True Christianity isn’t rosary beads, attending catechism classes, memorizing the books of the Bible, going to church every Sunday, taking communion, or celebrating Christmas and Easter. As a boy and into my early adult years, that is exactly what I thought being a Christian was. But when my wife Gail was saved at Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, the Lord began to lead me toward the real truth. (Note: salvation,saved and born again are Biblical terms referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from the power and penalty of that sin. This is God’s requirement for everlasting life.)
I began attending the church with my wife. For several years, I was never quite sure what I was looking for or what I was trying to achieve. What was the purpose of my life? I could see the members of the church and their conviction toward the Lord Jesus Christ, but I was never sure of how to achieve this sincere dedication to God. “What was the purpose of my life?”On the way home from church, I would discuss the sermon we had heard with my wife, but I could never grasp the true knowledge of my sin and what Jesus had really done for me. I would hear the words but never understood what they meant to me. So I just spent my time in my daily routine, never really knowing the seriousness of my sinful situation.
Then on Friday, November 9th, 2001, as I walked across the rafters of my barn, I saw again Missionary Jerry Wilhite’s several boxes of worldly possessions he had stored there. I thought to myself, “He surely does have a lot of things he left behind.” Suddenly, God brought to my remembrance the conversation we had the last day he had stopped to store his boxes, right before he left for South Africa. He reminded me of the urgency of my need to submit to the Lord and trust in Him. He pointed out some of the doors God had opened for me as my business had grown, and how blessed I was to be able to see all this unfolding around me.
We had discussed my plans and my future. Again, he stressed the need to get saved. “It could all end tomorrow and you would be lost in hell for eternity.” “He reminded me that no worldly works or worldly morals would make me good enough to enter heaven.” He reminded me that no worldly works or worldly morals would make me good enough to enter heaven. There was nothing that I could do to earn a place in Heaven. As he left that day, he said, “I hope that our things in your barn will be a testimony to what the Lord has done with our lives.”
The next day, Saturday, I happened to be outside just as the sun set in the sky. It was gorgeous, and I stopped to admire the absolutely beautiful view. I even took extra time to watch the sun drop behind the mountains, and I thought, “God truly created all this for me and I can only imagine what heaven must truly be like.”
On Sunday, November 11th, Pastor Hammett preached a message called “The Absolute Truth About Hell.” He talked about what it would be like if the Lord Jesus were to return today. Those who are unsaved are destined to spend an eternity in hell. You will thirst for a single drop of water! You will be separated from the Lord Jesus forever, never being able to know Him—no escape, no hope!
He went on to describe this eternity in hell—the worst imaginable feeling of pain, sickness and despair that anyone could be subjected to! Standing in a fire which will never be quenched! Eternal destruction and never ending regret! Forever suffering the wrath of God Almighty—all because we hold Jesus’ death and resurrection with such little meaning, and won’t turn to Him for salvation!
The Lord opened my heart and drove this message straight at MY heart! Suddenly I could see my sin separating me from God! I could see myself with no water to quench my thirst! I could picture myself with the worst imaginable sickness, headache, pain and agony all combined together into one horrible eternal misery! I would never see another sunset. I would never see my lovely wife and children again. I would miss all the joys of heaven!
“I knew it wasn’t God’s intention for me to go to hell but it is what I deserved for my sins against Him.” I knew it wasn’t God’s intention for me to go to hell but it is what I deserved for my sins against Him. I knew it was time to walk with Him, embrace Him and not reject Him any more. As the Pastor continued, I knew what I needed to do. The invitation started, and the Lord opened my heart and mind and gave me a true readiness to accept and trust Him. I bowed my head and prayed, “Lord, Heavenly King, I do not know you but I truly desire to be saved from this horrific future in the lake of fire! My desire is to learn what you have truly done for me. Please show me your will. Forgive me for my wicked sinful life, deliver me from my sin and deliver me into your grace.”
Like a wave of indescribable magnitude, I was filled with true understanding, clarity, and assurance that God had answered my prayer. A true knowledge of His death and resurrection and His love for me swept through me. I was filled with a feeling of truly wonderful emotions: love, forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, and a humble readiness to learn more.
As the minutes passed during the invitation, I couldn’t help but rejoice because I finally knew, after so many years, that Jesus Christ is indeed Lord of all and I owed everything to Him. He went to the cross and died for my sins in order that I might be brought to God’s grace and be assured a place in heaven! He rose from the dead so I might also rise from death and sin and reside in heaven with my Lord! I now understand the true meaning of life!
I am thankful to know that I am saved by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! I praise Him for His steady unrelenting work in my life. I also praise the Lord for my wife and family, and for the pastor and members of Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. They never gave up on me, but prayed faithfully that my eyes would be opened to the truth. My prayer is that the Lord will bless my service for Him and will continue to show me His will as I look to do His work here on earth.
Thank you for taking time to read my story and see how the Lord Jesus Christ has changed my life. I hope that my testimony will stir your heart and lead you to think about your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.