The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Beautiful birth

Newborn babies are often ugly, red, and misshapen from the rigors of birth, but they are undeniably beautiful in their own right. Innocent and fragile, they are unspoiled by life.

So, too, is there a beauty to be found in the newborn believer. Freed from sin's dominion, a new innocence surrounds the baby Christian and a hunger for God pervades his life. Older Christians often gain new encouragement from the exuberance of new Christians.

I'd like to share my story with you. (This is long but is, I think, worth the read.)

I grew up in a truly Christian home where God and His Word affected every aspect of life. My parents' Christianity was more than the average "church time" Christianity. They didn't just claim Christ with their mouth; they lived Him in every facet of their lives. For example, if we children wanted to go to a friend's house, we asked Mom and Dad for permission, of course. However, they wouldn't just say yes or no. Instead, as a matter of course, they would open the Bible to a random passage, choose a verse, and see if it appeared to give a positive or negative response. Now, I realize that this seems very extreme, and I can't say that I follow this course of action myself, but it is a great illustration of how much God was a part of everyday life.

Of course, having Christian parents and growing up in a Christian home didn't save me, for salvation is an individual decision that only I could make for myself.

I always wanted to please my parents and do what was right. When I was very young, possibly four or five, I can remember my Dad explaining salvation to me and asking if I would like to get saved. I said yes because I knew that would please my Dad, but I certainly didn't understand what I was doing. This profession of salvation did nothing for my soul, for the desire to please your parents is not what saves you.

When I was about nine years old, we had half a watermelon for lunch one Sunday. Mom put the rest in the refrigerator and told us not to touch it because we would eat it after supper that night. Loving sweets of any form, I found the watermelon irresistible. I took a thin sliver from the top and then a little more. I'd leave and come back to eat "just a little more" until I was horrified to realize that I had eaten a huge chunk of watermelon. When Mom saw the watermelon, she was angry and demanded to know who had eaten it. Knowing that I would be in trouble once I told her that I was the culprit, I lied and vehemently declared that I had nothing to do with the crime. After church that night, she told me that she knew I was the guilty party and that, instead of only being punished for disobedience, I would be punished for lying to her as well. At this point, I burst into tears and sobbed out that I needed to be saved. The ruse worked: Mom and Dad gladly led me to "salvation," and I got out of the much-deserved punishment. This profession did nothing for my soul, for "salvation" for the purpose of evading punishment is duplicitous, and God will not honor lying.

Two years later, my family attended revival preached by J. Harold Smith. On the last night, he preached his famous sermon, "God's Three Deadlines," about people passing the deadlines that God sets for our salvation. Scared of going to hell, I went forward and made a profession of salvation.

In the years that followed, I lived the Christian life to the best of my ability. Anyone who knew me would have declared me to be not only a Christian, but a good one. Yet I struggled with assurance of salvation for a long time. I couldn't understand wherein the problem lay. I had asked Jesus to save me from my sins, and He promised that whosoever comes to Him will not be cast out. Then why the constant battle for assurance?

Over the past year, the battle intensified. I tried confessing my sins to God, sure that my unconfessed sin was the cause of my doubt. I grew weary of the struggle, and at one point I even told God, "I am tired of fighting! Go away and just leave me alone!" I immediately regretted thinking that, for it seemed as though God did go away, which terrified me. If I truly wasn't saved, I sure didn't want Him leaving me alone to die and go to hell!

Finally, on Monday morning, June 18, 2007, God used a dream to get my attention. In it, my former pastor's wife made a simple statement about our being sure of our salvation. Apparently, she saw something in my face, for she laid her hand on my arm and asked me, "Aren't you?" As I sobbed out that I was not sure, she called to her husband, and the dream faded. I woke to find tears streaming down my face as I realized that, in my dream, I had finally admitted what I was too proud to admit in my waking moments: I was not sure of my salvation.

The first thought that came into my head was to call my (current) pastor's wife. As I got up to turn on our bedroom light, Satan fought me with all his might. That may sound weird to you, but, believe me, the battle was real.

"Just think what people will say; everyone knows you are a Christian! Think about what your Mom will say - she'll be so disappointed that you're making another profession. Don't call Mrs. W.; it's too early, and you don't want to disturb her. Besides, you're already a Christian. Remember that profession of faith you made nearly 20 years ago?"

"No!" I literally said this out loud. "I am going to get saved!"

I reached for the phone book and found my pastor's name. I dialed the number, but when it rang, I was disappointed to hear the church's answering machine come on. Of course!

