Let me just cite just some of the things that have changed
in my life since I accepted Christ as my savior. These changes all
occurred within less than a year of being "born again" (see the gospel
of John, Chapter
these are long-time habits (25+years) that I had tried to give up over a long
period of time. I had pretty
much accepted that "that's just the way I am", and had just about
given up on correcting them. Then,
after I asked Christ to help me out, my life began changing,
unexpectedly, dramatically. Besides
the peace that has come to my heart, here are some external signs --
evidence for those who need it -- that a miracle occurred in my life:
The Bible, God's Word -- The first thing I noticed after I received Christ was that I began to have an inexplicable desire to read the Bible. Years earlier, I had tried to read the Bible, but I usually fell asleep somewhere in the middle of Genesis. It never made much sense to me, and even though I tried to read it several times, I simply could not grasp it. So after I was 20 years old or so, I never opened it again for another 21 years. But on August 11, 1996, about 4 weeks after I accepted Christ into my life, I found myself in a Christian book store for the first time in my life. I bought two Bibles that day, one for my home and one for my car (I had not yet begun to attend church at this point). As a programmer, I was on a project with my friend Frank and we would work until 2:00 or so in the morning. I'd get home around 3:00 am tired and worn-out; but then I would open the Bible. I couldn't put it down! I would read for hours until morning came, and I would fall asleep exhausted. I began to read the Bible every time I had a chance. Its pages now began to make sense, as the Holy Spirit of God spoke to me, and taught me, through the Word of God. There is now not a day that goes by that I don't study God's Word. It is truly a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. And I found that passages I never could understand, or thought were contradictory, began to make perfect sense. God's Spirit opened my eyes to His Word.
Love -- The second thing I noticed was that I had been given a deep love for everyone (including people
I've never even met). This
isn't an "emotional" love, but it's a love that gives me a deep
concern for the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of others.
Enough love that I am willing to sacrifice my time, money, effort,
prayers, etc. for the
benefit of others. Enough love to risk
being mis-understood and sometimes ostracized to share the Truth of the
Life-giving Gospel with others. Since Christ
entered my life, I can no longer pass a homeless person on the side of the
road. I feel compelled to
stop and help them with money, food, clothing, encouragement (and yes, I've
given those that have asked Bibles). I've
visited people in jails and hospitals because they needed someone to talk to
-- (having never been in jail, myself, this was a foreign concept to me!)
If your car breaks down on the side of the road and I'm passing by --
I'll stop and help you (Click Here); I'll pay for a tow if you need it; I'll take you
where you want to go. The
love of Christ has shown me that serving others is how we are all supposed
Of course, my love is not perfect -- if it was, I'd give EVERYTHING I have, including this computer and the electricity I'm using to bring this message to you. I'm not there yet, but I've seen a sudden and dramatic difference in my attitudes and behavior towards others. My love for others grows daily.
Anger -- I used to rant and rave at the evening news.
I used to drive my car on the Houston freeways as though I was in the
Indy 500. The last time I
got stopped, it was for doing 110 mph on IH-10 in the middle of Houston!
(Click Here) I used to "flip people off", drive aggressively,
and generally act like the majority of drivers on the road.
I used to be certain that I would die in my car, just because of the
way I drove -- I tried to control myself, but my feeble attempts never
lasted for more than a few days.
After Christ came into my life, I find that I cannot drive over the
speed limit. I think it's
because I realized that I was endangering not only myself, but others.
I've quit competing with the other drivers and if someone wants in
front of me, that's okay with me -- I assume that they've got something
really important to go to. On
the few occasion where drivers display hostility towards me, I no longer
retaliate -- I find it easy to wave and smile, and often, I pray for them. My
uncontrolled anger is gone.......
Lust -- I didn't really think that there was so much wrong with
this one, but it's gone now too.
I mean, I'm pretty much a normal heterosexual guy and I liked to look
at the opposite sex. But, I used to look at them, as so many guys do, as objects of
desire. Not for the
beautiful, sensitive, giving beings that most women truly are, deep inside.
Even though I didn't think there was so much wrong with what was in
my mind (as long as I didn't act them out), this is another area where my
life has dramatically changed - and as I later learned from the Bible,
looking lustfully at another woman is the same thing to God as
adultery! Gone are my Playboy magazines, video tapes, and
Cinemax / Showtime cable channels.
