sticking to the Word.
Thank you for reading my testimony everyone :-P
| 2009/1/20 17:02||Profile|
| He is still saving me|
God reached out to me in a night club in 1998, he saved me from drugs and many other hurtful lusts. He saved me wonderfully tru simple faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is saving me still today by a continual faith that I have in his promises. He just recently again saved me form sure destruction, as temptations and trails around me broke out like wild fire. He still intercedes for me to this day, seeing I am so weak and often found to be blind. He gave me His life, and still does it today.
Llewellyn van der Merwe
| 2009/1/22 17:18||Profile|
| Re: He is still saving me|
This thread is wonderful.
My testimony in short? The basic idea was that I tried to save myself until God saved me. But there's more to it than that.
(Listen to an audio version of this here: [url=http://theopenlife.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-i-was-saved-from-trying-to-save.html]How I was saved from trying to save myself[/url])
I wasn't born into a religious home, per se, but at age ten received a bible from my mother. What I read out of mere curiosity became immediately gripping. The God of Gideon terrified me so greatly that I thought it best to offer something to atone for my sins. Moses had offered bulls and goats, and what had I to give? Of Jesus' sacrifice I knew nothing, so I cut off a fistful of my hair to offer as a symbol of myself, setting it in a bag upon the desk. My expectation was for God to take it that night, and really thought He might, since I had nothing better than myself to give. In the morning I rose to find the bag untouched. My fears deepened that I was not forgiven.
The next few years were a mixture of religious zeal and bad fruit. A radio evangelist lead me in an "aisle experience", praying the "sinner's prayer", but I still had no more idea about the gospel than perhaps a devout Mormon or Roman Catholic does. My trust was in God to save me graciously IF I obeyed His word, rather than THROUGH faith and obedience. My hope was not ultimately in Jesus' righteousness and faithfulness, but in myself. Still, I was excited to be - as I thought - saved, and I began earnestly to tell others to "get right with God."
Having no real hope in Christ's imputed obedience and cleansing sacrifice, I would frequently be overcome by fears of the law. Sometimes, when under conviction and fear of judgment, I would try to resolve never to sin again. For instance, in ninth grade I once swore never to lust after girls again, and sealed my oath with a red hot nail that I held to my ankle. It hissed like a serpent, and though the scar remains, the zeal did not. Fits and stops went on and on, right through bible college and mission service abroad. I would fear hell and throw things away or make new resolutions, and then gather it all back again. Yet still I had no vital assurance that Christ would save me by faith alone.
In late summer of 2006, I read through the Psalms and was more destitute of hope than ever. David said "there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." [Psm 73] and "one thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple." [Psm 27] but I wanted so many things besides the Lord, even to the exclusion of the Lord. David asked "who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart." I knew I was not upright, nor righteous in works, and my mouth was full of deceit. How could I dwell there? I trembled, for I had yet no trust in Christ's imputed righteousness, though I talked about it in an intellectual way. I shuddered through the seventh chapter of Matthew, "Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven."
After hearing Paul Washer's Youth Evangelism sermon I realized that the true God would not allow me to be resolved in sin. The Holy Spirit caused me to see my hatred and distrust of God, even secretly hoping for a way to escape His judgment, or get rid of Him. How blasphemous, to question God's wisdom and right!! But then, by God's grace, I began to accept that God would not only willfully destroy me in hell if I did not repent and believe, but would be holy and right in doing so. For days I wept and howled and hid before God, walking lightly and crying at all times and any time for fear that I might fall out of this world into hell.
Now I began to feel my inability to fulfill His commands, so great was my lust and selfishness, but I held out hope that He would pity me and accept these half-obediences. Alas, this would be to bribe Him and I found no peace of conscience.
In a final struggle, I left a gathering of professing Christians one Friday night, disgusted with our mutually bad lifestyles. We considered ourselves so good, but we took unabashed pleasure in wicked music, we were full of prideful words and vain ambitions, and expressed little or no care for God's glory or for lost sinners. I was ashamed and angry at myself and everyone at once, enraged and ruined that none of us would honor God as He deserved. Did He not show mercy, and yet we were ungrateful. Did not Christ die, but we hid our light beneath baskets. We deserve to be damned, I said!
