|Testing times: My Testimony
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|Author:||Westonman [ Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:16 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Testing times: My Testimony|
We are living through troublesome times, where it seems that everything is being shaken. Whether it be the economy, job security, our health, political stability, the health of planet earth; there is a sense that life has become increasingly uncertain. Fear is everywhere, and hope is in short supply for many. Fear is contagious, it can be paralysing and destructive.
Over recent days I have been sensing that I should give my testimony of when and how I became a Christian.
Through my twenties and early thirties I was working as a young engineer. Through those years life seemed good to me; challenging, satisfying, fulfilling. Through those early years I had no fixed abode to call ‘home’; I lived in lodgings when at the primary place of my work, and a lot of time I was travelling for my work. Most of my work was within the UK, but I also worked in Scandinavia. I spent a lot of time living in hotels, motels, and guest houses.
A life without a fixed home meant that I spent a lot of time in pubs and bars, seeking companionship.
Although life was busy and challenging, there would be occasional times when I was compelled to consider where I was heading. I remember standing on the quay at Christchurch in Dorset one summers evening. It was night, the sky was clear and cloudless, the stars were awe inspiring. The shear glory of the heavens could not be ignored. I remember thinking, This cannot possibly be an accident, is there a God who made all this? The moment passed, and I got on with life.
Sometime later, I was walking though Hayes Town, when an old lady standing on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Mount Road held out her hand to give me a piece of paper, not realising the paper was a Christian tract. I placed the tract into my jacket pocket and forgot about it. Some days later I found the tract in my jacket. The Scripture verses inside that tract left me thinking, wondering, but not sufficiently bothered to do anything about it. At the time, I didn’t know why, but I kept that track for some considerable time.
Among other places, my work took me to H.M Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, where I spent a lot of time over several years. About one week in four I was working at Chatham. Being a regular visitor means that local acquaintances, even friendships develop. One of those friendships was a Christian man; he invited me to dinner at his home where his wife prepared the meal. During our conversations I was given another tract. This time it took the form of a cartoon strip story; it was a Chic Tract, see here https://www.chick.com/products/tract?stk=1014&ue=d
I kept that tract, but did no more than read it occasionally when alone. Every time I read the tract it caused me to fear that I was separate from the God of the Bible, but I did nothing about it. After about four months my Christian friend at Chatham invited me to a musical evening at the local Chatham Community Centre. The evening was Wednesday the 10th May 1972. I arrived at the centre at the appointed time, where my friend had brought his wife and other friends along. The evening was a presentation of Christian music. Towards the end of the presentation there was a Bible reading with a short explanation of the Bible reading. During the reading I increasingly felt uncomfortable, fearful, challenged: at the end of his speech the speaker asked if there was anybody who wanted to know more of Jesus Christ and His Salvation. My hand shot up, one lonely hand in a crowded hall. That Wednesday evening I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. My new friends and I left the centre with great joy – I returned to my hotel and spent a lot of the night in prayer to my newly found God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The next morning, Thursday, was a beautiful day, clear sky, the sun was very bright – a reflection of my new internal spiritual condition. Later that Thursday I was due to return to my base. I left Chatham mid afternoon to drive back to London. The road out of Chatham climes up hill towards the M20, the road back to London. Driving out of Chatham up hill I had a deep sense of peace within. I was clean within, my sins were forgiven.
Normally when on the motorway I would join the fast traffic, in those days the motorways were not nearly as busy as today. I was travelling at about 70 MPH towards London, passing lorries and slower traffic. When without warning a deep sense of overwhelming peace enveloped me, The Lord Jesus Christ by His Spirit was in that car with me. His presence was so real that I had to slow down, the Peace, the Joy was literally out of this world. Normally the drive across London was demanding, but on this occasion it was super-natural because of the Peace within.
