A testimony is a unique and special story that every born-again believer has; it is the story of how a person came to the point when they were "saved"- that is, when they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. We'd like to share a few of these stories with you and it is our prayer that God will speak to you through them. Every person is unique and every story is unique, but one thing is sure - we all need Jesus Christ.
"He that believes on the Son has everlasting life; and he that believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
- John 3:36
I felt great relief and peace spread through my heart. I was a child of the living God, by God’s grace alone!
I understood that Jesus died on the cross as my substitute because I was guilty and his perfect sacrifice was my only hope. I put my head down, acknowledged my guilt before God, and accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour.
A changed life! How can that be? Can you change the direction and way of your life just by wishing? Can a leopard change its spots or a zebra its stripes? Surely our life pattern is fixed by the things we look and search for, habitually chase after, and become addicted to. When we desire to break free and change our outlook and pathway, do we not slip again and again?
My story began with very many privileges. Raised in a home with loving Christian parents and seven siblings, we didn’t have a lot of things but we did have a strong, caring family unit. You would think gratitude and satisfaction should have been a part of my attitude, but, no, I wanted more. My own way, my own personal gain, became the direction that I pursued. A prodigal in heart and actions, no rule was in place that couldn’t be broken. There was no one who I felt could deny me the fulfilment of my own pleasures. When just a child I chose to say I believed the Bible and what it taught about a Saviour dying in my place. So I made the claim to be a Christian. This did not make a change in my pursuit of my own way, nor in the desire for selfish pleasures. The only change was an outward conformity to the tenants and ordinances of Christianity. In short, I became a religious sinner! For eight years I continued in this state but during this time I became convicted of my sinful path and life. God was showing me that one day I would have to give account of my actions. I was becoming convinced that in the light of the holiness of God, I was most unworthy of His love and forgiveness. I deserved to be banished from His presence. I also deserved the everlasting punishment which the Bible prophesies is the lot of all the wicked. I came to feel that the weight of guilt which I carried was a burden too great to bear.
One night, as I listened to a Gospel message, it became clear in my heart that God was giving me a chance, probably my last, to find Him, receive the forgiveness of sins, and have peace in my heart. I sought Him with all my heart. The scripture was fulfilled which says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”. It wasn’t until the next night, a Monday night in October 1960, that I had a meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ. As the lights were turned off in my room, I was amazed that it was so pitch black in the room. The thought came into my mind that it was not as black as Hell. Throwing myself down on the bed I spoke to God. I said, “Lord if You send me to Hell, the only thing I will say is that You are just and I deserve to be there.” God graciously drew near. Into my heart and mind came the words that Jesus spoke and are recorded for us in the gospel of Matthew chapter 11 and verse 28: “Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The question from my heart was “Lord I don’t know what you mean, how can this be?” In the stillness I heard the voice of the Lord say in my heart, “Break it down”. So in my mind I broke it down in three phrases:
1. Come unto Me- “Lord you say come but where are you? Where do I go?” This was the language of my heart. To my heart, again God spoke, “I am right here”. I had to abandon self and turn completely to Him.
2. All ye that labour and are heavy laden- It was easy to see this verse was written to me. I was that guilty sinner whose burden of sin was so great that I laboured under the knowledge and weight of it.
3. And I will give you rest- “Lord how can You give me rest? I am so sinful.” God spoke in the stillness of that midnight hour again with the words Jesus spoke as He died on the cross recorded for us in the gospel of John chapter 19 verse 30: “It is finished”
By faith I looked to the cross of Christ as God revealed to my heart that Jesus bore the punishment for my sins. He finished the work of salvation to the satisfaction of a Holy God. Immediately the great weight was removed from my shoulders. I felt great relief and peace spread through my heart. I was a child of the living God, by God’s grace alone! At that moment I stepped into a completely new life. The guilt and deserved future punishment of sin was removed. The power to overcome sin and live righteously was mine through my Lord Jesus Christ, and the growth in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ began. As the years go by and the joy in Christ Jesus deepens, I realize that truly the half has not been told!