Yet, my love life with my wife of over 25 years has never been better
-- it's even better than when we were first married.
I'm being honest about this, even though you may find this hard to
believe. But lust is
There is more, but I know it's probably boring to hear all this stuff.
But the most dramatic
difference of all -- one I was not expecting when I prayed that simple
little prayer -- is my love for God.
Most of us have heard the commandment to "love God with all your
heart, strength, and mind", but I'll tell you that I never really
followed that before. I
kind of believed / hoped in God, and I probably put him about 6 or 7 on my
priority list. Now, He's number One.
He's ahead of my wife, my children, my work, my self -- you name it.
I'd sacrifice my life if He asked me to.
I pray to Him every day, I read His Word every day, and it's rare
that an hour goes by that I don't think of Him.
Now what, short of some sort of insanity, would make these kinds of
changes in a person's life? Particularly
since I experienced so many of them (I only listed a few), in the same, short
period of time. I'm sure that
many people will go with the "insanity" explanation and be done with
it. But all I can tell you is
this -- Jesus Christ changed my life -- I prayed to Him and He answered me.
I was not a religious person when I made that prayer, and I was not
looking to be religious. I was doing just fine in my job as a computer
consultant, making more money than I needed.
But, when I asked Jesus to save me, I got the greatest gift I've ever
received. What's amazing is
that, after I was "saved" (sorry to use the Christian
"jargon", but it’s in the Bible – check it out in Romans
10:9-13), and started going
to church again (first time since I was an adult), I found countless other
"born-again" believers who had very similar testimonies (see John, Chapter 3 for what this
means -- I
had to discover what this strange term meant, as well). Well, we're
either all experiencing the same "mass insanity" or the same miracle
What You Must Understand
But, it is hard for people to believe -- I know that's true, because I
have already been where you are now! In
John, Chapter 3, verses 10, 11, and 12, Jesus told a religious teacher, a Rabbi
named Nicodemus, that he did not
understand, and he would not accept,
and therefore he could not believe the Truth that God Himself was
revealing to Nicodemus.
I once was full of doubts, didn't want to believe, and thought a lot of what was in the Bible was foolishness. But the view from this side of the fence is much clearer. The only way that you can know for sure, is to follow a similar path and let God show you. (Please understand, this is not my idea - this is God's idea. If you're not sure, read the Gospel of John and the Book of Romans in the Bible).
First, honestly examine your life and reflect upon how successful you've been in keeping just the Ten Commandments. I stumbled on the very first few - Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (how much do you really love someone you rarely think or talk about). Thou shall have no other gods before Me (my god was money and my ego). Do not take God's Name in vain (many of us have done this without even thinking about Who we are offending). Keep Holy the Lord's day (I would say that not attending church for nearly 20 years would fall into this category). Do not murder (Jesus said that if we were angry and bitter in our hearts towards others, it was the same as murder! Ouch!) Do not commit adultery (Jesus said that if we even look at another person not our spouse with lust in our hearts that we have committed adultery! - Got me there, too!). And I don't even need to go into honoring my parents, stealing (ever take a pencil from the office?), lying, and coveting. When I examined the Ten Commandments, in light of God's standards for keeping them, I found that I had broken every one of them!
Next, accept for once and for all the fact that you cannot overcome sin on your own. Understand that it will take a power beyond you to live as God intended us to live. Choose to believe that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins - and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life - and the Only way to Heaven.
Finally, pray (in earnest) for Jesus Christ to take control of your life. Acknowledge your sins to Him and your desire to turn away from sin. Ask Him to guide you. Give your life to Him. Acknowledge that you want to believe in Him. Accept what Jesus did on the cross as complete and total and eternal payment for all your sins, past, present, and future. Receive Him into your life by faith.
whatever reason, God needs us to just have a
faith. Just have enough faith to pray to Him for forgiveness
of your sins and to trust Jesus for your salvation. Ask Him to reveal
Himself to you. Once you do, the Holy Spirit
will give you all the "proof" you ever needed!
Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Once you do, the Holy Spirit will give you all the "proof" you ever needed!
That's what happened to me, and I got the greatest surprise and the
greatest gift of