Presented at a Nursing Home in St. Peter, Minnesota. My second sermon.
Today, January 1, 2012, we begin a brand New Year. With the New Year, it would be awesome to experience a new beginning. I would like to share with you, today, my new beginning, the beginning of a brand new life in Jesus Christ. I would like to share testimony about the most important decision I have made in my life. That decision was to repent and surrender myself and my life to God and make a heart commitment to follow and serve Jesus for the rest of my life. My rebirth took place about ten years ago, when I was 56 years old.
I do not remember a time in my life when I did not believe Jesus to be the Son of God, that He died for the forgiveness of sin and that He was resurrected from the dead.
As a young teenager, I was confirmed and at that time, my pastor asked, if I receive Jesus as my Savior. I said yes, but, was not sure.
During my teenage years, I was active in both junior and senior choir, the Luther League youth program and I even taught a Sunday School
class. But, in my heart I just knew my relationship with God was not what it should be, something was just not right.
When I married, I told my husband that I believed in Jesus Christ and he said he would be supportive and would go to church with me. Well, he did not keep his part of that promise. I have three grown children and now five grandchildren. I did make sure that my children attended Sunday School, church and that each of them was confirmed.
In my adult years, I attended church regularly, taught Sunday School and I even served as Sunday School superintendent for two years and I served for a time on the church council.
But, I continued to sense and knew in my heart that my relationship with God was not right, something was missing, it was just not complete.
Throughout my adult years, I told myself Before I die, I must become right with God.
After my youngest child completed high school, I actually quit going to church. I had felt for years that the church I was a member of was more social than it was spiritual. Through all the years as I was raising my children, I do not believe I grew spiritually at all. I did not grow closer to God. My relationship with God was at a standstill.
I dropped out of church for a period of about seven years. Then, a major change began to take shape. Early one morning in March of 2001, God audibly called out my name.
I was awakened about 3 a.m. by a soft masculine voice who called out my name Dorothy. I sat up thinking I would see someone standing in front of me. I was not afraid. I did not see anyone. But, I did sense and believe it was Jesus or an angel that had audibly called out my name. I believe God was awakening me and my spirit.
Acts 2:38-40 (KJV)
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
This passage of Scripture tells us that God calls us to Him. Most likely, He does not do this with an audible voice, but it is important to understand that it is God who calls us to Him.
When God calls our name, the Holy Spirit works to draw us to Jesus Christ. We cannot come to Jesus Christ on our own, the Holy Spirit works in our hearts to draw us to Jesus. The Holy Spirit enables a person to call out to God and repent of their sin toward God.
John 6:43-44 (KJV) tells us
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them,
(Murmur not among yourselves.)
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him
: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Everyone who has repented and given their life to Jesus Christ, I believe, recognizes through their own experience that it is the Holy Spirit who works to draw a person to Jesus. God must first call you to Himself. Then, the Holy Spirit awakens you to your need for a Savior and enables you to come to a point of repentance with a desire to surrender to God.
What is important to understand is that each and every person is born with the desire to sin. This is referred to as a sinful nature that we have all inherited from "Adam." Because of the bondage of this desire to sin, no person is capable of coming to God on his or her own. The Holy Spirit is essential to this process. The Holy Spirit must draw a person to Christ and prepare (enable) the person to receive Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord. That is the part that was missing in my life. I needed to be willing in my heart to allow Jesus to become Lord of my life.
I want to share now the experiences I had as the Holy Spirit drew me to Jesus in August and September of 2001.
1) Declaring God to be The Creator
In early August of 2001, I was driving south along highway 169 just north of Jordan, in the Minnesota River Valley. For some reason, I was arguing within myself as to whether or not God really exists. Right then, I came to a curve in the road and was able to view a beautiful hillside of trees, a partly cloudy sky, a small stream and the prairie stretching far to the west, all in one long glance. I think God magnified the beauty of this scene at that particular moment. I said out loud, I know God exists. All of this could not have just happened.