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” -Ephesians 3:20
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Is there a longing in your heart to know Him? Will you make Him your own today? Repent of your sins and receive forgiveness from a God who loves you.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16
So finally I realized that I was the sinner Jesus died for and I rested on God’s sure promise - He that hath the Son, hath life!
I had the great privilege of being brought up in a Christian home where the word of God was read daily, and his name reverenced.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know that Jesus died on the cross for sinners and that I needed to be saved. Foolishly, however, I had decided that I would be saved ‘later’ and as long as I knew someone older than me who wasn’t saved I was okay and could wait.
About a year before I was saved, a good friend who was a year older than I was saved and a cousin, also older, was saved a few months later-this unsettled me as I was out of excuses; I finally was serious. Also, since I was in grade 8, I was concerned having heard it said that if one didn’t get saved before high school, with the busy schedule and peer pressure, it became less likely. In early July my brother who had professed to be saved two years before was baptized. I remember standing beside the pool, thinking he was getting baptized and I wasn’t even saved! The following week my cousins from Sault Ste Marie were coming for their annual visit and I knew that my cousin (close to my age and saved) would talk to me about being saved. I thought it would be wonderful to be able to tell her that I was saved!
The next Sunday there were two visiting men who took the gospel meeting and I was determined I would get saved that night. The first man spoke and got down and I wasn’t saved -the second man spoke and as he got down I was thinking - ’I’ll get saved as he prays‘, then ‘during the last hymn’. However the meeting finished and I was feeling desperate, realizing that though I thought I could get saved whenever I was ready- I now couldn’t see how to believe! After the meeting I determined I wouldn’t speak to anyone as I was afraid that my concern about being saved would fade. Going home I found out that we were having company and I worried again but thought - ’I’ll help Mum in the kitchen and not enter into the conversation.’ One of the men who had spoken in the gospel that night was one of the visitors at our home and realizing that I was in ‘soul trouble’, said to me as he left, ‘Don’t sleep tonight till you get it settled’.
I went up to my room and sat with the light on and the Bible ,open on my bed, expecting Dad to come and speak/pray with me as he usually did after gospel meetings. However as it was late he & Mum went by and went on to their room, so I had to call him back and tell him I was concerned. He came and read some familiar verses with me. I kept saying, ‘If I believe that, will I be saved? Wisely he would say, "Only you know if you are trusting -it’s between you and God." I was a little angry that he left and thought to myself-’well, I guess I’ll just have to go to hell, as I can’t see it’!
Then I thought-if I believe that I’ll go to hell if I don’t believe, why can’t I believe God that if I do accept His Son as my Saviour I can go to heaven?’ So finally I realized that I was the sinner Jesus died for and I rested on God’s sure promise - ’He that hath the Son, hath life!’ What a relief- I rushed in to tell Mum & Dad! I remember Dad said, "How do you know?". I quoted verses I knew that had never been meaningful before - ’I give unto my sheep eternal life and they shall never perish, and neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand….and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand’. What security!! I had doubts occasionally in the next year but when going back to that night I knew it was God’s sure word not my believing that had saved me. I was saved on July 16, 1962- 50+ years ago and I have found that He is faithful -all that He promised to be - truly a ‘very present help’ in need!
“God’s been good…in my life-I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams…though I’ve had my share of hard times, I wouldn‘t change them if I could, for through it all, God’s been good!” (from a hymn by Legacy Five)
I was raised in a very loving and caring home, but not a “Christian home”. Our family went to Church every Sunday but our commitment to God ended there. Like most nominal (by name only) Christians, we didn’t read the Bible or speak about Jesus or pray together. There was no evidence of a relationship with God found in my life. I now know that God is looking for a personal relationship with you and me, not an outward display of works and religion.
Although it had minimal effect on my lifestyle, I always believed that God existed because I just thought it was so obvious, especially in nature. I found out later that the Bible says that God’s existence is so obvious to everyone that we have no excuse for denying him: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So people are without excuse.” – Romans 1:19-20.
