Monthly Archives: August 2012

My Testimony

I accepted Christ when I was 7 years of age on a Sunday night in Rota, Spain. I was apart of a kids program called Super Sunday Nights. On this evening we were memorizing verses and we happened to be memorizing John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” After getting familiar with the verse I declared to my teacher, “I want to have eternal life.” She informed me that salvation from our sins comes from Jesus Christ and when we invite him into our hearts he lives with us and helps us by his Spirit. She invited me to pray to God and to ask him to forgive me of my sins and invite Jesus into my heart. I did so as she guided me. It’s funny. I was raised in a Christian home and grew up with bible stories but this was the first time I had ever really understood anything I was hearing. At once it all made sense.

Since then I have battled through many things. I had moved seven times in my life because my parents were in the military. Each time I had to make friends and battle with loneliness and dread. I was the “perpetual new-kid.” Amongst this I sought out the wisdom of the world to confirm what I thought I chose to believe. After many books and articles I would keep searching. It wasn’t as though there weren’t good enough answers; the fact is that I was simply trying to reach God through my own human wisdom. At other times I would pray demandingly for God to come down and perform miracles. I was trying to support my faith with supernatural evidence as if that was enough to satisfy my veracious appetite for “the proof” instead of living John 20:29: ‘Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”’ Simultaneously I struggled with pornography which itself was more of a battle of trying to satisfy my physical cravings. It bled itself out and manifested its true head as a dark “me” attitude.

By the grace of God he has defeated and continues to defeat these enemies in my life. I realize now that my testimony was not so much “from here to there; black & white” but rather “from there and back again;” from innocent-child-like-faith to mature child-like-faith. The skeptic may be inclined to think that I have “regressed,” but in fact I haven’t regressed at all but “progressed.” When I was a child I had received an unimaginable gift from God but I hadn’t begun to grasp what I had received. It was when I was older and a little more foolish that I truly begun to realize just what God has done for me. Through all my doubt and poor decisions God was with me every step of the way. He continues to guide my feet and be my best friend. The truth is that the gospel is simple. In its very nature it weeds out those who would seek God by their own means. In my own life my pursuit for God was a tower of Babel that only after God had confused my efforts did he show me that the way to himself wasn’t through my own brilliance or effort but through the blood of Jesus Christ. Gently he reminded me what I was taught at first. My life now has been a constant pursuit after his Spirit and it’s been my pleasure to find him pursuing me all the same.

Maybe you’re looking for God in the evidence. Maybe you’re waiting for miracles. I would encourage you to stop. Put down the books. Quit waiting on what God could do for you and focus on what he did do for you. The fact is that what Jesus did on the cross was enough for us to praise him for eternity. On the cross he paid the debt of humanity, canceling our sins and earning us salvation, now and for eternity, ultimately reconciling us with God; when we deserved the full wrath of God he took it upon himself to pay the debt that so we may be called his friends. I plead to you on behalf of the Living God to accept his gift. Let your “knowledge” of God drip twelve inches from your head to your heart. A great quote by C. H. Spurgeon sums it up, “Defend the bible? I would as soon as defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself.” Let God’s word fulfill its truth in your life. Quit trying to white-knuckle grace like I did and instead receive it with open hands. Have faith for He will defend himself.

Jake

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The Baptism: Ephesians 5:14

Falling. I faintly remember the moments that proceeded. My memory is still a blur and it will do little help to try and jog it.

Falling. For a moment I couldn’t feel the weight of my body, as if gravity had left earth. For a quiet second everything felt still. Everything was silent. I held my breath.

Suddenly, the rush of wind flew past my ears and I could hear the swells of the angry ocean crashing against the rocks. After what felt like a lifetime my flesh cascaded into the violent waves. Gravity quickened its pace as I fell nearer towards the ominous dark seas. I collapsed under its downward force.

The sudden shock.

The Baptism.

My mouth gaped open as a result of the hit, flooding my mouth the fiery taste; my nose and mouth burned with the vigor of salt water. Its venom struck my pores and my eyes were wide-open. The coldness of its waters awoke my soul like an unforeseen snowstorm on a blistering hot day. With a jolt my inner sleeper arose. I was listening now.

I could scarcely describe what happened next. As if in slow-motion I continued to fall into the depths. For an instant I opened my eyes. At first I was surrounded by utter darkness; a blue so deep that a hue could not be ascertained. I felt it. I felt the sorrow of the earth. The sadness, the loneliness-what He felt. Silence filled my ears. A void so thick you could reach out and touch it.

My sins had buried me here.

I sat Indian-style on the bottom; my arms prayerfully by my side.

An eternity then past.

With my last exhale I began to feel my body rise. My feeble head rose towards the sun as if two hands had gently rolled it back like when the barber is trying to find a better angle or when your mother is trying to show you something. My weight was lifting. Gravity was suddenly upended. I opened my eyes to see the light dancing upon the surface. I could hear the gentle moans of stringed instruments. Each ray of light danced between each other like the footsteps of a ballroom. The music: in time. The closer I got to it the louder the music would appear. The brilliant light could’ve blinded me but I couldn’t look away. With each flicker it would sing the brilliance of its creator; reflecting every tone.

The sound became intense; nearly unbearable. My face broke the surface of the waters. I could hear the cheers of others. I could feel the rays of light. The faint music faded into crashing waves. I smiled that day.

Jake

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