All my life I thought I had things figured out. But of late, I’ve found yet another level of this life that God has opened to me. I’m at a point where I’m separating myself from what I used to think about what it is to be a Christian.
I talk to God constantly and in these times He has turned leaf after leaf of understanding to my mind. It has revolutionized my thinking with a whole new paradigm.
I can’t measure what other people’s experiences are with their realization and acceptance of salvation. All I can vouch for is mine. I feel if in some way I’d like to share what I’m feeling and yet I feel a bit inadequate to put down into print or verbalize.
When I was about sixteen, God undoubtedly wooed me to give Him my heart and accept his gracious redemption of my soul. From then till I was about twenty seven I squandered it while still knowing that at the age of thirteen I was told by God I had a calling to the ministry. At this latter age, after suffering what is now known to me and a time of depression I gave my heart afresh to Him.
This time in my life was a supernatural time for me. For whatever you believe I don’t have words to tell you different. Only what I know and believe to be true. On March 13th 1977 after asking God if it was real my Baptist mind wanted to know about the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. He answered my request.
Looking back now I see who I was as a candidate for the calling upon me. Young and crying fresh from the womb of life as it was to the life it was to be. Too young to know. Too young to know any better. So began my life-long journey to become what I thought God wanted me to be.
Many trials and testings are too numerous to mention in one setting. In a nut shell, I slowly declined over the years from fervency to failure. It hit me at the age of 56. Tired, broken and destitute in body, soul and spirit. By the time I reached 58 my first wife and I had separated and I was alone in a psychologist’s office suffering from severe depression. I’d completely lost my way.
BUT God. He’d not given up on me. Up out of the ashes of the old me began to rise a new person. The things I had done wrong slowly began to right themselves to what has resulted in a totally different person. It was my Jacob experience.
And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. – Gen 35:10
I had been called by my middle name all my life as “Larry”, but during this time of change I became know by all as “James” or just “Jim”. My old self had died. This is the new me.
My remarriage has been an integral part of my healing process. Ever since my separation she has been by my side encouraging me and loving me unconditionally. I’d never experience that kind of love before. Even from most Christians.
There has been one example after another since 2009 that has proven God was in the molding of the new me. My wife and I went to a church together for a while. This first church we attended together was where we got married. The second church we thought was home, but it turned into a disaster in the leadership and we left. God directed us to where we are now and He told me this is where we shall remain til the end of my days.
Since being in the church I’ve become recognized for the calling on my life and was ordained. My wife asked to join me and is attending a school to become ordained in a couple of year. This isn’t happening for me to see my end any time shortly. God has given me many more years to proclaim His goodness.
Lately, I’ve found God and me talking more. I thought prayer was a whole different thing than what I’m finding. It used to be more like a boss and employee type conversation, but at this point in my life I’ve found myself in a much deeper intimacy talk with my Father. Actually you would think me crazy, but we talk, cry and laugh together. Sometimes I’ll ask if “this” is okay and He’ll automatically say “yes”, “no” or “what do you have to say about it?” The latter is because He knows I already know the answer. I suppose you get my drift, so to speak.
Also, this church has given me a much stronger sense of foundation in Him. My surety of salvation is at its strongest ever in my entire life. My love for others has increased in multiples. I can honestly say I love other people more now than ever before. I also see more hunger in most everyone in this church than any other. There is only about two hundred of us, but we have a large heart.
Those of you reading this should earnestly seek to be more intimate with God. He’s not a mean ole God waiting to smack you on the back of the head and send you to hell for the last mistake you made. He’s a loving God. He laid out a plan for you to live eternally.
But, you say, what about judgment day? The only judgment that will condemn ones self is they bring that upon themselves by not accepting Him as their Savior. He completed the old law and instituted the new law. Accepting that new age of salvation of salvation from 2000 years ago is all He needed to do. Jesus said it all in three words. “It is finished”. Salvation was what was wrapped up in a gift to you by his shed blood.
All you have to do is accept that gift and walk as best you can in His righteousness. Whenever you fall down, get back up wipe yourself off by asking Him to help you with your shortcomings by acknowledging you were wrong and He is just to put His arm around you and help you along.
I’ve given up on Him years ago for a time, but no more. My mind is stayed on Him. Let that be your testimony as well. He’s my Rock, my Fortress and my Salvation.