For God s own purpose, I believe, He wanted me to declare Him to be "The Creator." This was the initial experience God used to launch and draw me into a focus on the literal truth of God's Account of Creation in Genesis 1. God's account is literal truth. I have been inspired and led by the Holy Spirit in this area. The Creation Account has been a primary focus of the teachings and writings I have done. Presently, I am teaching a Sunday School class on Sunday per month on Genesis 1, God s Account of Creation.
2) A Need to Hear the Message of Salvation
By the middle of August, a longing to return to church was becoming stronger and stronger. I wanted to get back into going to church. There was such a strong desire rising up in me to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ. I longed to hear the truth of the Bible. I knew I just could not go back to the church I had been a member of for some 27 years. A church that was more social than spiritual. I needed to hear God's truth. I wanted to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
I considered the different churches in my town, which is Le Sueur. The church I decided to try has a good number of parishioners who have come from other area churches and from different denominations in search of a more biblically based church. On the first Sunday after Labor Day, my granddaughter and I attended this church. After the service, a session for those interested in becoming a member was conducted. I sat way in the back of the room and listened to what the pastor had to say. I was relatively satisfied with what I heard. So, I enrolled my granddaughter in Sunday School and I started attending this church.
3) September 11, 2001
It is doubtful that any of us will ever forget 9/11 and the horror that took place that day. The attack by terrorists flying jets into the Twin Towers, one jet crashing, and one jet flying into the Pentagon with many innocent people being killed.
This event brought the Second Coming of Jesus Christ into my mind where it has stayed ever since. After this event, churches around the country saw a great increase in the number of people attending church. Many people became concerned with where they were going to spend eternity, about the world coming to an end and about the judgment and wrath of God that will come upon the ungodly who do not turn to God.
God used this horrific event with me as the initial experience of drawing my attention to the end times and to the removal of The Church, an event also referred to as The Rapture. God has given me seven dreams about end time events. Four of these dreams came with spoken messages. Thus, I also share testimony, teach and write on the subject of the End Times.
4) Sense of Death
As the days of September continued to pass by, I had a greater and greater sense that I was going to die. I was experiencing this strange feeling in my lower abdomen and a real sense of death was hanging over me.
5) Drawn to Christian TV Programs
In the middle of September, instead of just passing over Christian programs on cable TV stations, I started to be drawn to these programs. My hunger to hear the salvation story and to be told truth kept increasing.
It was at the close of one of these programs that I called out to God in repentance and in surrender to Him. I had watched two programs that particular evening. With each program came a call to give your life to Jesus Christ. It was at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 2, 2001, that while I wept, I called out to God in repentance and surrender. It was on that very night I finally entered into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
I came into a right relationship with God when I asked for forgiveness of my sins and truly repented of my sin toward God. I surrendered my self will and my life to God and made the commitment to spend the rest of my life following and serving Jesus Christ.
This experience was the reconciliation every person needs to go through to become right with God. Jesus Christ and what He did for mankind by becoming the perfect blood sacrifice made this reconciliation with God possible. Possible because of God's awesome grace given to those who have faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ at the cross and His resurrection.
I wept for about two and a half hours, which is a miracle, since for many years I had been unable to cry. God gave me the miracle of tears that night. As I wept and called out to God, I literally felt the Holy Spirit enter my body. That night, my body became a temple where the Holy Spirit now dwells. The Holy Spirit now lives in me.
My spirit was regenerated (it was quickened my spirit was made alive) and I was changed overnight becoming a new creature in Christ. I was born again in Jesus Christ.
John 3:3 (KJV) 3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
I woke up on Tuesday morning experiencing a wonderful sense of peace. The peace that passes all understanding that only God can provide.