When I arriving at my lodgings I was asked, “What’s happened to you?” Strangely, there was no enthusiasm for my testimony. Back at my work place the report of my salvation was met with dismay, amusement, and shock by most. But there was one man who wanted to know more, he too became a Christian a few days later.
Prior to my salvation I was not a church goer. From the day of my salvation I had a great hunger for the Word of God, the Bible. I bought a Bible. I could not stop reading it, every spare moment I was in the Bible. The bible was a living word, it used to be a dead word to me, but now it made sense. I sensed deeply that I needed a church, I wanted the companionship of people who knew what I now knew. On the second Sunday after returning from Chatham I was led to a particular church. I was invited to give my testimony, was soon baptised and accepted into membership.
The life of pubs and bars became alien to me, instead I craved Christian fellowship, I was hungry for truth and reality. Before my salvation I was a smoker, a smoker who had tried many times to stop smoking, but without success. About three weeks after my conversion I lit up a smoke – immediately I felt physically sick – I persisted with the smoke for a couple of minutes, but the sense of sickness was too great – I stubbed it out and have not smoked since. The desire and need for tobacco was instantly removed from me.
I settled down into my new Christian life as a thirty something Christian, met a fine Christian woman who later became my wife. The Bible, The Word of God is the only source of truth and power, it has the power to change our lives into something that non-believers can’t even imagine. Yes, there are trials and tests in this world, especially for a Christian, but the world has no substitute for the peace, love, and joy that knowing Jesus Christ (God) as my Saviour.
I believe this world is being severely shaken at this time, but I have peace within, the hope of glory in eternity with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 1:12
“ … for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Death abolished for the believer
2Tim 1:8 - 10
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
|Author:||Jon [ Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:11 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Testing times: My Testimony|
Thanks. Shall print up an have a good read.
|Author:||Westonman [ Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:39 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Testing times: My Testimony|
When I posted my testimony at the head of this thread I deliberately left out some facts. I now sense that the time is right to include more of those events leading up to and after my conversion/rebirth into Jesus Christ.
When my friend Michael, at Chatham Dockyard, gave me those Chic Tracts, I took them home with me to my lodgings and studied them and the Scriptures they contained, I studied them for three months. During those three months I paid two more visits to HM Dockyard, and neither Michael nor myself mentioned the tracts. During those three months I went through painful conviction of my sins, I knew the very real fear of the Holy God, I knew I was destined for Hell. It was three months of weighing the pros and cons, weighing the cost of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, against the cost of rejecting Him.
It was during my visit to the dockyard three months after receiving Michael’s Chic Tracts that Michael invited me to the presentation of Christian music. I gladly accepted the offer because by then I was ready to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, although I hadn’t told anybody, certainly not Michael. Only later, at the presentation of Christian music, did Michael and his wife witness my acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
For about the first two weeks or so after my conversion/rebirth, two major sins of mine that I had committed prior to being saved weighed heavily upon me. Yes I was saved, yes Jesus Christ was my Lord and Saviour, yes I knew I my sins were forgiven. Even so, there were two accounts that I was led to settle. Below are the accounts I decided to omit from my first posting.
The first account:
Many months prior to my receiving the Chic Tracts from Michael I had committed a fraud against my employer. In my new status as a new Christian I sensed that I had to ‘own up’ for my crime; I knew the risks, the penalty would very likely be instant dismissal from my employment. I wrestled with this issue for a few days, but no rest or peace would come to me. I finally requested a meeting with my manager; I explained to him, who happened to be a Jew, that I had committed a crime and gave him the details. My manager said, “This is a very serious matter, you’ll have to leave it with me.” He dismissed me and left his office; I could only guess where he had gone. A few hours passed, then I was called back to the manager’s office, where I was informed that no action was to be taken against me. Oh the grace, mercy, power and faithfulness of my risen Saviour. I was very thankful to my manager, but even more grateful to my Saviour.
