In this life (20 years as of 2013), by God's grace, He bought me out of the depths of my own sin and loneliness, and gave me joy, a new life, and the greatest companionship ever imagined - the companionship of His son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!
As a child, I had attended church approximately every time we had visited my Gran in the countryside. My first experience of God's grace, and my first answered prayer was at the age of five. I had been being bullied at school by a fellow classmate, and wrote a letter to God, asking Him to stop the bullying. God answered this prayer in an amazing way. The girl who had been bullying me became my first childhood best friend! Isn't God good!
Throughout my childhood, I had a lot of ups and downs. There was never a loving, caring father figure around so when my earthly father visited out of the blue when I was eight, I was astounded - having not seen him since I was two.
Being eight, I was ecstatic -- particularly when he said he would return the next day! Sadly though he didn't come.
After this I went downhill. I was angry. I was hurt and hard-hearted. I started stealing and lying and acting up.
This generally got a lot worse with me by the age of 12. I was hardhearted, hateful, and bitter towards most. I was literally blinded by the devil - angry and deceitful most of the time - with little consideration of others.
Things still kept going downhill with me ending up behaving promiscuously and ending up in an abusive relationship at 13 years old, as a result of these foolish choices I made. This worsened still, and I isolated myself from everyone , and stopped talking when in school due to bullying.
I am and will always be extremely grateful to God for His grace at this time that He kept me alive and was so merciful to me.
By His mercy, God brought me to Him through a Christian youth camp at the age of 16. Whilst there , I literally broke down crying, and felt God's amazing presence , and peace come over me like never before!
Now after God gracefully introduced Himself to me, and lead me to repentance, I began attending the Salvation Army. At this stage, I was very ignorant concerning the scriptures, having barely read the Bible growing up or attended church much.
This led to me getting very confused, and anxious. At this point I had not really grasped that Salvation (forgiveness of sins and the help of the Holy Spirit) is a FREE GIFT!
I mistakenly thought that every time you sinned, you lost your salvation, and you had to pray the sinners prayer each time. This led to me being very fearful and worried most of time.
I would just like to give thanks to God for all the work He has done in my life up to this point, and for all the battles He has fought for me!
Slowly and gently, by His grace, God opened my eyes to more and more truths each year, leading me by the Holy Spirit to stop watching the things the world watches, or go to the places the world goes that does little more that hinder our ability to walk in close daily communion with Jesus (which Christians desperately need to do these days to be able to rest in His power during our times of struggles).
Unfortunately, Satan’s relentless tempting and my weak will caused me to fall into a spiritual backslidden state, where I was sinning for a long time, out of marriage, at which point I would end up in tears nearly all the time, due to the fact that I knew it was sin, and I would feel sad and disgusted with myself all the time.
[PT Staff Note: Young Christians – realize this is a very common experience when you first decide to get right with Jesus Christ. Your most vulnerable time of being Satan’s target is when you first come to Christ, because most Christians aren’t fully aware of just how intense Satan will be to keep them from maturing in Christ, because once they do start spiritually maturing, Satan has a much more difficult time tempting them to sin and then battle feelings of condemnation and confusion and frustration with God. See: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=21177&forum=45&0 ]
Through this time, God worked a miracle in my life. I was in church, feeling pretty alone, and hopeless, and afraid, and miserable in general and there was a person next to me. I say “person”, and I will explain why soon. The pastor told us to greet each other and the person next to me turned to me, gripped me on the shoulders -- looked me directly in the eye, and told me in a bold voice, “Trust God and obey; just TRUST AND OBEY!”
As soon as this was said, we started worshipping. The person did not look at me again, nor make eye contact.
It was then time to leave. I remember feeling dazed, like something extraordinary had happened. I turned around to look for the person, and the person had vanished -- nowhere to be seen! Something amazing about this person though … I cannot say whether they were male of female by characteristics of their face, and voice.
In time, I began questioning whether this person may really have been an angel in disguise. Now I believe that the person was indeed an angel of the Lord, who by God’s grace was sent to minister that message to me at a time I needed to hear it badly.
God has been so merciful to me, in not giving up on me even in the state I was in. Thank you Lord!
Even through this time of my being backslidden, the Lord out of His grace showed me a vision. The stars were falling out of the sky to the earth in an extremely precise way. At the time, I knew this was related to the book of Revelation, and the end times, but I didn't think much on it at the time, due to a lack of knowledge of the scriptures. I’ve since come to realize from that vision that the book of Revelation is not as symbolic as some believe and teach regarding its meaning regarding the end times … but we are to take it very literal. It’s not going to be a nice place to live down here if you are not right with the Lord once God’s wrath begins to get poured out against those who have rejected the Lord and have no regard for unrighteousness -- no regard for eternal salvation and having an assurance that they will escape hell for eternity because they chose to totally disregard the Truth of the New Testament Bible and therefore reject the sacrifice of Jesus Christ so they could have forgiveness for their sins which is what qualifies all of us to receive eternal life. The New Testament Bible assures us that is the ONLY way to have the promise of eternal life on the judgment day -- to escape hell for eternity.
The Lord, by His mercy, led me out of this state of sin, and I married my husband, and we have now have our first child as of this writing.
There have been several trials in my life since I was spiritually born again; some I didn't even recognize as trials, due to a lack of knowledge.
The first trial (although I didn't acknowledge it as a trial at the time) started from when my daughter was born. We were overjoyed to have her, and were praising God for a safe delivery.
The moment we got her home, and my husband went back to work, I started getting horrible thoughts … voices in my head, telling me to harm my baby, to hurt her, and other thoughts alongside this. I had never experienced this before, so I was absolutely terrified, and thought I was going mad!
These thoughts got worse, and only subsided when my mother-in-law came to stay. Then as soon as she left, they started again. These bothered me constantly - without me realizing where they came from.
Before the trial got more intense, the Lord blessed me by speaking to me. Jesus told me not to fear for He is with me! Unfortunately, I was so overwhelmed with JOY to hear my SAVIOUR'S voice that I did not listen to what He was telling me!
These thoughts/voices got much worse very recently, and became blasphemous, which led to me thinking I was not saved … that I had been given over to a reprobate mind, and led me to praying the sinners prayer again and again and again, and feeling weak and filthy, and ashamed of myself. I failed this trial, needless to say.
Only very recently, I discovered via Google that many other brethren in Christ were and are experiencing these thoughts too. I also discovered that these thoughts are from the devil, who was trying to deceive me into thinking they were my own thoughts.
[PT Staff Note: The sooner we learn to recognize where our thoughts are coming from, the easier the Christian walk becomes. Here is an excellent writing to help in this area: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/u-z/VoiceOfGod.htm ]
By God's grace, I was led to the website of www.precious-testimonies.com which helped me understand more about trials and what to do to help get victory in/over them - something I had not considered before, and I saw testimonies of those experiencing similar things, or who had experienced similar things. God has been so merciful to me!
I am in the midst of a trial right now (July 2013), and by God’s help I am determined not to fail! Satan has been tempting me all day right now as I write this, and The Lord blessed me with scripture to repeat which has been helping all day! James 4:7:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
[PT Staff note: Here is a very helpful writing in how to resist the devil: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/u-z/WarOfWordsWarfareRobertMorris.htm]
I have a lot to learn, and God has shown me that He wants me to depend of Him for everything, and trust HIM!
For those going through a trial right now, I encourage you, take heart! It is not easy at times, but remember:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God will NEVER leave nor forsake you! (See: http://www.openbible.info/topics/i_will_never_leave_you_nor_forsake_you )
Take comfort - God Bless you!
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"And this gospel
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