Category Archives: Testimony

Ephesians 4:20-24 — Conversations with God

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I want to thank You, Lord, for those You sent my way to teach me about You.

It is strange but one of the first hints You ever gave me that there was something different about the way I and my family did church and the way others did was way back in 2nd or 3rd grade.  You had me overhearing someone in my school remarking about a girl named Carla in our class that she believed the Bible was true.  Something about this description, spoken as it was with some criticism, moved me.  I supposed that I was being encouraged to make light of her faith and I felt perplexed by that and a little sorry for Carla.  Why would someone make fun of her for believing what she did?

You let me make it to high school without being challenged about what I believed.  You sent me Bob, and Bob was not about to let me slide by.  While discussing religion with another guy in study hall he inexplicably turned to me and asked me what I believed.  “I’m an agnostic,” I boldly stated.  “Why would you want to be that?,” he replied, and, as You know, I had no good answer.  So we began to talk about Christianity.  You might have been laughing about that one, Lord.

I guess you encouraged Bob to go with me to Central Church when my dad forced me to attend a Sunday night youth meeting and together we heard Your servant Mark play a 12-string guitar (cool, God) and give his explanation of why he became Your follower.  I felt very nervous when he challenged us with our need to follow Jesus (You were working on me), but later that evening I asked You to forgive my rebelliousness and take over my life and You did.

Since then many have contributed to helping me see that I must lay aside my old self that follows darkened ways, and be renewed after Your likeness, putting on the new self You created me to be.  I want to be righteous and holy with Your character, Lord.  I want to love the way You love, think the way You think, and live out of Your power.


What Jesus Means to Me — Teacher

Jesus himself offered, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).  Though I was only 16, I was weary and burdened in a way I hadn’t even realized with trying to figure out life and maintain my own security.  Though a weight had been placed upon my shoulders when I embraced this new life, it felt like it weighed nothing compared to what had been there.

As I began to listen to my pastor and others with a new interest and seemingly a new ability to understand, it was as if life-giving nutrients were being intravenously fed into a seriously undernourished and anemic body.  I could not get enough.  I began to experience a new joy and excitement about life, a new meaning to life, that I didn’t recall ever having before.

I remember not long after my conversion that my family took a trip out west and made a stop in an old neighborhood where I spent the majority of my first years in life.  As I stood outside our old house on the corner and let my mind wander over the memories of my time there, a wave of despair rolled over me.  Though my life had been good, I thought, I realized that it had been meaningless up until now.

Jesus gave my life its intended meaning.  He was teaching me what I needed to know about the rest my soul needed.  He was indeed a humble teacher, not pushing, not demanding, but gently leading me in the direction I had needed to go.  What a precious yoke it is!


What Jesus Means to Me — The Life Preserver

I’m treading water out in the middle of the ocean, my arms getting leaden, my breaths becoming shallower and more desperate.  No one is out there I can see who is able to rescue me.  It is only a matter of time.  The prospect of drowning terrifies me and yet some part of me is almost ready to give in to it.

From out of the darkness comes a life preserver, a lifesaver, one of those white shipboard floating rings with a rope attached to it.  I do not reason as I used to as to whether Christ is really the answer, or if the Bible is really not just the product of men who are prone to error, or if people who talk about such things aren’t just fanatics.  I no longer want to give in and slip beneath the surface and end it all.  My heart fills with hope beyond all hope and I cling desperately to the donut of my salvation when I hear His voice call out over the waves saying, “I have come that you might have life.”

As he reels me in I have no idea what is in store for me, only that something profoundly new and real has just occured.  He has come into my life in the most amazing of circumstances and my life will never be the same. 

In a sense, I’m still being reeled in.  I don’t have any fear of drowning, I’m not living with some constant tension about the life presever or whether it can hold me or whether I can hold it.  I am relaxed in His grip but I know I haven’t reached yet the place of total withdrawal from the sea.  But in due time I will feel His hands pull me on board and my struggle will be completely over, my doubts completely erased, my life completely saved.


