By: Silvia O.
I will start from the beginning- when I was five. As a child I grew up in a single parent home, my mother and brothers and sister. I want to start with the first prayer that God ever answered for me.
I was being bullied by another girl at school at the time, and wrote a letter to God, asking for the bullying to stop, and for the girl and me to be friends. God graciously answered this prayer, and the girl became my best friend. At this time I was not born again, but God by His grace chose to answer and show His love to me.
As a child, I was an extreme daydreamer ' and a compulsive liar. I would spend most of my time daydreaming and in books, and would tell the most ridiculous lies to impress my friends or to anyone I could.
My mum caught me in
lies many times, and would tell me to stop or she wouldn't be able
to trust me anymore, but that didn't stop me, unfortunately. I was
so blinded by the devil most of my life.
It's true that the 'kingdom of self' really can deceive you!
I was also cruel to my sister, and my brothers as a child, in ways that I'm ashamed of now.
I began stealing at a very young age, from my own family members, and eventually from a store, until my mum caught me.
I had never known my biological father, apart from when I was too young to remember him, so when he turned up out of the blue one day, I was astounded! Unfortunately he said he would come again the next day, but never returned. This is when I really began acting up, most likely because of lack of forgiveness for what I perceived as him rejecting me one too many times. (I didn't know anything at the time about the crucial need to forgive those who hurt us and/or reject us). I was hardhearted and angry, and hurt most of the time.
At age 12, when I was really being deceived, here's how much anger I had. I would wear black all the time. I was scrawling graffiti on my property, with skulls and such sayings as 'Bound for hell.' I was swearing and disrespectful to my elders. I would draw pictures of my biological father being tortured. This is what will happen when you hold unforgiveness against someone like I was my father. It opens doors for the devil to do all sorts of things to destroy your life. Most people commit suicide because they are holding unforgiveness against God, someone else, and even themselves! (Editor's note: To learn more about the importance of forgiving those we feel have wronged us, and/or let us down, you can click on the following link: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/MEncouragerArchives/AngerBeware.htm)
It's by God's grace He kept me alive at that time. I'm eternally grateful to Jesus, for saving me even though that's the way I was! Truly I was the 'Chief sinner'.
Life got worse. I entered into a relationship which led to me being abused, and mistreated for three years: Physically, mentally and sexually. I was acting like a prostitute, having affairs, and self-harming.
The lying didn't stop either. I was in such a state of pain. I cannot say that if I were God I would have bothered saving me!
When I was 16, my grandmother, (who is a born again Christian), sent me a letter, inviting me to go to a Christian youth camp. I believe that God led me to say 'yes,' even though at that time I didn't realize it.
When I was there, God - by His great grace and mercy - revealed Himself to me in a loving way. I asked for a sign that He was real. I asked Him to make the sun shine brightly, and He did - TWICE!
After the youth camp, I began attending the Salvation Army. At this point, I was very ignorant of God's word (The Holy Bible) and also I didn't realize that Salvation is a completely FREE GIFT from God to every human being. It cannot be earned, and it is not deserved ' so every time I sinned, I would pray the sinners prayer, wrongly and very mistakenly thinking that I lost my salvation every time I sinned.
After time, I believe God revealed the TRUTH to me, by His grace and mercy, and started leading to me separate myself from the things of this world (inappropriate movies, and music mostly) although this took a while to happen, due to my stubbornness.
Revelations of His Splendor, and Manifestations of the Holy Spirit
God by His grace and mercy revealed many truths. One of these revelations was a vision of the stars falling to ground. I am not sure where I was at the time, but they were falling to the ground in a very distinct manner. One thing I have noticed about these revelations is that when God reveals these visions, is that there is NO TIME. You do not feel a sense of time (for example, you don't feel like half an hour has gone by, or an hour. There is no sense of time at all. Everything felt so still.
Hell Is Real
One night I was sleeping, when I had what I believe was a vision, or an out of body experience. I was looking down on what was a fiery place. There were what seemed like fiery circles with molten lava in them, or pits. I could not see anyone, due to how far away it looked, and how small it looked from the distance I was from it. Again, there was no sense of time at all. I cannot say how long I was there.After seeing this, a voice like thunder shouted 'STOP!' ' and the brightest white light or flash happened, and then I woke up, with my heart pounding like a drum!
