Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Suggestion for You

Of course, you are busy, but I wouldn’t ask you to do something unimportant. I recommend you take maybe 15 minutes to write down the story of your experience of coming to faith.

Coming to faith is a life-changing event. It happened to me, and I am forever thankful.

As little kids Mama taught us the song, “Jesus Loves Me,” and I believed it was true. In those days we said a bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Then came the “God bless mamma and daddy. . . ” Next, each sibling was named, along with friends. We believed prayer was important.

Our family moved at different times, so we weren’t settled into church membership. There was a Friends church in Marshalltown, then a Baptist church, later the First Federated church in Des Moines where Aunt Marian and Uncle Bob were active. This is where I got to go to Vacation Bible school and made the shiny brown-painted plaster plaque I still have of the Last Supper. I liked to go to the “big church” instead of Sunday School.

We children listened to a weekly Back to the Bible radio program, and once got a free booklet from them. The first Bible verse I memorized was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

One Sunday evening the pastor in Des Moines preached a strong sermon on Hebrews 2:3, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.” He told about Jesus, dying on the cross, and being raised from the dead. I already knew that Jesus loved me, but I was too timid to go forward in front of all those grown ups.

Later at home by myself I told God, “In case I didn’t ask you the right way before I am asking you into my heart now.” I was 12 years old. I knew I was Born Again.

Belonging to Jesus kept me out of a lot of trouble growing up. I was the oldest of 8 children and was busy being a good student and helping mom. By that time my parents moved to Arizona. At Glendale High School the Christians met out on the grass under the old olive trees on campus at noon for singing and sharing and prayer. After graduating I met Don, and next May we were married at American Lutheran Church in Phoenix.

Prayer and reading the Bible have been priorities from the very beginning for my husband Don and me. We began our tradition of writing and printing up a Christmas letter, giving testimony about God to family and friends. Later I began writing personal blessings for birthdays and anniversaries. My inspirational writing expanded over the following years.

On my last birthday I reached that amazing year of Six Dozen. I look back and thank the Lord for sixty years of knowing I am saved and on my way to Heaven. My prayer is that each person will make it a priority to ask Jesus to come into his or her life and have the joy of being Born Again. It means having a Best Friend, forever.

Now, that I’ve shared a short version of my faith experiences hopefully you’ll take up the challenge of writing about your own faith experience. Sometime you’d want to share this with closest family and friends. Do it soon; it could be a golden moment.
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by Elaine Hardt ©2008