The Ten Commandments — You Shall Not Commit Adultery

It is stark in its bold simplicity.  It gives no room for special circumstances or exceptions.  It doesn’t explain why, but then it doesn’t really need to.  The seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), is self-explanatory.  Or so it would seem.  Though such disloyalty to one’s partner in marriage would seem to be held in contempt by any society, the fact that God included it in the list indicates that it is a problem of large proportion for the human race.  And it indicates that God sees it as a behavior that brings great destruction to any individual and society.  If our understanding of Malachi 2:10-16 is right, violation of one’s marriage covenant leads to failure to raise children in the right way.

Our culture is looking for ways to represent adultery as an acceptable alternative to a dead-end marriage or even a healthy thing for a so-so marriage.  But God, in his wisdom and concern for the welfare of his children, has clearly spelled out the dangers of adultery.  Most of Solomon’s advice to his son in Proverbs 5-9 centers around the dangers of sexual sin.  He acknowledges that adultery is seductive and enticing (“the lips of an adulteress drip honey,” 5:3) but that the result is deadly (“her steps lead straight to the grave,” 5:5).

But in Solomon’s exposition of the seventh commandment he also gives the positive aspect of the command:  “Rejoice in the wife of your youth!” (v.18) and “Be captivated by her love!” (v.19).  You have not kept this commandment when you merely abstain from illicit sexual relations outside your marriage, but the husband or wife is further obligated to faithfully pursue a love relationship with his or her spouse.  Too many marriages have failed for lack of this pursuit.

Jesus, of course, also emphasized the depth of this commandment.  In Matthew 5:27,28 he rebukes the teachers of the day for assuming that obedience to this command was achieved without consideration of the heart’s attitude.  He affirmed that God’s original intent for this law was to include a lustful heart as an aspect of adultery, as a secret adultery of the mind.  Not only is there adultery, there is adultery in one’s heart.  And though the latter is not as bad as actual adultery, it is what leads to adultery if unchecked.  It is a failure to pursue a love relationship with one’s spouse.

Though adultery is forgivable, the seriousness of this sin cannot be played down.  It is serious enough to be a legitimate ground for divorce (Matthew 19:9).  It is one sin that God explicitly says He will avenge (1 Thessalonians 4:6).  Paul says, “Flee from sexual immorality!” because such a sin is a sin against one’s own body and our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18,19).


What Jesus Means to Me — The Robot on “Lost in Space”

Like the often oblivious little boy on the tv series, “Lost in Space,” I needed someone to yell at me, “Danger, Will Robinson,” because I was blindly going through life thinking I was either doing fine or worrying whether I would be fine, but clueless that I was treading water in a limitless ocean of certain death.  I had no realization of the utter meaninglessness of my life until I tasted meaning.  I didn’t realize that without a submissive relationship to the One who made me my life did not make sense.  And I did not understand, though somehow I felt it, that there was a price to pay for trying to run my life without Him.  I was ungrateful and unwilling to yield my life to Him until one day when through another’s story of rescue, I realized my need.

I was only sixteen years old, but when I asked Jesus to forgive me, something deep, and beyond my sixteen years of maturation to come up with on my own, was birthed in me.  A sense of something real and yet unexplainable had happened inside me and I was changed forever.  A sudden craving for knowledge of God led me to explore, or try to explore, I should say, the Bible.  Much more filling was the teaching of the Bible by others more experienced in the faith.  I couldn’t get enough.  And as I began to build some categories for putting together the diverse stories, letters and histories of the Bible, I began to make some headway in knowing how to interpret it for myself.

So thanks, Jesus, for being like that robot who was always telling Will Robinson when danger was near.  I was definitely lost in space.  Thanks for opening my mind to receive the warning.  Thanks for caring enough not to give up when I didn’t respond at first.  And thanks for forgiving me and coming into my life in such dramatic fashion.