Tag Archives: Grace

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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“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Living with grace can be a difficult thing. I find in some modern churches a setiment of going “old testament” on the lost. How often we forget that Jesus, “had compassion” on them. In our zeal for holiness we have neglected that which is holy.

Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

This is a crucial. Sometimes we take convicting into our own hands. How soon we forget that convinction one of the duties of the Holy Spirit. As an example I have found people around me cursing up a storm who suddenly apologize to me for their salty language, as if I was hugely offended. Honestly I never told them to stop cussing around me. Was it me that they were apologizing to? Was it anything in me that they were convicting by? No. It was the Spirit of God that they suddenly found themselves convicted to. Since I was young I’ve pleaded to God for him to keep me from cursing and by his Spirit He has made this possible. Honestly, I can’t own this achievement because I know my nature and I know how often I’ve wanted to say something curse worthy but was prevented somehow.

Lets think about this: Which person has obeyed the commandments? A preacher who takes every moment to slam homosexuals? Or a person who shows love to people who don’t agree with them, or even hate them?

As Jesus was on the cross he uttered the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We know not what we do. We need God’s strength to live the lives he wants us to. We can’t turn a blind eye to sin but we can turn our eyes towards compassion. They will know we are Christians by our love.

Jake

As a final note we need to read the old testament again. As harsh as somethings can be, there are many, many more places where God shows his mercy.

Micah 7:18 “Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.”

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The Most Beautiful Thing One Can Wear is a Smile

“I have a right to be ugly.”

August, 25, 1989, a beautiful baby was born. Unfortunately the baby became more and more hideous as it grew. When every passing year puberty left another wicked curse on him. One year an ugly mole, the next a random growth spurt. Each ebb and flow of time left him looking more and more like a freak and less and less like a model. Wasn’t puberty supposed to craft him into a fine young gentleman worthy of the cravings of young women? 

Fredrick Watson sighed as he smiled in the mirror. His sigh soon became a depression when he thought about what he was missing out on. He never was able to gain a girl’s attention, play sports with any dexterity that would allow him to enjoy it in the least or make a group of people laugh at his funny stories. For him, he thought, God had left out all of the good qualities and stitched him up from the assortment of random parts laying around in his workshop. 

Sadly Fredrick Watson is a real person. He resembles many of us as we look in the mirror each day. We feel that God has placed us with misfortunes rather than blessings.

There was one thing, however, that made Fredrick Watson different. As quickly as his depression was hovering it had fled at the sight of his smile. Yes each row of crooked yellow teeth proceeded to banish the darkness around him and lite up the dimly light bathroom mirror. With the curve in his chapped lips he continued to drive the cloud out of him; forcing self-respect into his heart. 

“If the world in its fancy styles and colors can feel a sense of justification when they look in the mirror and see their beautiful faces then I can feel just as well looking in the mirror and seeing my face.” 

Fredrick Watson paused to gather his thoughts. 

“God makes no mistakes. He created each one of us in his image. His purpose is just. He told the blind man that God did this so his glory could be shown.” 

You see Fredrick knew that God didn’t have to fix his circumstances to heal him from the ever foreboding and ominous darkness that haunted his dreams and desires. He had to fix his heart. 

Fredrick Watson withdrew from the momentary battle, dressed himself and went to work. 

“I have a right to be ugly.” 

-Long Jack Lobo

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