This is how I came to believe in Jesus Christ:
I was born in 1952, the third child in what turned out to be a family of nine children, four girls and five boys. We grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania until we moved to California in 1964.
My parents were amazing providers as far as our home and physical needs were concerned. They were also loving and sacrificial in many other ways.
Sadly, I did not have an accurate view of God when I was a child. Having been educated in Catholic schools and attending Mass for many years, I did believe in the existence of God.
Interestingly enough, I often experienced a sense of wonder and joy when I sang in the choir at church. The problem was that I didn't understand and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
At school, I learned that Satan tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God, and after they did, they were cast out of the Garden of Eden. However, I did not understand that God continued to love His creation, even after they sinned. I thought of God as being high and holy - and always mad at us.
I knew that Jesus died, but I did not comprehend that His death was a gift of love. I just thought we were supposed to feel guilty because He suffered and died, and it was our fault.
In 1982, at the age of 30, God revealed Himself to me in response to earnest, heartfelt prayer. He graciously answered in a way that changed my life forever. I didn't really know "to whom" I was praying.
The faith of my childhood seemed distant at the time, and I honestly wasn't sure what I believed. As it happened, I had been quite fascinated and involved with Eastern Mysticism and New Age religions throughout my teen and young adult years.
The year before I prayed that prayer, my older sister and her husband were tragically killed in a car accident. They were hit by a drunk driver on their way home from a surfing vacation in Mexico.
I was devastated by the loss. It was sudden, shocking, and emotionally excruciating. My heart was broken, and I also became fixated on death and what happens to people when they die.
My grief and obsession led to months of intense searching through reading. I would go to the public library and browse the New Age section, checking out as many books as I was allowed.
I was trying to find the Truth, but instead, I sank into a deep, oppressive place of despair. Nothing was making sense to me, and I was finding no peace. I was often plagued by sleepless nights when dark feelings of hopelessness seemed to overwhelm me.
One such night, I was staring at the moon and stars from my bedroom window. There was a moment when I had the distinct sense that God was out there. I said, "God, whoever you are, please show me the truth about life and death."
That night, He clearly showed me - in a dream - that the Truth is in the Bible. Along with His answer, He gave me a sense of peace, knowing, and joy that was like nothing I had ever experienced; it was beyond explanation. This experience changed the whole trajectory of my life.
I immediately stopped reading the books I had been reading and started reading the Bible. I learned that all of history has a purpose and God has a grand plan to restore His relationship with mankind.
That relationship was broken when Adam and Eve sinned. I began to study Bible prophecy and was amazed at how, from Genesis to Revelation, it all fits together beautifully and miraculously.
I asked God many questions as I prayed and read. He just kept answering me in unique and various ways. God is true to His word and reveals Himself to those who desire the Truth.
In the Old Testament, He said to His people, "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." In the New Testament, we are told that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Jeremiah 29:13, Hebrews 11:6)
According to the Bible, God loves each and every person: Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
|As I read this scripture, I realized that the Bible is not about a religion or a philosophy, a church or a denomination. It is about The God of the Universe extending an open invitation to mankind - an invitation to believe the Truth about Him and to respond to His plan for them. (John 3:16)
The Bible teaches that Jesus is God in human flesh. He promises to give the gift of "eternal life" to those who believe in Him, and He respects our free will in accepting or declining this generous offer.
The Gospel of John clearly states: "He came unto his own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." (John1:1, John 1:14, John 1: 11 & 12,)
I began to see that this life we are in now is a test where each individual is given the choice to determine where they will spend eternity. I realized that all the choices we make in this life are only important with respect to their bearing on eternity. That is because eternity is real life.
Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes unto the Father, but through me." He also said that if you believe in Him, you are of the Truth, and if you reject Him, you are not of the Truth.
When a person genuinely believes the Truth about Jesus, that person is spiritually "born again." Jesus said, "…unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." (John 14:6, John 8:45-47, John 3:3)
I learned that we are all flawed, and our sinfulness separates us from God. The Bible explained that God had provided the perfect remedy to restore our relationship with Him.
The Apostle Paul wrote: "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures…He was buried…He was raised on the third day."
The Apostle John wrote: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he that does not believe in the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him." (1 Cor 15:3, John 3:36, see also John 3:17,18)
I was amazed that God had made it so simple. All that was required was the humility to accept the truth about my sinful condition and call on Him to save me.
The Apostle Paul put it this way, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." When people asked Jesus, "What does God want us to do ?" His answer was very simple: "This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the One He has sent."
When people asked the Apostle Paul, "What must we do to be saved? His answer was also very simple: "Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Rom 10:13, Jn 6:28, Acts 16:31)
As I began meditating on those verses, it became abundantly clear to me that God is on a rescue mission. He had revealed everything necessary for every other person and me to escape the inherent judgment that is sure to come.
He knows how difficult it is to live in this fallen world, and He does not want anyone to spend eternity in Hell, lost forever and separated from Him.
(I Tim 2:4, Luke 19:10, Luke 12:4-5, Matt 10:28)
The Bible teaches that there is one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father draws people to His Son, Jesus.
God's purpose for us is that, as we trust and follow Jesus, we will grow to be more and more like Him, and through the help of the Holy Spirit within us, we will show forth His love and goodness to this hurting world.
We are supposed to be "His hands and feet," so to speak. (John 6:44, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 3:16-20, Ephesians 2:10)
When God first revealed Himself to me, I just wanted to know the Truth about life and death. I didn't even realize that my greatest problem was my need to be forgiven for my wrong attitudes and deeds.
My greatest sin was ignoring Him and not valuing the great lengths to which He had gone to offer this forgiveness, cleansing, and transformation. Jesus humbled Himself and became a man.
Then He submitted Himself to humiliation and the cruelest of deaths - to offer reconciliation with God to whosoever would receive this amazing gift. He lovingly took the punishment that I deserve.
Because Jesus paid for my sins and I am covered in His righteousness, I do not fear death. I am confident that God will receive me into heaven, and I look forward to spending eternity with the Blessed Savior of my soul. (Philippians 1:21, 2 Corinthians 5:8 & 5:21, Titus 3:5-7, Ephesians 2:8-9)
It has been 40 years since I came to faith in Jesus Christ. Since that time, I have been through many confusing and agonizing experiences. But even during the most troubling times, God's answer to my prayer, that night so long ago - has been like an anchor. It still never ceases to amaze me that He heard my prayer and answered.
It made me realize that He is real and He cares about each and every person. He has continued to be my constant companion, and He has faithfully answered my prayers for all these years. His hand of blessing, protection, and provision has been constant throughout every grief and hardship.
He uses the difficult circumstances of our lives to test and strengthen our faith in Him, for it is our faith that pleases Him. (Gen 15:6, Rom 4:3,Heb 13:5, James 1:2-18, I Peter 1:6-8)
Over the years, I have heard of many other people who have sincerely prayed a similar prayer to God, and He graciously answered them, as well. God deals with individuals in very unique and interesting ways.
The Bible teaches that He is not willing for any to perish, and He desires that all people will come to Him to receive His love and forgiveness.
Right now, I am praying for anyone who does not yet believe in Jesus Christ. I am praying that The Father will draw them to Jesus and they will ask God to reveal the Truth to them.
I have no doubt that He will mercifully answer the prayers of those who truly seek Him. (2 Peter 3:9
Sue: United States