A hunger for the Word of God and its truth had been awakened in me. I no longer wanted to watch much of anything on television. That desire was just removed from me. I wanted to stay in the awesome state I was in. Pretty much, I stayed home for the next several weeks. I did not want to leave my home in fear that what I was experiencing would somehow be lost. I do believe I am now well-grounded in the Word of God and in my intimate and personal relationship with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
6) Healing Miracle Received
After the awesome experience of regeneration, I felt ashamed of the way I had not taken care of my body by not establishing healthy eating habits or engaging in solid physical exercise. I have testified that I believed I was dying. On the third day after my surrender to God, I made an appointment to see a general practitioner.
On or about October 9, 2001, at around 12:30 a.m., as I was praying and acknowledging "by the stripes of Jesus we WERE healed," I received a very awesome healing miracle. The imanifestation began with my experiencing an unusual sensation traveling throughout my body. I liken it to a thin laser-type ray that I could distinctly feel as it traveled through my body. It traveled in a synchronized way down both legs at once, out into both arms, up my torso and into my head. It kept traveling throughout my body, up and down, back and forth, for about twenty minutes. Then, I simply fell asleep.
In the morning, I didn't feel any different. The usual arthritic aches and pains were still there. However, within three days this realization hit me; I was no longer experiencing extreme shortness of breath nor experiencing the scary tingly numbness in my arms.
Many times over the course of the year prior to this miraculous healing, I said to myself, "I would have died from a heart attack by now if it wasn't for the fact that I am taking a blood thinner
When I had my check up later in October and the nurse took my blood pressure; it was 110/70. Over the next two years, I had my blood pressure checked at least five times, and each time it was in this 110/70 range. Before this miraculous healing, my blood pressure for a good number of years was always at least 140/90. I do not remember when or if my blood pressure was ever in the range of 110/70. Today, I remain free of extreme shortness of breath and have no tingly numbness in my arms.
I do believe, Jesus brought me back from the edge of physical death the night I experienced this healing miracle. As October progressed, the lingering sense of death lifted from me.
Truly, Jesus does not want just part of you, He wants all of you surrendered and committed to Him! This is what true repentance is about. This is when real change begins to happen in your life. Your own "self will" no longer can rule and work to block and hinder the cleansing and healing power of God when your heart is willingly surrendered to Him. It is not for Jesus' sake that a person needs to ask for forgiveness of their sins and surrender to God, it is for your sake and your well-being! I have never ever regretted surrendering all, my self will and my life, to God. I now have reason and purpose for living life, I have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, and I have a wonderful teacher and comforter, the Holy Spirit, living in me!
There are no words that can express how grateful I am to God for calling me to Him and for the Holy Spirit wooing (drawing) me to Jesus and enabling me to reach out and receive Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. In Jesus Christ is all righteousness. I now am walking in a "right" relationship with God. I love you Father, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. All Praise and All Glory to you God!
If there are any here listening today who have a willing heart and the desire to repent and ask for forgiveness of their sins toward God and the heart desire to surrender to and receive Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior, I would like to pray this prayer with you. Pray this prayer out loud if you are able or in your heart with me!
Father in Heaven, I confess that I have sinned against you. With all my heart I ask for forgiveness of all of my sins. I ask you Jesus to come into my heart and change me to become more like you. I receive you as Savior and make you Lord over all of me and over all of my life. I will follow and serve you for the rest of my life. Thank you Jesus for dying for my sin. Thank you Jesus for purchasing me with your blood sacrifice and for reconciling me to God. Thank you Father for your wonderful grace and for your mercy. In Jesus name, Amen.
If you willingly prayed this prayer with all your heart, you have come into a right relationship with God. You are a Child of God. You are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord! Seek the Lord with all your heart, each and every day, and He will reveal Himself to you in a variety of ways. Spend time reading God s Word, the Bible. It will come to life for you and bring life to you. The best part of my day is just sitting quietly and allowing God to speak within me, reading His word and talking through prayer with Him.
Receive now God s blessing:
The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
A New Year, a new beginning, Amen.
(See other sermons in this series by clicking on My Blog Series in left hand column of this page (or on my profile page) and then clicking on Sermons Delivered. There you will see a listing with links to sermons I have written and presented.)