My life before Jesus...
I'd like to share a testimony with you about how I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Before the Lord opened my heart to Him:
Well, God did care about me and was working in my life when I didn't even realize it. I was soon to learn the significance of the Lord's words in Luke 12:7, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." I came to realize from this verse that God does care about every detail of our lives. So this verse had special meaning for me (and not because I was losing my hair).
Prayer couldn't hurt so I tried it...
One of the subjects I would pray about when I did pray was for God to help me find a woman who would meet certain criteria that I could marry. I thought I could satisfy what was missing in my life if I was married. It turns out that God's plan for me involved more than just blessing me with a wife. Just as people came to Jesus for healing and received this along with eternal life, Jesus used my prayer for a wife to lead me to eternal life.
So the Lord did answer my prayers by bringing me and Teresa together. Even though I had little faith in Him, God knew I'd come around to Him eventually and sent me someone who even met most of my criteria.
The witnesses in my life...
Now I had been witnessed to before by born again Christians, and I never really give them any serious attention. You see, I thought of myself as a Christian too so I thought I didn't need to be "born again". Well I did listen to Teresa and started giving more thought to God and why I was here.
Along with Teresa came her father who also witnessed to me and shared his interest in Bible prophecy. He started giving me books on the subject that I read initially out of a sense of obligation toward him but with a grain of salt. I had thought that the end of the world as we know it was a crack-pot concept in which sane people didn't concern themselves. Well Teresa's dad didn't strike me as a crack-pot; after all, he was an engineer at a high-tech firm like myself. One thing I did learn from reading these books was how Bible study worked and it got me to start digging into this old book to learn more about God.
The Bible explained world events...
While I was wrestling with these new concepts, I became concerned about some significant changes in the world that were totally unexpected: the Soviet Union broke-up and Saddam Hussein decided to annex Kuwait. Many believe that the end of the cold war was the beginning of "peace breaking out all over the world" but Desert Storm was proof that what it really did was open the door for U.S. involvement in conventional wars.
What was it I learned in the Bible about a false peace? Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, "For when they say 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape." This Bible verse seemed to describe the era we had just entered.
Nuclear war is inevitable...
We don't like to think about this but in fact the nuclear threat is far more unstable now than it ever was during the cold war. Those nuclear weapons still exist and they're in the hands of people rapidly becoming economically desperate. This bothered me because I had bought into the concept that man should be able to "increase the peace", not decrease it.
However, the Bible made it clear that peace will only decrease in the world until Jesus returns. In Matthew 24:6-8, the Lord said, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
Why shouldn't I be troubled with all these terrible things the Bible says will happen? I went on to learn that if I have faith in God, He will save me. Jesus said in Revelation 2:10, "Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life." If I have life everlasting, do I need to worry about what could happen to me in this world? No! Having faith in Jesus Christ started to seem logical.
It all made perfect sense with Bible prophecy...
There were also a lot of other little things that by themselves were insignificant but added together helped convict me to learn more about the Bible. Probably the most significant were events relating to Israel. Who would have thought that Israel would be re-establish as a nation after over 2000 years of world-wide dispersion? No other race of people had ever done this. And how about the successes of this little upstart nation in battle?
When I was in the Army, I was fortunate enough to get a briefing by an Israeli officer who commanded a tank battalion in their '73 war with Egypt. He told us about how they would discover the control wires of several Soviet wire-guided Sagar missiles draped over their tanks in the morning. Wire guided missiles are lethal to tanks and any kid with 20 minutes of video game experience can operate them. The U.S. equivalent was the TOW missile, I never saw one of these miss a target in training. What the Israeli officer told us was contrary to Army doctrine concerning the Sagar: "If you are seen, you may be hit; if you are hit, you will be killed." God's protection of those Israeli tanks were every much a miracle as back in Joshua's day.
My realization of the truth...
The more I thought about world events in the context of Bible prophecy, the more I understood how these events fit into God's plan. I started reading more on the subject and had thought provoking dinner discussions with Teresa about it. Then one evening at the dinner table during the Fall of 1991, it suddenly occurred to me: if Bible prophecy can be so helpful to explain today's world events, how about other Christian beliefs?
I confronted my own sinful nature and accepted the fact that I was a sinner in God's eyes. I thought about God's desire for sinners to repent and how He humbled Himself as one of His creations by suffering on the cross so that my sins may be forgiven. I remembered Jesus saying in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." All I had to do was believe this and I decided, what was so hard to believe? If I can accept the part about prophecy, why not the part about salvation?
The Lord had opened my heart and I realized who Jesus really was. He was not a "son of God" in the sense that all Christians are "sons of God" but as the only begotten Son of God, He was and is God! I decided right there to commit myself to Jesus, to studying God's Word, and praying consistently every day. I immediately had a great sense of relief from my nagging fear of going to hell. I suddenly knew all that was necessary for me to be saved from eternal punishment was already done by Jesus dying in my place on the cross. All I had to do was believe this and I did!
My early growth in the Lord...
I felt great but I have to admit I didn't share my experience with Teresa right away. I didn't want to admit I had considered myself a Christian without having truly committed myself to Jesus. I felt so foolish not having made this decision before, I was embarrassed even before my own wife.
The Holy Spirit started working on me in earnest after my decision and I became desperate to learn all I could about what it means to follow Jesus. I discovered not only could I now understand the Bible, I became like a sponge, anxious to soak up all of God's wisdom I could. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me the need to join a Church and publicly profess my decision through baptism which I did at Brazos Bend Baptist Church on May 17, 1992. Teresa and I were moved to join this Church as well and it's been a wonderful spiritual growth experience for me ever since then. I thank God for the encouragement Brazos Bend Baptist Church has given me.
The first test of my faith...
One of the most significant things the Lord helped me with soon after I committed myself to Him was an unexpected personal crisis. One day I found out my career was not taking the path I wanted it to. A fellow worker who had once reported to me was selected over me as manager of our marketing branch and became my boss. At the time, I thought it was important to be a supervisor and make regular progress up the management ladder in order to be satisfied with my job. I also became aware of a job opening I was well qualified for at one of my key customers. By leaving Texas Instruments, I could have made a lot more money but we would have had to move to Chicago.
I prayed that God would give me the wisdom to do his will. I was surprised to discover that the course of my career and even making more money was less important than my spiritual growth. Where in the past I might have made a rash decision and gotten another job somewhere else, I believed God wanted me to stay at TI. I know this to be the case because the Lord went on to bless me with a transfer to a position were I had more responsibility than my co- worker who got the job I thought I wanted.
The joy in my eternal perspective...
One thing I've enjoyed about being a Christian is knowing the truth. Most people are living a lie in this world. They are putting effort into the wrong things and don't really know why they're here. We are in this world to glorify God and have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. I've tasted freedom from sin and the world's encumbrances. I'm learning to trust in God and keep an eternal perspective about all things. I haven't "arrived yet", but can certainly see the fruits of my relationship with Jesus.
I'll never be able to match the love Jesus has shown me with all the blessings he has given me in this world and accepting me as a member of His glorious Church. I thank Him each day for this and pray that He help me only do things pleasing to Him.
I hope my story has encouraged you to be more aware of the importance of witnessing. If Teresa and others hadn't shared the Gospel with me, I wouldn't have the kind of peace I enjoy today and I'd probably be living in Chicago by myself.
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