The Bible tells us to come as we are for salvation, that’s absolutely true, but God is His mercy will never leave you as He found you. Part of the evidence of your salvation is a changed life, different desires, because God gives us a new heart.
This is the second installment of my personal testimony of how I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive full pardon of my sins through the cleansing power of His shed blood. Hard to believe, but it was exactly 28 years ago today, that I bowed my knee at a few minutes to midnight, and gave God the broken pieces of my life, and asked Him to save me. And guess what? He did, and gloriously so! And I have not regretted one, single second of walking with Jesus, no matter the cost or the trials I have had to go through.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
I was physically born on March 15, 1961, and became born again on March 14, 1991, one day before my 30th birthday. Today is one day before my 58th birthday, and a perfect time to write the second chapter in my story. I received so many emails after the first one article, you can read that here, from people who were encouraged in their own walk by the things that I had written. And that, ultimately, is the whole purpose and reason why I write and share as openly as I do.
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18,19 (KJV)
Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation, and I can think of no greater ministry in the world than to reconcile lost sinners to Jesus Christ, and to help restore backslidden Christians back to fellowship with Him. It’s a good thing to have a lot of Bible knowledge, and to know about prophecy, but if you don’t have genuine love and compassion for the lost sinner and the struggling saint, then your Christianity may need a gut check. He loved us when we were unlovable, if we claim to be His followers, how can we do any less for others?
AA and the Bible Part Two: My Personal Testimony Con’t.
It was in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that I met the Living God face to face, so my story and testimony will forever be intertwined with AA. I am not ashamed of being an alcoholic, they were the cards I was dealt. I was raised in a family where hard drinking was the norm, my mother continued to drink while she was pregnant with me and my 4 brothers, and I was encouraged to drink wine as a young teen altar boy in my local Catholic church. Needless to say, becoming an alcoholic was not an option for me.
The Bible tells us to come as we are for salvation, that’s absolutely true, but God is His mercy will never leave you as He found you. Part of the evidence of your salvation is a changed life, different desires, because God gives us a new heart. And the struggle we feel is also proof of our salvation. God will never stop working to conform the believer to becoming more like Him, even if the process takes a lifetime. Salvation happens in an instant, but our sanctification is worked out for the rest of our lives.
I would love to be able to say that I have been sober the entire time these past 28 years, but that would not be true. The struggle has flared up from time to time. But God is faithful, and will always give us the victory if we want it bad enough. I still attend weekly AA meetings, and they are such a blessing. God uses me to bring the gospel to others there, and uses others to bless with me with their experience, strength and hope.
For those of you who read part 1 of this series, you will recall that it was the death of my older brother and dearest friend, Rob, that caused me to go on a spiritual journey. It was facing his end that caused me to think about mine. So let me finish telling you how that all resolved itself. After I got saved, a terrible thought then filled my mind. What happened to Rob, and why was I allowed to get forgiveness and he was not? Yes, he was a homosexual and the Bible calls that a sin, but the Bible also calls drunkenness a sin as well! It did not seem fair to me in my new state as a baby Christian for that to happen.
Tried as I might, I was unable to wrap my head around me being saved and my brother burning in a fiery Hell. Ugh, I was truly in mental anguish over it.
Come And Let Us Reason Together
So I prayed to the Lord constantly and asked Him to show me where my brother was. Day after day, weeks turned into months and for almost 3 years I prayed and received no answer. Then one day the Lord spoke to me in my prayers. The exchange, as best as I can recall, went like this:
Jesus: “Let me ask you a question, what do you do every Tuesday night with your church”?
Me: “We go and minister at the nursing home, Lord. You know that”
Jesus: “Have you ever shared the gospel with someone?”
Me: “Yes, Lord, I have”.
Jesus: “What was the result?”
Me: “My friend Dean, who was a quadriplegic after an accident, prayed to receive you.”
Jesus: “Did he tell anyone that he got saved?”
Me: “No, Lord, after his accident he could not move any part of his body and neither could he speak. He could only blink twice for yes after I shared the gospel with him and asked him if he wanted to get saved. And he did it with a tear in his eye as he blinked. So yes, I truly believe he asked You, in his mind, to save him, and I believe you did just that.”
Jesus: “Now, when your brother died, you were live in California and he was alone in his hospital bed. Do you not think it possible that just as I sent you in to share the gospel with Dean, that I could also have sent in some other Christian to do the same for your brother?”
Jesus: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Me: *crying* “Thank you, Lord!”
And that was that, it truly was. The Lord left it right there with me, and since we walk by faith and not by sight, I am trusting and believing Him for the rest of that. Where is my dear brother Rob? I am not 100% sure, but I know this. We serve a just and righteous God, and I can absolutely trust in Him that He did the exact right thing as far as my brother is concerned. And from that moment forward, I have had pretty close to perfect peace about it. God is good, all the time.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV)
Tomorrow I will celebrate being alive on this earth for 58 years, but today is the birthday I really care about. For 28 years God has allowed me to have a relationship with Him, and one day soon I meet Him either through death or in the rapture, and honestly, either way is fine with me. But I would so love to live long enough to hear the boarding call for Flight #777 on Titus213 Airlines. That would be the best birthday present ever.
READ PART #1 In This Series: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND THE BIBLE: STEP THREE BROUGHT ME FACE TO FACE WITH THE LIVING GOD OF THE UNIVERSE
(If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org All conversations will be kept 100% confidential)