I knew that it made no sense to think that my life and your life were just purposeless accidents. However, this didn’t stop me from falling into the ways of our corrupt society in my school days – a life of selfishness, pride, vanity, anger, greed, lies, judgement, drunkeness, lust, sexual immorality...little did I know that I was actually a slave to my sins and separated from God because of these things. I was on the road that the Bible says most people in the world are on, a road that is broad and easy, deceived by the devil – the road to hell.
The first time I remember truly being convicted about my sin against God was one time when my sister called me selfish. It’s not like this was the first time, but this really stuck with me. I had to agree with her. I thought about how ugly selfishness is and how it is the cause of so much evil. However, this had no lasting effect on my life. God then brought me through a long life changing journey. After dealing with a season of depression, I started researching world issues – all sorts of corruption, deception, and evil in the realms of banking, government, business, and media. I was convinced, and still am, that evil in this world is very real and very organized. I believed in the existence of Satan and demonic powers in this world before I believed in Jesus Christ. For example, Satan’s power and presence in the music industry is undeniable for anyone who does some honest research. He is using music to corrupt, deceive, distort and destroy the listeners- especially younger ones. Occult symbolism is prominent and the focus is on selfishness – having “fun”, having sex, getting drunk, rebelling against authority, and thereby rejecting God. I realized that this was wrong. I realized that I was a product of this very system.
My world was turned upside down over and over again. The more I learned the truth about this world, the more hopeless I became. I felt very small in a world controlled by evil. I thought that there had to be some good side, some kind of hope. I started researching spirituality in general to see what was out there. New Age theology, the idea that God is energy and that the universe is God and that WE are God really spoke to me – positive energy, love, self confidence, it all sounded so promising. I became a firm believer and I would excitedly preach this to my friends and family. Yet after a short time I realized for many reasons that this “spirituality” was all empty. In difficult times, it taught that I still had to rely on myself, since I was “God”. I had to conclude that this was NOT the Truth.
To make a long story not quite as long, one summer day I was reading a book at work that discussed the corruption and evil in this world from a Christian perspective, using Bible verses and prophecy. I was amazed at how accurately the Bible described the state of this world and of the human heart. The evil in this world was exposed as the work of Satan and the gospel of Jesus Christ was presented. I had never heard before that I had to make a personal choice to accept or reject God’s gift of salvation. My eyes were opened to the inconsistency between my so called “belief in God” and my sinful lifestyle that denied him. I understood the fact that Jesus died on the cross as MY substitute because I was guilty and his perfect sacrifice was my only hope. I put my head down, acknowledged my guilt before God, and accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour. From that moment on, Jesus has been real to me and the Holy Spirit has been working to transform me into a person that is pleasing and honouring to God. The historical and spiritual evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is overwhelming and I thank God that he has shown it to me. Oh the grace, mercy, and love of God – I hope and pray that you can experience it for yourself at the cross, even today, while there is time.
I was a sinner unable to help myself, condemned already, but thank God, Jesus died for me.
There is one privilege for which I humbly thank God, and that is the unparalleled privilege of being born in a Christian home where the Bible was revered as the Word of God and Christ was known as Saviour and Lord; and where from a child I was taught the Scriptures, which are able to make wise unto salvation. It was the knowledge of Scripture that arrested me time and time again, when as an unsaved youth I sought to indulge in this world's sins. I found that I couldn't enjoy sin as the other enjoyed it, and whereas it seemed to make them happy, it only made me miserable and sorrowful. The Holy Spirit worked through the written Word, convicting of sin.
In fact, my whole life as I look at it in retrospect seems to have been spent from my earliest days resisting the strivings of the Spirit. But I'm happy today that there came a time in Kingsbridge Gospel Hall (I could mark the very spot with a nail), I laid down the arms of rebellion and yielded myself as a sinner to the claims of Jesus Christ. May I add here for the sake of some that I had no great experience; I didn't see a great light; I didn't have any strange feelings within; I didn't see visions or hear voices; my conversion was simply the yielding to what I knew to be the Truth, that i was a sinner unable to help myself, condemned already, but thank God, Jesus died for me.
"Get right with God,
Before Him bow,
Get right with God,
And DO IT NOW."