Heaven Is Real
Before I share this vision, I want to say how GOOD God really is! He alone is RIGHTEOUS and MERCIFUL and LOVING and all His ways are TRUE! He alone is worthy of all praise! God showed this vision to me while I was not saved! At the time I didn't even realize it was God showing me this.
This happened just after my granddad passed away. He was a born again Christian as far as I know, and he had been a vicar/ pastor when he was younger. One thing I realize now is that when someone is born again, you can tell! In God's word (the Holy Bible) it says in 1 John 4 verse 19-20: We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.
Now as a child (throughout my childhood actually), I was still stealing, from family members (including my granddad) and I am sure he knew, yet throughout my whole childhood, he never once bought it up. Whenever I would spend time with him, he would be gentle, loving and kind ' in a way I could not explain. To me at the time he seemed just peaceful, and patient in a way I hadn't experienced before.
So at age 12 when my granddad passed away, I was heartbroken, because he was the only one I viewed as an earthly father figure, and one day in my mother's room, I was lying on her bed, thinking ' feeling how much I was missing him ' something very supernatural happened. All of a sudden, I was in a different place. I cannot begin to describe the beauty of this place. The floors are made out of jewels, (liquid gold, sapphire, emeralds); the walls are made out of what seemed to be sparkling white marble or pearl; the colors were so much more vivid than here! There were fields with flowers and everything was beautiful!
Then a man walked up -- he was wearing a spotless white gown or robe. He had grey hair and a beard, he reminded me of my granddad, and somehow I knew it was him. We walked through this beautiful paradise talking, and I remember asking some questions. I realized where I had been after the vision finished and instantly wanted to go back, but it did not happen a second time.
Trials - Temptations
Once a sinner receives the free gift of salvation (forgiveness of sins), which comes through JESUS CHRIST ALONE, God wants to build Christ-like (godly) character in that person. Once you have been saved, that is what I believe God wants for every believer in His Son (who is the TRUTH personified).
God recently revealed that He has been allowing me to go through trials for longer than I realized! What I thought were just unfortunate circumstances, were trials!
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.(1 Peter 4:12-13 NASB)
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:5)
God has been and is always faithful. I need to remind myself of that over and over. He does not send trials our way without giving the ability to overcome them in Christ Jesus. He has always comforted me through every trial -- the most trying one so far I think I'm going through now -- the devil has been sifting me like wheat! My mind has been being plagued by blasphemous thoughts; lying voices and foul thoughts for a while, which led me to place of thinking I was going mad, and that I was being overcome with lies!
I would cry out to God every day, asking Him to remove them. I allowed myself to get angry. I would feel tired, and emotional, and overwhelmed at the end of each day, but whenever I felt like I couldn't cope; couldn't handle it any longer, God would always give me scripture to encourage me; to comfort me, and let me know that:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Now I have to admit that at certain times in
these trials, I was thinking:
Even this? Or how can
having my mind bombarded with lies help me?!
At some point I allowed myself to get so heated up and bothered by these voices that I got worried I would forget the truth, so I took to muttering the truth ' (God's word) out loud constantly during the day. God then said that the Truth of God's Word is in my heart, and to fight these voices with the truth of God's Word in my heart ' I do not have to worry about forgetting it (Truth)! It's taking me time to remember that, and stop constantly speaking out loud, but God has been and is being so patient with me, and keeps gently reminding me that I will not lose the Truth. I am not going to forget it, so to stop worrying about it ' as I was constantly saying promises about who I am in Christ, and was scared to stop saying them in case I forgot them!!
The lesson I believe
God wants me to learn is to trust Him regardless of how hopeless the
situation seems in my eyes, and let Him fight the battle ' and stop
trying to take the matter into my own hands, which will not
accomplish anything. I'm
slowing realizing to do otherwise is a form of pride/ idolatry and
arrogance. It's a
process of learning and growing and maturing in my relationship with
Christ, which we all are in.
Which gets back to the title of this testimony. The biggest reason why I'm writing this testimony is to show that if I can be saved, anyone can be saved!
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