1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Pre-Tribulation Rapture Forum
Dedicated to God the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit
I couldn't find the testimony thread but I wanted to share what God led me to write today.
My Full Testimony from birth until now (Dec. 2016)
I had a pretty normal childhood in the late 80’s, early 90’s and am so happy I got to experience that before technology took over. My dad was a teacher and my mom was a stay at home mom, then a teacher’s aide, then a daycare worker. I had wonderful loving grandparents on both sides along with several other awesome family members. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have a close family, let alone a mostly Christian family until recent years. From birth I was raised with Christian beliefs. I’m very grateful for that now (Proverbs 22:6) but I always didn’t feel that way growing up. I remember being very young and aggravated with the itchy dresses mom would put on me for church. I remember hating the hassle of Sunday mornings. I remember being bored sitting in the pew, even falling asleep sometimes. I remember receiving a piece of hard yellow candy one day at church and it getting lodged in my throat and my mom rushing me down the stairs to the kitchen (don’t know why) and thinking why was she so calm- I can’t breathe! I don’t remember exactly what happened but know I coughed it up and swore to never eat hard candy again. Then again, I remember so many good times at church. I remember all the friends I made at church and the so many great teachers and leaders in the church. They are forever a part of my childhood. I enjoyed learning about the Bible stories and remember having a child’s faith believing them.
The first time I questioned my faith was when I was probably 7 and I was looking through a Bible on my bed. It talked about someone living to be over 800 years old. I asked my mom about it and she explained that in the beginning, people did live to be that old and later on God changed the age to 120 years (Genesis 6:3). I still doubted though. What bothered me the most was sitting at church and hearing testimony about how God had changed people’s lives, how they had no doubts, how they never questioned that they were saved. This bothered me because I didn’t have this feeling, no matter how many times I prayed the sinner’s prayer. I wanted what they had. I hoped that when I got older I would have that. When I was 8, I went down the church aisle with my mom and later got baptized. I remember a Deacon asking me where I would go if I would die and I said Heaven, knowing that was the right answer but not really feeling the assurance of salvation. I know now that although I believed with my head, I didn’t with my heart at this time.
I had many ups and downs throughout the rest of my childhood regarding my faith. The clincher was when I found out that Santa, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. That really made me doubt God also, because if my parents had lied about all that, how could I trust what they were saying about the Bible, given that I never felt the peace that Jesus was supposed to bring. I was a pretty good kid morally. It had a lot to do with how I was raised but mostly just because I didn’t want to get in trouble and respected my body enough not to damage it with drugs, alcohol, or sex. I looked down on people who slept around. Even now, I can’t believe how much everyone glorifies fornication. But even without my faith in God, a monogamous relationship just seemed like the natural healthy way to go.
In my early teenage years I fought a lot with my parents. I made straight A’s and was a good moral kid. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t appreciate me more or buy me more. I felt entitled. I did some things I’m not proud of (nothing compared to today’s kids though) and thought I was happy in my sin. I felt free for a while: you can enjoy sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25). But my conscience bothered me. I did have two powerful witnesses in my life that reminded me of the proof of God. When my Aunt was younger she had a heart condition and God told her to testify in church and he would heal her. She did and He did. The doctor couldn’t explain it. Then there was the other witness- my mother. She was a young woman when she had a supernatural experience with demons. After prayer she visibly saw a beautiful glowing angel blocking a demon from entering the bedroom door. I originally thought she might have dreamed it but she moved from one bed to the other during the experience and still has tears in her eyes when she speaks of it.
Out of rebellion I stopped going to church in my early teens. Then I started going with my uncles to their smaller church. I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot although I still didn’t feel like I was right with God. One summer I just did whatever I wanted because I thought why should I be good all the time for nothing? I still had my boundaries though because my conscience was still bothering me. One day at my uncle’s church I felt convicted but not willing to change right then. My uncle talked to me and I repeated a prayer with him. I thought I guess I could try this Christian thing again. Maybe since I was older it would be different. I walked the aisle and got baptized again. I had a lot of my questions answered about God that had led to my doubt before. My other uncle gave me a pamphlet that showed all the different religions and what they believed in a non-biased way. I had always wondered why there were so many religions and how they could all be right or wrong. Once I studied them I realized that only a few even made sense that could be real. Then after further study I concluded that the most likely true religion was Christianity- and if that were true, then all the others could not be (1 Corinthians 8:6). So I was surprised that the religion my parents taught me actually turned out to be the right one. I am not one to take someone’s word for something. I looked into Christianity with all the bias in the world because I would have loved at that time to prove my parents wrong. So at this time in my life I found out for myself that Jesus was indeed the Son of God and the Bible was the only true religion, although I still didn’t understand much of it.
