My Walk with God
Each step of the way of life is a choice we make. Do I go the straight and narrow way that leads to Heaven? Do I choose the other – a different, difficult path? It took me thirty-one, searching years to find the only way to peace and contentment. My name is Sylvia Membrino, and this is my story. Allow me to tell you how I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Since then, it has been a growing, serving, fulfilling experience.
There were many things I remember that influenced my choices. As a small child, my mother took me to Sunday school at the Lutheran church where she was a member. We often visited a Methodist church. There I was introduced to junior church where interesting, fascinating Bible stories were told. I went to Bible school every summer. I learned John chapter 3, and verse 16, “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.” I did not realize that verse was the basis for salvation. (Note: saved, salvation 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 have the Bible my paternal grandparents gave me as a Christmas gift in 1946.
A grade school and high school friend often invited me out to their Mennonite church. We sang many of the songs and choruses we sing today. During my early teen years, Dad took me to the Lutheran church where he and my grandparents were members. I attended catechetical classes and was confirmed. When I began driving, I joined the Lutheran church in a different town where my aunt, cousin and boyfriend were members. Church was always important to me. I read the Bible daily. My senior year research paper was the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” We were required to memorize and recite it before the class.
After graduation, my high school sweetheart joined the Air Force. He was honorably discharged, and we married in 1959. Five years later, we were parents of four children: Laura, John and James (twins), and Lisa. When Laura was born, the other girl in the room witnessed to me and sent me tracts at Christmas for many years.
“I did not see myself as a sinner.”
Laura was in fourth grade and made friends with a new class member. Her family was different. They invited us out to church. I began attending their ladies’ Bible study. I learned Romans, chapter 3, verse 23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” I also memorized Romans, chapter 6, verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The verse that convicted me of my need to search the scriptures for answers to my questions was Matthew, chapter 7, verse 23, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” I assumed everyone went to Heaven. I did not want to get to Heaven and have that said to me. Finally in October 1969, I saw myself as a sinner. Romans, chapter 5, verse 8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I admitted I was a sinner and asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into my heart and save my soul.
God revealed to me that through no fault of my own, I was a sinner. I was born a sinner. As you watch a precious baby develop into a little person, you must teach them to do right. They know how to demand attention and do wrong. Sin entered the world by the choice of Adam and Eve. God told them in Genesis, chapter 2, verses 16-17 not to eat of the fruit of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. Satan tempted Eve in Genesis 3. Eve had a choice as did Adam.
God made salvation simple to enable everyone to comprehend and accept His gift of salvation. I questioned God about my salvation. I wanted to complicate His gift to me. When someone gives you a gift, you graciously accept it, and say “thank you.” I lived a long time doing good works, but they gave me no assurance of heaven. Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 8-9 say, “For by grace are ye saved, through faith;…it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Outward sin was not that evident, but it was there. I did not recognize it for what it was–sin. In Second Peter, chapter 1, verse 15, God shows us, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” God had a big job cleaning my heart. A work that is unending, as it says in Jeremiah, chapter 17, verses 9-10, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
“I look forward to the blessed day I see my Lord sitting on the right hand of God.”
The children and I attended church regularly. The Bible tells us in Acts, chapter 2, verse 41 that the next step after salvation is baptism, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.” I knew what I had to do, but I was not obedient to God. God saves souls to serve Him, but I was serving myself.
The friend, who first took me to church, introduced me to some Baptists that knocked on her door. They were exciting! Scriptures rolled off their tongues. The Lord Jesus Christ was evident in their lives. They were having home Bible studies, ladies and their families were saved, and their lives were changed. God’s Word worked on my conscience. I knew I had to follow in obedience. I was baptized August 20, 1972. From that point of obedience, it was evident God’s work was growing in my heart and life. The Holy Spirit shows me the sin in my life through His Holy Word. Second Timothy, chapter 2, verse 15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Shortly after I was saved, a lady at a Bible study told us that she earnestly prayed 12 years for her husband’s saving faith. I went home and told the Lord I could not wait 12 years for my husband’s salvation. Today, almost 30 years later, I can praise God for the fine husband He gave me. The hardest lesson to learn is patience. God saves souls in His timing. Lamentations, chapter 3, verse 26 says, “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” And, Psalm 37, verse 7 says, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” I have the blessed hope and promises of God that soon my husband will see his need of accepting my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God has given him many opportunities.
What a blessing to be a part of His wonderful plan of redemption! Romans, chapter 12, verse 1 tells us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Another early lesson in my walk of faith comes to mind. I was fortunate to be able to be at home with our children. The Lord showed me that I should be tithing. The Lord taught me many lessons in this area. His only requirement was obedience. With one income, I tithed our grocery money. Philippians, chapter 4, verse 19, encouraged me, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
“The greatest prayer on my heart is to see our children and grandchildren walk with the Lord, love God, and serve Him.”
Third John, chapter 4, says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” God’s word is true and encourages us along the way, as shown in Second Timothy, chapter 3, verse 16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” And in chapter 2, verse 19, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
God gives me abilities I never knew I had. He places me at the right place at the right time. He opens and closes doors in many areas. My experiences enable me to encourage others. He uses me as a prayer warrior. There is a mission field in my neighborhood. There is work for the Lord wherever we look. Are you busy about the Lord’s work? The Lord commands in First Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 31, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” All these years I found Him faithful. Psalm 37, verse 25 says it best, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”