Jesus Did It!
By: Elizabeth Carey
If you had asked me when I was young what being a Christian meant, my best answer would have been, 'It means to have a relationship with God.' But I didn't know God, nor choose to obey Him, but instead I decided what I was going to do, with the life God had given me.
I also thought it was something that would be boring, so best to enjoy life now and maybe later become religious. That was my philosophy.
When I was I young, I often felt a presence of something big around me and didn't know what it was, but I started believing in God.
One day, when I was nine, my mother said, 'Let's go to church,' so I started going to a Sunday school. Listening to the bible made a lot of sense, especially hearing about the kindness and love of Jesus. I believed that He was God because of this, but didn't really understand why He died on the cross.
About two years later I had the choice of continuing, or stopping Sunday school. I realized that it was not 'cool' going to Sunday school and therefore made a conscious decision to be like my other friends and therefore not go anymore.
Rebelling Against God's Commandments
My life was in full rebellion with God. I started going to parties and drinking at 13 and staying at friend's houses. One friend then invited me to church. I felt like a hypocrite. The night before we were at parties and then the next day in church like angels. It really weighed on my mind - this double life - especially when going to a bible group. I went to a bible group for another two years, but then stopped again as I chose to follow my own ways and not God's.
Things started getting hard. My parents divorced and through the separation came a lot of pain. Although I cried out to God, I was also in full rebellion to His commandments, and carried on going to parties and feeling very empty and unhappy. The next day I would always feel guilty for my actions and that really burdened me.
Again, God was searching for me. I went to a Christian camp and was so touched by the presence of God that I decided I wanted Him in my life, but I didn't understand that I had to give up my ways and follow Him. The bible says that if we are to follow Christ, then we have to carry our cross daily and follow Him: And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:27)
We can't say we love Him if we don't choose to obey His commandments: If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
So nothing happened when I tried to 'give my life' to Him. I wasn't ready to repent (turn away from my sinful wrong doings.)
After this, however, the devil tricked me and I believed I could do what I wanted and thought God would 'understand' as He knew that I believed that Jesus was God and thought that was enough. Well, the bible warns us that the fallen demon angels also believe this: You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe ' and tremble! (James 2:19). Believing doesn't do anything if there is no desire to follow God.
Things got harder. When my parents divorced I went to live with my mother, whilst my brother and sister stayed with our father. It was a time of pain for everyone. However, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I started to call on the Lord more seriously.
God Searches For Us
God had not forgotten me. The bible says that He searches for the lost sheep in Luke Chapter 15. We are like the lost sheep when we do not know Him, and He is described as the Good Shepherd. Now I can see the ways He was searching for me, although at the time I didn't recognize it.
It started with a series of dreams, as I would often call out to God to know Him, but I wasn't ready to follow Him. I had many dreams of large powerful tornados. God was in the tornado and would call out to me: 'Why are you running from Me?' ' as in the dreams I was running from Him. When we search for God He gives us a greater conviction of our sins; the things we do wrong against Him, like lie, steal, our attitude to Him. After every dream I would wake up with a fear of God, and ask Him to forgive me, but I was still not ready to submit my life to Him.
God Breaks Us
Watching my mother die was very painful and it made me feel completely helpless. We all face a day to die and there is nothing we can do to stop this day. It's in God's hands and we will all face our Creator. I started looking for Christians as I knew they could talk with God and that He wouldn't hear me because my life was very ungodly at that time. At it says in Isaiah 59:2: But your iniquities have come between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, from hearing.
I started realizing I was separated from Him. When my mother died, I thought a lot about where she went, and then soon couldn't stop thinking about where I would go when I die. I felt extremely empty, and that there didn't seem to be any point to anything. I tried to be comforted in drink and hash, but it made things worse. I didn't want to live, but feared where I would go if I died. At this point I had reached the lowest point I could go and in that state I cried out to the Lord with all my heart to know Him. I cried out to Him to show me where He was, as I needed Him.
Hell Is A Reality
It was at night and I was standing up. I had my eyes open, but God showed me a picture in front of my eyes of a black still lake. When I saw that vision, the lake just looked like eternal death. It was completely still, stagnant and dead ' no life nor grace there.
I stood there transfixed ' stunned by it - and then saw a red hand coming out. Then to my horror the hand started coming to me! The bible says that the unrighteous will be judged and will take their part in the lake of fire:
But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, will have their part in the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Rev. 21:8)
I didn't believe I was headed in that direction until I saw that image. It was such a shock! At the same time I felt a huge distance between myself and God. The devil's deception in my head was destroyed at that moment. The bible says the truth sets us free! I started understanding things I hadn't understood before about why Jesus died on the cross. It was to pay for our unrighteous actions including our sinful thoughts, our wrong doings, and rebellion against God.
The Way Out!
The bible says in John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. I realized then that God had His hands extended to me to forgive me; it was not His desire that I was to go in the direction of Hell but that He had lovingly provided a way out, though the cleansing of the perfect blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
At that point I felt so dirty; too dirty for God, so I said, 'Tomorrow, I want to follow you.' (Another lie in my head as Jesus' blood is perfect and can cleanse the worst sinner at any time).
The next day I wasn't thinking about what I saw the night before, but instead was with a friend in my house. However, God had not forgotten and came again graciously to remind me. The minute I went into my bedroom and was alone, I felt a huge presence of God -- so powerful that I couldn't stay standing up. He brought me to my knees crying and longing to be forgiven. I heard the words enter my head, 'Remember what you said to Me yesterday.' And, 'I am here now'.
At that moment, all I wanted was Jesus Christ to come in and forgive me and live in me, so I cried out to Him to be cleansed by His blood, to be forgiven and that He would live in me and give me a new life.
The bible says: For who ever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13).
And also that Christ is knocking at the door of our hearts and wants to enter to live in us: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me. (Rev. 3:20)
Forgiveness And Freedom
At that moment of Christ entering me, I literally felt myself being opened from the top and a power of love and peace and joy enter. It was like a refreshing force going through my body. From that moment I had become a new creation. As it says: So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17).
I went into the next room and my friend looked at me and saw the change. She asked. 'What happened to you?' I really didn't know where to start to explain! But she guessed, and she said, 'You're a born again Christian now?' I exclaimed, 'Yes!'
From that moment on, I wanted to go out and tell everyone, so the next day at work I explained to all my colleagues what had happened. They were amazed as only days before I was at parties and hadn't been in a church in five years!
God Changes Lives And Gives Us Promises
God changes lives. He gives us a new mind to hate sin, learn to love people and the power to forgive others as God forgives us. The ability to forgive others and not be enslaved with bitterness of anger is a huge freedom and as recently put in the film of Nelson Mandela -- Forgiveness liberates the soul.
God gives us hope and peace and He promises never to leave us nor forsake us:
Let your way of life be without the love of money, and be content with such things as you have, for He has said, "Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!" (Heb 13:5)
He gives us a peace that the world doesn't know:
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
It is not God's will that any should die and go to Hell as it says:
The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Are you willing to let God come into your life and cleanse you, restore you, heal you, forgive you and love you? This is the reason that Christ died on the cross. He gave up His perfect sinless life and took on His body our wrong actions against God and our guilt. He has paid the price and been condemned for our sins, so we can be forgiven. Are you ready to submit yourself to the Lord and let Him lead you and forgive you? It says if you call upon the name of the Lord you shall be saved. That is what I did and that is what happened.
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died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness
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HELL IS A REALITY '
I WAS SHOWN A VISION OF IT