40 years ago, Almighty God stepped into my life and with my permission, changed me from the inside out in a matter of twenty four hours. Although there are certainly no promises in God’s Word that such a phenomenal experience is available to everyone when they get saved, I am truly thankful that God worked in such a profound and individual way with me.
There is currently one of my blogs telling the historical account of what took place on this date in 1969 in the Sandia Mountains outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. For anyone interested in seeing what God is willing and able to do for ONE person, I would urge you to read my "testimony" as best I can recall it. August 24, 1969--My Personal Witness to God's Amazing Grace
Forty years is a long time. I could not begin to chronicle all the significant things which have transpired in my life since that day and night as a sixteen year old in mountains. The one thing I can say for sure is that contrary to what many think when they are young, my forty year journey has NOT been a straight line always heading upward. To the contrary, this journey has had more twists and turns than the road going up to Pikes Peak in Colorado.
As I look back on the journey, I see all the amazing things God lead me to and through in order to teach and train me in His ways. I see all the incredible times when I thought life couldn’t get any better and that I had reached the zenith of spirituality. I also see all the horrible times when I thought life couldn’t get any worse and that I surely had reached the end of this life’s journey.
When God reached into my heart and planted His Holy Spirit within me on that mountainside in 1969, He knew it would take the rest of my life for me to even begin to understand the significance of what He did, let alone walk in the fullness of it. Through the years, my God has patiently waited on me to lay down all my excuses for not totally trusting Him. Through the years my God has endured, with unbelievable longsuffering, my shortcomings and downfallings.
When God called my name, literally, and led me to the side of the creek forty years ago; He did it with understanding that I would someday rise up to what He was calling me to do for Him. He knew it would take me a lifetime to get there, but He is a very patient God. You know, God has all the time in the world to wait on us to finally get around to doing His will. God is rarely in a hurry.
I can vividly recall countless times over the years when God and I would have one of our "discussions". Although the particular topic might vary greatly, the end result of these "discussions" would always be that I would more or less tell God that He is wrong and that I was going to go do things my way. Oh how it must have broken His heart to watch me turn and walk away, knowing what I was going to have happen. But, He never overstepped my freedom of will and despite my stubbornness, He has always watched over me and taken me back each time I come home to Him.
Anyone who thinks that from the time you get saved until the time you die or the Lord returns is nothing but sunshine, bliss and heaven on earth is living in a fantasy land spiritually. I can attest to the truth that contrary to this type of "wishful thinking" Christianity, the true Christian faith is one full of challenges and opportunities to rise and fall countless times.
Isn’t it significant that the same man, Simon Peter, who walked on the water to come to Jesus is the same man who denied he even knew Jesus three times? Isn’t it significant that the same man, Simon Peter, who Jesus had to rebuke and say ‘Get thee behind me Satan’ to is the same man Jesus turned the administration of the new church over to? Peter was not even close to being perfect, but his heart was obviously in the right place or Jesus would not have appointed him to become the leader he ended up being in Acts.
A number ONE on my list of what I have learned in 40 years of service to the Lord is that for every day, hour or minute I have faithfully followed His commands and done exactly as He has told me; there have been ten days, hours or minutes I have stumbled and fallen woefully short of the standard laid before me. In other words; as I look back over all those years, I see a graph which would look like the Rock Mountains. /-\/--/-- I hope you get the picture.
The first thing I would like anyone reading this to understand is that staying faithful to the Lord is not a 24 hour, 7 day a week, never make a single mistake and always do everything just right type of deal. It is staying faithful in resisting temptation and when failing, to repent and come home to God’s forgiveness. It is trying to do as He says at all times, yet knowing that many times our ears are clogged with wax and we don’t hear a word He says.
In other words, quit being so hard on yourselves. Understand your limitations and your shortcomings. God loves us and He is not going to forsake us or give up on us. That is never the issue. The only issue is whether we give up on Him. Faithfulness is not perfection but rather the commitment to never turn our back on God and walk away. Yet, even if we do, He will always be there with open arms to welcome us home if we so choose.
You wrote: [quote]Faithfulness is not perfection but rather the commitment to never turn our back on God and walk away. Yet, even if we do, He will always be there with open arms to welcome us home if we so choose. [/quote] This reminded me of a story which I will not relay here but will do so in a blog later on. I only wanted to say that when I was in Kentucky this summer, an old friend of mine told me "God is more merciful than we think". You know, it is true. He is well aware of who we are and what all of our faults and failures are yet... Jesus still willingly laid down His life for us. He is more merciful than we think.
My comment posted twice and the URL I posted was for this one not the other one. Here's the other one....
The Lord leads His people in different ways and the experience is influenced by the individual's choice to the Lord's call.
B2Y has had a Rocky Mountain experience which included lots of "do things my way" and for "every day, hour or minute I have faithfully followed His commands " he had " ten days, hours or minutes I have stumbled and fallen woefully ". No doubt he has borne the price of stubbornness and a tumultuous faith life in the midst of good days and faith in the Lord.
This contrasts to my experience which has been more like a spiral to each level of higher ground with with disciplined faith and focus to His cause and less personal distractions/disagreement with the Lord and personal pain.
Both of us have known the faithfulness of our God, His gentle persuasive nature when we strayed, His great compassion and mercy and forgivenss when we had faltered. We have also felt His strength and courage in us when we faced the enemy and were tempted, and the Light of His Word in our daily lives.
Praise the Lord for
Thank God for peace that passeth all understanding and a joy which pervades our life despite the circumstances, when we have yielded to His control.
It is your choice what path you choose under the Lord. The consequences differ and so the experience of faith. Praise the Lord He loves each one to eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Praise the Lord for lHis steadfast love in leading brother B2Y through 40 tumultuous faith years.
40years- I'm almost there a couple more to go (unless you count the day when I was 8 and reading John3:16 and ask Jesus to be my Lord and forgive my sins). My road has been more like yours than ptl2008's. I indeed was a "Do it my way" person. It has taken many years for me to discover God's way is better and I still sometimes need that little reminder.
Wow! Amazing to read what a Christian of such long standing has to say. I must admit I was beginning to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I'm not young but have only been a Christian for a little over a year so still not really 100% certain of what to expect or what is expected. I do belong to a church in my area which offers great support so not lacking there but it's still nice to get outside views.
Thanks for posting this - very encouraging!
Thank all of you for your kind and supportive comments. I value your friendship and thank God for the joy of serving with such wonderful and committed people as you. God bless you all.