Within my car I confessed every sin I knew in me, first quietly with a face contorted by grief, "I hate that I lust. I hate that I lie." I began to think of how good God was, sending Jesus to die for sinners, for letting me live long enough to know it. I felt more deeply that He was worthy of total worship and commitment, not of the lips only but of the whole life. I prayed God to raise up some other servant for Himself, if I wouldn't obey Him properly. I wanted Him to be loved and feared, even if not by me, for I found little confidence in myself to ever obey. My passion overflowed until through weeping and screams of shameful woe I cried, "God, I will not stop lying! I will not stop lusting and stealing and hating! Oh, God, I want to stop, but I can't stop wanting to sin! For your sake, God, save me from this sin!!"
Yet for all this, I was not at the end of myself. I had not seen my soul so truly the corpse as God would have me to see. Aflame with tears, I swore that if no one would preach to those dying souls downtown, then I would, saved or not! For hours I passed up and down the busy blocks of nightlife, but for the first time could not open my mouth to speak. For years I had been a so-called street evangelist, but where were my words? It seemed the Spirit said, "What hope can you offer them? You have none. Who are you to tell them to repent and believe, when you have not?"
I went home lower than ever. Kneeling on my plain wooden floor I sobbed and screached and agonized as a soul in hell would plead for water, "God save me, please save me!" Time passed until, coming to an end of my moans to a great stillness, I thought "there is nothing more I can do. I have tried to not sin. I have tried to repent. God, even if you send me to hell, Lord, please cause me to serve you." Then an idea came to my mind, wherefrom I knew not: the faith one needs to have in Christ in order to be saved must include belief that He can fulfill in us all the commands necessary to salvation. And I thought, "He is God, He can do it in me!!" Why hadn't I thought this before? Of course He could do it! I began to take hope and rejoice for a moment.
But then I was cast down by the question: "Why should He do it for you? What if He doesn't want to? What if He has marked you for an example of His wrath and justice." So I wondered, for whom would God do this great kindness, and why? Passages of scripture came to mind. "All who come to me I shall in no wise cast out." "Whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish." Like a bright flash of light, the truth appeared! He would do it by grace! Because He is good He would save whoever believes! If I should only trust Him to save me because He is good, and not because of any of my works, then He would do in me everything necessary to be saved! He would forgive my sins for Christ's sake, merely through faith in Him and not because of any good in me. Oh the joy!!
I wish I could say I felt then that I was saved. I only felt that I had trusted that these things were true. But I was much relieved that all I could do was trust Him to save me because He was good to men in Christ.
Perhaps a week or two later I recall waking up and sensing that all was changed and new. I found it remarkably natural to love and trust Christ, to talk of Him endlessly and to obey from the heart without vain hopes that my works were saving me, though sure that He would save me through good works.
More than two years have passed. Many battles have come and gone, both of losses and victories, but He has kept me. I love Christ today more than ever. Not fifteen minutes have slipped away without some assurance of His grace to keep me 'til the end. My trust is in the sovereign God who elected me from before the foundation of the world to receive grace upon grace in Christ, not according to works, but through faith which is not of myself but the gift of God. Amen, and God bless the reader. All glory to God in Jesus Christ.
| 2009/1/23 0:32||Profile|
| Re: HOW DID GOD SAVE YOU? Let's post brief testimonies.|
I've often tried to figure out "when" and "how" this work of regeneration actually took place in my life. At the age of 11 I believe I had a powerful encounter with God through repentance and felt a genuine drawing of the Spirit of God for the first time in my life. Elated by my encounter, I slept with my Bible in my arms that night and felt a joy and freedom that I never knew existed. However, within a few years I was quite the apostate, wrapped up in drinking, partying, vandalism and a great list of other immoral and flagrant sins. I believe I was living as a prodical (as I always knew the error or my lifestyle and constantly lived in conflict with my conscience), until I was 17 and was "saved" from these indulgences and redirected in life to serve and worship God with my a new fervor. At 17 the work of God in my life wasn't an altar experience, but rather a gradual metamorphasis of sanctification and cleansing. I like to hold to the understanding of salvation that, "I was saved, I am being saved, and I rejoice that I will be saved in the days to come."
Praise God that He continues to up hold me and work in my life to conform me to the image of His Son!
| 2009/1/23 10:51||Profile|