I know you have heard all of this before, but for me, it was monumental. God changed my life for the better and now I feel and believe my feet are on solid ground and I can meet all of life’s challenges without a doubt.
I was personally transformed by Christ and I will always be so grateful I now feel as though my feet are on solid ground and that I can meet all of life’s challenges!
But, God is the One who changed me. I cannot explain what happened to me in any other way, except that Christ wanted me to come to Him and when He called me, I had to respond. You hear that God uses people to fulfill His purposes? Well, that was certainly true in my case.
If it wasn’t for my wife and her evangelizing friend Rhonda, who was constantly talking about the life-changing power and goodness of Christ, I don’t know of what might have happened to me. Rhonda had her own serious personal problems but that did not stop her from speaking out for the Lord. My wife met her on the job and they had become friends. They both prayed for me that I might find the Lord in my life and ask Him to be my Lord and Savior.
They both prayed for me that I might find the Lord in my life and ask Him to be my Lord and Savior.
Even though for a few months prior to this, I began to sense that something bad might happen to me if I did not take some action soon, but I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. In spite of this, I resisted going to church with my wife who had just started going with Rhonda to a church in Arizona called “Confirmed Word”.
You see, I did not like to even hear about Jesus, even though I had been brought up in a Christian family who went to church almost every Sunday. For some reason, I got the idea that God was an angry and punishing God. As far as I know, my parents and my two brothers never believed that God was this way. So when my wife started encouraging me to go to church, I agreed to check out a few, but when it came to going on a steady basis I rebelled. I didn’t even like to hear contemporary Christian music on the radio. It just grated on me and I felt an anger raise up inside. I couldn’t wait to change the channel.
Eventually, their prayers began to have an effect on me. I joined them in going to church, however, I told my wife if I felt uncomfortable during the service I might get up and go outside. She was fine with this and after several months of going sporadically, I realized that I was staying through the whole service.
Through the pastor there and the whole congregation, I began to hear about a different God than I thought I knew. The pastor, Phil Jackson, preached about a Jesus that had a message from God who only wanted people to know how much He loved them. He sent His only Son Jesus not to condemn men but to let them know that by believing in Him and accepting Him as their Lord and Savior that they could be forgiven of sin and they would no longer be separated from God and HIS LOVE by the power of sin and even death! When I began to understand that this was the message of the New Testament and the one that Christ was born into this world to carry to us, then my heart softened and I began to believe that Christ really had a gift for me.
When I began to understand that this was the message of the New Testament and the one that Christ was born into this world to carry to us, then my heart softened and I began to believe that Christ really had a gift for me.
I had heard that sometimes when people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior that they experienced an almost immediate change inside. Even though I wanted this to be true for me, there were no bells or whistles, and I did not feel as though the Holy Spirit had entered my heart. I did recite the “Sinner’s Prayer”, or something very close to it in admitting that I was a sinner and that I repented for my sins, and was in need of Jesus the Savior to forgive me for those sins.
For me, Jesus changed me more slowly on the inside. I continued to go to church and church functions, however, at times I was still uncomfortable and felt self-conscious. I began to enjoy the sermons, though and hearing about biblically based messages about New Testament lessons that I could apply to my life.
Then, maybe six months later the unexpected happened. It was like a storm blew through my life and more specifically my mind. I was home alone and began to feel very uneasy, however, it was not the same as feeling sick. But I had a strange feeling that I was dying. Later, I came to realize later that it was my old self that was dying, not my physical self. I have to say, though, that it was psychologically painful. It felt like my skull was splitting open, and my body was racked with pain. It was a very strange experience, but at the time, I knew it was something I had to go through. Looking back, I see that my spirit man was being born. It did not change me so that I no longer have any of my own desires, but I am more aware of God in my life and some of the burdens I had been carrying had broken off of me. I felt lighter and more than ever wanted to do the will of God in my life.