Things went well for a while but because I believed with my head and not my heart, I wasn’t really saved. I blamed God for not giving me the feeling of peace and assurance of salvation I really wanted. I know now it was my fault because I never truly surrendered to Jesus. I just said a prayer without really intending on living for Jesus. I still served myself, cared about what I wanted instead of really striving to serve God. The main thing is that I didn’t really read the Bible. I used the excuses: I was too busy, I didn’t understand the Bible, I thought prayer was enough. So I still called myself a Christian and lived morally although I didn’t have that relationship with God I wanted and needed.
I met my husband when I was 14. We hung out every single day. He was my life. I put him above everything else except school. I maintained my straight A’s, worked part time at a Chinese restaurant, and spent all my time and energy with him. I barely went to church anymore. I was truly in love at an early age although a lot of people didn’t think we were old enough to understand what true love was. I knew I was going to marry him, I knew he was the one. Later after we got married and had kids I knew in my gut I needed to raise them in church. I started going again then fell away again as our lives got even busier. Like any family we had our ups and downs, awesome days and bad ones. I finished my bachelor’s degree online and couldn’t find a job. This was a stressful time. I ended up finding a shift manager job in retail. I enjoyed it and although I had a wonderful family and made ends meet, I still knew something was missing. You could say I was spiritually frustrated. I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t be the Christian I wanted to be. Doubt crept back in. Maybe there wasn’t any God, I thought for a short period of time. Thoughts that weren’t my own inched into my head, even suicidal thoughts but I quickly brushed them away because I knew it had to be Satan. I wanted free of this confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
I started listening to a Christian radio station on my 20 minute commute to work. It helped me remember some things I had learned about God in the past and gave me a fresh urging to try to figure things out. One day I was upset about some things and I decided that once and for all I was going to find out what was missing from my life. I would go farther than I did last time- I would read the entire Bible and if I didn’t figure anything out by then, then I would give up and probably make some changes in my life (although I didn’t really know what). Something had to give.
Around this time I had got my first iPhone. I had used the same old Motorola flip phone for years while I was a stay at home mom so when my Father-in-law upgraded our family plan, I was able to get the older model iPhone for a dollar I think. Anyways, I downloaded the Bible app for free and was so excited to be able to read it on my phone instead opening up the Bible and looking at the small words and thin pages. It would hold my place where I left off and even would read to me if I wanted. I was able to choose from several versions and decided on the NIV. It was much simpler English than the KJV. I have even found an easier one now- the ERV- Easy To Read Version. So I started an annual Bible plan on that app. I chose to read the Bible in chronological order. Of course there were some boring parts and some I didn’t understand, but I kept going. I kept reading. I googled a few things I didn’t understand and found there were some really good explanations for things that most people make a big deal out of. The Bible was written in a different time and culture so sometimes you have to really study and look into things before you can understand what it really means.
The Old Testament was mostly written to the Jews so you have to keep that in mind. They were a special people, set apart from the rest. Some things don’t apply to us like animal sacrifices (Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice). Some things do apply to us because God never changes (Hebrews 13:8) so what he thought was wrong then is still wrong now. There are so many prophecies in the Old Testament that have come true that prove the validity of the Bible. There is also archeological evidence and my favorite- a personal relationship with Jesus – that prove the truthfulness and reliability of the Bible. The New Testament is about the coming of the Messiah for the Jews although some of them didn’t accept him. Some of the present Jews will accept Him during the tribulation though (Revelation 7:4). Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the King, and is the only way to Heaven, as you can read about more in the New Testament.
So back then when I was really reading it all for the first time, I ended up not being able to stop. I finished my 1 year reading plan in 6 months. Sometime during those 6 months I was truly saved. I don’t have an exact day like some people. It was very gradual, not instant, as I learned, studied, and eventually believed and prayed. God was faithful to me in my doubt (Matthew 7:7). But before I finished the Bible I was a changed person. Throughout my many prayers, I had finally surrendered my life to Jesus and trusted Him to get me to Heaven, not because of anything I had done or not done, but because of what He did- dying on the cross for me. An unfair God would have just let us all go to Hell when we sinned, but our Father in Heaven sent his own son to die so that we could go to Heaven through Him. Works don’t do it. Being moral don’t do it. But if you are truly saved, you will show good works and be moral. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian but if you are a Christian you should go to church. If you are a Christian you should live for Jesus, not yourself. I’m far from perfect but when God sees me, he sees his Son, and that is the only reason I’m going to Heaven. I do have the assurance and peace I always strived for. I am elated. I know God!
