I was born in Oshkosh Wisconsin back in the early 1950’s where I spent most of my life. I was brought up in a Christian home, with two other brothers and one sister. We were not a wealthy family by any sense of the word, but my dad, by the grace of God provided everything that we needed to live. We always had a roof over our head, clothes on our back and food on the table. As far back as I can remember, my parents made sure that every Sunday we were in the presence of God in our local church. I heard a pastor put it this way once and he said, and I quote, “When I was young I had a drug problem, every Sunday I was drug to church” This is pretty much how I felt. I’m sure that most young children and even young adults never looked forward to going to church every Sunday and it was no different for me. Sunday clothes…Yuk!!! I couldn’t wait to get home and get into my everyday play clothes. But now when I look back to those days, I realize how extremely important it was for me to be brought up in a Christian family. It made me aware of God’s existence, even though I never felt I knew God personally. That was mainly because I was never taught that a relationship with the living God was necessary. I never understood who Jesus Christ really was. Every time I was taught about Jesus Christ, it was around Christmas time when we heard about the baby Jesus born in a stable. That is as far as my relationship with Jesus went. I never knew Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, just a little baby lying in a manger.
Now as the days went by and I became a young adult, my life soon took a turn in a different direction. Sure, I was still a church goer. I even helped with the Sunday school and was an active usher for many years. I felt that I was still a good Christian boy, doing my duty to earn my way into heaven, what I didn’t realize was that my life style was anything but deserving of heaven. But even with the questionable life style I was living, I still treated people with kindness and I always respected my elders, unlike what we see in today’s world. So, I thought as long as I was generally good, I would go to heaven. What a bill of lies I was taught. That was the doctrine that I was taught for most of my life.
Now after years of living a questionable life style, but still attending church every Sunday, I started to feel a sense of emptiness that told me there was something more to life than what I was doing. One day about twenty five years ago, as I was leaving church, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart. I tell people that God banged me upside my head and got my attention. I felt in my heart that God was telling me that I needed to get into His Word so He could teach me the truth of the Bible. It was an extremely strong presence that I felt calling. From that day on, I committed to reading the Bible until I read through every page. Because I had a day job, I would spent most of my nights in the Holy Bible until I read completely through it. It took about a year. The first time I read through the Bible, It didn’t make much sense to me, but it did encourage me to get into a more intense study of the scriptures. Even then, I was still struggling with right and wrong where the flesh was concerned.
The battles of the flesh verses the Spirit was a tough battle for me and I finally realized that I couldn’t win that battle by myself. Ephesian 6:12 tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” This is a battle that we have to turn over to the Holy Spirit. I put my trusts in Him and He did the rest as is promised in the scriptures. When I got to the book of Matthew and started reading where one must be born-again to be saved, I wasn’t sure what that meant. But over time, the Holy Spirit took me under His wings and explained everything to me in a way that made so much sense that I couldn’t believe I didn’t understand it sooner.
Now after many years later, and much more intense studying and attending various Bible conferences which include teachings from some of the best Bible scholars in the world, I gave my life totally over to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and have been born-again into the Holy Spirit. Because of the life I lived, and all I’ve been through, the good the bad and the ugly, I have no doubt that God has called me to step out into the world and share my experiences and now He is using me. God wants us to realize that He can, and will use anybody for His service regardless of anything that you have ever done. I am living proof. There is so much more that I could share about how God got my attention and shook my world to bring me where I am today, but I would have to write a book on the experiences of my life. Know this that the life of a Christian is not always peaches and cream, but the rewards of eternal security are beyond anything we could ever imagine. As a Christian, we need to realize that this is not our home, we are just passing through. Our permanent residency is in heaven, where all those that believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and have been born-again will soon be. I have become a fiduciary bond servant of Jesus Christ! Amen!