It felt like my skull was splitting open, and my body was racked with pain. It was a very strange experience, but at the time, I knew it was something I had to go through. Looking back, I see that my spirit man was being born.
That was back in 1998. We have since continued to go to church on and off, however, I have not stopped reading the Bible and praying. Learning that I had to pray on a regular basis was a lesson that took me a while to learn.
When I pray at least 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before I go to bed, then I stay in touch with God and my life stays on what I consider a solid path where I can be guided by God. But, truth be told, when I first get up in the morning, I often do not feel like praying or even grateful for the day or for what He had done for me. Overnight, my old self has reasserted itself.
But, truth be told, when I first get up in the morning, I often do not feel like praying or even grateful for the day or for what He had done for me. Overnight, my old self has reasserted itself.
The prayer can be simple. Sometimes if I am in a rush, (which I try not to be, but sometimes life is like that) I will enter a note on my cell phone using voice activation. There are times I do this while waiting for the bus in the morning or walking to work.
I always start out my prayers saying, “Thank You God” and usually it is “Thank You God for this day.” For me, it is essential to thank Him. As I start to pray, I can feel my spiritual self start to reassert itself. I begin to express my gratitude for all He has done for me. When I get going, with my spirtiual self activated, I can then begin to connect with spiritual concerns.
Often my prayers will express the things that I have I my mind. I will pray that I will pray that “I will fulfill my God given destiny” (I believe and the Bible supports that we all have a purpose on this earth); I thank God for my wife and son and pray for their well-being and for all of our friends and family members. I pray that our enemies will be blessed. Sometimes I pray that our enemies will come to know Christ’s love and forgiveness. It says in the Bible that we should try to overcome evil with good. I have seen in my life how this really is true, that goodness can overcome evil.
Sometimes I catch myself as being unforgiving about something and try to move into forgiveness. As I am writing this, I think that I should ask God to helped me to forgive others just as He has forgiven me, and ask His help when it is particularly difficult to forgive. I will often thank God for his creation and ask that His creation is preserved, that there are solutions to environmental problems of global warming and pollution. Usually, my morning prayer is shorter than the one I say before I go to sleep at night.
What I have found over and over again in my life to be true is that I have to keep up my prayer life. I cannot stop praying. Sometimes I have gone three days without praying, and I see that life is no longer so wonderful. Nothing has changed except me. God is still there, but I have moved away from Him.
I once again become grouchy, dissatisfied, focused on material things in my life, critical of others, and like a monkey is on my back. Then it dawns on me that there is nothing wrong except that I have stopped praying. When I begin to pray again, then I get into right standing with God and life becomes good again. My spirituality is restored. Then I vow again that I will never fall into that trap and stop praying. At this time, I usually don’t forget to pray regularly, but I am fallible and God forbid that I really forget. There are many good things about being married to a practicing Christian, but being reminded by my wife that I am not acting like myself can be a wakeup call that I have stopped praying.
At this time, I usually don’t forget to pray regularly, but I am fallible and God forbid that I really forget. There are many good things about being married to a practicing Christian, but being reminded by my wife that I am not acting like myself can be a wakeup call that I have stopped praying.
For me, this emphasizes a great truth. First, that without a doubt, God exists. How else can I explain the change that comes over me when I pray? Only God can fill me with His light and love when I pray. It certainly does not come from me. It underscores my dependency on God, but that is something I do not mind at all! It says in His Word that He is the vine and we are the branches and when we are not connected to Him we can do nothing. So praying is the way for me to stay connected to His vine and I know He is the source of life.
I am still being called by Him to fulfill a purpose and destiny he has for my life and I am sure that He has a purpose and divine destiny laid out for you as well. I pray you to accept Him as your Savior and find out about all of the love He has for you (no desire to harm you!). You can find on this website in one of the blog posts the sinner’s prayer. May you find all the joy and success in living a satisfying life on earth, the one He specifically has for you! Amen.
Eric Henty, Pastor