So after realizing that I was saved I went forward in church for a third time and got baptized. It felt different and it felt great. I actually felt God nudge me one Sunday to go forward. Unbeknownst to me, my husband also felt that urging on the same day so it was amazing. We joined the church and have been active ever since. I don’t feel right when I go for a while without reading the Bible. I have to stay in the Word in order to grow as a Christian and hear from God. I have been healed from God on some occasions. God never ceases to amaze me and although I don’t always get what I want, God always provides for my needs and helps me get through difficult times.
At almost the same time I started studying the Bible, I got interested in prophecy. Guys, you should check it out! There are so many things going on right now that the major news outlets are not covering. The Bible is alive and being played out right now. This is a special time we are living in. There are signs all around us. It is crazy how far this world has went downward. Satan was an angel of light so just because something looks or sounds ok, doesn’t make it true (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). My eyes have been opened and I see the world different now that I am a born-again Christian. I truly feel sorry for all these people calling us haters and condoning sin. They will face Jesus one day and if they don’t get saved, they will spend eternity in Hell. It’s not God’s fault because He sent his son to pay for their sins but they have to choose what they will do during this life. You can’t take middle ground either, if you don’t accept him you reject him. I hate when people say that a loving God wouldn’t send people to Hell. He doesn’t- you sin and reject Him so you cannot enter Heaven. God gave us his Word, not to sit on a shelf, not for people to forget or call old-fashioned, not for only old people or new Christians, but his living Word (2 Timothy 3:16) that has the potential to change your life if you read it with the right motives. The Holy Spirit is a gift to help us in our Christian lives and one thing he does is reveal the mysteries of the Bible to us. Don’t believe Satan’s lies. Don’t believe the world. A lot of people don’t know that only a remnant (Romans 11:5) are saved just like in Noah’s day. So that should tell you right there not to follow the world (Luke 9:25). It leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).
Anyone can come to Christ (Mark 3:35). Different upbringings, different backgrounds, different circumstances, different stories- It’s all covered by the blood of Jesus. Every day I get closer to the person I want to be. Of course there are setbacks. But for the first time in my life I am happy. I have joy and it’s all because of Jesus. It’s not because of how I was raised or any other excuse you can make up: It’s all because I personally set out to find God and He did not only show up just in time, but was actually always here to begin with.
~In Memory Of My Mamaw Louise (The greatest witness for Christ I will have ever known)~
What an awesome testimony, I'm so glad that you decided to share it with all of us here. Thank you so very much, for heart felt words, and advice to those who are blinded by the world and it's sinful ways and life style.
I truly believe God laid this on your heart, to share it outright because, there may be many others, out there in cyber space, who need to read and hear these words. They may be thinking perhaps their life is just fine, without a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus. We know it's not, and those without Jesus as their Lord and Savior will abide in Satan's abode, not Heaven.
Stephanie, may God bless you, for your God given Holy Spirit like boldness, to witness your faith. The hard road you traveled before you reached that place of true happiness, and fulfillment of God's joy within your very being.
God Bless you dear Sister in Christ, and may your testimony bring many to Jesus; especially, those who have been wandering for years, without making a sincere commitment to our Lord and Savior Jesus.
We need to grow in our faith, by studying God's holy written word, which is God breath, and written by holy men of old, through God's Holy Spirit.
Again, thank you so very much, for taking the time to share your heartfelt thoughts, words of wisdom, and letting others know, that Jesus is the only way to God and that all who call on the name of the Lord can be saved.
In Jesus' Love,
Thank you for your kind words Valerie. I already have 1 friend who is struggling with her faith contact me this morning asking questions.
This goes to show God can use anyone. If He can save and use me then He can anyone, and He delights in it (Zephaniah 3:17).
Past Time, to bump this testimony back up to the top!
Thanks again Stephanie, hope you were able to help your friend who was struggling with their faith.
Romans 10:17New King James Version (NKJV)
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Thanks for your kind words Valerie. Yes, my friend rededicated her life to Christ recently. I'm hanging in there waiting for Christ's return with all of you. I'm teaching a small class at church to young children now and trying to stay in His Word daily. As I'm growing in Christ it keeps me busy down here awaiting His return. I think the upcoming Sept 23rd date is very special and hoping it turns out to be a big sign or event (hopefully rapture but who knows what God has in store). Hope everyone is watching, waiting, and working for the Lord at this special time.
I pray good health to you all,