Satan tried again. "Don't bother her. It's too early!"

"No!" I repeated as I found my pastor's home number. I dialed the correct number but was disheartened when my pastor answered. I wanted to talk to his wife! I asked for her, and he immediately handed her the phone.

"I hope it's not too early and that you aren't too busy, but I just wanted to talk to you," I said.

"Well, I'm packing for the missions conference, and we have to leave in a few minutes," was her reply.

"I just want to get saved!" I burst out.

"Oh! Well, let me give you to my husband," she replied.

Pastor led me to salvation, and I prayed, asking forgivenes for my sins and acknowledging that I had been trusting in my profession of faith for my salvation but that I now trusted in the Person of Jesus Christ for my salvation. After I hung up the phone, the chorus to an old song kept ringing through my mind:

For it's real; it's real.
Oh! I know it's real.
Praise God, the doubts are settled,
For I know, I know it's real!

Do pray for me. If Satan cannot keep a person from getting saved, the next best thing to is to keep him (her, in my case) from serving the Lord. He has already launched a strong attack, and I do not want to be derailed in my Christian life.


HeavenlyCabins said...

PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD, Sister - Let me be the first to post my sincere joy for you !!

Yes, thank the Lord for His mercy and for defeating Satan...Bless your heart for standing against the evil forces trying to get you to back away from your new birth...

It was an awesome story, thanks for sharing it.. I know that the Lord will use it in a mighty way to touch other's hearts..You never know who it might reach..

That is pretty amazing, I can't remember if it was earlier today or yesterday that I had such an urge to email you since I hadn't heard from you in a while..Wouldn't you know that I pulled up an email and couldn't remember your email address and didn't take time to look for it..

Glory to the wonderful name of Jesus...
Cheryl Gilliam
Luxury Cabin Rentals-Smoky Mtns-TN

Linda said...

Oh Revka.

I´m sorry to hear about this. i can only try and understad what you go through. I try and fight my beliefs everyday. I can hear God calling me telling me not to be afraid but I am.

But opposite of you I grew up in a non believing family so my problems are just the opposite.
It´s a a struggle but I believe that one day everything will be alright and God knows that.

You are in my thoughts!
Lots of love!

Heather said...

Praise God Revka1 I'm praying against any more attacks. Thanks for sharing your story.

*Tanyetta* said...

Very Very touching post! I can feel your emotions through this post!

A Dusty Frame said...

What a testimony:)

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Sweetheart, I am so proud of you.

I AM praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Revka, this has touched my heart so deeply. I, too, struggle with assurance of my faith and salvation. Satan loves to get his fingers on my mind and try to make me believe that my heart is not ruled by Jesus. It is a very real and very unwelcome pressure.

I will be praying for you, rejoicing that you have come to this special point in your life and hoping that God will continue to make you "turn your eyes upon Jesus" when the devil tries to make you do anything but that.

Thank you for sharing this story with us.


Carina said...

I'm thrilled to know that God has won your heart. He has waited so long for you to truly love Him in return, and I rejoice with you. I look forward to worshiping with you around his throne, if we never have a chance to worship together here on earth.

Revka said...

Where do I even begin responding? Thank you all for your overwhelming support and encouragement.

Cheryl, I, too, pray that the Lord would use my testimony in others' lives. That is the reason I went ahead and posted such a personal experience here. :>) I'm so glad you took the time to comment. I'll e-mail you when I'm officially up in a few hours. :0)

Linda, I love you very much. Please don't be sorry about this. Though it was hard, this is the best thing to ever happen to me, and I pray that the Lord will continue to gently woo you to Himself. He loves you more than any human, and He won't give up on you. I'm praying for you.

Heather, thank you for your encouragement and your prayers. I definitely need both.

Tanyetta, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a nice comment.

Lizzie, ditto to you. I'm still praying for you.

Holly, I appreciate all you have done and continue to do for me. You have no idea (well, maybe you do) how much of a blessing you are to me. :0) Thanks for the encouragement and the prayers.

Susie, thanks for stopping by and letting me know that my story touched your heart. I'm sorry you struggle with assurance, and I pray that the Lord will be with you and make plain to you on whose side you stand. Thanks for your prayers. :0)

Babystepper, thank you! I look forward to meeting everyone one day. How sweet to know that, in Heaven, I will get to meet all those who believe in Christ.

Suzel O'Donnell said...

I am very emotional to hear from you. I have lived an incredible experience as a Christian. I hope you never forget that Lord is the only one who sustains us, it doesn't matter where we are, or how ...He is always there...

