Yesterday marked the 44th year since my experience in New Mexico where I came to know God and made the decision to serve Him and Him alone in this life. In many respects, I look upon August 24th as my real birthday and it does indeed hold a greater significance in my life than my “real” birthday in January.
When I see people who are 20 years old proclaiming how strong and mature in the Lord they are, I can’t help but wonder how many of them will even be an active Christian 10 years from now. I count it by life’s greatest accomplishment that I have stuck with God for 44 years and counting.
44 years is a long time and in those 44 years I have experienced just about everything available in this life, both good and bad. I have spent many years actively serving in the ministry and spent many years wandering alone in the wilderness. Regardless of where I have been or what I have been doing, this one thing I know: In whatsoever state I have been in, God has taken care of me and stood with me just as He promised that He would on that mountain in New Mexico 44 years ago.
As I sat on the ground next to the bubbling creek August 24th, 1969 God distinctly told me to light the candle I held in my hand, which I did. Almighty God, the creator of the heaven earth then told me that as long as the light burned in the darkness, He would stand with me if I would stand with Him. God has upheld His end of the deal faithfully. As for me, all I can say is that God still loves me.
As I look back on the past 44 years there were times that I became distracted, confused, depressed and alienated from God in my mind. Although God never forsook me; I forsook Him. God did not cast me off or walk away from me during those times, but simply waited for me to return to Him as His prodigal son. Without exception, every time I repented and came home to the Father, He has always accepted me with open arms, held me tightly in His love and rejoiced with unspeakable joy.
The only way to remain faithful in the long run is to recognize that at times we get all messed up and end up crawling on our stomachs through the wilderness . Anyone who does not believe that this happens to even the strongest believer is deceived. We all must be honest and understand that part of being human is to make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes take us to the middle of the Sahara Desert.
The only reason a person becomes permanently separated from God is when they consciously decide to turn their back on Him and walk away. When one of God’s children files for divorce and ends their relationship with Him, it truly breaks God’s heart.
Thankfully, I have never broken my Father’s heart although I have hurt Him countless times through my actions. Thankfully I never allowed myself to become so deceived that I sold my heart out to anyone other than God. Thankfully I was willing to walk away from a ministry when it became corrupt, even though it meant losing all my “ministerial credentials”. Thankfully I ended a “marriage” that was ordained by the devil and glorified only him.
In all things, I remain deeply thankful that I listened to God 44 years ago and in spite of a multitude of horrendous circumstances over the years, I have never allowed myself to become so bitter, possessed or deceived that I spat in God’s face and walked away from Him forever. It humbles me that through God’s grace and mercy God has remained faithful even when I wasn’t. God is love.
As always, Blessings 2 You!
How I wish someone would have noted the date that I came to Christ. I only know that it was in the spring or summer of 1968 before we moved into the house my mom still lives in (we moved there in August 1968) and I was seven years old. Now that I think about it, that would have been 45 years ago. Like you, there have been ups and downs and yet... God has always been there, watching, waiting, disciplining and loving me through it all.
I also have no real idea of the date when the spirit of God burst into my life, other than when I was in hospital in Oct. 1968.
[quote]Although God never forsook me; I forsook Him[/quote]
My testimony also.
I also wish I had marked the exact date down when I committed my life to Christ. All I remember was that it was a weekend in the early hours of the morning in November(?) 1976. I too have been through ups and downs but they have taught me the importance of clinging tightly to Christ, walking each day by grace with faith in Christ's keeping power. I know without a doubt that I can not keep myself. I need Him so desperately for He is more vital to me than the very breath I breathe. I have resolved within myself to hold lightly to everything in this life and consider Him as the only thing in this life that I can not live without. His word is food indeed to my spirit and without it, I become spiritually weak and feeble. Spending time in His presence is the highlight and joy of my day.
What a peace to know He has promised that He will never, ever leave me or forsake me. He never breaks a promise!
Thanks for sharing!
And I for one am glad that you persisted over the past 44 years. As you have said, some of those times were really rough but a faithful, loving God was watching .. and waiting .. and listening .. and loving.
Blessings my friend
And now it's 49 years since that day in New Mexico.
And over 2 years since...
And you are still teaching God's Word, from beyond the grave. I love you always; I miss you still, My Man of God.
I could never say that I didn't feel bitter towards God, once had love with demons, to be demonized and deceived and hid indarkness running away from him. It's the reality of my past, and I experienced a spiritual broken link with my parents as a result. I know that if I am destined to die one day, to know the suffering that Christ bore for me, it will be worth it because I was literally lost in darkness, but when I cried out to Him, he delivered me in times of my distress. It was that day that I finally understand that Jesus walked through hell for me and traded his life for mine, because I deserved judgement greater than death but I was spared, when I should have died.