The second account:
Some years earlier I had greatly offended a family member. This offence lay heavily on my newly sensitised conscience. I felt led to seek out this family member, explain my new position – give my testimony, and ask for their forgiveness for the offence I had committed against them. My forgiveness was readily granted, and our relationship restored – that restored relationship lasted all the way to the eventual death of my family member many years later.
The Lord is merciful and gracious – to me He is, and has been for nearly half a century.
|Author:||Rich Kid [ Tue Apr 07, 2020 12:13 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Testing times: My Testimony|
A very interesting post Westonman but I must say that I've taken a journey in the opposite direction to yours. I was brought up a Catholic, attended Catholic schools, was an altar boy, observed all the rituals/sacraments of the Church yet as I became older I moved away from the Catholic church iin particular and religion in general and the belief in a God, and I must say I have no regrets in what I did.
If religion and a belief in God gives comfort to a person, I have no problem with that, my mother was a deeply fervent catholic until the day she died but it does nothing whatsoever for me.
|Author:||Westonman [ Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:55 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Testing times: My Testimony|
RK. Thanks for your comment. I have no personal experience of the Roman Catholic Church.
Immediately after my conversion and rebirth into Jesus Christ, my resurrected Saviour, I knew I needed a church. I needed a church that knew and understood where I was as a newly born- again Christian. I was not a church-goer prior to my conversion, as such I didn’t have a lot of experience or knowledge to go on. I wanted and needed to share with others who had what I had, I was hungry for Christian fellowship, and for a greater knowledge of the Scriptures.
For the first weekend after my conversion I was down in Dorset visiting family. Before driving back to Hayes on the Sunday evening, I took the ‘risk’, and attended a Free Evangelical church service in Wimborne, Dorset. I had no idea what to expect before entering that church. It turned out that the service struck a chord with me, as to where I was spiritually. At the end of the main service, there was a the Communion Service. I had never attended, or taken part in a Communion Service before in my life; it was explained from the pulpit, that anybody who knew Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour was welcome to stay and take part. I remained, and took part in my first Communion Service. At that Communion I sensed the very real presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. During that Communion Service I sensed the Lord was wanting me to stop smoking; I was a heavy smoker of cigarettes, cigars, and occasionally a pipe. I said to the Lord during that service, ‘You must help me to stop’. You see, I had tried many times before, and failed.
Immediately after that service I drove back to my lodgings in Hayes. In those days only a short section of the M3 was open, the stretch between Basingstoke and the Ascot turn-off. Whilst on that stretch of motorway I was desperate for a smoke; I decided to try and get back to Hayes before lighting up. As soon as I arrived in my room I lit up a cigar. It was then that I became physically sick. I tried to persist with the smoke, but there was no way. That was the last time I even longed for a smoke, that was May 1972.
During the following week I was praying for a church that was local to my lodgings. I sensed being led to walk along Coldharbour Lane on the Saturday evening, where I came across the Baptist Church; I noted the service times from the notice board and decided to ‘try’ and attend the service the following Sunday evening. Walking to the Baptist Church on the Sunday evening was a stressful experience, but the closer I got to the church the more at peace I became. Upon my arrival at the open doors of the church I was met by a very nice elderly man, I later discovered he was a church elder. This elder enquired of me, who I was, was I local or passing through? I explained that I was a new Christian who was looking for a church. The elder led me to a seat within the body of the church. At the conclusion of the Evening Service, as I was leaving, the Pastor stopped me and invited me to meet him at the Manse later on that week.
On arrival at the Manse, the Pastor invited me in - where he asked me to explain how and when I became a Christian. I gave him the full story. It turned out the the Pastor had a very similar conversion experience to my own, many years previous. I sensed that I had arrived ‘home’. A few weeks passed and I sensed that I ought to apply to be baptised. I was baptised, and gave my testimony in public to a full church. I knew then that I was now where I was supposed to be at that point in time.
Psalm 37:23 -24
23 “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.”
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