Here in Scotland, I am by myself most of the time, and I know, and I feel how God has treating me, healing me, sustaining with so much love, care, ...and He is very gentle...and everything happens at the right time...

Your parents planted the best seeds in your heart. Never forget it.

Just do the same with your kids.

Your testemony is blessing each reader in particular.

I have unbelievable stories of ruge battles, and sometimes I am not so personal in my posts.

I am learning...and Lord is using you to teach...believe it.

Wow...It seems that I have so many things to say, and I would like to hug you and give you my kisses...with so much love...that I feel comes from Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.


But Jesus loves you more...

Revka said...

Thanks, Suzel! I'm glad that God is already using this for His honor and glory. I certainly have enjoyed getting to know you, and I'll be praying the Lord would give you some good close friendships there in Scotland.

Susanna said...

Thank you for sharing that wonderful and exciting news! Praise the Lord! I had a similar experience, although it was in my teen years. It was not until I heard a sermon about doubting Thomas that I realised I could truly believe in what Christ had done for me. It is an amazing feeling isn't it! May God bless you exceedingly abyndantly in the days ahead. Your years are not wasted years- they are years of growth and knowledge that you now have stored up for use now!

Revka said...

Yes, Susanna, it is truly amazing. thanks for your encouraging comment. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Revka! I'm glad that you have the assurance of salvation.

We just got back from youth camp tonight. We had 4 get saved this week. :) One said that he got saved many years ago as a child, but it did not mean anything and he did not understand. I'm thankful that we can run to the Lord whenever we need Him and He's always there!

Amazing Gracie said...

Dearest Revka...
My heart hurt when I read your post. Let me explain a bit...
God knew you while you were yet in your mother's womb. He knew that you were his at that moment. You were chosen, not the other way around.
Christ's finished work on the cross, means just that - it is finished. That means that there is absolutely nothing that you or I can add to his perfect sacrifice for our sins, sins that he knew we would commit before we did!
At your conversion you become justified through faith, as perfect because God cannot look upon sin. Christ became that pefect sacrifice for you and me. At that point you become an adopted daughter of the Creator of the Universe! Pretty heavy stuff, huh!
Once you receive that justification, which is non-revocable, by the way, there is no sin that can separate you from the Father. You have been justified by Christ himself! Paul talks very plainly about doing that which he shouldn't and not doing what he should! Does that mean Paul lost his salvation? Or that because Paul goes on to live a "holy life," that Paul earns his salvation? Of course not! There is not one thing we can add to Christ's death on the cross. To even think of that is blasphemy! Our works come as a direct result of our love for him...
The rest of our walk is that of "santification." We are always being sanctified.
When I was a kid in church, I always marveled at the missionaries and the slides they would show! I wanted to grow up to be like them. Well, I didn't. Such wasn't my calling. But that doesn't make them more "saved" than me! They are further up the "sanctification" chart!!!
Dear Revka, please don't let Satan tear at your joy! You belong to Christ, he has claimed you by his blood. There is nothing Satan can do to take you from him. But he can destroy your joy, cause your walk to be one of fear and stress.
Don't give him the satisfaction!!!
My prayers are for you and that the Holy Spirit will strengthen your faith and give you peace.
Your sister in Christ....

Anonymous said...

Clumsy Linda, I was of course referring to your suffering, but I´m glad it was with a good outcome. Does that make sense? I´m sure you understand what I mean; :) I Love you too, you are very special to me! said...

Thank you for this testimony. It was very uplifting. Congrats!

Shawna said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I do believe God is using and will use your testimony to bring others to Him.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you shared your story with us.
I felt as I was the only one that gets attack but I guess Satin attack everyone that has trusted Jesus.
I will keep you in my prayers and I'm do happy for you : )

Unknown said...

Praise God that you saw and understood that praying the prayer and getting saved each time someone else wanted it wasn't enough. Praise God!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jaz, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I am very thankful that God in His mercy opened my eyes.

Anonymous said...

Your confession made me kind of ill. Why? Well, I have had that feeling all my life, and to find someone ELSE who had that feeling...well, it's so overwhelming that my body couldn't handle it so it got a little queazy!

I've been SAVED several times. Once, on my own and all by myself, but a minister ruled that was NOT being SAVED and that it had to be done RIGHT. Wow. surprised ME! so I "got saved" then started my doubting. I mean, if one time isn't "right" maybe the other time isn't "right", and on and on and on. Thank you for sharing.