From the Lindsay House Publishing family,
A dear grand-daughter shares her story . . .
Since I was young, my gammy shared Bible stories and songs, and prayed with me, and for me.
I remember being in kindergarten, looking up at the sky and knowing that God was there with me and that I belonged to Him. When I was in fourth grade I rode the church bus to a Baptist church to go to Sunday school and hear the sermon. The pastor would ask before prayer, if anyone wanted to ask Jesus into their heart.
I knew from the first time he asked that it was something I needed to do. But I was ashamed because my heart was sinful.
I went home and tried to be good and not sin. Every Sunday I would return and reevaluate my heart and know that it was no place for a holy God.
Finally, after a few weeks of that, something amazing happened. I walked into the sanctuary knowing full well that I could not ask Jesus into my heart.
After the hymns and sermon, the pastor prayed as usual and with all the heads bowed and eyes closed, I prayed with him in my mind to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior.
I needed God so desperately that I wasn't able to hold back anymore. I knew I didn't have a clean heart, but I needed God to clean it up for me. The Bible tells us that if we break just one of the Ten Commandments, then we are guilty of sin.
The awesome news is that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us, lived a sinless life and died on the Cross, and took our sins on Himself (being separated from God the Father, Who cannot be in the presence of sin).
Jesus rose three days later from the grave and then ascended to heaven where He sits on the Throne.
God has continued to remain faithful as he has promised in His Word, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to bring it to completion."
There was a time when I somehow ended up not going to church for about a year, when I was in the 9th grade. God knew I needed the teaching from His Word and fellowship with believers.
My younger sister was invited to a local PCA church (Presbyterian Church in America) by a friend in her class. Then she invited me to come as well. I began to attend regularly, then joined the church. There, God taught me more of the meat of His Word.
I learned there that God's grace, which we don't deserve, He freely gives. It is easy as a Christian to feel there are lots of things we have to do to keep God's favor. But, we have all the blessings we need because of Jesus. There is nothing to earn. He uses His Holy Spirit and His Word to remind us of these truths when we forget.
When my husband and I were getting married, our pastor really focused on the fact that our marriage is a reflection of Christ's union with His Church.
Often times that fact takes a backseat at weddings. As Christians we were excited to use our wedding ceremony as an opportunity to focus on the fact that we as the Church will be united with Christ and for the pastor to share the gospel in his sermon during our ceremony.
There are many things in life that we can only understand through experience. When you have a child, the concept of God giving up His only Son, Jesus Christ, takes on new meaning. Becoming a parent really brings you to God in prayer daily because He has given you this new child to raise for His glory, and you quickly find that you can't do it alone.
As a Christian, my identity is in Christ alone. I am a daughter of the Most High King. I bring Him glory because He has chosen me to be His own. I pray and seek to share His love with others, and make His Gospel known.
It is always very encouraging when you see the fruit of prayer and ministry and how God brings others to Himself.
Sometimes a group from the church would visit a nursing home and have a service with singing and the youth pastor would preach a sermon. I enjoyed going there to brighten the residents' day and wanted to work there so I could do that more often. This I did for two years.
During that time, God used those strong in their faith to encourage me, and used me to share the Gospel with those who needed to hear it. There was one lady who was actually from a PCA church, who was in her 90s. She would quote Scripture to me and we would pray together. She never complained. I wanted to be like her when I grew up.
There was another lady who was cranky and bitter, and most people tried to have as little contact with her as possible. God showed me she was a woman with a broken heart who needed His love and healing. So I carefully shared my testimony with her whenever I got the chance and made sure to give her time and attention.
One day I was surprised when she shared her thoughts on God with me. She said that she didn't think God would forgive her. I shared some verses with her the next time we met. I wanted to encourage her that not only did God forgive us when we asked in Jesus' name, but he also removed our sin from us as far as the East is from the West, and would not remember it anymore.
I did not know it then, but she was fighting cancer. One day when I had come in to work, the lady was in the hospital. When she returned to the nursing home she was receiving hospice care. I would talk to her though I wasn't sure that she could hear me. I told her that it was not too late to ask Jesus into her heart, and that he was waiting for her to do that. I said,
'I will pray a prayer of repentance and faith, and if you want to pray with me you can.' So we prayed together, me out loud, and I hoped that she was praying in her heart. I felt the peace of the Holy Spirit, and asked her, 'If you prayed with me, can you let me know by squeezing my hand?' And she did. I said, 'You belong to God now', and that I would be back in a bit to check on her. When I came back, she had passed on and was with the Lord!
We often hear about the difficulties facing Christians in other countries, and while Americans have constitutional freedom of religion, there are other challenges that sometimes go unnoticed.
We live in a society that values comfort, money, respect and appearances.
As Christians it is easy to lose focus and forget that we are in a spiritual battle. The best way to be on guard is by putting on the full armor of God, being much in prayer and in the Word, and asking God to help us stay in step with His Holy Spirit.
[We find that the New Year is a good time to evaluate, and re-evaluate things in one's life. We found this testimony by a dear grand-daughter in the wee-small-hours of this morning, December 31, 2015.]