Barb's Christian Webpage
Jesus spoke in short sentences and everyday words, illustrating His messages with parables and stories that the people could understand. That's what I've tried to do as I share my story with you here.
I've divided my life into three parts:
We'll start with Part I.
Since many of you don't really know much about me, I'll begin at the beginning. I was born in 1947, and raised in California, one of three daughters. I'm the middle child ... the "peace maker." I was raised in a very loving Christian home. I've "talked" religion all my life. And I assumed I was going to heaven when I died.
Here's a little list I made of what my adult life was like before I was born again.
Now we come to Part II when I accepted Christ.
You see, when you accept Jesus into your heart, He begins to change you, to mold you into what He wants. When it comes from the inside, and you don't cause the feelings to change, you know ... it's from the Lord.
Boy, you talk about feelings, and being molded into what He wants, I once had an extremely difficult boss whom God REALLY used to teach me obedience to God's nudgings.
I worked for five years at a CPA office doing both client accounting and internal accounting. There were three bosses there, and it seemed someone was always crying because of one particular boss. We were always comforting one another in the bathroom. His mood changes and unreasonable demands regarding the way corporate and clients books were kept drove all of us nuts. We also had to put in many overtime hours during tax season ... 60 hours a week was not unusual. I really wanted OUT! You know the phrase, stop the world, I want to get off? Well, that was me!
It was in the middle of all this stress and chaos that I came to know Jesus as my personal savior. Why is it that during such a stressful time, so many people DO turn to the Lord? Here I was, working such long hours, bickering with my husband, trying to raise two girls, TONS of stress at the job ... I think the Lord forces us to look to Him because we just can't carry the load ourselves. Anyway, it was in the middle of this mess that I accepted the Lord as my savior.
I started disciplining myself to have morning prayer time. And God began to nudge me to pray for this boss. It's a very long story that I won't go into here, but once I yielded to God and began to earnestly pray for my boss, God gave me what I had wanted all along ... a new job!
I learned later that my friends were praying for me and they
believed God would do great things through me. That kind of encouragement
caused me to do things I might not have done on my own. You see, they
knew what a mighty God we have. I was just beginning to understand.
And finally we get to Part III
... growing in Christ (which is a long way from being completed!)
Some of you who know me may wonder why I believe in prayer so strongly. For several years now, I have been praying over the Keweenaw Christian Women's prayer requests each month. This is something that I CAN do. Each person has different talents or gifts from God. I can't pour great amounts of money into Christian efforts, and I can't travel to foreign countries. But I CAN be a missionary right here, by praying for other's needs. It may seem like a small thing, but if you stop and think about it, prayer is really the greatest thing you can offer to someone else.
I began praying more and more after I saw what God did with my job situation! I would pray for everyone I could think of. When I would awaken at night, I'd pray for people until God sent me back to sleep. I figured someone must have needed prayer during the night, and I wanted to be the one to pray. See how different my life is now? In the past, I probably would have taken a pill or something to go back to sleep.
I had a neat prayer experience with a Christian friend in Marquette. Her name is Pat. She and her husband work with the Fire Up, which is a Christian youth conference that's held in Marquette each year. Anyway, she was struggling one day, praying and just going through a really bad time. She prayed: "God, why do I always have to be the one to pray? Why can't you have someone pray for ME?" Well, she struggled with the Lord all day long, praying and crying and praying and crying.
As it turned out, I had been feeling the need to pray for Pat from the very earliest part of the morning, all through the day, and it was with great urgency, as though she was injured or really hurting or something. But for some reason, I didn't call her. This was just before Thanksgiving. So the next day I was all caught up with Thanksgiving dinner, and didn't even think to call Pat then. About two weeks later, I really got an urge to call her. I felt a little foolish, but I asked her what had happened two weeks ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, telling her how I had really felt the need to pray for her that day. She began to cry and tell me how she had wrestled with God that day, crying out to Him. She said it shows how God answers our prayers before we even ask them. I had been praying for her without even knowing why. It showed her God's love for her.
God answered my "Christian Mom" Shirley's prayer on the day that I prayed for my salvation. My salvation was the result of another person praying for me ... praying that I would receive salvation. She understood it's importance even though I didn't at that time. Now I understand it's importance, and I pray for many other people's salvation now.
God may be speaking to your heart right now. The way to accept God's gift of salvation is simply to say, "I am a sinner, and I need help." When we say that, we've taken the first step toward Christ. I did that in Shirley's livingroom, on April 10th, 1985. Jesus made it very clear for us.
Jesus said: "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The kingdom of God is heaven, you know. In other words, unless you are born again, you cannot see heaven.
Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me."
He also said: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
And now these are some of the things that Jesus did NOT say:
He did NOT say being a nice person is all that's necessary. If that were true, we wouldn't need a Savior.
But God says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." All of us have failed to live up to God's law and we therefore stand guilty before Him.
He did NOT say being religious and going to the right church is what really counts. Remember, the need to be "born again" was not originally presented to a criminal off the streets; but to Nicodemus who was a sincere and respected religious leader of his day. He was a man who prayed and kept the commandments. To that kind of a man Jesus said: "You must be born again." And He says the same thing to you and to me.
He did NOT say that if you live by the Golden Rule you'll make it to heaven. God DOES expect us to LIVE by the Golden Rule, but good works are never the basis of salvation. The Bible says of born again Christians, "You have been saved through faith ... not as a result of works."
Jesus made everything so simple, and we've made it so complicated.
He spoke to the people in everyday words, telling His message with stories that the people could understand. That's what I've tried to do this morning. By telling you the stories of my own life, perhaps you can see something differently now than you did before. Perhaps you can apply some of it to your own life. You could begin by accepting Christ into your heart. When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he should do to be saved, Paul said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved."
It's so simple that it's often overlooked. You know ... the Gospel message is heard on radio stations, on television, it's presented from pulpits, and explained in books and magazines ... and yet millions still overlook it. All you have to do to be born again is to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
People don't realize that we can come to Christ JUST AS WE ARE. We CAN have our life changed by Christ. I had my life changed. So can you. Maybe you're not sure if you're going to go to heaven when you die. You can make certain that you will by receiving Christ as your Savior and Lord.
DO YOU know Christ? Have you received Him yet? God is waiting for you. Christ died for you. He rose again. He IS alive. He's waiting for you, and His arms are outstretched for you. He'll listen to you, and He'll be closer than any friend you have ever known.
HERE IS HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN:
If you'd like to open your heart to Jesus, or if you'd like to just renew your commitment to Him, here's what to do. It is SO easy! Honestly tell Him that you realize you need forgiveness and that you want to turn away from your sins and turn to Him. Tell Him that from this moment on, you will trust Him. Then thank Him for forgiving you and giving you eternal life. Eternal life is God's free gift to us.
Remember that God DOES answer prayer, and if you'd like to be
born again, or if you'd like to renew your commitment...
just bow your head and repeat this prayer this right now, as you're sitting in front of your computer. Just repeat ... "Lord Jesus ... I know that I have sinned against you ... I'm sorry for my sins ... and I ask Your forgiveness. I receive You as my personal Savior ... and invite you to manage my life from this day forward. Thank You Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Now remember ... God DOES answer prayer. Praying that prayer, and meaning it with all my heart is what changed me in 1985. If you have just received Jesus Christ as your own Lord and Savior, then you have become a child of God in whom Jesus Christ now dwells. You don't need to measure the certainty of your salvation by your feelings. Believe God. He keeps His word. God DOES answer prayer!
I pray that you will be richly blessed by God.